Yesterday, in an offensive defense of his support for a bill that will defund Planned Parenthood, Senator Steve Daines argued that the measure was necessary to defend the sanctity of human life. According to Mike Dennison:
Daines said America is a “nation that values life,” and that it must stand in defense of those who are most vulnerable, including the “unborn.”
Let’s put aside what rational people know: that Daines lied about Planned Parenthood, that it provides critical, often irreplacable services for people across the country, and that access to the contraception and education Planned Parenthood provides actually reduces the need for abortion. There’s no more effective way to reduce abortions than to give people education and autonomy over the reproductive health, and no more effective organization the Planned Parenthood. The facts, as they so often don’t, don’t support Senator Daines.
That being said, a more important issue is the incredible, monstrous hypocrisy of Senator Daines claiming to value life, one day after issue a belated defense of President Trump’s decision to block refugees from our shores, a defense of a policy that will ensure that some who otherwise would not will die horrific deaths. According to Daines:
“We are at war with Islamic extremists and anything less than 100 percent verification of these refugees’ backgrounds puts our national security at risk. We need to take the time to examine our existing programs to ensure terrorists aren’t entering our country. The safety of U.S. citizens must be our number one priority.”
Almost everything about that statement is a lie. Our refugee program offers an incredibly extensive vetting process and restricting refugees is far more likely to cause terrorism than prevent it. Worse yet, it’s a betrayal of the value of life that Daines professes to support, one he has publicly rootedin his Christian faith.
As it turns out, the central text of Senator Daines’s faith and the justification for his affirmation of life offers clear instruction about how we should treat those in need to seek our assistance.
From Exodus 22:21:
You shall neither wrong a stranger, nor oppress him: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
A quick look at Matthew might also not be a bad idea for the Senator. The Christian faith, moral decency, and a defense of the value of life make it clear that there can be no defense of Trump’s inhumane and inhuman order—and Senator Daines should be ashamed of himself for his hypocrisy.
I think it’s admirable for a person to lead a moral life, whether that morality is rooted in religion, philosophy, or any other source. What can’t be admirable is for a person to use those values to oppress one group of people and ignore them when another group faces oppression.
Until Senator Daines brings himself to understand that, perhaps he can spare us the self-righteous lectures about the value of life. At the least, perhaps someone can tell Senator Daines that leading a Christian life is not about spreading poll-tested hate and fear, but about standing up for the weak and defenseless, like Christ told us to do.