Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not About Politics

I've told myself that I wouldn't get involved in debating American politics on this blog, especially concerning the presidential elections in the United States. I feel that I can't stay completely silent on the issue though. To not say anything would be a betrayal of the very reason that we are in Ukraine, to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and that the Bible is the inspired infallible Word of God.

I came across a post today that caught my attention. It's about the presidential candidates' views concerning abortion and how some Christians are supporting a pro-abortion candidate. Logically, you would think that every Christian would take a firm pro-life stance, but not so according to the post.

After reading the post, I still can't believe that Americans (especially Christians) could possibly feel this way about human life. I live in a country (Ukraine) where abortion was once the preferred (if not the recommended) form of birth control. In the former Soviet Ukraine, since 1970 (the first date I found a record for), over one million unborn children were killed each year until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The number of babies killed by abortion exceeded live births in Ukraine until 2001 when live births finally exceed the number of abortions. This was done out of ignorance. People were told that it was "just tissue" or that "it had no soul". Education to the contrary has been slow and hard fought by many Christians laboring to end this tragedy. I have heard the stories of women who were broken and devastated by the realization of what they had done and the emotional scars they now carry. I'm thankful that there are Christian missionaries in Ukraine right now that are devoting their time to public education programs about the importance of abstinence and the sanctity of life of unborn babies. They are also sharing the saving news of Christ and of forgiveness with those affected by abortion.

This is what Norma McCorvey, the woman known as Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, had to say after becoming a Christian,

"I was sitting in O.R.'s offices (Operation Rescue) when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. "Norma," I said to myself, "They're right." I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth--that's a baby!"

I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about "products of conception." It wasn't about "missed periods." It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion–at any point–was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear."

I'm saddened to think that the United States seems to be taking a moral step backwards. Is human life so trivial now that we can simply brush aside moral truth in the interest of electing a candidate that tells us what we want to hear? I would hate to be a pastor that had to stand before God and answer for why I told His people only what they wanted to hear.

Without endorsing a candidate (I shouldn't have to), here's my personal view. I would rather have a president who takes a Biblical stand on issues like abortion than one who seems to have a more popular plan for economics or foreign policy. If a candidate claims to be a Christian, as both do, then both should do everything in their power to stop abortion. No candidate is perfect, but I believe that their position on the future of abortion is a clear indication of their true moral character and how we vote is an indicator of ours as a nation. Time will tell.

I want a president who will make decisions based on God's Word, the Bible, and not on popular public opinion. Presidents aren't elected to make everyone happy and feel good about themselves. Presidents are elected to lead the country in a godly manner (yes, the pledge of allegiance still says, "one Nation under God"). Presidents have to sometimes make unpopular and even painful decisions. Do you remember how unpopular President Lincoln's decision to abolish slavery was? The war that followed cost the lives of more than 620,000 Americans. (The number of Americans killed in the Civil War is still lower than the number of babies who are killed through abortion each year in the United States since 1973.)

By the way, it was President Eisenhower who signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14th, 1954, that added the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance. He had these words to say about it,

"These words [“under God”] will remind Americans that despite our great physical strength we must remain humble. They will help us to keep constantly in our minds and hearts the spiritual and moral principles which alone give dignity to man, and upon which our way of life is founded."

I think we live in a time when people would rather remain silent than risk offending anyone with the truth. My views in this post might be offensive to you and you might disagree with them, but the message of the Gospel is also offensive so I won't make apologies for either. 1 John 4:11 says, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." Do we really manifest God's love when we remain silent on these issues? Is the love of Christ in us when we endorse the killing of innocent unborn children?

Read these next two verses and the post that is linked below them. After you have read the post by Robert George, watch the video response to abortion by John Piper.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

The Witherspoon Institute

John Piper: Abortion is About God

I've added this link after originally posting this because I felt that it echoes almost exactly what I believe about this issue. Please take the time to read this post by pastor and author Randy Alcorn.

Not Cool: Obama's Pro-Abortion Stance, and Christians enabling him


Sarah said...

