The “Director of Civil and Human Rights” for the United Methodist Church, Bill Mefford, posted a picture to Twitter yesterday mocking the pro-life marchers. Mefford, who works for the church’s lobby arm, the General Board of Church and Society, ridiculed the marchers by posting a picture of himself standing before them with a sign saying “I march for sandwiches.”
Here’s a thought. A great proportion of the pro-life marchers are young people. They are volunteers, unpaid and untrained. Mefford, on the other hand, is a grown man, one whose actual job is to represent Christians in the public square. How is it, then, that if we compare Mefford and the young marchers, the adolescents are the ones who come out looking like adults?
Why isn’t Mefford marching for the unborn if he stands for human rights? If he doesn’t think those rights extend to all humans, why doesn’t he request a change in his job title? Something like “Director of Civil and of Select Human Rights” is concise and has a satisfying ring of exclusivity. It would almost sound like a promotion.
I am not sure what the sign is supposed to mean, but Mefford’s blithe comparison of the moral weight of fetuses and sandwiches reflects the abortion lobby’s deep unwillingness to face facts. Time and again, they tell us not to take any of this too seriously (What about pocketbook issues?) to direct our gaze elsewhere (It’s about a woman’s right to choose) above all, to avoid considering the life that is lost. It claims the mantle of sensitivity, but the pro-choice viewpoint still leans heavily on human callousness.
As for Mefford, I cannot see how he has any business representing either human rights or a Christian church unless his intent is to drag both into disrepute. People will call for him to be reprimanded. I wonder if it not likelier that he will be commended.
Update: Mefford apologizes. Some lingering questions:
Apologies cannot overcome the underlying disagreement: What is human life, what do we owe it? I have a fair bit of hope that one day the United Methodist Church will overcome its moral aphasia on the issue of life. I invite Bill Mefford to help those working to hasten it.
Matthew Schmitz is deputy editor of First Things.