I had dinner with a friend last evening, a woman whose acquaintance I made because of our shared interest in the pro-life movement. She is a Christian woman who made some very hard choices when she was much younger. She had not one, but two, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and in both cases she chose to carry her babies to term. I have tremendous respect for what she did, it took incredible courage to do this, not once but twice as I said.
Over the past two years, she has become increasingly aware of the extent of abortion in our society and it troubles her deeply. She sees this primarily as a spiritual issue: that is, the evil one is intent on destroying God's creation and women are being deeply harmed by their choice to kill their children.
As is often the case, the things that are simmering in my mind over the day don't really come to light until I wake in the middle of the night and there they are: circling round and round in my head, disturbing my sleep, and causing grief. And grief it was.
Yesterday, I read a blog by an African American woman who was relating that the exit by the Obamas from the White House was a deeply sorrowful time for her. I understand that, I know that this is hard for her and for many Americans. What I cannot understand is her statements about being a Christian and even calling upon the name of Jesus Christ and then in another line stating that she will support the women's march for bodily autonomy and that she will support Planned Parenthood.
I am sorry, but you cannot say that you are Christian and be a supporter of abortion. Call it what it is: abortion is not a woman's right to make choices for her own body, it is the deliberate ending of a distinct human life that happens to reside inside your body. What part of the fifth commandment does she not understand?
I debated whether or not to post a comment on her blog; in retrospect I think I should not have. However I did, something to the effect that I couldn't support women's rights over their bodies when they deny the rights of the fetus to his/her body. I didn't really expect a reply but I got one. I got a rebuff and that was what woke me in the night. I was told that she knew my views on this subject and that she didn't wish to hear them at this time, that the only time I seemed to comment was when it was this subject (not true by the way).
It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I came undone. It brought me to tears and I tried to understand why. And then I realised what had happened.
Over the past ten years, I have felt more and more marginalised because of my pro-life beliefs. I began to be active in the pro-life movement in 2005 and in 2008, I actually closed down my internet business in order to lead the 40 Days for Life vigil here in Halifax. My life changed dramatically. Beginning in 2005, I read everything I could lay my hands on, I went to every pro-life discussion, I started a pro-life group in my church, my activities became centered around this issue. I was convinced that people needed to know about this, just as I had needed to know about this.
But then the rejections began. At first, they didn't bother me. The overall apathy of the clergy to the 40 Days vigil became the norm; I was at first surprised but then came to just accept it as the way things were. But then the criticisms started to come from fellow pro-lifers, people whom I thought shared my feelings on this. They were sometimes subtle, as when I approached my priest to ask for prayers for someone and he shied away, saying "I know what you want to say". He had thought I was coming to ask for him to do something for pro-life. Another priest avoided me because he had seen me at the vigil and he disagreed with people who seemed to be "one-issue" people. Relatives said that too, that they disagreed with "single-issue voters".
One particularly hurtful criticism was the one from a close friend who told me that I always seemed to have my guns blazing. As if I was to find some other way to communicate the horror of abortion so that it wasn't quite so horrifying.
The Baptist minister who openly criticised me for judging women who had had abortions. It turned out that two elders in his church threatened to leave if he brought up the subject of abortion in church. He projected that onto me and I was told to be quiet.
One wonderful minister and his wife who came alongside me in the vigil were fired by their church. I can't say that it was their participation in the pro-life vigil that caused this, but I would say it was probably one of their strong beliefs that got them ousted from their church. Some Christians don't really want the real stuff of Christianity; they want the religion of "nice".
After five years of the vigil, one priest who had always taken part, said that he would not do so any longer as it wasn't accomplishing anything. Another person said the same thing and he parted company. Another man said that he felt Pope Francis wouldn't approve of standing openly against abortion as it would hurt women. Whenever these things happened, I was made to feel that somehow I had taken the wrong position on this issue and that is why they were leaving. I always took it personally; I tried to slough it off but it hurt. And the hurts grew.
But last night, as my new friend was asking what could she do in this city to promote life, I felt that there was nothing that I could direct her to. There are no pro-life efforts here anymore; there is nothing going on here. No one is interested, no one wants to step out on this any longer, the issue seems to be settled.
This is just so wrong. We have come to accept society's murder of the innocents. We kill our children because they interfere with our lifestyle. How can this possibly co-exist with being a Christian?
When I consider your heavens, the work of your hand, the moon and the stars,which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Psalm 8: 3-8
For those who claim that Jesus never condemned abortion or said anything about it, I would say he didn't need to. The Old Testament was full of references to how the Jewish people were to separate themselves from the ways of the pagans around them, one of those practises being child sacrifice. Respecting unborn life was already a tenet of the Jewish religion; Jesus did not have to enforce it; it comes under the fifth commandment.
They forgot the God who saved them; who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them - had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. - Psalm 106: 21-23
... they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshipped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. - Psalm 106: 35-47For those still not convinced that Jesus does not condemn abortion, just regard the birth of Christ. While he was still within his mother Mary's womb, his cousin John (John the Baptist) also within his mother's womb recognized him as the Saviour who was to come.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy." Luke 1: 41-44
One unborn child recognizing another unborn child as the long-expected Messiah. If you take the Gospels as your book of faith, surely this is God's statement on pre-natal life. He could have sent his son without the whole ordeal of pregnancy, but he didn't. Jesus came the very same way everyone of us comes into this world, through the womb of a human mother. I think God has made a profound statement about pregnancy and pre-natal life when he chose that for his own son.
There is a profound darkness over our society. And one of the causes of that darkness is the killing of our own children. How can we expect God to bless us when we shred the lives of our brothers and sisters whom he has brought into existence?
I know that abortion is a difficult question; I know that women facing unplanned pregnancies are in difficult situations; I would never deny that they are torn apart inside when facing a crisis like this. But killing is never an answer to our problems. Most unintended pregnancies are the result of sinful relationships, this is what no one wants to state. But if we claim to be Christians, we must acknowledge our sinfulness. Otherwise, why did Jesus end up on a cross? There would be no need for the passion and crucifixion of Jesus if we did not need to be redeemed.
Marching for women's rights cannot include the right to kill one's baby. No one has the right to end another person's life, no matter how that life came to exist. One sin does not justify committing another. Violence and death is not the solution to our being able to live our lives as we wish.
We must recognize sin in our lives; we must repent, we must be willing to let God change us from our sinful selves to become righteous with him.
Yes, I feel shut out by all the people who have told me to be quiet on this issue, that they just don't want to hear it anymore, that they know what I have to say and please just go away with this. Well I can't, the blood of Abel cries out to God for justice. The blood of the unborn cry out to God and he is not deaf. I don't know how long it will take for people to repent of this crime against humanity, perhaps they/we won't. If that is the case, justice will be meted out. And we simply cannot be blessed as a nation if we continue to sacrifice our sons and daughters on the altar of convenience.
For those who like a video format, my daughter just sent me this link, the very moment I posted this entry. The timing seems like divine coincidence.