Over the last two years I’ve tried to become a more informed person when it comes to sociopolitical issues. I’ve also tried to make sure that my biblical views match up with my social/political stances. Sadly, I learned pretty early into this process that neither of our political parties has a platform that lines up perfectly (or even well, honestly) with my Christian convictions. I could write about all sorts of issues to illustrate my point such as welfare or immigration, but abortion is the issue that bothers me the most.
I genuinely was not convinced that any of the two hundred presidential candidates last year accurately reflected my views. I am pro-life. Of all my political stances, this is the one I feel most strongly about. Obviously this puts me at odds with the Democratic Party’s pro-choice stance.
I’m of the opinion that fetuses are human beings and are entitled to the same rights as I am. I believe that the unborn person is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated as such. So I’m a Republican, right? No, not exactly. I have major issues with the way many Republicans approach the conversation.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, Evangelical Christianity in the U.S. has largely adopted the Republican Party’s views on abortion. There are two specific things that bother me most: sex education and treatment of unmarried pregnant women.
First up is how some of my fellow pro-lifers address sex-ed. The prevailing mindset that I have been exposed to is that the best way to educate kids and teenagers about sex is to tell them that they should wait until marriage to have sex. On that point we all agree. The best way to avoid an unplanned pregnancy or contracting an STI is to practice abstinence. But we have to be realistic: approximately 50% of teenagers have had sex by the time they graduate from high school. While we need to continue to urge kids to wait till marriage, we also need to make sure our kids are educated about safe sex practices. While the numbers have been very good for sexually active persons using protection/birth control, they could always be better.
Ultimately, I think we need to make sure that teenagers are taught about safe sex practices so that, in the event that they do decide to have sex, that their likelihood of conceiving a child is drastically reduced. Needless to say, I think things like this are counter-productive. If the goal is to reduce the number of abortions, then increasing knowledge of birth control and contraception is vital.
The other problem is how Christians tend to treat unmarried pregnant women. Here is a link to a disappointing article. It provides one of far too many examples of the pro-life community’s dropping of the ball on this issue. When young single women get pregnant, the church should be one of the first places they run to for help. Instead, the church isn’t even on the radar because many women don’t want to be judged or shunned. In the time where the church could be reflecting Christ in love, we’re blowing it.
As I said earlier, the pro-life goal should be to reduce the number of abortions as much as possible. To that effect, I believe the church needs to change the narrative on pregnant single women. No one needs to deny that sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful, but what these women need is loving support. The church must become a place that women in need can go to for help. Help in caring for their child or even facilitating the child’s adoption.
The church absolutely has the resources to aid women in need and their unborn children. It’s time for us to show if we have the love of Christ by sharing it with them.
My primary concern with both points is being realistic. If more sexually active individuals use contraception, then fewer one-night stands or casual hookups will result in unplanned pregnancies. Of course Christians should prefer that people have a more biblical view of sex, but we have to acknowledge that many people do not. All we can do is 1) pray that God changes hearts and minds and 2) educate our young people so that these pregnancies don’t happen. But when these pregnancies do happen, the church needs to come together and offer love and tangible resources (hotlines/phone numbers of adoption agencies, love offerings, baby-sitting services, etc.) in love to alleviate the pressure from those women and men who may have otherwise been left to struggle to care for their child or to consider abortion.
I hope that this post helps push us all to care more in a tangible way. I often claim to care for certain disenfranchised or disadvantaged groups but neglect to do anything of real substance to help them. I imagine that this is true of many of us, otherwise we wouldn’t be facing our current problems. But together, through our ministries and churches we can reach those in need and help steer them away from making the most difficult decision that a person could make and point them back to Christ.