What's the deal with Christians and abortion? Part 1
I know it sounds like a bad Jerry Seinfeld joke, but I just have to ask, what is the deal with Christians and abortion?
Before I go on, please hear me. I hate abortion. I really do. I think it’s awful. I am pro-life all the way. If there was a magic wand I could wave and get rid of the entire concept of abortion I’d do it immediately.
But to be fair, I don’t think there’s anyone who “likes” abortion. There’s no one who enjoys killing babies in the womb or gets pregnant just for kicks so they can go get an abortion. I believe that the people who get abortions genuinely feel they have no other options, not because they think it’s a fun way to spend a Thursday afternoon.
That being said, what’s the deal? It seems to me that the only political issue that matters to 80% of Christians is abortion. People were willing to look past all of Donald Trump’s faults because of abortion. People are willing to undermine an entire day of marches dedicated to equality because of abortion. Abortion seems to be the only thing most Christians care about.
I have some ideas as to why. But first, a story.
I’ve been a hardcore Republican for most of my life (I’m actually still a registered Republican, but that’s a discussion for another time). I had a signed Sean Hannity book on my shelf, I listened to Fox News and drew devil horns on every picture of Al Gore I could find. I was conservative all the way. I’m not 100% sure why, looking back now. I think I felt like that’s what I was supposed to be, that was the Christian thing to do. I was also 15, so let’s be honest, I have no idea why I did most of the things I was doing.
But I remember very clearly, one day I was spouting off my righteous political beliefs and my love for
George W. (which is unfaltering, by the way. He is an adorable angel and you can never convince me otherwise) when Mr. Bowell, my Biology teacher asked me “Why do you want to vote for Bush?”
“I’m a Republican!” I exclaimed.
“Why are you a Republican?”
“I have conservative views!” I answered.
“What issues are you conservative on? What are you views?” He asked again.
I was kind of stumped. I mean, I was all for conservative values. Wasn’t that enough? Do I need to have specific issues I’m knowledgeable about? That seemed like too much work. But I knew one value that I definitely agreed with. So I shouted back, “Abortion!”
It seems like abortion is now a cure-all for any political issues or confusion. "I’m not sure how I feel about the environment or the economy or diplomatic relations with China, but I know how I feel about abortion, so I guess I’m a Republican."
Please don’t misunderstand me, abortion is a serious issue that needs champions and spokespeople (and I'm sure not all Christians voted for Trump for this one issue), but it seems like it’s become a scapegoat issue for Christians. Rather than taking the time to delve into the issues of welfare and sex education and socioeconomic issues and how those affect abortion rates, we tend to just focus on one thing: Abortion Bad. Jesus Good.
I think we focus on this one issue because it seems cut and dry, black and white, and we know we can’t be on the wrong side if we’re against murdering babies, right? So if we’re against murdering babies, and Jesus is against murdering babies, then me and Jesus must be on the same side, so Jesus must be a Republican!
But the truth is, abortion is just a symptom of a much bigger problem. Yes, Jesus probably isn’t a fan of abortions. But he’s also not a fan of young, teenage girls who are disowned by their family for getting pregnant and feel they have no other choice. I think Jesus is also not a fan of a mother of 5 who can’t have more than a part time job because she can’t afford child care and doesn’t think she can afford to have a sixth child because she has no one to help her feed her family.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Well, if they hadn’t had sex in the first place they wouldn’t be in these positions. Abstinence is key!”
That would be awesome if it was that easy. Abstinence would indeed fix a lot of these issues. But how can you punish these women for faltering on issues you’ve also faltered on before? Maybe you haven’t, but I’m sure you know someone who has had sex outside of marriage, had an affair, made a mistake. Should these women be punished and shamed because they made the same mistakes you have but don't have the same knowledge or resources?
And let’s be honest, non-Christians have absolutely no reason not to have sex outside of marriage. Abstinence is unrealistic for them. Until they know Jesus, they have no reason to follow his guidelines. So until we love them like Jesus and share his gospel with them, we can’t expect them to act like Christians with the same “moral code” Christians have.
A lot of the people who are anti-abortion are the same people who are anti-welfare and anti-free
birth control and anti-sex ed in schools. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, then reduce the number of pregnancies through sex ed and free contraception or increase the amount of assistance to the parents through social and welfare programs. But you have to pick one or the other. You can't demand there be no more abortions and also demand that no one gets government assistance or contraception. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
So here's my proposition. If you want to fight abortion, mentor a teenage mother. Befriend a young woman and disciple her before she gets pregnant. Volunteer at a pregnancy crisis center and show scared women there's another choice. Tell people about Jesus! Make disciples! Show them how valuable they are to him! But don't let one issue shape your entire political view. Don't be fooled into believing that Jesus is a Republican and that abortion is the end-all-be-all of political issues. Because it isn't. It's a symptom of a much bigger problem. It's a terrible symptom, but a symptom nonetheless.