Tag Archives: abortion

The Christian dissonance of the “pro-life” movement

I opened my previous post stating that I try to avoid political topics on this blog.   This post is going to make a liar of me as I step into it once more.   I promise (I think) this is the last for quite some time.

My last post was about the Christian dissonance in the phrase, “It’s my body.”   That is to say, for those of us who follow Christ, the Lamb of God who laid down his own life to save ours, it makes little sense for any Christian to claim “It’s MY body.”   Our bodies are gifts from God, temples of the Holy Spirit, and exist to bring glory and honor to our Creator.

The push back I received from my pro-choice friends over that post and others is this: They rightfully point out the dissonance (or hypocrisy) in most of us who are pro-life when they insist we care only about the baby in the womb but fall short in our compassion for humanity beyond that.

If we are honest, we have to admit they are right.   When I have these discussions with people I discover that I am often in the minority among pro-life people.   By this I mean I fully support and desire to see universal health care for all people.  I want to see free maternal care for mothers and mandatory maternal (and paternal!) leave granted by employers.   I want to be part of a nation that cares more about showing empathy and compassion towards the strangers and minorities among us  – refugees, immigrants, etc – than they do about it’s flag.  I want to see the death penalty done away with and real rehabilitation programs for convicted criminals and everyone suffering from addiction.    I want to see real gun reform laws passed and a concerted effort to end mass shootings, particularly in our schools where our children are at greater risk than in any other country on earth.

I guess you could say I am truly pro-life from womb to tomb.

Pro-choice people are right to point out the hypocrisy in many of us when we scream as loud to keep children from crossing our borders as we do to ensure children our born within our borders.

When we argue “I have a right to own a gun,” we sound alarmingly like pro-choice people arguing “I have a right to my own body.”

When we support policies or demonstrations which demean or take lightly the plight of black Americans (who proportionally speaking, are most susceptible to feeling they have a need to have an abortion) we demonstrate to a watching world that we are not really pro-life.

When we argue against health care for every person in our country and continuously vote for leaders who strategically position corporations and the wealthy to get ahead while removing safety nets for the most vulnerable among us, we shoot our cause in the foot and appear to a watching world as white-washed tombs.

When we discourage sex education or free birth control for all, we guarantee a rise in the number of those distressed and hopeless and feeling as though abortion is their only option.

Many of the positions taken against these life affirming policies are rooted in the same beast that gives birth to a pro-choice movement:  Fear of losing what’s rightfully mine.   In essence, it’s a lack of faith in God.   Both the woman who fears she cannot adjust her future life to that of a newborn and the person who thinks allowing in more refugees will water down their culture are committing the same sin:  They lack faith in a God who promises to provide for our needs if we will humble ourselves before him and honor him in all that we do.

I wonder what would happen if we who are pro-life would actually be pro-life in every area of our lives?   Maybe, just maybe, it would bear witness to a watching, confused and hurting world that God truly is the God of all nations, all tribes, all tongues – born and unborn – and loves them dearly.   After all, they will know us by our love.




The Christian dissonance of “It’s My Body”

I try to avoid political topics on my blog but the latest news regarding “heartbeat” bills and discussion around women’s right to have an abortion has been occupying much of my head space.

Which is interesting to me because I wasn’t this occupied with it in the past.   The reason I felt it worth writing about here is because I think my views about abortion have changed some, aligning more with my views on sexual integrity in general and the rights I believe we have over our bodies in particular.

It’s this latter portion that is most concerning to me, especially as it relates to those of us who are Christians.   For the record, I don’t believe it’s the job of the Church to legislate morality (in most cases), but I do believe it’s the job of the Church to serve as a conscience to the State.   We may not get to make the laws, but we certainly should be witnesses to the light.  What we support (or don’t support) while bearing the name of Christ makes an indelible impression upon a watching, confused, disbelieving world.

Having said that, allow me to state my premise clearly, and then I’ll unpack it.   Whether you agree or disagree with this statement, I hope you’ll continue reading and even comment.

The deeper we pursue Christ and his holiness, the more incoherent and dissonant is the world’s message declaring, “It’s your body, it’s your choice.”

This should come as no surprise to Christians, but it’s amazing how much we muddy the waters with the things we support.   The dissonance between the messages “Come, pick up your cross and follow me,” and “It’s your body, it’s your choice,”   which are often proclaimed from the same pulpit and pew can only further confuse a world in such dire need of Christ’s liberating, healing, saving word.

Our primary task as Christians is to make disciples.  How can we expect the disciples we are making to understand what it means to lay down one’s life for the sake of the gospel when we tell pregnant women, “It’s your body, your choice”?

Scripture teaches us that when we become Christians we recognize that we have been bought with a price.   Paul, if writing today, would no doubt ask us the same question:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor. 6)

Do we not know that our bodies are not our own?   Why, as Christ followers, are we telling people the exact opposite?

Paul writes in Philippians that we who know Christ are to have his mindset:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

He goes on to declare that it’s this mindset – this lowly, humble, it’s-not-MY-body mindset – that God will exalt and this spectacular display of selflessness, one that seems utterly foolish to the ways of this world, will cause every knee to one day bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Friends, this means that the degree to which people are not calling Jesus Lord of their life is in large part the same degree to which we, his Body on earth, are not bearing witness to the sacrificial, self-denying life of Jesus.

