I used to think abortion should be legal.
We're in a political season, and it's common to hear political candidates talking about their views on abortion, and if they're pro-life or pro-choice, and you might think that settles the issue. But sometimes someone will say, “I'm very pro-life, but I think abortion should be legal.” As I've sat down and reflected on my life, I've come to realize that I held that belief at one point in time, and a particular conversation comes to mind that I remember vividly. I was sitting at a friend's house, quite a few of us were around, and somehow the issue of abortion came up. These friends of mine, they're conservative, Evangelical Christians, just like I was. However, I found myself, that day, with the liberal perspective. I was the one who said, "I think abortion is wrong. I think it's evil, but I don't think it's the government's place to say what people can do with their own bodies."
I wasn't making a women's rights argument. I was espousing more of a libertarian political view. I didn't want the government involved in very much, and, if I'm honest with you, that's kind of still my political bent, but here's what's interesting. If you really pick apart what I was saying, which some of my friends tried to do at the time, I was really saying, "I think abortion involves the killing of innocent children, and I think it should be legal."
Anyone who says the same type of statement I said is really saying, "Abortion kills children, and people should be allowed to do it." People don't say those words, and so it can be helpful in conversation to present the issue more accurately, and so I'm going to role play a conversation for you that's actually similar to one I had with my friends many years ago.
It goes something like this:
Person one: "I think abortion's wrong, but the government shouldn't be involved in saying if we should do it or not."
Person two: "So, you think abortion involves killing a child or a human being that's alive?"
Person one: " I do"
Person two "So, you think it involves killing a child that's alive, but people should be allowed to do it. People should be allowed to murder. Is that your view?"
It's going to be very hard for someone to actually say, "Yes, that's my view. People should be allowed to kill their children," because that's really what abortion is, and that's really what we're talking about with this issue.
Sometimes it's hard to determine what we're actually talking about, because we hide behind euphemisms. We hide behind “choice”, and “rights”, and “pro-choice”, and all of this, and they obscure the reality of what we're talking about. We're talking about the murder of children in their very mother's womb, the place they should be the safest, is now the place where they're in the most danger.
We need to use questions to bring that fact to light, to actually put the light of day on the issue being talked about, and that sample conversation we just had is a good way to do it.
There are people who will say, "I think it should be legal. I understand that it takes a life of an unborn child.” “That's my Christian conviction,” they'll say. “As a Christian, I think that, but, as an American citizen, I don't think the government should be involved in saying what people should do.” Or maybe they would say something like, "I don't think the government should legislate morality."
Well, that is a view that people do hold, but here's the issue with that view. It places what it means to be an Americanabove what it means to be a Christian. It's putting my political ideology above my biblical theology. It's letting my preferences for how a government should work override what it means to be created in the very image of God, and we should never do that. That's what I was doing all those years ago. I had an idea of how government should function, and that was my overriding principle, on how I viewed politics, or how I should vote.
But, first and foremost, as Christians, we need to realize that our citizenship is not of this world. We are part of God's kingdom. Kingdom is an interesting word. It's comprised of two separate words: king ... We know what kings are, and “doms” or domains, an area over which a king rules - a people group. As Christians, we are part of the kingdom of heaven. We are part of God's kingdom. We are a people he has called apart, He has separated, He has made His own, and so when we think about who defines reality, and what's right and what's wrong, and how we vote, and how we weigh things, we should say, "Whose kingdom are we a part of?" Are we a part of the kingdom of God primarily, or are we a part of the kingdom of America?
Most Christians are going to say, "I'm a part of the kingdom of God," but here's my question. If that's the case, then does how I view politics align with that? Do I view politics as my savior, or, on the other hand, do I not align my politics with my Christian convictions? Neither of these are appropriate. A correct view of the kingdom of God would say that my citizenship is primary one of God's kingdom. Yes, I live on this earth, but I'm ultimately a citizen of another world, and so I should act like that. In fact, how I'm viewed might actually look like someone who doesn't fit here. Very soon, as it already is in some pockets of the country, to say that you're pro-life and are against abortion at any stage of development is going to look weird. You will not fit and look like a citizen of this country. That shouldn't surprise us, because our citizenship is not of this world.
