An open letter to Southern Baptists
Updated: Jun 20
"The one most responsible for the abortion holocaust ... is the one that is sure she is [already] doing everything she can, the church of Jesus Christ!"
Flip Benham, founder of Operation Save America
For more than eleven years now I have been telling Christians that they are wrong on abortion. Not wrong in principle, but in practice. It has not been fun.
No one wants to admit they've been wrong. It's painful, humbling and implies one must repent and change direction. It may mean that a person would have to recant much of his or her past life. For a Christian this is especially disconcerting, because that past life inevitably includes many years "post-salvation" during which he or she was convinced of being, more or less, on the right track.
And why should anyone listen to me, anyway? Who am I but a random malcontent? Marshalled against the message I and a few others bring, the entire modern American church, including its leaders, its luminaries, its media and its history, stands in solid, unified and satisfied opposition. But this week, as the Southern Baptist Convention holds its annual meeting in Nashville, TN, I feel compelled to try again.
Southern Baptists are emblematic of the church as a whole. Ask a Southern Baptist if abortion is mass murder and he/she will enthusiastically affirm it is. But ask a Southern Baptist what he/she is personally doing about abortion and you will likely be met with a blank stare and then, after a few awkward moments, some vague statement about help to pregnant mothers that he/she is pretty sure his/her congregation provides. In other words, we have been woefully inconsistent.
For nearly fifty years the United States, that great bastion of liberty and justice, has gleefully participated in history's most notorious human rights violation: the worldwide genocide against preborn children. At least two generations have now come of age while our nation continues to run up the score in this war it has chosen to engage in against an opponent who cannot fight back. Whether you realize or not, abortion is the backdrop to your entire life. Think about it:
While your television was blowing up about Watergate, the Iran-hostage situation, the fall of communism, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Y2K the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq, Obamacare, police brutality, COVID-19 and a million other "crises", your neighbors were quietly murdering their children. No one stopped them.
While your church was engaged in construction projects, men's ministries, women's ministries, youth ministries, VBS, Christmas programs, music ministries and arguing about Christian best-sellers or the latest evangelism craze, your neighbors were quietly murdering their children. Your church did not stop them.
While you went to school, played sports, got your degree, fell in love, started a family and built your career, your neighbors were quietly murdering their children. You did not stop them.
The real tragedy is that it didn't have to happen this way. At least it didn't have to go on this long. It's not as though Satan suddenly grew stronger in the 20th Century. It's not as though fallen man suddenly grew more sinful. It's not as though the Holy Spirit has abandoned us. We cannot even cite fleshly concerns as an excuse, for the United States remains one of the most "Christian" nations on earth, with laws protecting freedom of speech and of assembly, and a tradition of (at least somewhat positive) social reform. True, the media is bitterly against us, but all the facts, arguments, images and testimonies are on our side. We have everything we need to abolish abortion in short order! Everything except the will.
There has never been a mass movement against abortion in America (the Rescue Movement of the 1980s and early 1990s notwithstanding). Christians have opted to farm out our duty to pro-life "professionals" who take our money and, in return, give us a sense of satisfaction at having somehow accomplished something. These people and organizations often mean well, but they are utterly incapable of ending the genocide, as demonstrated by its incredible longevity.
You see, what we need to abolish abortion is not a better political strategy (though this would help). It's not more money or better marketing (these have actually handicapped us). It's not even the conversion of the nation to Christ (though we should obviously desire that). What we need to abolish abortion is a concerted effort by every able-bodied Christian to live as if abortion were a threat to our own lives. This means setting aside adequate time every single week to both speak and act on behalf of preborn kids. To educate (through conversations, literature, signs and media) our neighbors and interpose (physically though sit-ins, financially through tax strikes) between preborn children and those who would do them harm. I don't mean we should pay some pro-life professional to do these things. I mean all of us should do them. Everyone. All 14 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention. Even you.
What would happen if the members of even one Christian denomination lived consistently for just one year? What would happen if the skills, voices and bodies of (for instance) 14 million Southern Baptists were marshalled in defense of abortion's helpless victims: protesting on every street corner, risking arrest at every abortion mill, destroying the murder weapons (abortion pills) where they are manufactured, packing the halls of all 50 state legislatures, starving the state of our tax money and grinding the wheels of commerce and "normal life" to a halt?!
I realize these suggestions run counter to everything your family, your local church and your denomination teaches (not so much in word but by example). Scanning the program for this year's annual meeting, I see several notable pro-life segments, but nothing like the massive, body-driven effort I describe above. Abortion is merely one issue among many. Just another front in the ubiquitous "culture war" that somehow is never won and which no individual has any particular obligation to fight.
Southern Baptist friend, your family, local church and denomination are wrong. Abortion is not just one more issue, nor is it here to stay. To act consistent with one's beliefs, to love one's neighbor as you love yourself, entails a response no less dramatic. You do not live in normal times and should not be content living normally. In times like our own, normal life is a sin.
Many will leave this year's meeting unchanged in their outlook. I pray you do not. But even if no one responds this year, the Revelation 3:2 Project will not disappear. I am in too deep to back out now. It my honor to serve as the troubler of Israel, until Israel learns to love again.
Get serious, church.
Chief instigator, Revelation 3:2 Project