Be Pro-Life Disciples

Even for those of us who don’t live in Alabama, the outcome of the Jones-Moore election has been the topic of conversation today.  One of the subtopics has been the election of a pro-choice senator to a traditionally pro-life seat, and how concerned some are that this will prove to be a setback for the pro-life cause.

Overturning Roe v. Wade

I think this concern is unwarranted for two reasons.  First of all, in real life, in modern-day America, Roe v. Wade is never going to be overturned.  If it were ever going to be overturned, it would have happened in 1992 with Planned Parenthood v. Casey, when eight—count ‘em, eight!—of the justices on the Supreme Court were Republican appointees, including three Reagan appointees.  Instead, Roe was upheld in a 5-4 decision, and all five justices in the majority were Republican appointees.

Roe is never going to be overturned.  I suspect conservative politicans know this but cynically wave the abortion flag in order to turn out the evangelical vote, sometimes for the likes of Roy Moore.  Abortion was not an issue in the Alabama special election because it is not actually an issue in any election.

The Problem with Politics

Even were this not true, though, I am extremely suspicious of efforts to advance the cause of Christ through political means.  What God desires from each one of us is heartfelt obedience, but heartfelt obedience is precisely what governmental action can never produce.  The government can only coerce, and a sinner who has been coerced into outward obedience to the law of Christ remains a sinner still.  Instead, we expand the kingdom one heart at a time.

As a result, it’s all too easy for brethren to mistake voting for discipleship and assume that voting for the “right” candidate has fulfilled their obligations as disciples.  There’s been some chatter this morning about how X Candidate isn’t pro-life, merely anti-abortion.  For obvious reasons, I’m not particularly interested in whether that’s true of a given candidate.  However, I am extremely concerned about whether it is true of an individual Christian.

I suppose that we can prove ourselves anti-abortion by pulling a lever in a voting booth.  However, being truly pro-life is a matter of discipleship, not politics.  If we are truly pro-life, we will love all who live, as God loves them, and do what we can to promote their flourishing.  If somebody wants to vote for anti-abortion candidates, whatever.  They have not sinned.  What we should truly seek to be, though, is pro-life disciples.

Here are some thoughts about what it means to be pro-life in our dealings with a couple of different groups:

Children

I think it’s right for Christians to condemn abortion and seek to persuade others that every life is precious in the eyes of God.  However, if our love for children ends at childbirth, our position is, to say the least, woefully inconsistent.  There are millions of children in America who need our help.

Most obviously, Christians should show that there is no such thing as an “unwanted” child by their willingness to adopt.  Those who won’t (for various reasons) go so far themselves can still help those who will by helping with Sacred Selections or simply being there for adoptive parents they know on an individual basis.

I believe there is an equally great need, and much less awareness of the need, for Christians to serve as foster parents.  In fact, my wife and I plan to foster just as soon as we’ve been Tennessee residents long enough and can jump through all the certification hoops.  “That’s going to be so hard,” people tell us.  That may be.  Maybe I’m not cut out to be a foster father.  However, if I try it and can’t handle it, at least I’ll know I tried.

There are plenty of other ways to serve that don’t involve such a massive commitment.  A good friend of mine helps out with a coat drive for needy Christians every fall.  We are surrounded by an infinite number of opportunities.  I’m not going to dictate what any particular disciple should do to help children, but every disciple should be doing something.  Every one of us should be asking, “How can I help?”

Single Mothers

This is, of course, the other half of the abortion equation, and it tends to be the half that Christians don’t like as well.  On one level, this is understandable.  After all, a child is innocent in the eyes of God, but most single mothers got there because they chose to sin.

However, I think it’s hypocritical for us to end our analysis there.  Pro-choice folks like to scream that pro-lifers hate women, and if 99 percent of our condemnation of sex outside of marriage is focused on pregnant women, we lend substance to those charges.  In reality, we should and must treat single mothers the way we want others to treat us when we are found in sin.  Yes, we should call the sinner to repentance, but both before and after repentance, our treatment of them must be characterized by compassion and the love of Christ.

As part of this, we must recognize how vulnerable single mothers are, spiritually, socially, and economically.  In the army of the Lord, we need to learn how to close ranks around our wounded.  This means giving a sister who becomes a single mother all the help she needs for her and her child to flourish.  She needs to be shown that even though we don’t love sin, we do love her and will do anything for her.

Some abortions are the product of choice (like the ghastly genocide of children with Down Syndrome in Iceland), but more are the product of desperation.  Generally, women abort their children when they feel trapped and the consequences of bringing the child to term are unthinkable.  When we make the future thinkable for a woman, we save her child’s life.  In the church and in the community, this should be a goal for all of us.

Of course, being truly pro-life doesn’t only show itself when it comes to abortion.  There are many vulnerable groups in our society who will benefit from our compassion and our care.  For me, the question of what to do for such groups politically is a fraught one.  However, I am in no doubt about what Jesus calls us to do individually as His disciples.

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5 thoughts on “Be Pro-Life Disciples

  1. “I think it’s right for Christians to condemn abortion and seek to persuade others that every life is precious in the eyes of God. However, if our love for children ends at childbirth, our position is, to say the least, woefully inconsistent. There are millions of children in America who need our help.”

