Who isn’t “pro-life?”
Really. Let’s take a look at that. I don’t know many people who are not pro-life. We like life. Some of us even love it. The closer we get to the end of it, the more we seem to treasure it. Isn’t everybody “pro-life?” I don’t understand why so many Christians consider being “pro-life” a justification for how they choose who represents them in government. They seem willing to forgive any number of other sins like adultery, lying, and cheating if someone promises to select a “pro-life” judge. They are willing to ignore racist and sexist comments, put up with cyber bullying, and endorse crime and corruption on the highest levels, if they get a little something in return. God tells us all sins are equally horrible, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” yet a portion of humanity has decided that isn’t so. Because, after all, life trumps everything else.
If only that were so.
I wish being “pro-life” was exactly what it sounded like – someone who cares about LIFE! In all its glory. Because that sounds pretty Christian to me. Pro-life. What a wonderful way to live. But even in this, certain Christians are showing their hypocrisy. I’m going to quote now from an article I read about four years ago, but it seems even more appropriate now.
“You see, it’s not that you’re really pro-life… I can tell by how often your heavy burden for the sanctity of life evaporates upon delivery. In so many cases this compassion really has a nine-month expiration date, as if life begins at conception but ends upon leaving the birth canal. The completion of that third trimester is actually the shelf life of your passionate regard for much of the living.
Because if that life you say you so treasure, one day converts to Islam, you label it dangerous, you see it as a threat, you applaud suggestions of its expulsion, you deny it open worship.
If that life eventually comes out as LGBTQ, you condemn its soul, harass it in your workplace and church, try to prevent its marriage, tell it where and when it can use a public bathroom. You bully it and drive it to suicide.
If that life has brown skin and wears baggy pants and gets gunned down during a traffic stop, you not only have little grief over its loss, but readily blame it for its own execution.
If that life is strapped to a prison gurney and pumped full of drugs that will cease its lungs from expanding while its terrified mind comprehends it all, you celebrate the occasion as justice being served — after a last meal you resent having to pay for.
If that life has to endure its formative years in overcrowded, grossly underfunded public schools, you tell it to “pull itself up by its own bootstraps,” while nestled in the cloistered, privileged gated community of a Suburbia where bootstraps come with a birth certificate.
If that life has working parents who can’t make a living wage, you label it a lazy, unproductive drain on society always looking for handouts and trying to work the system to its advantage.”
Life needs to have more meaning than that.
We should be doing more to care for one another from the cradle to the grave, not just for the nine months a baby is in the womb, but for its whole life. How is it that our country has one of the highest mortality rates among like nations for pregnant mothers? Out of 10 similar countries, we are ranked 10th and overall ranked 55th. If “life” is so important to us why aren’t we better at it? Why is it that we have by far the highest number of gun deaths than any other economically advanced country? We are second overall in total number of gun deaths at 37,200 behind only Brazil. In the show, The West Wing, Toby Ziegler says, “I do know that if you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Australia, you’ve got a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year and they had 112. Do you think it’s because Americans are more homicidal by nature? Or do you think it’s because those guys have gun control laws?” I find it ironic those who label themselves as pro-life are often the staunchest opponents to universal healthcare and gun control. Why? Wouldn’t it make sense for someone who proclaims to be pro-life to want those things? The list of hypocrisy is much longer than that. What about refusing to wear face masks? How can you claim to be pro-life and refuse to wear a face mask? Certainly, you wouldn’t tell the world not to worry about the coronavirus. And we wonder why people are leaving the church. It’s hard to reconcile this kind of hypocrisy with the moral high-ground so many Christians like to believe they have. Worst of all, it goes against what Jesus taught.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Whatever you did for the least of these.
Makes you think maybe Jesus cared about EVERYBODY. Not just the ones who could “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” He cared about people who were homeless; people who were impoverished; people who were in prison; Jesus cared about the sick and those who were food insecure. And Jesus was critical of those who looked down on others, who treated others without regard for human dignity. He overturned the tables in the temple because of the money lenders and merchants trying to make a profit off of God in a Holy space. He often criticized the elders and religious leaders for their lack of compassion and rigid ways of thinking. And he warns us, right there in this passage, that if we behave in the same way, we can expect no different. “…[W]hatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” We need to treat people as God created them. As Children of God.
The topic of abortion is complex to say the least.
Those who argue that keeping abortion legal leads to more abortions are ignorant of the truth. Today the abortion rate is lower now than it was since BEFORE Roe vs. Wade was argued in the Supreme Court. There isn’t this widespread use of abortion as birth control as people feared. Instead, today we have more education. We have more options. We have more resources available to more people. And that’s really the key to success in any endeavor. Educate not discriminate. Convince not coerce. If we want lasting change, we have to win the hearts and minds of people, not take away their freedom to choose. There’s so much more to this debate than can go into a 20-minute message, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that issues of race and class and healthcare all play major factors in how this plays out. The bottom line is if you want to advocate on behalf of life, the “pro-life” movement is the wrong way to go about it. Instead focus on making life better for everyone. Focus on treating life as sacred – ALL life, not just the ones you pick and choose. Ultimately, the choice is yours as it should be, but I hope as we reflect on what it means to be Christian during this election season, we take time to pause and pray. Give God a chance to guide your vote and to guide your life. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 In 1973 when Roe was decided the rate was 13/1000 women aged 15-44 and the ratio was 196/1000 live births. In 2016 the rate was 11.6 and the ratio was 186. Both lower than before Roe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_statistics_in_the_United_States
 For a really good Christian doctor’s perspective, you might want to read this article: https://billmoyers.com/story/christian-doctor-fighting-for-reproductive-rights/