Life vs. Life

So I had an interesting conversation with a guy from church at the party I went to tonight.  It was about politics.  As it was a follow on conversation from some discussion during our last small goup meeting, it pretty much cut to the chase.  The discussion was about the candidates and their stance on abortion.  This is a hard debate for sure.  There are a few things that stick out to me though:

1) Pro-life in the abortion arena does not = pro-life in general
2) Pro-choice does not = abortionists

It seems to me that the picture that is painted is that if you are pro-choice, it means you hate babies, are a murderer, and should be thrown into the pit of hell.  I find it interesting however, that many pro-choice folks do not support abortion.  They support choice (hence the pro-choice label as opposed to, let’s say, a pro-death label).  And they also support lots of reform to those things which would contribute to a woman feeling as though she doesn’t have any other choice than an abortion.  Anyway, while I am sure there are some women who would cold heartedly just abort a baby because it was an inconvienence, I think there are many more women who are faced with the difficult decision of being able to provide for themselves and the family they may already have, and providing for the child they now carry in their womb.  Am I saying that make aborting a child right?  By no means.  I’m just saying it’s complicated that’s all.  There is a great article in the latest issue (and by latest issue that is referring to the SEP/OCT 2008 issue in case that link changes) of Relevant Magazine titled Leading the Charge that speaks to this.  Cameron Strang writes…

Many Christians want to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but I don’t hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement.  If Roe vs Wade is overturned, where are all those babies going to end up?  Christians should be focused on personal action regardless legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supremem Court Justices to come along.

In another article of this same issue, titled In the Booth Not of the Booth written by Adam Smith, Tony Campolo is quoted as saying

The abortion issue cannot be ignored…Here’s where you can see where both parties have something to contribute.  The Republicans want to overthrow Roe vs. Wade, and the pro-life people would cheer that, and they should.  The other side of the story is this: Seventy percent of the abortions in this country are presently driven by economic orces.  You have an 18-year-ld woman who works at Wal-mart at minimum wage–she has no hospitalization, she has no opportunity for maternity leave, she has no access to daycare when the baby is born, she’s in dire straits.  If you’re going to be pro-life, you cannot only be concerned about the unborn; you have to be concerned about after they are born.

The quote from Campolo goes on and he makes it a bit more personal by asking questions like, “Are you willing to give her maternity leave so that she doesn’t hvae to either loose her job or have an abortion?”

And it’s hitting me while I write this that Jesus came to give life and life aundantly to everyone.  To the born and the unborn.  So, if by focusing on those already birthed into this world and providing economic support to women who are pregnant in order to allow them to choose to have the child that is growing in their womb, life is protected better than a law that says abortions are illegal, do we need a law?  Those who are cold hearted enough to abort a baby simply because they don’t want to inconvienence of a child will still manage to aborth babies whether abortions are illegal or not. 

I guess what I am saying is, there is more than one way to skin a cat.  While it seems very polemical, underneath it all both sides want to protect babies and mothers.  They just have different ideas about how to do that.  So  maybe instead of deamonizing each other, we should try to find a workable solution that accomplishes just that. It seems to me that it is very doable.

On another note, after reflecting on this issue, the pro-life designation is interesting to me.  It is interesting because it is reserved for the issue of abortion only.  There are HUGE contextual and practical differences between abortion, war, and the death penalty, but it is strange to me that life and death are common threads in all of these issues and yet we seperate them.  To be a bit crass, babies are much cuter than convicts, but does God not value life because God has given it?

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13 Responses to “Life vs. Life”

  1. stushie Says:

    If Mary had been pregnant today with Jesus, chances are He would have been aborted. Maybe God is telling us something through the Nativity?

  2. auggy Says:

    Pro choice does not = choice in general.

    Does the dad have a choice about his child? Does the child have a choice….Oh he can’t choose so the default position is death?

    As Keith Green (the singing prophet) once sang…
    I find it hard to just ignore, the murdered unborn children.
    Yes times have changed, and still God warns…
    YOU SHALL NOT TAKE A LIFE.

    We can make all the excuses of working at walmart, or I should have studied in school. Boy life is hard. These excuses are pathetic in light of a child who’s default position should be to LIVE.

  3. pinkhammer Says:

    I guess that’s what I’m saying too. They aren’t excuses. Even when an adult murders an adult for self defense it is still murder.

    I am not arguing the stance of whether or not abortion is right or wrong. I think it is wrong. Period. What I am trying to wrestle with is what is the best response to it? Can we get to a point where we are having zero abortions because people aren’t choosing abortions? If we establish a law there may be no abortions (or close to it) but it will be because people were forced to not have an abortion. I think if people choose to keep their children that is better than if they are forced to keep their children.

    As much as we should love God and should follow God’s commands, God does not force us to be in a relationship with the Godhead. When Jesus came here, did he fight the corruption with laws or did he fight the corrption with love and relationships? Jesus empowered people to choose God and choose others. He did not take over as King and make laws that would force people to do that.

    And yes, stushie…I think it is a sad state of affairs that Jesus may not have made it out of the womb if he were born today. And if he was born today, he probably would have been institutionalized as a crazy man.

