What can be done?
This article originally appeared in the blog of Human Coalition.
When we see news stories about politicians openly advocating for infanticide, aborted babies’ body parts being sold as a commodity, and various states pushing for late-term abortions, many of us are compelled to do more than donate to a pro-life organization or pray.
As Christians, we have a set of “pro-life first principles,” or basic underlying truths about abortion and our faith. They are:
1. Preborn humans have the same extraordinary, intrinsic value as born humans.
2. The Church bears the responsibility of ending the injustice of abortion.
3. The Church, therefore, must end the genocide of preborn children with the same passion and urgency that we would end the genocide of any other people group.
THE DEADLIEST INJUSTICE
Abortion is the deadliest injustice in American history, killing 3,000 preborn children daily. Abortion, the willful slaughter of preborn human beings, is the leading cause of death in America. But a cursory review of the Church’s involvement in trying to end the abortion genocide over the past 46 years reveals that many Christians do not appear to align with these pro-life first principles, though many of us say we do.
One simple, self-reflective question drives home this conclusion: If 3,000 kindergarteners were being killed on playgrounds across America every day, how would we react?
Our government, our churches, our communities, and our families would all react very, very differently to the slaughter of schoolchildren than we do to the slaughter of preborn children. But the reality is our faith demands that we value the preborn and the born the same – and this equality demands that we align our behaviors with our beliefs.
WHAT CAN I DO?
As we soberly consider the implications of this disparity between our stated beliefs and our actions, we should ask, “What can I do?”
Some of us answer in the following ways:
1. Give $100 a month to your local pregnancy center
2. Ask your pastor to preach about abortion on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
3. Place a call to your state and federal elected officials
4. Pray more
These are all good things to do, and we should continue to do them. However, they do not convey the urgency, passionate commitment, or amount of work that we would demand of ourselves if we were attempting to end a genocide of any other people group.
If you are ready to take another step toward ending abortion, consider the following 10 suggestions. Be forewarned: They are not easy to do, and they will not provide instant gratification or a quick fix to abortion. Read these in the light of our first principles, which tell us preborn children have the same extraordinary, intrinsic value as born children.
STEPS TO END ABORTION
1. Repent. Because Christians have the God-given responsibility to end injustice, and because over 61 million of His image bearers have been slaughtered in America during our watch, every Christian in America should immediately and regularly repent for our sins. We have not protected God’s children; we have not defended them; we have not rescued them. In fact, we have devalued them the same way our culture has. And our repentance must be consistent, outspoken, and exemplary.
2. Review. Take the time to find and study your own church’s or denomination’s doctrinal statements on the sacredness of human life. I wrote a book about abortion and the church a few years ago (www.deliverusfromabortion.com), and I was horrified to discover that more than 50% of American Protestants go to churches that aren’t doctrinally pro-life.
There is a good chance you are a pro-lifer sitting in a pro-abortion church. You’ll quickly discover your church is pro-abortion if:
1. They have no published statement about the sanctity of human life or abortion. A silent church may very well be a pro-abortion church.
2. They make exceptions permitting elective abortions. (Just ask yourself whether or not you’d be okay if your church supported toddler slaughter if the child were, for example, conceived from rape or incest.)
3. They are noncommittal about abortion for any reason.
Take the time to look at all appropriate documents and have one or more graceful, sober-minded discussions with your church leadership in order to come to an accurate conclusion.
3. Respond. After you’ve reviewed your church’s doctrinal position, you can respond accordingly.
If you’re a member of a pro-abortion church…
How would you react if you discovered your church or denomination were okay with toddler slaughter? What if hundreds of kindergartners were being killed within a few miles of your church every year, and your church didn’t talk about it, didn’t attempt to rescue them, and passively supported the practice by its silence?
You have only two choices: Work to facilitate change in your church or find another church.
Doing nothing is not a valid option.
If your church is doctrinally pro-life…
Investigate whether your pro-life church is reacting to the deaths of preborn children the same way it would to the slaughter of toddlers. If not, why not?
There are some fantastic pro-life churches in America. However, I don’t know of any church that is reacting to the abortion genocide with the urgency they would a toddler genocide. Here is where each of us needs to prayerfully but urgently address that inconsistency in our congregation.
To my Catholic friends: Your doctrine is solidly pro-life. With that being said, you likely know this doesn’t always translate to the parish level. Your assessment of your parish is the same as that of your Protestant brothers and sisters. Is your parish reacting to abortion genocide the same way it would toddler genocide? If not, why not and what can you do about it?
4. Realize. Whether you go to a pro-abortion or a pro-life church, there is work to do. Maybe you leave your church; maybe you become a strong voice for the sacredness of life in your current congregation. Either way, realize that you are about to become unpopular.
If you and I contemplate abortion through the lens of Scripture, and we begin considering the level of inactivity in the Christian community in response to America’s decades of child sacrifice, we may become angry, emotional, and strident. I encourage you to convert those emotions into winsome, constructive, compassionate discussion. Realize the depth of your emotions, but in your anger do not sin.
Also realize that many of your friends, family, and fellow congregants most likely do not share your level of commitment to preborn children and their families. Invite them into even-tempered discussions and debates, and challenge them with Scripture, logic, and ethics. Education should guide passion and conviction, so make it a personal mission to educate your church.
And then realize that you will be liked by some, dismissed by others, and strongly disliked by the rest. Taking a vocal, intelligent stand for preborn children and their families comes with a price. Be prepared to pay it for their sake.
