When Religion Takes Over the State

To this outsider, the recent decision by the US Supreme Court that makes it possible for states to declare abortions illegal does not appear to have been decided based on law. Instead, the majority opinion began from personal and religious convictions and then extended to legal justifications.

I say “justifications” because that’s what happens when you have a theory in search of evidence. If that sounds familiar, it is. That is precisely what Trump, Giuliani and their cohorts had when they tried to overturn the 2020 election. It is not a coincidence that I learned of both those things this week; they are connected.

Shame. Image via Wikimedia Commons

In the hearings into the January 6th, 2020, insurrection and in today’s fallout from the Supreme Court decision regarding Roe v Wade we have seen what happens when religion-related beliefs are given avenues to political power, and it is not good. Worse, it is scary, especially for women.

I am old enough to remember what it was like before abortion was both legal and readily available. You don’t need me to spell out the gory details, but the choices for girls and women were all bad. Sometimes the choices were deadly. Even if they weren’t deadly, they were never talked about.

Mary-Without-A Shame. Image by JoaoBOliver from Pixabay

Sometimes girls went away to “visit an aunty” for a few months. Sometimes, a girl got married quickly and then a baby was born “prematurely”. When a local woman provided medical services in secret, that knowledge stayed with only the neighbourhood’s mothers. Occasionally, a family doctor would provide a “routine D & C” (dilation and curettage) just to make sure everything was hunky dory in there. The word “abortion” was never uttered. That’s an awful lot of quotation marks for words that were never spoken.

That is where some American states are now headed, a land of secrets, subterfuge, and shaming. And who takes the weight of all that societal disapproval? Desperate girls and women, that’s who. If this is Christianity, it is very Old Testament. There is no Jesus in any of this.

Supporting One Another via PXhere.com

So, with the spirit of Jesus in mind, I would like to recommend a few possible countermeasures.

  1. A non-profit could be set up to give people the opportunity to donate their air miles to enable people to fly to states that permit abortions, similar to the Miles for Migrants program.
  2. In the affected states, groups could be established online where individuals volunteer to drive girls and women to facilities that provide abortions.
  3. Individuals can offer moral and practical support, online or in person, to anyone who has been shunned or outcast.

Clearly, more should happen politically and legally, but we can all do something in our own neighbourhoods. The spirit of religious faiths lives and breathes in how individuals interact with those in need. For those of us who, like me, have abandoned organized religion, it is just normal human compassion to want to help others when we can. In the USA from today on, there will be lots of pregnant people who will need us.


  1. This appears to be a 40 year organized effort on the part of Conservative Right “Christian” groups who even have groups of enforcers who have killed people. They worked their way gradually to the Supreme Court and, of course, Trump got to appoint 3 of them to the Court. John Roberts has basically lost control of the Court which looks as though the 4 Justices pretty much have free reign. It does not bode well for women, LGBT+, or racially mixed marriages as Clarence Thomas previewed today. A lot of my friends and I are truly in shock today. Many in the street protests across the Country. There are organizations pulling together help plans similar to what you suggest and taking donations. Trigger states are in immediate need especially. Not so proud of my country tonight.

    • Thank you for this, Mary Beth. There is so much I could say about the Supreme Court’s decision, but I want to acknowledge that many people who are associated with Christianity are not affiliated with the extremists who are reaching for social change through political avenues.

      I was once a Christian and left the faith because of the extremism.

      Suffice it to say that I now hold fast to the understanding that faith is for personal growth and politics are for collective prosperity. The two should not be conflated.

  2. Even Liberal lawyers said it was bad law. States that want to kill children can continue to do so.

  3. It is interesting that you mention this is Old Testament Christianity. Judaism has a very different interpretation, Old Testament based and no Jesus involved. There is a plethora of scholarly discussion about the subject, but basically, life does not begin at conception. In Exodus, if a pregnant woman is injured by another person and she loses the fetus, the compensation required is monetary. However, further on, in the eye for an eye discussion, if both the pregnant woman and the fetus die, there are 2 levels of compensation, monetary for the loss of the fetus and execution for the loss of the woman’s life. They are not equal. And if a pregnant woman is to be executed for a crime, the execution proceeds unless the woman is actively in labour. The fetus is considered to be a part of the woman until birth is imminent. It is a topic for much discussion and I am no expert, but it almost seems the antithesis of Old Testament. This YouTube video discusses the issue from a Reform Judaism perspective. I do fear for poor, racialized women who will suffer must from this abysmal decision. Rich white women will always be able to get abortions.

    • Thank you for this, Susan. I learned a lot from this and I agree with you that what happened yesterday was not Old Testament Christianity. I had been thinking in terms of women as second-class citizens.

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