Original Opinion Piece for Thursday, October 23 (’14)
I am an abolitionist.
When I say that, I am often met with a confused look and a response of, “So Ashley, you’re against slavery?” Well, yes, but that’s not what I mean. I mean something more, but I admit, the correlation is intentional.
Both slavery and abortion make one human being the property of another. Both are based on the principle that Man has ultimate authority in determining which humans have value and how much value they have. American slavery was rooted in this God-hating mentality and resulted in the kidnapping, sale, and dehumanization of hundreds of thousands of Africans. The damage was far reaching and still touches us deeply to this day. The work of abolition does not begin or end with one individual atrocity, though the term “abolitionist” is fairly modern. Every age of human history has brought with it newer and deeper manifestations of human evil—unique horrors that expose the incomprehensible effects of sin. Every Age has also had its abolitionists: those who rose up in the providence of God to slay the dragon of the day by shining the light of God’s truth into the darkness.
In our nation alone, about 3000 children are legally murdered by abortion every single day. Two children die every minute. 56 million human beings have been robbed of life since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The language used by those who condone this practice is centered on denying the personhood of pre -born children in an effort to absolve women of accountability for their choice to take the life of an innocent human being. Children are denied their right to life so that women can claim a “right” to murder. It’s the same old sin, but this is our dragon, and the past 40 years of failure have proven that our strategy and our tactics desperately need to change if we are going to win this battle.
The way that abolitionists approach the evil of abortion differs quite drastically from the approach of the mainstream pro-life movement. Instead of pursing the incremental reduction of abortion and increased restrictions on abortion we call for the complete and immediate abolition of it. We believe that human life is sacred at all stages, regardless of the circumstances. Because of this, we are unwilling to allow the murder of some children in order to save others. We do not develop our strategy as pragmatists, but as disciples of Christ who trust the power of the Spirit and the Word of God.
The ideology of Abolitionism is rooted in the gospel of Christ. We know that abortion is sin—a symptom of the spiritual death that we have all inherited from Adam. Apart from Christ, we are hopelessly enslaved to our innate depravity. He is the One who sets us free. Our aim is to bring this culture of death and self-worship — a culture that openly condones child sacrifice — into direct conflict with the gospel that saves and transforms. This is our only hope. It is our only chance at victory. So we plead with those dragging innocents to the slaughter, “Turn away, repent, and be reconciled to God!” We plead not only for the souls and the lives of the unborn, but for the souls and the lives of those who approve of, and participate in, murder.
In my short time as an Abolitionist, I have encountered various responses from professed Christians. The experience has been eye-opening. Many people appreciate the sentiment but disagree with our approach. They are often opposed to our use of graphic images and the fact that we are willing to call abortion exactly what it is – “murder”. It has always been interesting to me that some people are more offended by the use of graphic images than they are by the very practice that results in such carnage.
I hate to say it, but in this way, some people in the Church unintentionally unite themselves with the pro-abortion community by demanding that the truth remain hidden behind the closed doors of these ‘clinics’. People also fail to see that, by calling abortion “murder”, we are agreeing with the law of God and we are reminding people of their accountability before Him whose standards are absolute and authoritative. We do so in the hope that the Spirit of God will convict and grant repentance to those who hear us. We proclaim the cross of Christ, but we realize that in order for someone to see the cross as valuable they must first understand that they are in desperate need of God’s mercy.
Out of every response I’ve received when discussing abolition, one particular response stands out as the most perplexing and the most common, “I appreciate what you’re doing. I just don’t think that this is my calling.” This statement is the primary catalyst behind this blog post.
“…I just don’t think that this is my calling.”
Ironically, this was my mentality when I first reached out to an Abolitionist in my area to “see if it was for me”. Looking back on that moment, all I can do is shake my head and chuckle. Here’s why:
Innocent, voiceless, and defenseless children are being legally slaughtered by their own parents to the tune of 3000 deaths per day. 3000 image-bearers of God were dismembered and disposed of today. This is happening in broad daylight. And to make matters worse, this is taking place right down the street from many of our churches. Right down the street from our houses and our places of employment, and most of the world is shuffling by—shuffling in-and-out of these places of death, feeding the dragon with their indifference and their advocacy. Souls are perishing.
How can any of us say we require a “special calling” to oppose this consistently and actively? How can we say, as followers of Christ, that we require a “special calling” to obey the commands of scripture?
Expose evil: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11, ESV)
Be a voice for the voiceless: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9, ESV)
Deliver those being taken away to death: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay man according to His work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12, ESV)
Visit the afflicted and abandoned in their time of need: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27, ESV)
I suspect that any claims we could make to personal exemption from the fight against abortion are likely anchored in fear, apathy, and selfishness more than they are in the leading of the Spirit. I cannot definitively judge the hearts of men; each of us will stand or fall before our Master alone. However, I know my own heart and am convinced that we all have quite a bit in common. I often wonder if we, as advocates for life, lovers of the law of God, and ambassadors of the gospel of Christ truly believe that these lives are as valuable and worthy of protection as our own.
If you believe this with me, let’s find a way to do more. Let’s find a way to fight harder. We have already lost so many. This is not the time for timidity.
Becoming active in the fight for the abolition of abortion will not look the same for everyone, but we all have our place in the battle. Some will join with a few like-minded people from their local church to stand outside of an abortuary and plead for the lives of the children inside. Others will grab informational pamphlets to hand out at high schools, in parks, and on street corners. Many will choose to be more intentional about leaving a “drop card” at the gas pump, at the check stand on a shopping trip, or on the table (with a nice big tip) the next time they visit their favorite restaurant. Some will spend an afternoon hanging posters in their community. Others will use their social media platform to consistently speak out against this atrocity.
No matter what that next step looks like for you, please, prayerfully take it. Do not wait for the courage, or the time, or the resources. Trust God to provide. The time for action is now.
This is my humble plea and my constant hope—that Christ’s beloved Church will stand in unity against this atrocity, not only in word, but in deed.
Church, you have been called out by your King for such a time as this. No fear, no compromise, no retreat until we abolish human abortion.
Note: All artwork used was borrowed from the Abolitionists of Abolish Human Abortion (AHA).
You can find the AHA website here.
The 5 tenets of Abolition here.
A map of Abolitionist societies here.
An invaluable FAQ resource on abortion here.
And the AHA gear store here.