Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Response to Abortion Quotes from an "Evangelical" Forum on Politics

My brother-in-law recently sent me a link to a podcast titled "Evangelical Politics: Three Generations" from the Speaking of Faith radio program, knowing that I would be interested. This podcast was a panel discussion with three men who were billed as "formative Evangelicals." The men were: Charles Colson, Greg Boyd, and Shane Claiborne. Now, as an evangelical, I would not necessarily want to be represented by any of these men (for different reasons), but that is another post. The conversation between these three men was thought-provoking and challenging and I encourage my readers to listen to it HERE.

Now, I have previously contended on this blog that the issue of legalized abortion is the most significant moral/political issue in America today, I was especially interested to hear what the speakers had to say on this topic. I found two statements to be particularly in need of further comment.

The first is from Greg Boyd:
I have an unequivocal, uncompromising pro-life stance: non-violence to the core, but that doesn’t mean I’m [always] going to vote for the pro-life candidate, because it may be that I think that the greatest indicator of abortion is poverty and this person I might think is not going to help that issue.

I believe that this is faulty reasoning on Boyd’s part. This is the scenario I would present to Boyd: Imagine someone voting for a candidate to national office in antebellum-era America. If someone argued that the underlying cause for slavery is a lack of economic progressiveness in the South, and that therefore he was going to vote for a pro-slavery candidate with a good economic plan over an abolitionist candidate with a poor economic plan, would you agree with his decision? Do you think that if slaves had the right to vote that they would agree?

Imagine that you lived in Nazi Germany and that the citizens there had the right to a free vote for their leaders. If someone argued that the underlying cause for violence against the Jews was that the German people faced economic uncertainty, and that therefore he was going to vote for a pro-Final Solution candidate with a good economic plan to help the poor over a candidate with a weaker economic plan that opposed the Holocaust, would you support his decision? Do you think that the Jews would agree?

Does Boyd think that the unborn, if they were able to speak, would agree with his decision to vote for someone who would allow murdering them to remain legal, for the purpose of addressing ‘indicators of abortion’?

Christians should certainly help the poor and to assist impoverished mothers who may be tempted to kill their babies, but this does not mean that we can overlook the evil of legalized child murder.

The issue is one of priority. There is a legal loophole by which murder– specifically murder of the unborn¬– is allowed. There are also reasons that help influence mothers to make the decision to take advantage of this loophole and thereby kill their child. Certainly these reasons should be addressed, but first the option of legalized murder should be taken off the table.
Imagine you were in a ship that had developed a hole; the reason that the hole developed was found to be rotten planks in the ship, so several planks throughout the ship must be replaced to truly deal with the problem. So it would be wise to replace all of these planks, but it would be very foolish to forget to first patch the hole in order to keep the ship from sinking.

The second statement I wish to address is from Shane Claiborne:
I think part of what we need is we need new political heroes and she-roes. Y’know? Which, like, for me, Mother Teresa is one of those: I worked with her in Calcutta, I learned from her, and she’s just done so much to the cause of decreasing abortions and honoring life from the cradle to the grave. But it wasn’t because she went around wearing an “Abortion Is Murder” shirt. Y’know? Like, she said, “If you don’t want your baby, you can give it to me,” and that has integrity to it; you can’t argue with that. Y’know, even Bill Clinton (not known for his pro-life stance) invites her to speak at his prayer breakfast.

Claiborne’s main point in this and some of his other statements during the forum is well-taken; Christians must translate their convictions into self-sacrificial action on behalf of those in need. But, as Claiborne cited the example of Mother Teresa in relation to the issue of abortion, and as Claiborne mentioned President Clinton inviting her to speak at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast, I think that it would have been helpful if he had related some of the actual words Teresa spoke in the presence of Clinton Mother Teresa said:
...I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?... By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion… [SOURCE]

Mother Teresa was also quoted as saying:
It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish…

So, while she did not go around wearing an “Abortion Is Murder” shirt, she was very clear in decrying abortion as murder in her speech. The reason I believe this to be important is that Christians tend to either focus on saying the right things while being lazy in our actions or on doing the right things while being cowardly in our speech. We need all aspects of our life to be more Christ-like.



Blogger trent_gilliss said...

Andrew, thanks for the link to the show and your thoughts on what you determine to be "the most significant moral/political issue in America today." As a journalist and a producer/online editor for Speaking of Faith, it's a difficult topic to cover in a way that's respectful to all parties involved and also contributes to a greater understanding of others' points of view with, hopefully, a fresh angle.

Now, in our latest two-part series on politics and faith ("The Faith Life of the Party"), both Amy Sullivan and Rod Dreher discussed how abortion becomes such an intractable subject on the left and the right. We're using their discussion as an opportunity to ask people how they might engage in this dialogue in ways not imagined, in ways that may help us reframe the debate.

We've received many respectful and thoughtful responses, and we'd love if you and others might share your story with us too.

BTW, I noticed you didn't include or comment on Chuck Colson's response. I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on his approach.

6:13 AM  
Blogger ajlin said...

Trent Gilliss:

Thank you for your comment; I didn't comment on Colson's response because I don't recall him having given much of a detailed response, other than something to the effect that 'our values should be reflected in the voting booth,' with which I fully agree.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Strong Tower said...

Thanks for the post Andrew. I hope that people get around the disingenuousness of the left in casting abortion as a single issue. It is a world view issue, affecting, as you rightly show, how one views other things, i.e., any issue can be relegated to a utilitarian world view. Mother Teresa at least saw the poverty of the mind and soul in the self-centered decission of a mother who would abort. This then can be extended to all other issues. In a narcissitic world what makes the individual happy is what matters. Love of neighbor is subjugated to individual pleasure. Within Scripture we know that as sensuality. The end of that will be what Romans' predicts, the over-throwing of God by people who suppress His truth. When God gives people over to their senuousness, there will be no end to the depravity to which they will stoop. The woes have just begun.

7:44 PM  

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