The Reboot of “Personally Pro-life”

It seems as if the entertainment industry has run out of ideas. Every year a newly “rebooted” version of a TV series or movie from a bygone era is released. Famous movies and franchises such Batman, Star Wars, The Karate Kid, even cartoons like Tom and Jerry and Looney Toons have seen a re-rendering of their basic story in some form or another. Everywhere one looks, there is some popular TV series or movie being remade. While these new releases may be more updated for a contemporary audience, at their core they are essentially the same story.

Like movie reboots, the same seems to be true of certain talking points used in the abortion issue. A talking point being used mainly by Christians over several years, and especially this past year, is a “reboot” of sorts of an often-used talking point. It can vary at times, but essentially it is this: Even though abortion is a sin, Christians are not to be so wedded to one political party over another even when abortion is front and center in a political dispute.

Variations abound. One prominent pastor remarked on Twitter just before the 2020 election that while he believed the Bible teaches abortion is a sin, the Bible does not teach how to vote or whom to vote for in order to lower abortion rates in America. Many Christian leaders have bought into similar notions and begun teaching that when it comes to abortion, even though we Christians oppose it, politically it should not be our priority. For instance, Phil Vischer of Veggietales fame went viral in late 2020 with a video espousing this idea.

Most recently, the Christian rap artist Lecrae stated in a Facebook post responding to criticisms of his performing at a political function for the pro-choice “Christian” politician Raphael Warnock that while he doesn’t endorse abortion, he doesn’t align to any political party and declared himself “politically agnostic.”

There is much to unpack with this idea, but it is basically just a rewording of a similar statement that has made the rounds for years, “I’m personally against abortion, but I won’t interfere with someone else’s choice in the matter.” Like the reboot of a popular movie or TV show, the statement may vary to a degree, but at its core it is essentially the same bad concept.

Many who make the observations like those above are well-meaning, but haven’t entirely thought through what they are saying. Pro-lifers need to respectfully but firmly set the record straight.

First, there is a very simple reason why the Bible doesn’t tell us how to vote to lower abortion rates: it shouldn’t have to. It’s a matter of common sense. If you want to put a stop to a grave moral evil, it’s a basic first step to make sure you put laws into place prohibiting said moral evil. More specifically, you shouldn’t put lawmakers into public office who will encourage or protect evil.

The Bible doesn’t give us specific answers on addressing a whole host of evils and how to vote regarding them because it doesn’t need to. We can use our God-given reasoning abilities to figure that out.

Second, and more importantly, when someone declares they believe abortion is a sin, they need to explain why they think it qualifies as one in the first place. The only possible answer is because abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being. There really isn’t much else that could cause abortion to qualify as morally wrong.

Part of the issue seems to be that the word “sin” is becoming a euphemistic term. The word has lost meaning for many folks, and has taken on a largely relativistic tone. What many people end up hearing when we say that abortion is a sin is that Christians merely dislike abortion. In fact, it’s possible that many Christians are now thinking this way. Abortion has been redefined not as a moral issue, but as one of likes and dislikes.

The problem is that the nature of abortion itself leaves no room for personal preferences. Abortion is at it’s core an issue of which human beings are worthy of our protection from being intentionally killed. We know abortion kills a member of the human family; abortion manuals such as Warren Hern’s Abortion Practice, Samuel Rowlands Abortion Care, and the National Abortion Federation’s official training manual The Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy all give detailed instructions on how to kill a human being before birth with surgical efficiency.

Issues of life and death leave no room for personal preferences. Relying on mere preferences is a poor way to determine right and wrong. A woman who catches her husband sleeping with his administrative assistant may like the idea of poisoning his coffee; that in no way means it is acceptable to do so. A soldier in a combat zone may dislike the idea of getting into a firefight with enemy forces; that in no way means it is wrong for him to do so, especially if innocent lives may hang in the balance.

The Bible doesn’t teach that sin is a matter of mere likes and dislikes; it teaches that sin is an abomination, first(and most importantly) against God, and second against fellow human beings who bear the Image of God. If abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being, then abortion is a sin against a fellow human being as well as against their Lord. That alone should be enough to make abortion a priority in our moral actions, especially in politics.

Third, when it comes to the idea of “endorsing” abortion, a follow-up question needs to be asked: Why shouldn’t we endorse abortion? If there is nothing wrong with abortion, then what does it matter if we endorse it or not?

While Lecrae(or any Christian leader) may not personally endorse abortion, that’s not what the issue is. Does abortion unjustly kill an innocent human being? If yes, then what business do Christian leaders of any caliber have in working alongside openly pro-abortion political candidates and groups in their campaigns?

The simple answer is they don’t. Until a far bigger threat to human life comes along, Christians are not justified in giving their time, resources and energy to helping pro-abortion candidates and parties gain political ground. Given that abortion kills nearly one million human beings who can’t defend themselves in the United States per year with the blessings of the media, Hollywood elite, much of academia, and about half the population of the United States for the past five decades, it is unlikely an issue that trumps abortion will ever show itself in our lifetimes.

One last thought, another common talking point often uttered is that “Jesus is not a Republican”. This is usually trumpeted as a profound, spiritual, and insightful observation. It’s not. It’s a stupid observation. Yes, Christians should never put party politics(or politics in general) over their relationship with Christ.

That’s not what is at issue here. Christians are commanded to be concerned with justice issues. We are also commanded to be discerning, wise, and to make right judgements. Politics is a major way of addressing injustice because through politics we pass laws to protect our fellow human beings who cannot protect themselves. Civil government and the rule of law are God-given institutions that exist to limit evil and protect those in their charge who cannot protect themselves from unjust harm. In a Republic like our own, the citizens elect representatives in the hope they will uphold the rule of law and promote justice at the legal level. It doesn’t take a genius to see how political engagement is a necessary(but not the only) step in walking justly.

Abortion is the gravest threat to innocent human beings in America today. Any political party that has declared it will fight tooth and nail to protect the ability to kill defenseless human beings before birth(and in some cases, afterward) is never, ever going to be worthy of Christian support. Until a better option comes along, Christians are justified in lending support to the politicians and policies of a party that has at least put forth effort to stop this killing, no matter how imperfect or inefficient that party may be in doing so. It is a matter of working with what we have now, not what we would like to have in an ideal setting.

Jesus may not be a Republican. But it is far from believable he is okay with his followers giving their support, energy and resources to the modern Democratic party and it’s near-fanatical support for the killing of human beings at their most vulnerable stage of life. And it is past time for Christian leaders to stop running cover for those who defend the indefensible.

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