There are so many areas in the Christian life where this following question has relevance, but the question is this: who is going to define how you see reality? Is it society? Is it culture? Is it your political view, or is it God and scripture. There are quite a few things that we don't know, apart from scripture telling us, but when our intuition and our observation contradicts what scripture says, what are we going to go with? When scripture says that everyone is created in the image of God, and, as a result, they're worthy of respect and they have dignity, is that going to inform how I view abortion, or is my political ideology about the involvement of government?
When you start talking like this, some people will say, "Well, you shouldn't legislate morality." What else can you legislate? Because, the fact of the matter is, the only thing that gets legislated is morality, but the main question is: who’s morality? God designed this world to work a certain way. He gave us His moral law in scripture (yes, understanding that and all of the New Testament, and how that works does require some application of our time and our mental faculties). God has revealed how this world should work, apart from the taint of sin.
It shouldn't surprise us that the way God designed the world to work is the way it works best, and so when it comes to legislating morality and deciding on who’s morality, I'm going to choose God's. I'm going to choose to set things up and structure them the way God has said they should be, because they'll be best. It's interesting, we see that it's actually best when we look at fathers, mothers, and children. You notice I didn't just use the term parents, because there isn't really a role of parent. There are fathers and there are mothers, and this is how God has structured the world.
When we look at families or relationships where there are two father figures or two mother figures, in a same sex relationship, those children actually don't do as well in school, or with emotional health, or when it comes to how sexually promiscuous they are. They don't do as well in those areas as children who are raised with both a father and a mother. This is one of a vast array of examples of how structuring our morality in our society, according to how God has designed the world to be and has said that it should work, actually works best, and that shouldn't surprise us.
Some reflection points for today. What is going to define reality? Who is going to define, and what source is going to inform us on how we vote, and how we are politically? Is it going to be politics before God's heart for the immigrant, or the poor? Is it going to be God's heart for children, or is it going to be the lust and rights of adults when it comes to marriage? Is it going to be a "women's right" or is it going to be the life of the child?
As always, in these types of conversations, use questions to bring to light exactly what we're talking about, and when it comes to abortion, we're not talking about right and we're not talking about inconvenience. What we're talking about is children and their murder. That's really what it is.
Is there grace and forgiveness for that at the cross of Christ if people repent? There certainly is, and we must talk about that, too. We should be straight on what it means to repent, and what God's love looks like, and what the cross looks like, but we should, also, be very clear and transparent about what's actually happening. When someone, like I used to, says statements like, "Well, I think abortion is wrong, but it should be legal," there's a contradiction here. This person has a worldview that's inconsistent, or, at the very least, their worldview is not in line with what scripture and the Bible says, because all throughout scripture, we see God's heart for the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, the orphan and the widow, and there is no person in America or in this world today more vulnerable and more in need of help than the unborn.
If you're in the Tallahassee area, and you're hearing this podcast, we have a great event coming up through A Women’s Pregnancy Center. There is a walk for life happening, and it's a fundraiser to help them meet their operating budget for the year. This is an awesome organization that talks with women, that counsels them, that shares the gospel with them, that provides ultrasounds, that really helps them through what, for some people, is a very traumatic and difficult experience, and the goal is to help save the child and witness to the mother.
How can you help? Well, you can donate. You can walk. You can raise awareness. You can go to http://LifeIsPrecious.net/walk and get more information, or certainly donate. You could look at how much it costs to get a Starbucks drink each day of the week, and say, "You know what? I'm going to fast from that, and I'm going to donate that twenty-five or thirty dollars to an organization that works tirelessly day in and day out to save lives and share the gospel." However you're able, I would encourage you, I implore you, donate to that organization.
On that page, you'll see that you can choose different people to sponsor. I have some friends, Sherri Daume, Jason Pamblanco, Krissie Inserra. They would all appreciate your sponserhsip, but whoever you choose to sponser to, just donate. Get involved. Volunteer, or even in the small conversations, like that conversation I had many years ago, be prepared to contend for the life of the unborn, because, in my life, what changed my mind was a combination of friends who weren't having any of that bad view I had, scripture, and a good, Christian community, and the Holy Spirit working on my heart behind the scenes.
Don't forget, you could be one of those people who helps change the mind of someone on this very important issue.
Until next week, I look forward to talking to you on Unapologetic.