When Being "Pro-Life" Actually Isn't
I am mad.
And in my anger, I am trying not to sin. I am trying to love, but you must hear me loud and clear, I am angry.
I am angry because the Church in America is marked by a disgusting entitlement that would liken itself to a spoiled child, rather than by the love and grace of the Creator God.
I am angry because the Church has continued to propagate this lie that we were founded a “Christian” nation. That Manifest Destiny and the Apostles Creed are seen (or at least acted upon) as equals within orthodoxy. That red, white and blue flags adorn the altars of our churches.
But I am especially angry that the Church – so well known for advocating for the sacredness of life – has put parameters around which lives matter, making themselves – not God – judge, jury and executioner.
I am mad.
Hobby Lobby continues to blow up in the news, because they refuse to potentially participate in any abortive practices by providing insurance to their employees under new government standards.
But I wonder how the committed Christians, so deeply morally opposed to the slaughter of unborn children, feel about the slaughter of innocent Afghanis and Iranians caught in the crossfire of war.
Nicholas Kristof reported in the New York Times last week that some $640 billion has been spent on the war in Afghanistan and $800 billion on Iraq. This averages out to $12,000 per household, per year funding the death of not just (and not even primarily) Iraqi and Afghani military, but thousands of innocent lives as well.
…much like those babies we evangelicals like to fight so hard for.
Friday was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. And while trafficking related to the sex industry is gaining some ground and grasping at some limelight, the realities of forced labor in manufacturing industries remains veiled. It’s inconvenient truth, so we ignore it.
And obviously, the lives of children and adults being forced to work long hours in substandard conditions with little or no pay are not as valuable as the unborn child’s. Clearly, their lives are a little less sacred.
Because if evangelicals were truly as pro-life as they think they are…
We would have no tolerance for a government that spends 1.4 trillion dollars in effort to harm and kill our Iraqi and Afghani brothers and sisters.
“Love your enemies.”
We would have no tolerance for consuming goods whose manufacturing contributes to the enslavement of millions upon millions of our brothers and sisters worldwide – many of them only children.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice…to set the oppressed free”
When the Church engages in these uproars about “rights” and cries “persecution” from the government it makes me sick. Because what is actually happening is not advocating for the lives of unborn children, or the right to bear arms, or the sanctity of marriage, what is happening is the Church is grasping at a false power it was never intended to have, and stepping on the heads of the unborn to get there.
The American Dream has led the Church to chase a lie, and we are no longer following our Shepherd but the image of a bald eagle and a conquering race.
We have bought into the lies of domination and redemptive violence hook, line and sinker.
We have climbed into bed with political parties on both sides of the aisle.
We have lost our eyes to see the wounds of our brothers and our ears have become deaf to the cries of our sisters.
And what has resulted is nothing short of a spiritual tragedy.
What is being pushed to the forefront in cases like Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A is not a desire to put “biblical principles before profits,” if this were the case they would have stopped paying taxes long ago in the name of loving their enemies and refusing to support a war that would kill them, and the product stocking their shelves would cost more than mere dollars and change thanks to horrific manufacturing conditions in China and Vietnam. What is being pushed to the forefront is how completely we, the Church, have forgotten where our power and authority comes from. We have traded the power of the Holy Spirit within our midst for a grasping attempt to achieve political power and prestige.
“Although they knew God, they didn’t honor God as God or thank God. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were darkened. While they were claiming to be wise, they made fools of themselves. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans…They traded God’s truth for a lie, and they worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” – Romans 1:21-25
You’re such a writer…this is a lot of what contributed to what I wrote you yesterday. How do we be angry about these things, yet still love the people around us who don’t see “pro-life” in the same way we do? Love you…love your heart for the oppressed. I think it looks a lot like Jesus’.
SO well said! I may use it as a jumping off-point for a post I have floating around in my head.
Do it! Jump off. Swim around in it. Can’t wait to read your thoughts!
Your new nickname is Prophetess. Because it sounds fancier than Prophet.
undeserving. but if there is glitter and track jackets involved i could be convinced to play along…
Although I would agree with the fact that a lot of Christians forget our real mission here (slave labor, trafficking, etc), I would say it’s okay for Christian people (or organizations and businesses) to stand up for or against certain parts of the law. If a Christian group says it should not have to pay for abortion or birth control as part of its health plan, that is up to the group to say. The legal battle on this should be quick and easy when compared to other issues that must be addressed, and both should be. If you look at Hobby Lobby’s website, they have a list of ministries that they support. Almost all of them are about reaching more people for Christ. If you take one of those groups, like Wycliffe, and say that they aren’t doing enough as a group to stop trafficking b/c they are instead focused on reaching people for Christ, that’s kind of unfair. Not every Christian group or person can attack every aspect of the world, whether from a “stop the sin” (like IJM) or a “get people saved” (Wycliffe, missions groups, most churches) standpoint. Each group is doing its own thing to get people saved, both in the present and for eternity.