Naturally, this has implications in how we live far beyond (and before) thoughts of abortion are even entertained.   Understanding that this body I have is a gift from God and not my own dictates how I use it moment by moment.  It means I can’t just say “yes” to something because I desire it because I understand that my desires are not always holy desires.   Thus, questions about sex outside of marriage, masturbation, pornography use, and of course, abortion, all must be held up to the light of the gospel and it’s demand upon not just my doctrine (what I believe) but upon my body (what I practice).

It’s only when I surrender my body, along with my heart and my will and my thoughts, to God that I can begin to know the sort of freedom and joy and peace Jesus promises to those who seek him and his righteousness first and foremost.

I’ll conclude by stating my premise once again:

The deeper we pursue Christ and his holiness, the more incoherent and dissonant is the world’s message declaring, “It’s your body, it’s your choice.”

Grace and peace,


Help me understand your applause for walls

I am wanting to understand you.

Today I posted a few things on my Facebook page out of a knee jerk response to watching Vice President Mike Pence speak at my alma mater, Lee University.     As I watched a room full of white, professing Christians chant “Build that wall!  Build that wall!” and applaud wildly every time “America First” was said, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.     That led to feelings of anger, which led to posting on Facebook that I find Christians who chant for walls to be built on Saturday but raise their hands in worship to Jesus, the leveler of walls (not to mention a refugee himself), on Sunday, to be sad and baffling and incredibly incongruous.   The Church, which ought to be the conscience of the State, appears to have become its cheerleader.

Several hours have passed and I don’t feel any better.   I don’t feel better because I know there were people at that rally who truly love Jesus and their neighbor.   They would gladly give their shirt off their back to a stranger, whether that stranger be American or not, or worthy of it, or not.   I don’t feel better because I don’t feel like I am any closer to understanding how those persons don’t see what seems so obvious to me.  It’s like they are hearing Yanni while I’m hearing Laurel.     My hope in writing this is to draw closer, not further apart.

Imagine witnessing a room full of professing Christians gleefully cheering about a law passed that made abortions easier to obtain.  Imagine they chanted, while giving thanks to God, “Kill those babies!”   That sickening feeling you (and I, by the way) would have in your gut is the same feeling I had while watching Christians on a Christian campus chant, “Build that wall!”   In both cases you get the sense that the God as revealed in Jesus Christ is very much removed from these very national, human, fleshly desires.

And yet, I’ve never heard anyone who supports Roe V. Wade chant “Kill those babies!”  If you were to ask me how I can support a President or a Supreme Court Justice who believes in upholding Roe V. Wade I’ll tell you that I’d love to see abortion a thing of the past.  I’d love to see it as something that is extremely rare.   I’d show you statistics that show abortion rates decrease in Democratic administrations over Republican ones.   I’d tell you, also, that I don’t feel the government should draw a line in the sand and make this determination for a woman.    I’d tell you that I don’t like abortion as a simple means of birth control and would prefer to see regulation and limitations on its use.  I’d tell you that every abortion is tragic, even those where the mother doesn’t yet think it as such.  I’d tell you that I want to see churches and hometown clinics thrive in an effort to make the option of abortion seem unnecessary.  And lastly, I’d tell you that I long for the day when churches everywhere are open foster and adoption channels, where every pregnant woman knows that their baby will be well taken care of and loved if she is unable to provide for him or her.

In other words, I may support a women’s right to choose, but I’m not proud of it.  I recognize that this “choice” is the result of profound and tragic brokenness in our world and we, the Church, have failed to step up and deliver tangible, reliable alternatives.   As such, I will continue to support Roe V. Wade but I will blush when doing so.

Watching the Pence rally where Christians cheered wildly for a wall to be built I did not see any blushing.   So I’m asking you to help me understand.    My fiancée suggested that perhaps many of those who want a wall believe that we need to secure our own families and homes first so that we can be better equipped to help those in need on the other side of the wall.    I so desperately want to believe this!  But I’ve yet to hear a single person, after shouting “Build that wall!” attach with equal fervor the addendum, “So we can better serve Mexico!”

Forgive me for putting words in your mouth, but it would make sense to me if supporters of the wall would say something like this:   Yes, as a Christian I know we should be tearing down walls, not building them.   It makes me sick and sad to think we have come to this.  The need for a wall, I feel, is a sign of how broken we are.   My hope is that this wall will help keep those who are just seeking to harm us out while allowing us to show more compassion and care for those truly seeking refuge and peace.    And even as I say this I realize that I should be trusting God more to protect us, rather than a wall, and I should have enough faith that we could bless every refugee and asylum-seeker and immigrant seeking a better life.   I’m praying to this end.

What I guess I’m trying to say is that I’m not hearing much compassion for our neighbors from the side of the aisle that I used to be on, the one that used to be known as the “Moral Majority” and the “Religious Right” or “Compassionate Conservatives.”   But I believe you are out there.   I know you to be good people, with big hearts, generous spirits.  I know you love Jesus.    Please help me, and others who are watching from the sidelines, understand how putting America First and building higher walls fits with the rest of your life which I get the pleasure of seeing more (thankfully) than this stuff.    I want to hear what’s behind the chant.  I want to be convinced that your desire for a wall isn’t rooted in some nationalistic, xenophobic agenda where everyone who isn’t white is suspect.  I want to hear your heart on the matter.

If you are reading this and willing to share that, I’d be grateful. Help me understand where you are coming from.    Thank you for reading.  Thank you for being my friend.

In Christ, in whom we all live and move and have our being.