Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is Christ divided? No room for Pro-life? Important Questions

For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, that there are rivalries among you. Is Christ divided?                                   1 Corinthians 1:11, 13a

This past week in a radio interview, Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to a question about divisiveness in public life.  His answer suggested that divisiveness existed in only one political party and it was the “extremists” of that party that were the cause of all division.  The Governor identified those who advocate for a right to life as an example of such extremism.  He then went on to say that such extremists, “have no place in the state of New York.“ 

Just a few weeks ago the Governor, a Democrat, was here on Long Island at the inauguration of the Nassau County Executive, a Republican.  The Governor spoke proudly of his efforts to overcome divisions for the good of the people.  It both saddened and angered me, therefore, to hear him say that those who disagreed with him on certain issues were not only extremists but have no place in our beloved state.  What changed in a few short weeks?
The Governor and his staff clarified these remarks stating that they were directed at those who were
seeking office, not people who held such views.  The words of the Governor were therefore meant to state that those who hold these positions are unelectable in New York.  He is not the first to make such a statement.  Former Senator Al D’Amato once insisted that his party’s candidate for governor had to be pro-choice in order to receive the nomination.  Up until that time Senator D’Amato had enjoyed the support of the Right to Life Party.  After that statement, the Senator lost his reelection by the margin of votes that he had previously received from Right to Life party voters in past elections.  New York went on to elect as a result a pro-choice and pro-death penalty governor. 
The point being we are a state and a nation divided on the issues of life; abortion, health care rights,
immigration reform, care for the terminally ill and the death penalty. (Yes these are all Pro-life issues.)  Unfortunately, we have let these divisions of the political world enter the body of Christ.  Yet, in answer to Saint Paul’s question, Christ is not divided.  Jesus Christ is singularly united to all aspects of human life in his incarnation.  He continues to affirm that unity in his choice when he dines with sinners, touches the unclean and embraces death on the cross.  We profess Christ, who says there is a place for all of these—even those who oppose him.  How then can we allow the cause for life to have no place in our state and our nation?
We Christians who have allowed ourselves to be divided are responsible for the Governor’s statement.  We who have accepted that one can be privately pro-life but publicly pro-choice have placed men and women in office who have diminished the sanctity of life.  It is our lack of support for those who identify themselves as Pro-Life and our support of those who are less then Pro-Life, that has allowed Pro-Life efforts to be labeled as extreme and our Governor to publicly state there is no place for such a person in public office in our state.  I don’t blame the Governor for holding such an opinion because he and many others have enjoyed the “Catholic” vote and the vote of other Christians.  We have told the world that Christians are divided and can therefore be marginalized. 
May Christ who inspired so many to brave the elements to stand up for life — all life, today in Washington. D.C.'s bitter cold and snow, unite us.  And may our universal care and respect for all human life, soften the heart of our Governor and all who think there is no place for the protection of unborn human life.  For there is a place for him within the Body of Christ, may he see a place for Jesus Christ and his people in our state, nation and world.