Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Is Abortion the Thing That Most Angers God?

There are varying opinions among Christians about abortion.
Catholics sometimes blame Protestants for the decriminalization of abortion. They may be right.  In the '60s, it was often Protestant Republicans who argued in favor of abortion against the Catholic Democrats who (mostly) regarded abortion as anathema.

I say "mostly" because then-Gov. Ronald Reagan (R-CA) says he approached Catholic and Protestant religious leaders for advice when faced with the choice of whether to approve abortion in California in limited circumstances.  He was met with confused, uninformed and contradictory responses, mostly from clergy who had never thought about it.
Some Catholics regard abortion as a necessary evil, out of compassion for struggling moms.  But these are the same Catholics who regard everything in the Bible as unimportant beside caring for fellow men and women through charity, welfare, etc. (or making the taxpayers care for them).
The Protestant opposition I've heard centers around three areas:
  • We live in a broken world. No one can fix it until Jesus returns.
  • The spreading of the Gospel is the only commission in the Bible. Nothing else matters.
  • The Bible says nothing about abortion. Why are we getting involved?

I want to get the first two out of the way quickly so I can address the third.

Yes, the world is broken. But why did Jesus throw the moneychangers out of the Temple? Wasn't the world broken back then? What did He hope to achieve? Why did Jesus heal? Wasn't the world broken? Why did He call upon us to care for orphans and widows? If the world is broken, by this first point of logic, what lasting good would it do?
Yes, we are called to spread the Gospel. That's how we save lives in Eternity, not just in the present. But Jesus, again, called upon us to care for widows and orphans, to be winsome, to train up our children... Someone who thinks the Gospel is the only important commission in the Bible hasn't paid due heed to the full context of the Bible.
Those who recognized calls to other moral imperatives - not just regarding behavior, but calls to action - are the Christians who stopped the slaughter of slaves in gladiatorial combat, who banned slavery, and who campaigned for civil rights for Blacks and women. There is a long history of Christian moral activism, and we'd be a lot poorer as a world without it.

What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?

Since I want to focus on a very specific, but fundamental, point, I'll refer to a comprehensive page at American Right to Life for a long list and analysis of anti-abortion scripture.
Did Protestants in the 1960s believe the Bible said anything about abortion? I must - charitably (perhaps too much so) - assume they did not. To use the example about Ronald Reagan mentioned above, it's very possible that there was widespread ignorance of what the Bible said about that, and a lot of other things, in Protestant churches in the 1960s.
Not that that was a condition unique to the 1960s. This issue persists to the present day, which is the primary reason why abortion is still an issue, and why Christian mothers, and even pastors (!!!) take their kids to have abortions.
In general, it should be obvious to anyone who has studied the Bible that it condemns abortion. We are told "Do not kill the innocent," (Exodus 23:7 - The 10 Commandments). We are told when life begins (Psalm 139 & Jeremiah 1:5). We are given specifics as to punishment for killing an unborn child (Exodus 21:22-25, which provides a moderate penalty for causing premature birth, but indicates a life for a life and an eye for an eye regarding the death of the fetus).
But is it possible that doing what we can to end abortion - aside from the preaching of the Gospel - is the most important of our duties as Christians???

How Abhorrent Is Abortion to God?

