It was great news this past week that both Facebook and Instagram are continuing their ban on former President Trump. Twitter issued a lifetime ban on the tweeter-in-chief in January after he incited insurrection at the Capitol Building in Washington DC. It's deeply disturbing that millions of American Christians continue to support the potty-mouthed and seditious ex-president. While this cult-like allegiance is baffling, one of the reasons is that Trump made a big deal out of being anti-abortion, an obsession with right-wing Christians in the US.
When President Joe Biden took office we were already aware that he was a practicing Roman Catholic, attending mass regularly, drawing on his faith to make his way through personal tragedies, able to refer to scripture. One might conclude that Biden's genuine Christian faith would be considered a good thing in a country that often wears religion on its sleeve. Well, there is a national gathering of bishops next month and there is a group of them who want to discuss whether to bar Biden from receiving the eucharist, or what we call communion. Why? Because Biden supports the freedom of women to make their own choices when it comes to reproduction, including the right to choose abortion.
I have no idea what Joe Biden thinks about abortion from a faith standpoint, and of course his Catholic convictions must be kept in the perspective of his role as president for all Americans. There are a great many of us who might say that this is not a matter of whether we "believe" in abortion. Personally, I am pro-life in the broader sense that I am committed to the sanctity of life from beginning to end. At the same time, I don't feel I can impose my religious sensibilities on others, and there are a host of reasons women choose abortion, everything from health issues, to economic hardship, to...it's none of my business. The statistics show that providing the option of abortion in societies lowers the risk of maternal mortality and that in most countries which provide ready access to birth control and education the numbers of abortions goes down.
I must say that the stance of this group of bishops angers me. It is a reminder of the arrogance of some in what has too often been a dangerously hierarchical, male-dominated institution. While they may claim to be pro-life there is the hypocrisy that the lives of hundreds of thousands of American children were altered through the "soul murder" of sexual abuse. We know that there were bishops who covered up evidence of this abuse and we'll never probably have a full picture of the extent of what transpired. Some humility and recognition that the eucharist has been extended to many sinners --wait, aren't all of us sinners? -- including priests and bishops would be a good idea.
I hope President Biden continues to be a communicant member of the Roman Catholic church and that his faith which includes prayer, worship, and the sacrament of communion continue to inform his leadership, God being his helper.