The Cottage on the Moor is a place where I'll keep a fire going on cold winter nights and a breeze flowing through the windows on steamy summer days. There will be a "cup of warm" waiting for you to stimulate your mind. I'll try to keep it fresh by adding something every week or two. So come often. I hope you find something you enjoy.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Why I am Pro Life – And How
In the early Christian church, in the city of Corinth, there
appears to have been a scramble to claim the title of “most spiritual.” One of
the important measures used by those claiming the honor was the ability to “speak
in tongues”; to speak in an unlearned language under the inspiration of the
Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul, writing to them in the epistle we now call
1Corintians, declared, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of
you.” But he went on to show that there were other marks of spirituality that
were greater than the ability to speak in tongues and that those claiming great
spirituality were deficient in most of them.
In our day, among some Evangelicals, one of the marks of
spirituality (as well as the ultimate mark of political correctness) is to be pro-life.
Some insist that every pregnancy must be allowed to move to
its natural conclusion and, if it seems that the “natural” conclusion could be less
than a perfect live birth, then all measures available to modern medicine must
be expended to accomplish that end. Every fertilized egg deserves to come to
birth even if its birth results in the death of its mother or the birth of a
severely deformed or disabled child.
Others make a few exceptions, usually not because of the
ultimate health or condition of the new born, but because of the manner in
which the egg was fertilized, or if the birth process endangers the life of the
woman carrying the baby.Thus some are
pro-life except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
Essentially, I am in that group of pro-lifers, but with some important caveats.
First, I am not God.
Not omniscient, not omnipotent, not omnipresent. I cannot know all circumstances,
control all events, nor be at the scene of every conception. Most theologians
believe that God is all powerful, in all circumstances, at all times, in all
places. And still horrible things occur that they (and we) are unwilling to
attribute to the will of God. The fact that I am not God makes me hesitant to
impose my understanding of what is right and wrong for every particular
Second, I am neither
a scientist nor a medical doctor. There are arguments offered by proponents
of both sides in the abortion controversy that make sense to me but the fact
that they make sense to me doesn’t mean much when I have limited means by which
to judge them. I have sadly learned that, in highly emotional debates of this
sort, both sides will lie to me, twist facts, demonize each other, present
emotionally laden evidence to persuade me. Truth flies when emotions rise. The
people who come closest to knowing the facts are those who are caught up in the
situation that demands a decision for or against an abortion.
Third, I perceive that
God is pro-life. In the person of His Son, we are told, he created all
things and all things are sustained by him. He “breathed” into mankind (and all
other living creatures) the breath of life. But to the first pair of humans He warned,
“On the day that you eat [of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and
evil] you will die. And later, when things had gone terribly wrong with
mankind, He also declared, “my breath will not always abide in man; his
lifespan will be 120 years.” Even later, “in the fullness of time,” God sent
His Son to live, and die, and rise again bringing the promise of everlasting
life to those who put their trust in Him. So God is intimately involved in this
struggle of life and death that we experience on a daily basis, and He has declared
Himself to be on the side of life. I can be on no other.
Fourth, though God is
pro-life, he is also, pro-choice. He has given every human being a free
will. It seems to have been a very bad
choice on His part, if I may say so. Most humans use that free will as
often as not, to do things harmful to themselves and to others. Because of that
free will we have wars, crime, privation, oppression, sickness, and many other
things that I have to presume God did not will to be. Even those who claim to
be pro-life (even Evangelicals who claim to be pro-life) are too often, in my
opinion, willing to endorse public policies that endanger or shorten the lives
of others close to them and far away. It is almost impossible to separate
ourselves from the machinery of death in our culture. It is tied to our government,
to our economy, to our IRAs, to our employment, even to our diet. We celebrate
it in our movies and on our TVs and in our video games. We embed it in our
laws, and endorse it by our government.
So what does God do when He is forced to choose between
those who would allow the abortion of a fetus, or those who would bring it into being
but shorten its life by poisoning the environment in which it lives, by
directing their armies to bombard it with drones, by consigning it to
neighborhoods filled with crime and drugs, by leaving it in the care of those
who may lock it in a basement and starve it to death or shake it violently to
death if it cries for food, by calling it lazy and worthless if it happens to
be born into poverty, and refusing the resources to help lift it to a better
What does God do? He grieves. But for reasons we cannot
fully understand, He often does not intervene. God is pro-life, but He is also pro-choice. I will not argue that
as individuals or as a society we should do nothing to reduce the number of
abortions performed. We must, and if there are those who are truly pro-abortion,
we must work as hard to defeat their agenda as we should to defeat all of
mankind’s death-dealing enterprises. We must be pro-life to the core, even as
our Father in Heaven is.
I hear these days, that Governor Mitt Romney is pro-life. I’m
not sure where those who propound that theory get their evidence. On the issue
of abortion he has been as hard to pin down as on any other part of his agenda.
He currently claims to be pro-life. But his disparaging remarks about the lower
47% of the population for which he has no responsibility because, he says, they
take none for themselves, shows that he is not for sustaining and improving the
life of that portion of the population he deems worthless.
I also hear that President Obama is pro-abortion. Those who
are a bit more charitable characterize him as pro-choice. But the implication
is that he is in favor of abortions. I personally doubt that. In fact I have
never encountered anyone who is pro-abortion. I do not doubt that some such
people exist but they are few and usually engaged in profiting from the
promotion of abortions.
It is my opinion that neither Mr. Romney nor Mr. Obama is
pro-abortion. It is further my opinion that both are pro-choice. We have had a
succession of Republican Presidents who campaigned as pro-life candidates
dedicated to eliminating abortion from our society. None of them have worked to
institute a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion. And none of the
Democratic Presidents we’ve had in my lifetime have tried to mandate abortion
in any situation. By their actions (not their words) all have shown themselves
to be pro-choice.
The Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade attempted to define
the choices expectant mothers could have and those they could not. Roe v Wade
is an imperfect rule because those who made it are not God and cannot be
present in every situation. But short of playing God to every expectant mother
in a difficult pregnancy it may be the best we can do.
Until we can know, with the certainty of God, all the
details of every pregnancy, I am in favor of leaving the decision in the hands
of those who are closest to the situation, knowing that any decision they make
will be marked by the fallenness of mankind’s nature. We can only pray that in
each situation we will also see the marks of the redemptive work of Christ as
I thank God that I am (at least) as pro-life as any of you.
But as a believer in Christ I’ve concluded that my pro-life responsibilities do
not end at birth. Therefore I support government policies that sustain and
improve life from conception to death. And I support candidates who work to
achieve such laws.