In a front page article above the fold in the Akron Beacon Journal Congressman Tim Ryan made the announcement last week that he was no longer pro-life. Though I am disappointed in his decision and vehemently opposed to his position, I was appreciative of the fact that he made his view know without vitriol. Where he crossed the line was using his Catholic faith to bolster his position. His presentation at this point became misleading and manipulative.
There are a couple of points he used to explain his change of heart but there is one in particular that was just flagrantly wrong. Ryan, who the article describes as, “a practicing Roman Catholic,” said, “The church (sic) has taught me to be compassionate and non-judgmental.” He said this in reference to women who seek abortion. It did teach him to have compassion. It did not teach him to through good judgment out the window.
The new Gospel of Tolerance has only one passage in Scripture, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” This passage has been misinterpreted as meaning that we cannot be opposed to what another person does (unless of course you disagree with Gospel of Tolerance which will not be tolerated.) Any number of Scriptures passages would adjure us to use wise judgment when discerning the actions of others. The caution in this passage is referring to a tendency to overreact, which may recoil and end up bringing condemnation on ourselves, or the wrong temptation to judge the state of a person’s soul rather than the value of their action. But to use this passage as a club to stop conversation (though he says otherwise) is an abuse of the passage.
“This is really about the role of the government in all of this,” Ryan states, “and the government’s involvement seems like a major over-reach.” But of course the government always has been and continues to be involved in such matters. When things go wrong; when one person is an unwilling participant, when one is underage, when things are done in an inappropriate place or way, when one wants to be married to more than one person, the government is there. With the new Affordable Healthcare Act, not only is the government involved, it is dragging in others who do not even want to be involved. The government’s fingerprints are all over this intimate moment. So with Ryan, I would agree that the government should be less involved.
That is until another underrepresented, voiceless, vulnerable person is involved. For when a government starts deciding who has a soul and who does not, when it ceases to protect the weakest members of its people, that government is failing.
I respectfully submit that this is what your faith was trying to teach you Congressman Ryan. If you want to continue to hold your new position, please do not mistakenly use your faith for your justification.