During that time, I think it is each group’s right and responsibility to stand up for what’s right. Making Christian groups pay for birth control if they don’t want to? Wrong. Telling the world as much? Totally fine. If Hobby Lobby isn’t allowed to protest this law, then no church should be allowed to protest any law deemed “inconvenient” ever. For instance, no trying to get prayer back in school since time would be better spent trying to stop trafficking. Too many Christians say that others aren’t doing enough or doing the right thing based on their own missions and goals, and a lot of people have been up on Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-a b/c they think they are wasting time and money. That’s their prerogative. To attack them for standing up for their rights, and the rights of possibly the majority of their employees, just brings more division in a church that is supposed to be universal but has more denominations than the U.S. has states. Perhaps we should support Hobby Lobby in their healthcare quest, if we agree with it, so that they can have more time to focus on the rest of their mission to bring the gospel to the world through their partner groups. And if we don’t agree with their healthcare quest, leave them be. To attack them for it is the equivalent of yelling at another Christian who says Jesus rose at 6:01 on Easter morning, and you say 6:02. Yes, really. We have a lot of gray areas in Christianity, but there are a lot of black and white issues too. One big black and white issue is that we are supposed to support AND LOVE each other at all times, and in rare cases bring a couple elders or even the whole church to talk to someone who is sinning. Based on biblical context, I don’t think that the elder/church thing could even apply to this case.
I understand the anger that these injustices are not stopped, and how you think that these groups could do so much more to contribute to your desire to end slave labor/trafficking. But they might feel the same way about you and their desire to translate the Bible into every language in the world to get people saved. Priorities do not equal correctness; priorities come from individuality and the fact that God made you to do “you” things. There are a ton of groups that have not made media coverage that have the same issue. Not all of them are Christian groups. Don’t be mad at Hobby Lobby. Either a) help them get through their healthcare thing, then ask them to help with your/continue their mission, b) tell them how telling the govt. to not make them pay for abortions is unbiblical (nobody would be able to prove that) and that they should help your/continue their mission, or c) leave them alone and continue on your mission. There’s so much actual wrong in the world, and we waste all of our time yelling at each other.
Sorry for being wordy. I think your focus on injustice is correct. I think their focus on evangelism is correct. I think their focus on healthcare is correct. And nobody, except for some of those not found in Jesus, can say that either of you is wrong and have their own moral ground to back it up. Those found in Jesus might say someone is wrong, but they’d have no biblical basis that is solid enough to call the other Christian a sinner.
I completely understand what you are saying and agree with most of your principles. I’m a little concerned as to your numerous references to Trafficking and Slavery. I work in SE Asia and here in the US directly on this issue. First, let me say that there are more abortions and forced miscarriages ( abortions ) happening in this arena then are being considered just here in America. So, as a Christian if you are pro-life, participating in, or not considering it should not really be an option. That is of course if you put your country over your faith. Now, The issue with Hobby Lobby specifically is not that they don’t support efforts through Charity over missionary work …. the issue is that they profit directly from it’s abuses in profits. So they actually financially support abortion, rape, slavery, trafficking, torture much more than they give in Charity missionary work. I’ve been republican, democrat and am now independent because I like to research truth and make my own political decisions. Although I agree they may bring any legal issue they desire before the courts, I do find these efforts quite disingenuous. The Conservative Christian Republican party over the past ten years before the O’bama administration actually fully supported the provision of contraceptives through health insurance carriers. Mostly on a State to State level but consistently amongst it’s leaders and Presidential candidates from Huckabee to Romney. Christian Senators and Congressman shave actually specifically supported bills to both contraceptives and erectile dysfunction drugs. We can just look at the size of their families on average to realize they are doing more than just having sex several planned days a month, as if that ever worked or was healthy for any relationship. If contraceptives are ungodly and a sin, then so are the little blue men want sex for hours pills, condemns and medical contraception. Hobby Lobby and their organization discuss none of the male contraceptives including surgery which have been and will be included in their healthcare. So according to their practical application, women need to control their libidos to be Godly ( twice a month ), men should be able to have sex when ever they want it with and without the possibility of conception. Just how does that work in a healthy Christian marriage except to have as many children as God gives you in a normal sex life. No controlling Gods will for conception by condemns, cure for dysfunction, or surgeries on men or women. They then advocate large family’s averging 6-7 ( thats averaging now, think about it ). The Green’s of Hobby Lobby supported previous contraception laws made specifically to provide them, and I would say they themselves use contraceptives. So yes, I find much of what they say and do is for profit … even greed some might comment as sin. Is it ok because they give to missionary work ?, well, Jesus was pretty specific about abusing children, even the Father’s unforgiving nature on the issue, let alone the stone to be hung around our necks. FYI, the average ( think about average ) of trafficked persons is 12 years of age. The average age of first abortions / forced miscarriages is 13-14. Children 14-16 years of age who become pregnant will have the mother, child, or both die from 40-50% of the births, or sooner. Heh, I don’t agree with everything this article says, but lets not throw out the babies with the facts.
I love your blogs Meg but I have to agree with Walker here. I am against slavery, human trafficking, abortion, government interference. But my calling right now is to work with those who are addicted (slaves) to drugs. If we all focused on one thing where would we be. Call people to your cause but don’t shoot those that have a similar mind set as you.
Thank you! Great post! I have been frustrated reading about the Hobby Lobby case from the beginning. For one thing – I don’t think it’s so much about them being pro-life as much as saving money on insurance – and not wanting to follow the laws of the country it is a part of. Become a non-profit then if you don’t want to follow the laws. We would scream if an owner who was Jehovah’s Witness or Scientologist denied their employees blood transfusions, birth control is one of those things that gets really touchy and expensive for companies though.
The thing is after several conversations with several Christian doctors, they don’t believe the drugs that HL would be required to include are abortive at all. They have said that if those were taken by a woman who was already pregnant it would not change the state of the pregnancy at all and that HL seems to have them either confused with a different drug or doesn’t understand biology very well. I don’t know, I am not a biologist either, but the literature they showed me makes sense.
I live out of the country (currently in Japan) how quickly the American church – forgets what is outside its line of vision is disturbing. Here more than anything, you are right on!
[…] I caused a bit of a stir by questioning whether or not we really know what it means to be “pro-life.” […]