“Not only is this a health issue, but this is a theological issue for me,” wrote the Rep. Emanuel Cleaver in a recent newsletter about the Clean Power Plan, “the earth and everything in it is the LORD’s. We are just visitors.”
The Rev. Cleaver continued, “Protecting and taking care of the earth is the least we can do to thank the Creator.” Cleaver’s openly expressed religious commitment to protecting the earth raises some interesting issues. Among them is his party’s alleged commitment to keeping faith out of politics and another, more important, is Cleaver’s late life indifference to the unborn.
As late as 1990, when still a city councilman, the good reverend was on the Board of Advisors of Missouri’s largest prolife organization, Missouri Citizens for Life, now Missouri Right to Life. At the time, Cleaver apparently recognized unborn babies among those gifts of the Lord worth “protecting and taking care of.”
Ambitious to a fault, Cleaver had to recognize that he had no real future in the Democratic Party if he continued to support a baby’s right to life. So he ended his support. By 2012, Cleaver was receiving awards from Planned Parenthood for his “tireless work on behalf of millions of women…who faced the most aggressive attacks on women’s health and rights in a generation.”
Understanding that its commitment to abortion was alienating many in America’s faith communities, leftists started a campaign to push faith out of the public square. To succeed, they had to make this movement square with America’s constitutional legacy. Slogans like “pro-choice” and “marriage equality” were concocted for the same reason.
To suppress conservative Christianity, groups like the influential Mainstream Coalition emerged. It was founded on another constitutional con, in its own disingenuous words, “the crucial issue of the separation of church and state.”
As a refresher, The seminal moment in the group’s formation occurred on August 15, 1993. On that memorable day, the Rev. Bob Meneilly mounted his pulpit at the Village Presbyterian Church in Johnson County and proceeded to pour fire and brimstone on an enemy at work in metropolitan Kansas City.
Menially warned about the “religious right,” which he described as a “far greater than the old threat of communism.” The good minister “trembled for our nation” at the thought of these “zealous religionists.” They were “anti-pornography.” They were trying to “discredit our public school system.” They were “conniving in every political way” to bring back school prayer. And perhaps most fundamentally, they opposed a woman’s “having a say about what goes on in her own body.”
That the local separation of church and state movement was launched by a minister in a church pulpit is an irony that seems to have been lost on the the Mainstream Coalition. But then again that movement has always something of a subterfuge, a stealthy way to protect abortion and other progressive agenda items from conservative criticism.
Given this history, there will be no protest about Cleaver’s theological riffing on the earth. The reason is simple enough: Cleaver and the Mainstreamers are singing from the same unholy hymnal.