Landscape organizes everything within sight.

Friday, October 07, 2005


As blogged at Kos, the Dobsons are continuing to spread the doctrine of letting disease kill: now extending the case for murder for the sake of the religious right's God from HIV to Cervical cancer.

I remember, at nine, asking my parents about a Christian Science family down the street, and hearing an earful from my Methodist engineer father about those whose zeal blinded them to God's actual ministry of healing in the torn world.

In college, I read Maimonides and St. Augustine on God's role as a healer, and their meditations on how human healers and educators embody God's ministry in daily life.

As Christians, we were taught to love humanity as God's especial charge to their personal care. How strange to hear those who turn away doctors and medicine claim their unity with two thousand years of monks, teachers, and healers, who taught and healed and fed the poor, loyal to their vows of poverty and obedience and service.

We live in a time when the Religious Right, with its coterie of trained think-tank linguists, have been able to call the kettle white and the night day and get away with it. You know their names, and you know their terms: their words, not ours, have been bandied about in political speeches, have flooded television commercials, have become established in text books and in history as the proper language of American political debate.

It's time that we started using language in its appropriate context, as a major part of our activism: demanding that newspapers, radio hosts, and media stop calling contemporary murderers "pro-life" and "Christian." The battle for life, charity, and responsibility takes place on the battlefield of language.

The Christian concept of "witness" means that believers feel a duty to call out abuse of the Christian community, and to call attention to where they actually see their faith in practice. "Witness" demands critical thinking and outspoken criticism of the abuse of language. Witness, dissent, and rational discourse have been sorely lacking in America of late.

So I have an exhortation for Christians everywhere. In the name of witnessing to our faith, let us call "anti-life" what breeds murder. Let us take back the language of health. "Anti-life" is the best term I can think of for the Dobsons' deliberate ministry of murder.

Call "pro-life" those actors who lobby for the healing of the sick, the feeding of the starving, and the daily redemption of the lost through works of compassion. Take back the term. Explain it when asked. "Pro-life" means healthcare for all. "Pro-life" means affordable medicine. "Pro-life" means encouraging policies that enable doctors to fight diseases that effect the many, wherever they are, however poor or unchurched they are, rather than committing doctors' entire livelihoods to the workings of the free market. "Pro-life" means overcoming our love of abstinent, white American teens for long enough to act in service to those who have other kinds of lives, for whatever reason.