Monday, August 18, 2008

The Pro-Life Myth

I would like to challenge fellow Christians to take an objective, and Biblical, look at what is known as the "pro-life" movement. The origin of the "pro-life" movement has been the the right wing Christian extremists who seek to use fear and scare tactics in their culture war to drive a wedge between evangelicals and their political rivals. Which party is truly the "pro-life" party? The party that symbolically says it is "pro-life" yet does nothing to reduce abortions? Consider this article; Abortion on rise under Bush's economic policy:

Under President Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed," said Glen Stassen, Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, a leading evangelical divinity school.
Using data from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the Guttmacher Institute, and reporting by individual states, Stassen found that U.S. abortion rates declined 17.4 per cent in the 1990s to a 24-year low when Bush took office. Many expected that downward trend to continue under the conservative president, but Stassen found the opposite: 52,000 more abortions occurred in 2002 than would have been expected under the pre-2000 conditions.

Responding to Stassen's study, Sojourners magazine editor Jim Wallis stated, "We have seen once again in this campaign the issue of abortion used as a partisan wedge rather than having a serious discussion on how to act to reduce the number of abortions."

Stassen's study found credible linkages between economic hardship and abortion. Two-thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child; half of women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate and co-breadwinner; and women of childbearing age are over represented in the 5.2 million additional persons without health coverage since 2000.

"If we are to be truly pro-life, we must focus on real people and the conditions that lead women to seek abortions," said Wallis. "Jobs, healthcare, and a living income must be part of a pro-life agenda."

I often debate fellow Christians on the issue of Abortion. Here are a few issues I have:

You want to outlaw abortion? Okay, how many unwanted children have you adopted? Exactly how much money have you donated to struggling and impoverished mothers raising children? Why are you not handing out contraceptives in schools and elsewhere; a PROVEN way of reducing unwanted pregnancies? Care to put your money where your mouth is?

You call yourself “pro-life” yet many so-called pro-lifers support the death penalty, or the pro-death wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and what have you done to end genocide in Darfur? Or do you just think life begins and conception and ends at birth?

You think abortion is murder? Even though God doesn’t? According to Old Testament law the penalty for causing a miscarriage is not equal to that of murdering somebody. Why do you believe this un-Biblical idea? Because the right wing extremists told you so?

Why do you support candidates who do NOTHING to reduce abortions, like George W. Bush and his good buddy John McSame? Fact: abortions have been UP under Bush. Obama has shown more compassion on the issue, and has a plan to reduce unwanted pregnancies and help struggling mothers.

We won’t see a major decline in abortions, regardless if it is legalized or not, until the church offers a better solution. I think too much emphasis is put on banning abortion (and we see how well banning something worked out with Prohibition and the War on Drugs). Not enough emphasis is places on contraceptive, adoption, financial support for struggling mothers, etc. Some of the right wing extremist Christians seem to just want to outlaw abortions and dump a few boxes of free coat hangers in the inner city and smugly walk away. To paraphrase what somebody mentioned on another blog:

We need to stop asking ourselves IF girls SHOULD get abortions, and start asking ourselves WHY women feel like they NEED abortions. We need solidarity with the struggling and broken, we need to be a community of hope the offers Christ's love to the low and despised. We do not need to be a partisan attack group who protests the actions of the struggling and broken. We need to rethink what it means to be "pro-life" by putting the love of Jesus first in our actions.

As a Bible-believing Christian, I am pro-life. To me, that means I am against war, against the death penalty, against discrimination, against destroying Creation through pollution and oil addiction, in favor of welcoming the alien, reducing unwanted pregnancies, and against policies that lead to violence and poverty around the world. Life doesn’t begin at conception and end at birth. (Matthew Chapters 5 & 25, Luke Chapter 6, Deuteronomy 10:18, etc.)


thoughtcounts Z said...

Your perspective is really interesting. I have a lot of respect for people who make a point of being pro-life in as many aspects as possible rather than seeing it as a narrowly contextualized issue of abortion.

The point you make about Old Testament punishments is one I've never heard before, though it's extremely relevant! People should bring it up more often. Republicans are trying to pass laws making the murder of a pregnant woman count as two murders, etc. in order to set precedent for declaring abortion to be equal to murder -- someone should be loudly pointing out that this is not the Biblical ruling on the issue.

The Maze Monster said...

there is nothing 'pro-life' about the god of the bible. he kills millions more than the devil and the devil is supposed to be the bad guy, ya know.

the god of the bible is constantly killing killing killing killing. in fact, he wants you to kill people too!

Here is some bible for ya!

13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

- - - So shouldn't you be out there killing people who are trying to tear you from God? I mean, he is commanding it... right?

How very pro-life of him.