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Religious fanatacism is not a sign of deep faith but of mental disease. No matter how much one exhibits the outward signs of religiosity or how loudly one voices one's own righteousness, it is all of no avail. Without sincere compassion, without remembering that God, by His own word, declares, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice" 1000 prostrations a day, swinging 1000 knots of a prayer rope and living on a single slice of bread a day, will be of no use, of no value when driven by fanaticism and a harsh, brutish moralism instead of a simple and sincere faith. A single word of hate erases a year of prayer.
-Archbishop Lazar


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Pro-Life vs Anti-Abortion

A musing by Vladika Lazar

There is no such thing as "Pro-Life" without opposing the death penalty and with out marches and protests against poverty. Poverty is an abortionist and the largest single cause of abortion. Unless and until anti-abortionists are marching against poverty, to call themselves Pro-life is a fraud. The deeper the poverty (and lets not look only to the third world. More children are living in abject poverty in America than in any other Western nation, bar none). The biggest cause of spontaneous abortion is poor nutrition (read, "any large American city") and lack of adequate health care (read, "repeal of The Affordable Healthcare Act"). The Third World exists with a vengeance in every large American city. Not only does poverty increase the number of spontaneous abortions, but it also leads people to have abortions out of desperation. Millions of Americans have been closed out of healthcare --- the only Western Nation in which that happens (even Cuba has a better health care system), and this tragedy is smiled on and supported by Rightwing citizens. Tens of thousands of Americans who are employed full time, do not earn enough money to feed and clothe their children, and many cannot afford both adequate nutrition and a place to live. Yet, elitist special interest groups in government oppose raising the minimum wage, and do so with patently false propaganda about "lost jobs."

When anti-abortion groups, falsely labelled "Pro-Life" support pro-death legislation and pro-death economics, then the anti-abortion movement is bound to lose the battle, the battle will be lost because of the most gross hypocrisy on the part of the movement. It is interesting that the rate of abortions in Canada has been steadily dropping, to the degree that the manufacturers of the abortion drug combination have not even bothered to lobby for the approval and legalisation of the drugs here (though they have been legal in America for a long time). The stronger our social safety network grows, the fewer abortions that occur. Meanwhile, there are tens of thousands of children in America going to school without breakfast, with meagre suppers when they come home, and with parents driven to the edge even when working full time at places like WalMart. There is no such thing as a Pro-Life movement that neglects the deadly consequences of these realities. We will never, ever win the anti-abortion battle simply by demanding repressive legislation. There have to be fundamental solutions offered to people, rather than Ayn Rand flow-up and accidental dribble-down economics. A Christianity that does not place the care of the poor and the healthcare of the poor at the top of its list of priorities has scant relationship to Christ, or to the ancient Church, in which universal health care was considered a ministry of the Gospel. After all, it was two cousins of Apostle Paul who initiated the Christian health care system: it was called "unmercenary" In Constantinople, all doctors were required to work for one month a year without pay in the public hospitals in order to maintain their licenses (see my book THE INFLUENCE OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN THOUGHT ON MEDICINE). Even the much vaunted Arab medical corpus arising from the great medical centre at Jundishapur was founded by Christians from Nisibis and Edessa. It was Christians from the East Roman Empire who blended Greek medical science with Hindi pharmacology, and co-created the famous Arab Medical system together with Arabs and Persians in a pre-fundamentalist Muslim world.

Abortion is not only immoral but even blasphemous. However, the rates of abortion will never be reduced by any other means than getting to the actual root causes, and one of the primary causes is economic: the inability of people working full time, but still unable to afford to provide the basic necessities for their children, inadequate health care, inadequate nutrition, the failure of far too many Christians to march against poverty as part of a genuine Pro-Life Movement, one rooted in the Gospel of Christ Jesus rather than in a political ideology which is patently pro-death.

In Christ, Lazar

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