  4. EJ Says:

    this is the conundrum. i have, too, have had problems with those who are so staunchly pro-life, but not because they are for bringing life into this world, rather, because they simply

    don’t put their money where their mouths are.

    for some reason, statistically they are also those who do not support welfare, do not support support for those who are married (?????????) but cannot afford healthcare and do not support increase in the minimum wage. which says to me, they fall into the middle class mentality, where we are taught that if we work hard enough, long, good enough, it will be good. and that there will always be someone who can watch your children so you don’t have to pay.

    but that really is a middle class mentality. and it doesn’t quite work that way.

    every so often, i run across churches, usually non-denominational, who DO put their money where their mouths are. one is christ church in nashville, tn. part of their tithe supports a house they run, where teenage mothers, who have no support, either family or financial, come into the house and receive complete care: emotionally, spiritually, physically — for free. these are girls who will either keep their babies OR will adopt out. REGARDLESS, they receive care. but they also receive education and job training. they receive help to complete school, plus training on how to go apply for a job, how to apply for college. it is total support.

    is it expensive? stupidly so. but it is putting money where the mouth is.

    if we actually believe the life of the child is important, then we need to not only support the health of the child when it is born, but also the life of the mother before and after in such a fashion.

    many of these girls who have sex, truly are not mentally mature enough to do so, let alone deal with pregnancy and/or raising a child. studies of brain health have proven that our brains are not mature, even into our 20s. therefore, it is imperative, even irresponsible to encourage these women to go full term without outside support.

    as for the father’s interest and/or rights. it is an interesting argument to me. largely because, again, statistically, those girls who have the support of the father do not abort. are there some? of course, but it usually for women who are older — i.e. in their 30s. and that is a whole different ball game. so, at this point, i almost think it is a lesser question to ask.

    but, sure, if fathers want to keep the babies their teenage mothers are carrying, i’m all for it. as long as the bills are paid for and support is there the whole time. oh, and they can provide housing and protection from the girls’ abusive fathers, if need be.

    as for jesus being aborted, i can’t speculate, for the whole thing is like comparing apples and oranges. there is no other time in history where god has conceived a child. would you abort a child conceived completely alone? with the exception of the animal kingdom, it seems the only human to do so was mary. joseph would be completely irrelevant. no one today would care much whether or not it was out of wedlock. and a teenage girl wouldn’t be betrothed at her age, anyway — at least in our country.

  5. auggy Says:

    Pink,
    I agree with you. As I read your blog I initially become emotioanlly charged but it is so double standard of christians who invest in large buildings with stained glass windows and expesnive radio shows rather than the real lives of people who are in hard positions.

    It is true that working at walmart is a pathetic excuse but who does not have a pathetic excuse. My view (as a universalist christian) is that we are all sinners before God and God knows that, and understands our predicament (thus he sends his son).

    It’s easy to get carried away in defense of a childs life. But you are right here and right out of the gate I took offense right to you by making you seem like your for it.

    The interesting thing is that I agreed with your blog that we as christians want on one hand the child to live but on the other we don’t want to adopt the crack baby.

    My view is the church is as sick as the ones they point the finger at. Sure the world is backwards, sure it’s full of saddness, sure it’s desperate but as a Christian aren’t we called to embrace those people who made the pathetic mistake of not studying and jumping into bed at a young age.
    I believe we are and so it is a conundrum for those who want what is right in our world and who want to keep their money in their pockets.

    Sincerely,

    Aug

  6. Ruth Says:

    Glad to see you wrestle this one down, PH. I didn’t read all the comments. I think there a million ways we are called to choose life, which range from recycling our cereal boxes, to conserving gas. I think humans just tend to do what suits them, what’s in front of their noses. If you don’t happen to have unhappily pregnant people in front of your nose, well, this whole subject becomes an academic debate. And academic debate was not what Jesus did. Jesus responded to humans in all their particularity, all the time.

  7. pinkhammer Says:

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Aug: no offense taken…it’s a very hot topic and it should be. The stakes are high. But I think if we are going to make a difference along with putting our money where our mouth is we need to break down the barriers that have been created (i.e., pro-life and pro-choice) and work together to find answers on all the different levels. It is a complex issue that will take much effort to improve the situation on a national level.

    EJ: I definitely am with you on this one. I think in general my life is not enough in touch with the down and out. I am beginning to be not happy with this. God is moving in my life for sure.

    The abortion issue cannot be ignored. Life is lost in so many ways. The unborn child…the effect the loss of the unborn child has on the mother and fahter…the effect the loss of the unborn child has on the world…it’ much larger than an individual decision. Oh that we might rise above the polarity of our broken political system and really seek to show God’s love to the world starting with our current geographical location first.

  8. auggy Says:

    Pink,
    I agree we as americans are very polarized by our political perspectives. I recently had a discussion which I defended legalizing gay marriage which my family could not believe (they are born again protestants and very conservative).

    I was really making the point that they could not hear me because they are so polarized to one side that they can’t sift through the wheat to get out the chaff. But I also believe this of the other side.

    Your statement that we need to break down the barriers rings so true to me.

    Thank you for being gracious as I did become emotional writing you and acted POLARIZED. My whole life was like that so it’s hard to totally break free from being blind.

    God Bless,

    Auggy

  9. pinkhammer Says:

    Hello Auggy : )

    I grew up in a similar atmosphere so it sounds like we are kinda going through something similar. It is definitely hard to take off the blinders but God has been gracious for sure and I am thankful I can trust in Him to continue to work in me. I pray his peace and understanding for you as you continue on a similar path!

    In Christ,
    Pink

  10. Happy Anniversary! « Says:

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  12. Twenty Five Year Old Woman Says:

    I’ve posted a blog about abortion and there are a lot of comments on it that you might be interested in reading, some for and some against. It’s at http://twentyfiveyears.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/abortion/

  13. pinkhammer Says:

    Thanks for the link 25! : )

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