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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Does the political tone of the pro-life movement encourage abortions?
Topic: Political and economic

This will be a blog post--possibly the first in a related series of posts--that will get me in trouble with both sides of a highly polarized issue as to which both sides insist vehemently that "whoever is not fully for us is against us."  In it, I will raise the question whether the political and judgmental tone, single-issue emphasis, and methods and tactics of the pro-life movement may actually encourage abortions.

Before I go any farther, let me declare this:  I believe that unborn babies are humans and have rights.  Therefore, I believe that abortion is a wrong, not a right. 

However, I suspect that the highly polarized and judgmental political atmosphere surronding the issue may actualy encourage abortions for several reasons.  The first and simplest is simply that people naturally want to do anything that is forbidden.  This is not a new observation, by any means. In fact, the Apostle Paul discussed this matter at length in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans.  Applying the principle to the sin of coveting, Paul explained that he would not have known what coveting was if God's Law had not forbidden it, but when he was told of that Law, "sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire."  Romans 7:7-8.  So by insisting on the prohibition of abortion as a motivation, we may actually be perversely increasing the attractiveness of abortion as a viable alternative.

Second, and somewhat related to this, is the observation that, by making the primary focus of the issue the search for a prohibitory POLITICAL solution, we literally have INVITED the abortion industry, and the political and media allies it finances, to recast the issue in terms of a woman's "right" to her body. Precisely because of the vehemence of the Christian political block that has been trying for almost 40 years to restore the defunct prohibition on abortion, women with unwanted pregnancies--who are already hurting and vulnerable--are being told that Christians are trying to steal their "rights" and the only way they have to defend those rights is to choose abortion.   Abortion, instead of being a wrong aganst the baby, becomes a kind of a civic duty.

Third, and probably most important, is the observation that the whole debate over legal prohibition of abortion has been a distraction from the real issues that created the problem.  The real issues are spiritual, social and moral, but not mostly political.  I'll start with issues that relate to the Church.   What are we, as the Body of Christ, doing to encourage responsibility and natural love for children?   What are we doing to assist mothers--whether or not in intact families--with their children?  Do we approach unwed mothers, and unmarried pregnant women among us, , with real love and support, or as outcasts that we provide some "assistance" somewhere else, where we don't have to be reminded of them?  Are we judgmental, attaching mental scarlet letters automatically, or are we showing real Christian love?  And what are we doing to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (even in intact families)?  Behind every woman with an unwanted pregnancy is a man.   That's just a fact of nature.  What are we doing about it?

But because we have chosen to focus on changing the law, we are collectively not asking these questions--at least, not persistently enough to get good answers. 

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 June 2009 11:56 PM EDT

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