Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Texas and the Cracked Idols

The slaves of Moloch, Mammon, and Baal still walk among us, offering up their bloody sacrifices.

Behold, as I looked on social media, those places of inner darkness, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, and I rejoiced and I asked, where are your gods now? 

As Texas’s heartbeat abortion law went into effect this week, the servants of Moloch furiously raged. Women and their male “allies” (not men, exactly—many acolytes in the mystery religions of the ancient world castrated themselves) wailed their tired lamentations, about sharia law, about Christian fascism, about the self-hatred that must drive other women to defend the unborn. Some 60 million human babies have been offered up since Roe confirmed our Punic piety in 1973, passed through the acid fires of syringe and scissors and forceps. One would think that was enough to slake any amount of blood thirst, but the Lone Star State’s effective ban of sacrifices after the sixth week of pregnancy elicited the fury and despair of the passionate religious beholding an obscenity. 

It was, for abortion activists, a violation of the sacred, a defilement of their high places and casting down of altars. By now you know the thrust of the Texas law, but let me summarize it once again. It bans abortions after the point that an ultrasound can detect the unborn baby’s heartbeat, which can come as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, rather than tying protection to some sort of definition of “viability” for the infant. “Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Governor Greg Abbott said as he signed the bill this past Wednesday. 

Perhaps it is unfair to associate America’s cult of “reproductive rights” with a minor deity of Canaan when an older, greater god would do. Mammon rules the land, and it is in his service that women so eagerly unsex themselves, and turn the safety of the womb into a grave. A woman must, so the argument goes, be able to choose whether her child will live or die because there should be no difference between a man’s and a woman’s experience or opportunities in the market. If he will, by nature, not be burdened with a pregnancy nor by the most intimate nurture of a newborn life, then she must, by law and technology, be made able to slough off the necessities of biology, the better for both to give themselves to economic production, living sacrifices to Mammon. 

From the perspective of the whole war against abortion in America, the victory in this Texas battle is primarily significant for the introduction of an innovative tactic, a tactic essentially having to do with law but misperceived as being of a piece with Mammon—the liberal sees his gods everywhere. The legislation permits private parties to file civil lawsuits against people who either intend to or do perform or aid an abortion after a heartbeat has been detected, and success in court entitles the plaintiff to at least $10,000 in damages. While Mammon’s servants typically sue the enforcing government officials before restrictions on abortions go into effect, tying the initiatives up in interminable and punishingly expensive legal battles, those officials are not the enforcing parties here, and so a court cannot enjoin their enforcement of the law.

America is a litigious country and Americans are a litigious people. The potential for damages per abortion successfully challenged in suit is not so much a bounty as it is the recovery of expenses for something no civilization can survive without: the enforcement of law. One might suggest that such dollar amounts ought to go to expecting mothers, to support them in caring for their children, to which I and Texas say: Yes, of course, we can do both. Undiscussed in the controversy around the heartbeat bill has been the Texas legislature’s commitment of $100 million to the state’s “Alternatives to Abortion” program, which includes everything from counseling and employment training to carseats and housing support. Initiatives such as this one will be just as vital to winning the long war as each legislative and judicial victory.

It was the private civil lawsuit enforcement tactic that let the law go into effect without interference from the liberal holy of holies, the U.S. Supreme Court. And it is that inaction that makes the faction for “choice” feel betrayed, shocked that their temple, which has given them miracles like same-sex marriage, would fail now to defend this bloody sacrament. The faithful who burned candles to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who kept vigil, who protest at the appointed times, and march in the bacchanals during the sacred month—they must now come to grips with the possibility that there really is a time for every purpose under the heaven: a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to win 5 to 4, and a time to lose 5 to 4.  

All this reminds me of another Canaanite fertility god, Baal, whom the Lord put to shame by the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. Elijah challenged those who ate at Jezebel’s table (I wonder if Jezebel has a nice expense account), the prophets of Baal and Asherah, to call on their god for divine fire, that the sacrificial bull might be consumed.

So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.”

But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. And before that silence the hysteria of abortion’s advocates has mounted to fresh heights. No, the Supreme Court has not overturned Roe by declining to act in this case. It has only decided there is no one to enjoin from allowing the law to go into effect.

But, praise the Lord, His truth is marching on, and there will be more heartbeat bills and Roe will be overturned and, eventually, the slaughter of 60 million will be ended. And so, to those who seethe, again I ask, where are your gods now?