With the recent election in the States, and rumblings of Conservatives in Canadian Parliament to re-open the abortion debate, I have become increasingly agitated at the divisions Christians are creating within the kingdom.
Abortion is still a hot button issue that determines who is a good political candidate and who is a poor political candidate. While rigourous discussion surrounding abortion procedures, their implications, and impacts are necessary (I believe), I also think they have created a false line in the sand for many evangelicals.
Let me begin first by saying: I hate abortion. I hate it with the deepest parts of who I am. Its existence grates on my skin to the point of bleeding. Check out the first part of my Inspiration Series on Gianna Jessen — abortion survivor, believer, and lover of life. For me, life begins at conception and life is sacred, created in the image of God. And yes, I know that Obama more of a pro-choice guy and on this point we disagree (but I would still have voted for him if I lived in the States, fyi).
… this does not make him a baby-killer. Using such false tactics within the church to sway political opinion is not only malicious, but it is deceitful. One woman tweeted: "Met a gal who lost 2 friends to back alley abortions. Said I lost 4 mill friends" (November 06, 2012). If that's not a fractured design of compassion, I don't know what is. One man can't be held responsible for the millions of lives in North America. He's not god. Addressing this issue in love begins local — with us.
Let's take a step back and look at what being pro-life really means.
1. Voting Conservative and/or Republican does not a pro-lifer make. Many Chrisitans voted for "the other" and still abhor abortion. And some who approve of abortion voted Conservative or Republican, based on other issues. To insinuate otherwise with false numbers or stats is just posturing and has no place in community. In fact, it tears people apart.
2. Conservative and/or Republican, they have done precisely what to protect the unborn? Relying on political party platforms to take care of issues that are OURS to look after is an excuse to lay waste to our opponents. In reality, we have let politics divide us and we feel ourselves superior to other viewpoint whichever one it might be. The Conservative Party could care less about abortion, other than ruffling a few feathers to show a bit of posturing. Other than that, why are people voting for the "pro-lifers"?
3. I do not believe it is fair to claim any pro-life stance unless we choose to consider all life sacred. That means: the mother, the abortion doctor, the nurses, the counsellors, the family, the friends, the father, the siblings. Not only that, but I have a sincerely difficult time accepting "pro-life" rhetoric about the unborn when it is mixed in with cheers and hurrahs for the death penalty, sending our troops into battle zones to take civilian lives, or mockery/condemnation of LGBTQ friends. To me, this sends a double standard of the worst kind. One life is held in sacredness over another, while accusing 'the other' of holding different lives as sacred.
Let's ask ourselves some hard questions:
1. Are we willing to walk through the darkest of the dark with mothers, whether they choose to abort or not?
2. If the choice is to abort, are we still loving? Are we still trusted friends? Are we still Christ's example to love without an agenda?
3. Are we willing to adopt all of these children if mothers choose adoption over abortion?
4. Are we making friends with pro-choice folks. I'm not going to lie: in times when both the lives of mother and child are in the balance (which is still a reality in many parts of the world), I don't know what I would choose. To be in that position would be hell on earth.
5. Are we willing to educate ourselves around abortion and contraception: that they are NOT the same things, and that teaching our children quality sex education is a help and not a heretical offence?
6. Are we willing to be as vocal about prisoners on death row in countries where the death penalty is in effect?
7. Are we willing to pressure our governments just as vehemently about entering other countries for whatever purpose, yet still live to fight another day after local civilian casualties have been suffered?
"Well, Erin," you might say. "the unborn are totally defenseless. They have no voices at all!"
If we believe that the Holy Spirit is present everywhere, then unborn children have the single Greatest Advocate and Protector any us could hope for.
"Why abortion then?! Why does God allow it?"
We could ask that of many things. Why do we make abortion the battleground between Christians and accuse one another of being baby-killers or fundamentalist extremists? Why do we tear each other to shreds?
If we continue devouring ourselves, it is no wonder single mothers with little support refuse to seek out Christians… that youth raised in Christian homes suffer in shame and silence, risking abortion over a public pregnancy… that unbelievers point at us and shrug: "They eat one another alive. Why would we even listen to their biblicism?"