Whoops...I thought I was on Jake's blog! Scratch my comment (:

benjamin morrison said...

greg -

no doubt, abortion = murder. of course, one might ask the question what the last "pro-life" candidate elected has done to stop abortion. its still going strong (and the "partial-birth abortion ban" from what the experts say really doesn't do anything to stop abortion, only the method).

it would be wonderful if abortion had never been legalized, BUT that is not the case. and the only question i have is: is it even realistic to hope for a complete and total ban on and criminalization of abortion of all types at all stages at this point in the game? once its been allowed, its kinda hard to remove it totally (yes, a good picture of the nature of sin).

a good illustration of this would be the prohibition in the 1920's. there gathered together a strong enough coalition in government in support of a law to impose "a more righteous society" and they passed the bill banning all production/sale of alcohol. but the result was actually an increase of alcoholism, especially using hard liquor, and the explosive growth of organized crime (with associated murder, etc.) and corruption of the police force. the fact is, it was just not a realistic bill, however much it was (in its idealism) a moral one.

the question is, would a total abortion ban really bring about a more "moral" society and would it even be feasible? or would it lead to all kinds of home-abortions that end in killing both mom and baby, in a "black market" of abortionists, and who can even tell what else? i'm not saying i have the answer to these questions, but i am willing to ask them and say the question is not all as simple as we as christians would like to think. i'd love nothing more than if it had never been legalized and was criminal, but now that we're way past that point, can we go back?

that aside, neither democrat nor republican has yet abolished abortion, for all their pro-life rhetoric. so mccain or bush or whoever might talk about pro-life, but since we all know they're not gonna abolish abortion, perhaps it is also wise to consider other policy stances and issues which are also very much "moral" issues. i would cite as an example first of all the healthcare issue. i wrote an extensive post on my blog a while back on the moral aspect of health-care reform titled "what would dr. Jesus do?". read it if you're interested. i'd like to hear your thoughts on that as a moral issue. anyway, so as not to make this comment any ridiculously longer than it already is, i'll stop. ;) any counter-thoughts?

Greg and Edna Silva said...

No problem Sarah,
Jake and I do kind of look alike, but he can dance way better than me.


I'm not sure that any one politician, President or not, can single handily abolish abortion, but Bush did nominate John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. So far, both have held to pro-life rulings.

Yes, hope is always realistic when it comes to a ban on all abortions. The legality and even the demand for abortion is only a matter of public opinion. Opinions change.

I don't think prohibition is a good comparison with abortion. Actually, I can't think of any situation that compares to the killing of an unborn child. I will agree that the 18th Amendment was unrealistic though. It was trying to make a moral choice for people, while banning abortion is in reality more than a moral choice, it's the protection of the innocent life of an unborn child.

"Would a total abortion ban really bring about a more moral society?" Great point. Absolutely not. Laws don't create morality. Yes, abortions will still go on illegally. That is why education and the loving work of Christians to counter abortion is so important. Yes, I think it's totally feasible.

Let's compare abortion to murder, just for the sake of argument. Has banning murder brought about a more moral society? Has it done away with murders? Of course not, but would we ever dare legalize it?

You're right that no politician has abolished abortion. I'm not sure that they can. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that for abortion to be legally abolished (short of maybe a Constitutional Amendment) the case would have to go before the Supreme Court and even then some states have legislature in place to keep abortion legal should this occur. A President is responsible for choosing Supreme Court nominees, so that would be the most likely chance of overturning Roe vs. Wade. You're right again, it's not that simple, but don't we want to make every effort to reverse this tragedy?

What is simple is that if we consistently, as Christians, support pro-life candidates (and I don't care what party that is, there was a day when they were all pro-life, believe it or not) a message will be sent to politicians. Aside from moral issues, the message sent would cause politicians to re-examine their "views" as a means of political survival. We do have a voice. Let's use it.

I'll definitely read your post. Sorry I missed it. Thanks Ben. Tanya says hi.


Greg and Edna Silva said...

The day after I posted the last comment, I saw a post by Randy Alcorn that I wanted to add to my original post. He does a much better job of saying what I wanted to say. Here it is:

benjamin morrison said...

hey greg -

i enjoyed randy alcorn's article and agree with it. like i said, my point was not to argue the opposite, but simply to further the discussion. (because wouldn't it be sad if you poured out this heart-felt post and no one commented with any substance? :)

its interesting to see that the countries with stricter abortion laws are primarily those with a strongly religious population (be it catholic ireland and poland, or the muslim countries). i think that this points out something important, though: that anti-abortion/pro-life laws are passed in those places where the belief in sanctity of life is founded on a majority belief in God being the Creator of that life.

again, this might be a question of the chicken and the egg: is society changed by the views of the people within it, or are the views of the people dictated by society? probably the answer is both. and therefore it is just as important to focus on converting the public to a Christian worldview as it is to try and mandate anti-abortion legislation. in fact, it may be the case that UNLESS the populace comes to a majority belief in God as the Creator of life and that that life begins at conception, no anti-abortion legislation WILL pass. therefore one of the greatest tools in pro-life movement ought to be the putting forward of intelligent design curriculum (sadly, this link is not often made).

