It was “a plan by the Devil to have our kids committing suicide at an all-time high.” So said Kanye West, the recently declared “Birthday Party” presidential candidate. It’s about the best explanation I’ve heard for the non-coronavirus issues that plague us. There’s some serious good-and-evil combat going on, and neutrality isn’t a viable option.
“Reinstate in God’s state, in God’s country, the fear and love of God in all schools and organizations and you chill the fear and love of everything else,” West told Randall Lane, the editor of Forbes, in an interview. “Removing God” leads to “murders in Chicago at an all-time high because the human beings working for the Devil removed God and prayer from the schools,” said West. “That means more drugs, more murders, more suicide.”
Around the time he gave the interview, the Supreme Court was putting the finishing touches on their second ruling in the seemingly endless litigation the Little Sisters of the Poor have gone through. It’s all because of a needless mandate that they participate in insurance coverage of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs that are against their religious beliefs. This should have been as clear a violation of religious liberty as it gets. When this all started, back in the Obama administration, a not-Catholic colleague walked into my office and asked why we weren’t marching on Washington, given the direct violation of the First Amendment.
But it wasn’t that obvious to everyone — certainly not to the Democratic Party that has made itself an extension of the abortion industry. It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. People opposed to abortion feel they have to vote for a Republican Party that is a mess, because the other party seems to become more extreme on abortion by the day. Take their presumptive presidential candidate, Joe Biden. He’s vowed to make the Little Sisters pay. This is the same man who reportedly raised objections to the mandate behind closed doors — until Planned Parenthood put him in line. And then he was their faithful servant.
On that topic, my candidate for a day, Kanye, had this to say: “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.” Those are words I’m grateful a more mainstream audience may hear and consider.
Every time I pause at Margaret Sanger Square in Lower Manhattan, outside Planned Parenthood, I pray these words of the Divine Mercy chaplet, often through tears: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” Sanger was Planned Parenthood’s founder. While people may work there with the best of intentions, it’s a poison in our midst: fueled by death, and contributing to a culture where mass deaths in nursing homes don’t even seem to faze us. Black lives matter, as all lives do — but these past decades, we haven’t been acting like that is true. Violence is like the air we breathe.
I don’t know if Kanye West is serious about running for president, and I wouldn’t actually vote for him. But some of what he’s saying is a good nudge for cultural reflection. What is the best use of freedom? Who are we, truly?
Talk of humility is typically anathema in politics. It’s certainly not the way of the man currently occupying the White House, nor is it Kanye’s specialty. But now is the time for more than a little of it.
Why is it that the Little Sisters of the Poor weren’t even a major news story as they won in court again? To many, the idea that there are people of integrity who would give all to serve God is foreign and implausible. The group’s years in the courts haven’t been about birth control, but the Beatitudes. “Let them Serve” was the slogan surrounding their Becket Fund for Religious Liberty litigation and education campaign.
I’m not sure about some of what Kanye West has to say when he gets talking, but on serving God, he’s getting to some of the best of America — the best of life itself. If he got rapping about the Little Sisters of the Poor, he might talk about love, joy and freedom in the humility of obedience to the Creator. And if we took the words seriously, we might just receive the kind of renewal we seriously need.
(Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book “A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living.” She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)