For some reason the current political climate in the US is prone to driving issues into two extremes that rarely ever mirrors anybody’s genuine position. In the past few months many states in the US have come up with multiple laws which limit access to safe legal abortions for American women. Some of these laws like the recent Alabama law are very restrictive and go as far as to outlaw abortions in situations such rape and incest. One other concerning feature is that most of these laws are being enacted in States that already have an underlying weak health systems and may have healthcare gaps in rural counties. In effect the real life issues related to these laws could be really dire for poor Americans especially those living in rural communities in some states. So far most of these laws have been challenged in courts by various groups advocating for access to abortion rights for women.
In this post I would like to address some of the reasons some Americans would support the positions held in these laws and its potential impact on women once enacted. Some individuals on the left of the political spectrum have made statements suggesting that there is no love of life behind the development of these laws. I would like to state that these statements whilst appearing truthful at face value ignore the underlying religious beliefs driving these actions.
To simplify this issue I would like to remind everyone that in the book of Genesis chapter 22: 1- 18 when Abraham was asked by God to murder his only son Isaac as a sacrifice for him the prophet did not disobey this order.
Thus if Abraham whose example is praised by many Christian preachers was willing to sacrifice his only son for God, forcing women and sometimes minor children to carry the babies of their rapist to term cannot be that difficult. When viewed in this context I can clearly understand how one could support such a bill. Most supporters of this bill are well-meaning individuals seeking to align their deeply held religious views with what their country supports.
The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:7: “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Christians who seek to follow this word of God would consider it their prime duty to set their nation on the right path. If we take a second look at the 2016 elections we may realize that our current President benefitted from the votes of many individuals who felt the nation was on the wrong path. This belief which was more common among Republican voters than Democrats definitely benefitted Trump. There is a strong prevailing belief that Christian conservatives comprise this demographic and most of these believe they are working to put the nation on a path to God.
Returning once more to the abortion debate I would like to say whilst advocating for such laws may be an expression of our beliefs and reflect what we consider as our Christian duty we may be failing in one fundamental area if we push these laws on our friends and citizens who are unbelievers. We may have abandoned our core principle which required us to convert our nation and bring the hearts of non-believers to Christ. Using laws to block access to an action we consider evil fails on that count. We have failed to engage the supposed sinner and allowed the legal system to do our work for us. We have chosen the lazy approach in an attempt to bring their actions in line with our beliefs without any effect on their hearts.
Looking at this situation from the point of view of a devout christian we have saved a life but lost the opportunity to save a soul.
A good christians must learn to show love to individuals who engage in activities that may be considered wicked and sinful. Christians must consider the issue of abortion rights as one of those times. Real love allows sinners to be themselves whilst seeking to use acts of love and friendship to win them over to Christ.
I know some of our Christian countrymen consider the enactment of these laws as winning America for God but nobody ever won any hearts and minds with laws. Some Christian conservatives funnel large donations for conservative politicians whilst these political donations would do more in the coffers of organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America or even Charities for women facing interpersonal violence.
The Bible teaches us that thou shall not steal but sometimes turning your eye away when the hungry street kid steals a loaf of bread may be a better show of love than calling out thief. I know what I am talking about because I have seen too many people get killed for stealing things worth a few dollars.
On this note I would like to end by saying as Christians we could save more lives and souls by showing love rather than supporting restrictive laws.
John 13:34 -35, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
By Dr. Leonard Sowah a physician in Baltimore, Maryland
Feature photo – From Marie Stopes, South Africa
Painting – Sacrifice of Isaac by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571- 1610)
Sacrifice of Isaac, Oil on canvas, circa. 1598,
Piasecka-Johnson Collection, Princeton, New Jersey, United States