• Christians and Abortion: How Shall We Disagree?


    On the week we Americans celebrate our mothers, comes a ramp-up on the debate around motherhood itself.

    Leaked documents from the Supreme Court have ignited the firestorm that is the abortion debate in the United States.

    On both sides are vehement protesters, convinced that their position is correct, and no small number of them are Christians, people who love Jesus, and portend to follow his teachings.

    On the right are many Conservative, Evangelical and Catholic Christians who equate this development with the end of slavery. They quote Bible verses about God's loving care for humans even as they are in the womb and have made their stance a veritable litmus test to Christianity itself: if one is not pro-life, one cannot be a Christian.

    On the other side, are many mainline Christians who equate this development as the beginning of slavery. They also quote Bible verses on the dignity of human life, the importance of respecting others, and the freedom God gives us to run our own lives. These folks point out that Jesus never spoke about abortion and when the Bible does allude to the subject, a pro-life stance is not always clear.

    Indeed, this debate is frequently characterized as a choice between two highly regarded and deeply held American freedoms: the freedom of autonomous and individual choice without government intervention - and the obligation our society holds very dearly to protect the vulnerable.

    It is yet another hot button topic in which we Christians of honest conviction see things differently.

    It is yet another hot button topic in which those who are not Christians, will look at the ways that we believers disagree with discerning eyes: if knowing Jesus turns me into people like that, do I want to consider Christianity?

    After all, nobody is argued into following Jesus, they are loved into following Jesus.

    And so, how are we supposed to proceed? What is to be our public witness? Are we to adopt worldly, scorched Earth tactics that allow us to demonize, denigrate, and demean those who don't believe the way we do because the severity of the topic warrants it?

    Or is our call to demonstrate the love, respect, generosity, kindness, and love that are at the heart of our faith, to define our public witness?

    We can never forget that how we treat other people, especially those with whom we disagree, is how we treat God.

    We don't get a pass because we personally believe this topic to be more important than others.

    By all means, let us be passionate about the policies, stances, and personal convictions that we harbor. Let us lobby, protest, and debate with all we have.

    But let us be very careful how we do so.

    Let us pray for those with whom we disagree, let us respect them, let us be kind and thoughtful toward them. And let us remember that they will know we are Christians not by our political leanings, but by our love. 


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