5. Reach. Rescuing children and families from abortion follows the same model as proclaiming the Gospel to the lost. We need to reach them. Many churches and denominations have worldwide missionary efforts, aggressively attempting to reach the lost at home and abroad. Yet many of these same churches spend little time or money attempting to reach at-risk women and families here at home, in their own communities.
There is a cost of time, money, and effort to reach women and families. And abortion disproportionately attacks urban and minority communities. If your church isn’t already there, how can you reach there? How can your church establish a loving presence in abortion-dense communities? How can you strategically be a point of light in the darkness?
6. Research. If you were aware that government-funded corporations and regional facilities were killing toddlers, how would you respond? Would you not research these facilities, how they found the children to be killed, and how they operated? Wouldn’t you want to know who owned them, how the money flowed, and who was economically benefiting from the practice of killing toddlers?
Justice demands that we explore every legal, political, and social means to stop the killing. If we could find nonviolent ways of putting legal, media, or social pressure on these destructive clinics to close, would we not do that to protect children and families?
A little research goes a long way. Many abortion clinics have been shut down by a few wise, sharp people who did their homework and found creative ways of legally and appropriately stopping the killing.
7. Recruit. When looking at the most effective social change movements of the past 50 years, a few stand out for their profound impact. These include the civil rights movement, the smoking cessation effort, and the Second Amendment defense movement.
Although there are differences between these change movements, they all have one thing in common: grassroots mobilization. The leaders had amazing talents for recruiting and mobilizing like-minded people. When it came time for a march, a sit-in, a political effort, a media blitz, or a coordinated campaign, these movements had thousands of people ready to mobilize. And when called upon, thousands came.
The pro-life movement desperately needs coordinated, grassroots efforts at the local, regional, state, and national levels. Students for Life of America has set the paradigm for building and mobilizing grassroots support among high school and college students. Maybe it’s time you started recruiting your peers, regardless of age or demographic.
8. Rise Up. Is anyone else frustrated that over the years we’ve had pro-life presidents and Congresses, and yet we’re still using a portion of our tax dollars to slaughter children through Planned Parenthood? Are you frustrated we haven’t had any significant pro-life federal legislation in years? Are you angry that we keep listening to pro-life promises, only to be disappointed once again when these politicians get into office and are sucked into the political swamp?
What if we mobilized thousands of people before our government leaders on more days than just the annual March for Life? What if we had thousands of people sitting in state capitols, D.C., and regional offices of officials for days and weeks on end, demanding an end to the killing? What if thousands of people occupied Wall Street? What if we occupied D.C. and demanded an end to the slaughter?
Imagine the possibilities!
Political systems, particularly Washington D.C., change and move slowly. And they only change under intense pressure; otherwise they do not change at all. The reason Congress doesn’t completely defund Planned Parenthood, won’t pass pro-life laws, and won’t give a pro-life president any meaningful support is because they aren’t under enough pressure to do so.
The Church has been too silent, and we don’t have enough pro-life advocates to make enough noise.
If you and I mobilized pro-life Christians, if we educated them, if we organized them, and then we moved on state capitals and D.C. and made our presence known – consistently, vocally, powerfully – the results would be unbelievable.
The pro-life movement tends to be satisfied with far too little. It’s time to rise up.
9. Run Ahead. The pro-life movement needs courageous leaders who will run ahead of the crowd. Is it time for you to run for office? Maybe not for Congress, but what about your school board? Does your school system teach Planned Parenthood’s curriculum? Are your children being taught abstinence or perverse sexual behaviors? Are your children being introduced to birth control in middle school?
Does your state support Planned Parenthood through Medicaid or grant programs? Why? Can you run for state office, educate your communities, and create change in your state? How about getting into a leadership position in your church and helping change the pro-life culture from within? Maybe your city council?
Christians tend to be peaceable citizens, and we desire to go about our lives quietly while living in harmony with each other. However, there are times in history when Christians must lay down their quiet lives in order to advance the Kingdom and protect our fellow humans.
10. Remind. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay educated on what is happening in the abortion industry and in the pro-life movement. Keep up to date on what your local, state, and federal politicians are up to. Remind yourself and your friends to read, write, and discuss abortion regularly, consistently, passionately until abortion ends.
Remind your church that abortion is the greatest moral evil in American history, and the Church is God’s answer to our prayers for how to end it. Remind each other that God is in control and He has condescended to grant us the primary role in righting this moral evil in America.
Remind each other that the path forward isn’t easy, but it is necessary; we will face persecution alongside our fellow pro-life advocates; we will experience mountains and valleys, but we will press on regardless.
Remind each other that tiny preborn humans are entirely worth the effort, even if we can’t see them, don’t know them, and won’t ever meet them. They are worth the effort because God gives them worth.
Remind each other that change happens slowly, but time is not our ally. Thus, we must confront inertia head-on because too many babies are being slaughtered every day.
Remind each other that preborn children have the same extraordinary value as born children. And they have the same extraordinary value as their moms.
Remind each other of history – that courageous leaders like William Wilberforce, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King Jr. showed that great injustice can be conquered. It may feel like abortion is here to stay, but we will not accept that. We cannot accept that.
Remind each other that we serve the Author of Life who came that we might have abundant life. The thief comes to steal and destroy our families, but we will link arms and protect our children and families from the enemy. We will run headlong through the gates of hell and proclaim LIFE the victor.
We will not pause, we will not rest, we will not quit, we will not turn right or left, we will not be distracted, we will not be defeated until abortion becomes unthinkable and unavailable in America.