This past week, as the debate over health care drags on, the issue of abortion came up again. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska threatened to block the senate health care bill from moving forward because he was uncomfortable about the way the bill treated abortion as a health issue.
Fr. Robert Barron, a Catholic priest here in Illinois, expertly dismantles the pro-choice arguments from a political/philosophical perspective:
Though I don’t fault Fr. Barron’s logic (in fact I agree with him), his argument seems to condone the way some of the television coverage has portrayed Sen. Nelson’s delayed support of the health care bill — that religion and politics exist on the same playing field and that the issue of abortion as health care is religion vs. politics.
This is a false dichotomy in the same way the science vs. religion is a false dichotomy. Jesus Christ is more than politics. In John 6:15, after Christ has fed the five thousand, we are told, “Perceiving then that they were about to take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” There was an expectation that the Christ was to be a political figure that would drive off the Romans and return Israel to glory. Jesus thwarted this expectation at every turn because His was a much higher purpose with a much broader scope.
By voluntarily going to Golgatha, He defeated death by death so that we might enter into the Kingdom of God and that we might raise up all of creation with us into the glory of God. In other words, politics and religion are not on the same playing field. Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:11). Christ, therefore, informs every aspect of our lives, as we pledge at every Divine Liturgy, “let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.” This includes our politics.