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The last book of the New Testament of the Bible called The Book of Revelation describes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the messengers bringing a vision of the Last Judgment. The white horse brings conquest and pestilence, the red horse brings war, the black horse brings famine, and the pale horse brings death. There are other interpretations, one being a description of the decline of the Roman Empire. Theologians over the centuries have demonstrated innate ability to support strange ideas from Biblical verses and prophecies. I thought of the Book of Revelation when I started to write why the 2016 election is so important. We seem to be at a fork in the road which could determine whether the United States will survive as a democracy.
To me there seems to be four major apocalyptic issues in this election: (1) race (the inability to see beyond color), (2) religion (particularly the role of abortion and women in church and society), (3) money (the distribution of wealth within our society), and (4) ignorance (the inability to educate our society for the common good). New York Times writer David Brooks, who calls himself a conservative, has an important, very meaningful paragraph in his article “How To Repair Moral Capital”: “Moral capital is the set of shared habits, norms, institutions and values that make common life possible. Left to our own, we human beings have an impressive capacity for selfishness. Unadorned, the struggle for power has a tendency to become barbaric (white vs. black, as an example). So people in decent societies agree on a million informal restraints—codes of politeness, humility and mutual respect that girdles selfishness and steer us toward reconciliation. This year Trump is dismantling those restraints one by one. Trump is the greatest threat to moral capital in recent history.”
Martin Luther King Had A Dream About Race Over Fifty Years Ago
Over fifty years ago King stood on the Washington Mall and uttered: “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls. We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We have made some progress over the years among the races, but the election of our first black president seems to have taken the bloody bandages off the wounds created by slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, “separate but equal,” and segregation. The perverse weakening of our voting rights laws by the Supreme Court created a tsunami of laws by Republican legislatures trying to cook voting by minorities. We are all familiar with “driving while black” incidents and the blatant shooting of unarmed black men and boys by police vigilantes. Just last week in Wiggins, Mississippi, a black high school football player was attacked by four white boys, had a noose placed around his neck, and was yanked backward. Last month a Beaumont, Texas black youth football team of 12 and 13-year-olds was threatened with lynchings and shootings by the parents of a white team.
Remember the horrendous story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Chicago black kid who was tortured, riddled with bullets, and thrown into the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi for supposedly whistling at a white girl? That murder took place 61 years ago. In 2008 the Emmett Till Memorial Commission put up eight historical markers in Tallahatchie County as a reminder of what life for blacks was like in 1955, let alone 1855—or 1755. The sign by the river has been the shooting target of vandals since it was put up. All civil rights markers in Mississippi have been vandalized heavily over the last decade. When the Emmett Till Memorial Highway was dedicated in 2006, all of the highway signs noting the naming were painted black by vandals and inscribed with white letters “KKK” would be prominent. The headstone of James Chaney, the civil rights worker murdered by the Klan in 1964, has finally been reinforced in a steel frame because it has been vandalized and tipped over so many times.
Mike Pence: “I Long To See The Day That Roe v. Wade Is Consigned To The Ash Heap Of History”
In response to Donald Trump’s “apocalyptic” view of “ripping” the late term fetus from the womb a day before a natural birth is due when he responded to a debate question about abortion, Meredith Isaksen wrote “Late-Term Abortion Was The Right Choice For Me.” At 21 weeks into her second pregnancy her doctor told her and her husband their boy fetus had stopped normal growing at five weeks and now had half a heart. The doctor said that it would be “unlikely” the boy would survive delivery, and if he did, he would need a heart transplant. After meeting with pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and geneticists, the parents decided the pregnancy should be terminated. A California family, they knew that the state determined a fetus was viable at 24 weeks. How would an evangelical Christian or Catholic family have handled this medical situation? Evidently God, who checks out every fetus in every womb according to a Bible verse (“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you!”), missed the medical fact this fetus had only half a heart. Why do 40% of pregnancies end up miscarried or born with mental or physical handicaps? That’s a lousy record for a perfect God who gave us Adam and Eve.
Mrs. Isaksen wrote about what she and her husband decided after listening to doctors and examining their own situation: “Politicians would have you believe that women like me shouldn’t get to make the choice I made. That our baby, despite his tiny misshapen heart and nonexistent aorta, should have a chance “to live,” even though that life might have lasted mere minutes. Even though that life would have been excruciatingly painful. These politicians are ignorant of the sacrifices and blessings that come with carrying a pregnancy (let alone an unviable pregnancy). They do not understand that a majority of women who have late-term abortions are terminating desperately wanted pregnancies. As the two-year anniversary of my abortion approaches, I can say without a shadow of doubt that we made the right decision for our family—and that our government has absolutely no place in the anguish which accompanies a late-term abortion, except to ensure that women and their families have the right to make their choice safely and privately.” She and her husband named the aborted fetus Lev, the Hebrew word for heart.