Having said that, it seems to me that many people are keenly aware of these mixed messages in the polarized issue of abortion. More and more folks are seeing it as not black and white (which is where I would agree), and realizing we are damaging lives by how we are addressing the issue. Yet there are those on both ends of the spectrum still throwing out black/white claims, and it's making matters much worse.
So back to our questions:
1. If we're not willing to walk through life with a pregnant woman; if our compassion and love ends if she walks through the doors of an abortion clinic, we are not pro-life.
2. If a woman has an abortion or has had an abortion in the past, and we do not love her deeply knowing our own brokenness but rather doctrinize, we are not pro-life.
3. If we sluff off adoption saying, "It's not what God has called ME to", but still rant about abortion, we are not pro-life. Have we any idea the number of children in our country alone needing stable, loving homes? If we truly cannot adopt/foster, who do we know that has and how can we support them?
4. If we refuse deep abiding love in our friendships with those who approve of abortion, we are not pro-life. If we refuse to see that many pro-choice people hate abortion too, we are blinding ourselves and believing falsehood.
5. If we continue to teach that sex ed is wrong, immoral, or gives kids license to have sex, we show ourselves to be unaware of how truthful education can reduce risks… of anything (pregnancies, STI's, broken relationships). Yes, keep Christ in our sex ed talks but for heaven's sake: be honest, not afraid.
6. If we continue to advocate for the killing of inmates WE deem worthy of death, we are not pro-life. We have only picked and chosen which lives are more worthy of God's grace than others. The unborn haven't actually committed a sin as such, thus they appear innocent (yet we still teach we are all born sinful creatures. I must admit, I have huge trouble with this one); whereas inmates have committed offences we know about, thus we feel righteous in our judgment.
7. If we actually believe that our presence in other countries is for the good of liberty, freedom and all those North American values, but refuse to look at the enormous body count of their civilians, we are not pro life.
Am I drawing false lines in the sand?
I hope not, as harsh as I feel I'm sounding.
I'm only meaning to open up the pro-life stance — that too often as believers we do not think through what the stance truly means. For many, being pro-life isn't pro-life at all; it's pro-fetus. As I said, I hate abortion and the reality that many women feel the need for it. But I am just as saddened at the response towards those who support or engage abortion.
Why is this on an anti-human trafficking blog?
The gender-cide of female babies is past critical mass… abortion on convenience is wrong… but the circumstances behind many of the choices to abort are equally terrorizing.
Where are the Christians then?
I was told this past spring that Christians need to focus on the Gospel, and not social issues. But then the 180 Movie came out last September, using the Holocaust and the number of abortions in America to manipulate people into repenting of sin.
As a believer, I was sick.
Have we no shame?
It is perfectly fine to use some of the greatest tragedies of our time to guilt people into accepting Jesus Christ, but Christians who engage people in human trafficking, single motherhood, offering homes to escape bad relationships or otherwise delving into the deeper issues are called out saying it's not the REAL gospel????
If we're going to choose candidate based on their stance on abortion, let's be honest at call it for what it is: a grey cloudy mess. I highly doubt Obama is eager to see more lives taken, but I do see him supporting the need for a woman to be able to choose for herself. Just because someone is pro-choice, doesn't mean they are automatically eager baby-genociders, ready to pounce on the next unsuspecting pregnant girl who walks by. I would hope Christians would have a deeper insight into life than this.
In the meantime, choosing one candidate over another does not make us in any way superior to the next person who voted differently. Declaring that you voted "biblical values" is not only a fallacy, but falsely accuses others who voted differently.
I used to be a hard-core "pro-lifer", and felt righteous in my stand to be a voice for the unborn. I am still firm in this: that life begins at conception. But… God has opened up my eyes to the harsh realities of life where single mothers are turned away when they ask for help, where able families are unwilling to adopt, where the lust for blood and killing people outside of the womb is just as heinous as the killing within.
Let's not let a single issue divide us. But let us rather love each other, and be compassionate towards those who think differently, who need differently, who choose differently, but are our equals before God in all things.