Friday, January 22, 2016
The Legacy of Bloodshed: Roe v. Wade After 43 Years
"There are times when abortion is necessary. I know that. Like when you have a black and a white...." -President Richard Nixon, 1973
"Frankly, I had thought at the time 'Roe' was decided, there was concern about population growth, and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of." -Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2009
43 years ago today, nine black-robed justices handed down a decision that would forever change the moral landscape of the United States. Since that time, more than 57 million human beings created in God's image and likeness have been murdered within the confines of their mother's wombs.
Is that too strong a statement? Is it too negative a tone? Is it too culturally divisive to employ such incendiary language? Well, let me ask it this way. If something is bad, do you use good words to describe it?
I understand the moral complexities that come into play where abortion is concerned. As a pastor of 23 years, I have more experience counseling women through the gut-wrenching decisions our society forces them to make than any politician who has ever voted on this issue. I've sat with the single mom whose budget is stretched thin. I've sat with the woman who has just been told her baby has downs syndrome, or some other dreaded, chronic disease. I've also sat with those who chose to have an abortion. Women who have submitted to this procedure are 34% more likely to suffer from anxiety, 110% more prone to alcohol abuse, and 155% more likely to take their own lives, and I have seen the flesh and blood evidence of those statistics in my office. Anyone who automatically equates being "pro-choice" with "pro-women" is either an idiot or a liar.
The emotional havoc that comes as a result of this now four-decade long culture of death should come as a surprise to no one. Regardless of the circumstances that gave rise to each decision to terminate a pregnancy, each abortion is the elimination of a human life. This is not a matter of philosophical or even theological debate. It is plain science. Life begins at conception. And for the past 43 years our nation has been busy eliminating more than 57 million of those lives.
Let that number sink in, because its greater than the current populations of Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming combined. To kill that many people over a 42 year period, you must terminate a pregnancy every 20 seconds--and not stop killing for an entire generation.
Meanwhile, God continues to speak clearly. "You shall not murder."
Anyone who objectively observes this bloodshed must come to the inescapable conclusion that abortion is not at heart a political issue. It isn't even a philosophical issue. It is, quite simply, Satanic. In John 8:44, Jesus states that Satan's natural language is to lie, and his natural actions are to murder. Anywhere there is deception and bloodshed on a massive scale, you can be sure our enemy is involved. Whether it is Herod's murderous rage through a blood-soaked Bethlehem, Hitler's merciless and genocidal paranoia, or the lies of a U.S. President seeking to cast this issue as one of granting women "safe, affordable health care," death and deception can always be found holding hands.
Politicians who hide their moral cowardice with trite phrases like "reproductive freedom" and "women's rights" betray with their own incoherence the unvarnished reality that "I believe in a woman's right to choose" is half a sentence. If you finish that sentence honestly, then what I've seen in the counseling room over the past 23 years begins to make perfect sense. And this bloodshed has happened on the watch of political leaders of both parties who value obfuscation over truth. A generation ago, C.S. Lewis graphically yet accurately described the character of such leaders:
In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
Satan has lied to us by telling us that there is a quick way out of a tough situation. He has convinced us that the presence of moral complexity means that there is no moral clarity.
Meanwhile, God continues to speak with abundant moral clarity. "You shall not murder."
Since 1973, we've been told that this was an issue of women's rights and freedom of choice. We believed that lie, and the result is roughly 29 million females aborted--and having no "choice" in the matter. We were told that abortion would be, in part, a solution to supposed population control that would result in great financial costs to society. We believed that lie, and the result is a workforce that lacks roughly 30 million workers who would be contributing to a social safety net that wouldn't be under such financial constraints with their contributions.
And as these ripple effects of our bloodshed continue to puzzle us, God continues to call out and say "You shall not murder."
We wonder why there is such seeming disregard for human life in society. Why are women increasingly victims of violence? Why does it seem that men are increasingly unable to control their lusts? Why do they eagerly seek sex but avoid marriage and commitment? Why do they think its OK to abandon their children to poverty and all its effects? Why all the senseless killing in our schools? From whence comes this beastly ambivalence toward the sanctity of human life?
Once again, God connects the dots with this command. "You shall not murder."
Our nation is swimming in the blood of its own innocent, and we do so because we have believed the lies of our enemy, who wants to see the bloodshed continue. There is one way to stop it. Turn from the enemy. Stop being complicit in his schemes, and return to Jesus.
This is the great news of the Gospel--that even hands covered with blood can be forgiven. The single mom who killed her child because she thought there was no other way can have peace. The punk who drove his girlfriend to the Planned Parenthood clinic because he wanted pleasure without responsibility can be forgiven. The doctor who made millions off of baby's bones can be forgiven. And the nation guilty of purging 57 million of its most vulnerable citizens--largely for the mere sake of convenience--can be forgiven, healed, and restored. But the bloodshed has to stop. We cannot find healing in the one true God while still sacrificing our children to Molech.
43 years. 57 million children. One simple command.
"You shall not murder."