What Would The American Catholic Church Do About Abortion If Roe v. Wade Ended On The Ash Heap?
If the conservative bishops in the Catholic Church in the United States have their say, we could end up with the same abortion laws that the El Salvador Catholic hierarchy pushed through in 1998. All abortions are banned, regardless of the viability of the fetus or the risk to the mother’s life. Medical personnel are required to report any suspicious cases to the police. How can you tell an abortion from a miscarriage? El Salvadoran women who miscarry are often accused of having an abortion and are sometimes charged with aggravated homicide—which carries a 50-year prison sentence. Five other countries in the world have an absolute ban on abortions but El Salvador has the reputation, because of the Roman Catholic Church, of being the harshest enforcer of the ban. At the present time 21 women are in prison for varying sentences for having an abortion—and they all claim they miscarried.
At the present time Catholic hospitals have become the largest non-profit healthcare provider in the U.S., providing care for 1 out of 6 hospitalized patients. Would a Catholic hospital provide a late-term abortion for a woman who has a death issue because of a severe medical emergency? Can you imagine following a set of medical procedures developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who have dramatically demonstrated they know nothing about females? The comedian Samantha Bee does not mince words when it comes to celibate men making decisions about the female condition:”Decisions affecting millions of vaginas are being determined by people who have never owned one or touched one.” That should about end the discussion.
The Excommunication Of A Compassionate Nun
The following case is illustrative of decisions made by blind men of faith who believe in the virgin birth. In 2010 when Corky and I were spending the winter in Sun City, a 27-year-old Phoenix pregnant woman who already had four children got gravely ill when her fifth child was at 11 weeks. With a very dangerous heart failure, her doctors told her and her husband it was close to 100% she would die if she continued with the pregnancy. She was in St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, a Catholic hospital. The official position by the Catholic bishops mandated that the correct solution would be to let both mother and fetus die!! But there is a Directive 47 that in extreme cases would allow Catholic hospitals to abort the fetus to save the mother. The administrator of the hospital, Sister Margaret McBride, approved the abortion—and the woman survived. But local Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who would have probably enjoyed lighting the kindling under heretics in the 13th Century, immediately excommunicated McBride for her decision, saying: “She consented in the murder of an unborn child. You can’t do evil to bring about good.” Evil?!! Should we let the fetus and the mother die so we leave her four children without a mother? Why do we produce, promote, and tolerate such idiots? What would Jesus do? Kill them both?
The Higher Ground Moral Declaration By Liberal Protestant Churches
In a program called a “Call To Action,” liberal ministers from around the country are asking political candidates to respond to the following questions: “(1) Do you endorse full funding and support for early education programs, and reducing costs for college and post-secondary education? (2) Do you support policies that provide affordable housing for anyone who needs it? (3) Do you believe in a robust public investment in infrastructure that will create jobs and build racial equity in our workforce? (4) Do you support the “Fight for $15” and a living minimum wage? (5) Do you support the expansion of Medicaid and universal health care, and the right of women to choose their own healthcare options?”
While the black horse of famine gallops over our earth in the form of income inequality and hundreds of island tax havens for rich corporations and billionaires, we have many examples of why we cannot fulfill what is called for in the “Call to Action.” Christie’s auction house in New York recently sold part of an exceptional wine collection of Jay Stein’s that brought $110,000 for six bottles of 1978 Romanee-Conti burgundy, nine bottles of Rousseau for $32,000, and two bottles of 1978 Romanee-Conti La Tache brought $22,000. A rich Chicago Cubs fan recently paid about $50,000 for a front-row seat behind the Cubs . The average secondary ticket price for the rest of the World Series runs more than $4,000. Washington hotel packages for the January presidential inauguration tops out at the JW Marriott Hotel for four presidential suites and $400,000 worth of food and drink for $2.5 million—for four nights. For $500,000 you get a three-night stay at the W Hotel and unlimited Veuve Clicquot champagne. The new Trump International Hotel is offering four nights, a gold encrusted bathroom, a dinner for 24 revelers, and on-call car service for $500,000. You can get a cheap room at the St. Regis, a butler, and personalized stationary for only $85,000 a night. These people probably won’t be too interested in contributing to the “Call for Action.”