It’s the political season again, and it is therefore time for endless political discourse among Americans, Christian and non-Christian alike. Of course, most political discourse is nothing more than high-minded nonsense, repeated ad nauseum, such that one’s prayers are especially heartfelt the day after the election, since that means all the empty chatterheads have to start discussing things that are more important than who won the latest beauty contest.
It is during this especially trifling season that many Christians begin to get up-in-arms about their pet social issues. There are many to choose from, but for now we will focus on the hot-button issue of abortion. Most Christians believe that life begins at conception, and that abortion—being the removal and disposal of the fetus—is thus murder. Since murder is condemned by God, so is abortion. But what is the Christian to do about abortion?
The answer that springs to mind for many Christians is that of political recourse. That is to say, many Christians believe it their God-given duty to vote for pro-life candidates. Unfortunately, this response is high-minded nonsense.
In the first place, pro-life candidates have a pretty terrible track record at accomplishing the stated goal of ending abortion, especially at the federal level. Abortion is still legal in all fifty states, and abortionists still receive a sizeable amount of money from the federal government, and many state governments. Abortion has been legal in all fifty states for nearly forty years, and all the efforts to eradicate it have failed. In fact, efforts to reduce the number of abortions have failed. (There has been a relatively minor decline in the raw number of abortions in the past several years; however, there is also a decline in birth rates and pregnancy rates, which suggests that the decline in abortions is due primarily to declines in pregnancies. Basically, there are fewer potential babies to be aborted, and therefore correspondingly fewer abortions as a result. The rate of abortions seems to be basically steady.) Given the sheer amount of resources dedicated to ending abortion, the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the results is that a lot of resources have been wasted.
In the second place, Christians are not commanded to use the political system to enforce morality. The command is to “go into all the world and preach,” not “go into all the world and politick.” As such, the Christian’s primary duty is tell others the good news of Christ, and all that the gospel entails; Christians are not expected to impose Biblical morality onto others by government fiat. When we politick instead of preach, we fail at our primary duty.
In the third place, the poltical system cannot change people’s hearts. As Christ himself said “out of the heart of men, proceed…murders.” The fundamental cause of abortion is that the desire to kill one’s unborn child is in one’s heart. If you have no desire to kill your child, then you it won’t matter what the law says because you won’t kill your child. The law is not an argument, and it cannot change people’s hearts. It may be able to influence their actions, to some extent, but it will not eliminate the evil desires that are imprinted in their hearts.
Additionally, if a mother would desire to abort her child but is prohibited from doing so, does it not stand to reason that she will likely be an unloving mother? Should Christians thus vote for politicians to enact laws that force mothers to not only bear their children to term, but also to love them once they are born? And how could such a law be enforced, anyway? The simple fact of the matter is that the law cannot serve as a substitute for the heart, and Christians are foolish to try to use the legal system as a substitute for changing people’s hearts.
Finally, note an alternative to the legal system that can and should be used by Christians to combat the evil of abortion: personal work. Whether this means personal evangelism or personal benevolence, one thing is for sure: Christians can more effectively combat the evil of abortion if they personally attempt to get to the heart of the matter. Instead of trying to legislate someone else’s morality, why not personally counsel someone who is contemplating abortion? Instead of attending a political rally, why not wait outside an abortion clinic and attempt to talk to those girls who are contemplating abortion? Instead of donating money to a politician who makes insincere promises of combatting abortion, why not use the money to help a poor girl who thinks she’s too poor to afford a child? Why not simply do your Christian duty yourself instead of delegating it to a professional liar?