I'm going to "read into scripture" a little, here, but not very much, considering the above scripture indicating that God values the unborn child as highly as a born child. For purposes of this blog post (and all blog posts) I assume that child & children refer equally to born and unborn humans.
There are several places in the Bible where God seems really, really angry.
I'm thinking of the worship of the golden calf idol while Moses received the Ten Commandments, for one, and of course the destruction of the cities of Soddom & Gamorrah. Consider, please, that God's anger with regard to Soddom & Gamorrah was brought on by a host of incredible sins and evil behaviors, many of which centered upon sexual sins and related deviance.
And it's worth noting that abortion is a form of sexual sin, and is often related to previous sexual sins. But back to the point...
I point you to another chapter of scripture where God was really, really mad. Jeremiah 19 (pictured right - if it's not showing up, or you can't read it, check I'm using the New American Standard Bible because, while it's not my preferred translation, it's a very simple and plain language translation, which avoids some distracting quirks.
God has sent Jeremiah to warn the Baal-worshippers of his anger and coming wrath, brought on by their behavior. Keep in mind, many of God's chosen people were drawn off into worship of Baal just as many Christians today are drawn off in worship of worldly things and beliefs.
God is about to make a spectacle of this place and these people "at which the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle." He's pretty angry! Much of God's anger is brought on, of course, by these peoples' worship of the idols and tophets of Baal. That's a big no-no, and always has been. But what does God use to illustrate in scripture why he is so outrageously angry about their behavior?
In Jeremiah 19:4-5 God lists 3 things that have caused his outrage, and the 3rd is merely an extrapolation of the 2nd.
  1. They have forsaken me (God).
  2. They have burned sacrifices in this alien place to other gods.
  3. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.
Specifically, who are "the innocent?" They are their own children! They "have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal."

It's hard for us to believe someone would do that. But historically we know that Baal worshippers, including the Carthaginians of Roman times, did this. And God was beside Himself about it (that's imagery, not a pun on the Trinity).

But it reminds us of abortion, doesn't it? The sacrifice of ones' own children. And is it even, today, a perverted sacrament to the worship of the world and worldly things and ways?

God was so angry about this that He illustrates how angry He is. You can sense His astonishment when He says, "I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind." He's saying He could never imagine men could be so evil as to burn their own children on an altar.

How Angry Is God About Abortion?

So we know from scripture God wants us to make the world a better place, not just through our behavior, but through our actions. This is what caused Christians to undertake freedom for the slaves.

How important is it to God that we end abortion? It's not much of a stretch - none at all, I'd submit - to see God as furiously angry over abortion in particular.

Not only is abortion a sexual sin and often a representation of other sexual sins. It is an assault upon the very Image of God, because we are all formed in His image, and to destroy a human is to destroy the Image of God.

And God also makes it clear in scripture that He cares much - seemingly more - about crimes against children. Jeremiah 19 makes that clear. Besides talk of fastening a millstone to ones' neck and drowning in the sea, theologian Wayne Grudem even suggests that Exodus 21 (noted above) sets a higher penalty for killing an unborn child than is set in Mosaic Law for killing a grown human.

In any case, please consider this as a response to any Christian who dares to suggest the crusade against abortion is a misplaced or distracting pursuit.

What To Do About Abortion

Much in this world offends God and makes Him angry, for certain. But abortion is almost certainly one of the most offensive - perhaps the most offensive - sins against God and His people.

And, just as with slavery, this is a moral and ethical argument that can be made with or without reference to religion or belief in God. Abortion is just wrong, if one bothers to think about it. It's one of the most abhorrent things we see in our society. Almost every moral and ethical standard accepted by atheists, agnostics, Christians and most other religions alike says it's wrong to kill an innocent human being.

I believe it is our imperative calling to pursue the banning or total abolition of abortion in our society, just as slavery is banned. All we have to do, as pro-lifers and abolitionists, is to point to the clear indications from science, logic and reason which show an unborn child is an innocent human being at any stage of development.

Thank you,

Ed Hanks (author of How To Train Your Politician)

If you understand this argument, and agree with it, I implore you to please donate to either or both of the leading anti-abortion and abolitionist organizations in the US - two groups that really "get it" in terms of how to end abortion. Supporting them is one concrete way we can achieve an end to all this evil.

Colorado Right to Life

American Right to Life

(note: Colorado Right to Life and American Right to Life have reclaimed the high-ground mantle from National Right to Life, which in recent decades has ceased to even recognize or fight for an actual "right to life" and has instead sought a middle ground truce with proponents of abortion to "limit" abortion instead of ending it. Both CRTL and ARTL are committed to the abolition of abortion via the Personhood strategy, which you will see explained in other articles on this blog)