The Church has been involved quite a bit in regards to the conversation on abortion. It is a controversial topic on which everyone has an opinion. Unfortunately, the pro-life and pro-choice sides are having two completely different conversations. One advocates the sanctity of life while the other advocates the importance of choice. One is trying to protect the rights of the unborn while the other is trying to protect the rights of those already living. The conversation is obviously a deeper one than just “yes” or “no.”
But sometimes the Church treats the conversation as a “yes” or “no” conversation…myself included.
Most of the conversation, for Christians, surrounding abortion has been, “when does life begin?” We propose that life begins at conception. I am not going to argue with that. Therefore, we consider it murder to abort a life. We debate this with people who are pro-choice and we never back down from our stance. I’m not proposing we do.
I am proposing that we change the conversation on abortion.
I think that much of our conversation on abortion has been so centered on protecting the life in the womb, that we have neglected the life when it is born. I remember John Perkins once saying that he was more pro-life than most Christians…because he was pro-life after the baby was born. My observation is that many of us, like Perkins proposes, are pro-life…until birth. Even the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are misleading because they don’t really paint an accurate portrait of either side. This opens up a conversation on labels that I don’t want to get into during this post.
What if instead of having debates about when life begins, Christians began having conversations about preserving life? I am not saying that Christians should back down from their stance that life begins at conception. Instead of focusing on that, what would happen if we added to the conversation aspects of preservation?
Conversations on adoption reform?
Conversations on quality of life for underprivileged children?
Conversations on parental upbringing?
Conversations on equality for all children, despite what they are born into?
I honestly believe that we, as Christ-followers, believe in these tenants. I just don’t think that we are talking about them as much as we should be.
We have seen how far arguments get us. It just gets everyone disgruntled and frustrated at the other side. We paint each other as enemies — when, as Christ-followers, we are told that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Could our fight against abortion have become more of a struggle against flesh and blood? Are we fighting against something or for something.
I believe there is an extreme difference. If we believe we are pro-life, then let us begin fighting for life…even once that life leaves the womb. It’s easy to say, “it’s a sin to kill an unborn child.” It’s more difficult to say, “I believe it is such a travesty that I will be willing to care for your child if you are willing to give life to him/her.”
Remember, where death was once seen, Christ brought life. Where hopelessness was once a grim reality, Christ brought the beauty of hope.
Instead of picket signs, let’s hold up letters to our senators advocating a restructuring of the adoption process.
Instead of yelling, let’s encourage parents in the upbringing of their children — both born and unborn.
Instead of proclaiming that people are killing an innocent life, let’s advocate for the underprivileged children that receive less-than-adequate care.
Instead of complaining about the government rulings on this being unfair, let’s fight for the equal treatment of children, no matter what they are born into.
Where there once was death, let us bring life.
I don’t advocate we back down from our beliefs; although I am certain that many will believe that I do. I advocate we change our message to one that promotes life to its fullest — life as Christ intended it. I advocate we shift our language to one that provides opportunities.
Will it change anything? The optimistic side of me would like to believe that it will. The more realistic side of me says it may not. However, I do believe that it will move the church away from being seen as something that’s anti-abortion and something that is truly pro-life. One that protects life. One that preserves life. One that fights for life. One that moves mountains so that life may take root.
We show how serious we are about this issue by what we are doing to protect and fight for the life of the children once they are born. Where some see how death is the only option, may we show them how beautiful life can be. Because in all reality, some of these women are in dire situations where death seems like the humane thing to do. True, some aren’t in that situation. However, let us fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Truth be told, my heart breaks for those who believe abortion is the only option. Perhaps it is because I do believe there is much work that we, as a Church, should be doing to make life the only option. Inequality, poverty, injustice, and abuse will only fully end when Christ establishes His Kingdom on this earth. But we can begin to make that Kingdom evident in our fight for life…and life that exists far after the child is born.
We have fought for so long. I don’t think we are done. I don’t think we should be done. But I do believe that we need to be fighting for life instead of against abortion. For in the fight for life, we show how much we are really against abortion.