i agree with you that the issue is different from prohibition (or any other issue) in that it is murder. the point of my analogy was that its like the prohibition only in that abortion has ALREADY been legal for some time, and to go back would be incredibly difficult. honestly, knowing where the world is headed, i can't say i have a lot of hope for that turn around, but that certainly does not exempt us from trying. whereas there are countries that have counted abortion criminal for as long as laws about that kind of thing have been made, i'm not aware of any case where abortion has been legalized and then re-criminalized. doesn't mean it couldn't happen, just not super likely.... no, i'm not a pessimist, just a realist. ;)

in addition, the analogy of legalizing murder also doesn't work, simply because murder has NEVER been legal. another clear issue where a morally reprehensible act has been made legal: pornography. i would love it if porn was criminalized. but at this point, is that realistic? i would argue no, without a massive transformation and conversion of the population to a Christian world view. hence again, the tool that would bring about the change is not politics, but preaching the gospel.

and i suppose that was what i was ultimately getting at. i just see so many Christians so fired up about passing anti-abortion laws and seeking the solution through politics. as you rightly pointed out, the demand/legality of abortion is a matter of public opinion. therefore, the answer is to change public opinion by the preaching of the gospel. not that we shouldn't support pro-life legislation when given the chance, but if Christians put half the time and effort and enthusiasm into preaching the Gospel as they do into supporting pro-life politics, i think it'd give us a much better chance of actually changing public opinion and, in turn, policy on things like abortion (and porn, etc.) i know there are those who do try to influence the issue "from the bottom up"... but it seems there's an unbalanced majority focusing only on the "top down" approach. because, yes, a righteous society cannot be legislated, only born of the Gospel.

anyway, just trying to add another dimension to the dialogue.

btw, one more line i hear often from christians during political season that i have to comment on is "God will not bless those who support a pro-choice candidate". only one question: what if one day they are BOTH pro-choice (like would've been the case if juliani got the GOP nomination). do we just stop voting all together? how about all the other christians in other countries where no pro-life platform is offered in elections (i.e. ukraine)?

Little Viky said...

My friends believe it's worse to have a baby than to save a life. Besides, it's so convenient to think that the unborn baby is not yet a life! I wish I knew what I can do here.

Greg and Edna Silva said...


I know you are only trying to further the discussion. Thanks. It gets boring talking to myself and people tend to stare.

Very interesting that God focused countries pass stricter abortion laws. What does that say about the United States?

I know it seems that it's tougher to overturn a law once it has been passed, but look at prohibition. It was a an amendment to the Constitution and it was ultimately repealed. I agree that the surest way to abolish abortion is to educate people and promote the saving knowledge of Christ as our Lord and Savior. That doesn't mean we can't do everything in our voting power to send a pro-life message in the mean time.

I guess it's a matter of point of view concerning the murder analogy. I was thinking about some Islamic laws that justify the killing of women for certain offenses. We call it murder, they call it justice. Some people call abortion a procedure while others call it murder. You say помидор, I say помідор. (Actually, I think those are pronounced the same, but you get the idea.)

Here's an idea. Let's forget about pro-life politics and focus on pro-Christian politics instead. Wouldn't that make more sense? Seriously.

As far as pornography goes, we don't have to criminalize it to keep old Hugh from paying the electric bill at the mansion. We just have to work on bringing the demand for it down. Child pornography law, on the other hand, is an area that is undisputed for the very fact that those laws protect innocent children. Abortion laws shouldn't be any different because abortion involves an innocent human life as well. Abortion is not just another issue on the books. It is the life of defenseless unborn babies that WILL be killed without immediate legal protection. Can we protect them all? No, but we should try. Even one life is worth our effort.

OK, here's my thought on the two pro-abortion candidates scenario. If you choose the lesser of the two evils, you still choose evil. Candidates don't just appear out of thin air. They have to be nominated and voted for. If there are enough Christians voting pro-life, then we shouldn't see that scenario in the United States. We don't stop voting, we just vote sooner. As far as Ukraine goes, same thing. Once the public opinion shifts to one of pro-life, then we will see pro-life politicians coming up through the ranks so to speak.

BTW, I think that you're an optimistic "realist". Otherwise you wouldn't be in Ukraine. It means that you have a real reason for the hope that you have. ;) So always be prepared to give a defense with meekness and fear.


Keep praying and showing the love of Christ to your friends. Love never fails!