    This is it right here. The left sees nothing but hypocrisy in the sanctity of life sentiment over abortion. If abortion is all you care about, be anti-abortion, NOT pro-life. If you are pro-life, how about:

    -Quit endorsing or promoting war
    -Give that health care back to children that was just taken away
    -Take care of EVERYONE who is alive, not just children (including homeless, mentally ill, destitute, those stuck in cycles of poverty, those who don’t receive food or education, etc.)
    -Stop turning away refugees, Muslims, and Mexicans

    Or risk continually being called a hypocrite. True Christians know exactly what I’m talking about, especially with the resettlement of refugees.

    If you want to read a post that’ll probably just **** you off, but that might actually start conversation:

    Link containing an opposing viewpoint and profanity.

    It is full of crassness and profanity, as a heads-up.

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting!

      However, I fear that the path you suggest (a political agenda in line with what you perceive as pro-life) runs into the same objections I have about political agendas generally. I don’t think that the purpose of the New Testament is to lay the groundwork for a just society, and it’s difficult to translate commands for the individual into laws for everybody. Nor do I have the sense that somebody who advocates for one set of laws is more virtuous and less a hypocrite than somebody who advocates for the opposite.

      I believe that what makes us good, or not, is what we do personally. I can vote Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian and still be a stinker. However, if I obey God’s instructions about the poor in my own life, and am generous with my time, money, and energy, I think it shows that I practice what I preach. IMO, somebody who diligently cares for needy children and condemns abortion has insulated themselves from charges of hypocrisy.

      Note: because this is a church-based blog, I edited out some of your language. I did, however, leave your link in place. You’ve warned everybody, and those who don’t want to see salty language are certainly free not to click it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Before I sound like a total jerk, may I first say that you sound a very, very decent human being. Thank you for your thoughtful response. Apologies regarding the profanity; I both respect your decision to edit my language and appreciate that you’d leave my link up (in retrospect, I doubt your readership will enjoy any of it, due to its crass and immature nature).

        So, when you say you don’t believe the New Testament is a solid foundation for a just society, why do you think so many people support Roy Moore (in spite of the allegations… not very Christian)? His stance is to use Christian values (ahem… criminalizing homosexuality…) in order to legislate… which is the foundation of our society.

        Furthermore, you can’t deny what I said about sanctity of life. One can’t be opposed to abortion because, ya know, sanctity of life, and then promote war, deny “the stranger” or “the foreigner” or whatever language the bible uses (I’m talking refugees and illegal immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves… the bible couldn’t be more clear about that one), and not provide care for CHILDREN in need of it, or food for children in need it.

        No, my newfound acquaintance, that is textbook hypocrisy. I don’t think you could present me with an argument in the world that would prove that wrong. Although, I am perfectly willing to listen.

        Sincerely,

        An Agnostic Who Behaves in a More Christian Fashion than Most Christians I’ve Ever Met

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      • Thanks! I try to be decent! I also appreciate your efforts at thoughtful engagement, and I thought you deserved a reply, even if you didn’t say things quite the way I would perhaps say them. 🙂

        I’m probably not the best person to try to explain Roy Moore. I have literally never voted Republican in my life, and I haven’t voted at all since I became a preacher. My message is the Bible, and I don’t want any political agenda to get in the way of that.

        I know Moore claims that he wants to make America a Christian nation. However, personal issues aside, I think you’re right to point out the. . . uneven implementation. Yes; individual Christians are told not to practice homosexuality (which is a different matter from “being gay”, btw). We’re also told to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to show hospitality to the stranger. I have a tough time seeing why we should use the Bible to criminalize homosexual behavior, while we shouldn’t use the Bible to justify the welfare state. My suspicion is that in both cases, the Bible is cited to justify a pre-existing agenda.

        In short, I’m not aware of _any_ attempt to enact the Bible into law that isn’t open to charges of hypocrisy. Some Christians don’t see the problem. Others see the problem and make the best choice they can (freely acknowledging the imperfect nature of their choice). Still others see the problem and (like me) refuse to engage.

        Regardless, none of that is my business. My goal is to become more like Jesus, both in my actions and in my nature. I don’t think voting for _any_ candidate will accomplish that.

        What does accomplish it is when I invest myself in helping others. Every time I do that, I learn and understand a little bit more. Only in giving myself do I find myself.

        Agnostic, huh? Are you familiar with the arguments for the existence of God from the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, and no offense, but I don’t truly care to. I did a lot of searching generally speaking in college and high school, and I’ve heard a lot of the science and religion mix kind of arguments, and I’ve got my father-in-law jamming stuff down my throat about how Darwin was wrong, so I’m content to say agnostic instead of atheist and ask him to kind of leave me alone regarding more information on religion. That said, your response is so heartening and makes me just want to love Christians. I wish all Christians were as you are and are trying to be. I also have absolute respect the fact that you don’t think religion should shape politics, and probably vice versa. It’s a view I don’t get to hear a lot, so in addition to today’s news about us not electing a pedophile, you have me incredibly endeared to Christians, or at least the ones I would called true Christians. I doubt anyone led an unhappy life that involved charity, selflessness, and compassion. I try to do the same.

        Thanks for your time and thoughts.

        Like

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