Women Against Abortion recently posted on their Facebook and their Twitter a photo that is a link to this t-shirt. The design reads, “R U Pro-Choice or Christian?” There is a circle between the R and U containing the words “You Can’t Be Both.”
When I shared the link on my wall, I was met with some less than happy comments. People of course don’t like you questioning their faith. This is understandable, especially considering that many of us who call ourselves Christians go against one teaching or another of the Church. However, to be pro-choice and call one’s self a Christian is too serious an issue for one to go against the church on. Such a t-shirt design as this may seem radical, but that’s what gets people’s attention. Such sayings which people often take to be radical oftentimes also speak the truth, even if people don’t want to believe it or cannot admit that they do.
Abortion is not directly listed anywhere in the Bible. That does not mean that abortion is advocated in Christianity. In the Ten Commandments, there is certainly an order against abortion, with the sixth being “thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). From there, one only has to read Psalms to know that God cares about the unborn and wishes for us to do the same. “Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). The one that speaks the most to me, though, is this set of verses: “You knit me in my mother’s womb … nor was my frame unknown to you when I was made in secret” (Psalm 139:13, 15). God also helps and calls the pre-born child. “You have been my guide since I was first formed … from my mother’s womb you are my God” (Psalm 22:10-11).
Such verses are compiled alongside other verses and reasons from Scripture why abortion is not compatible with Christianity. As Priests for Life, the site compiling such scripture readings, states, “Jesus Christ paid special attention to the poor, the despised, and those whom the rest of society considered insignificant.” Such is not only a religious way of looking at abortion through the views Jesus Christ; it also applies to the present world, where the unborn are often regarded as insignificant.
There are individuals and entire organizations who declare Christian faith while also advocating for the “right” of abortion. Catholics for Choice, in a statement about their work, as well as a statement pertaining specifically to abortion, recognizes “individual conscience of each person is recognized as the keystone of moral decision making.” These Christians who advocate for such a “right” may believe themselves to be Christians and that they are following the Christian doctrine faithfully enough. They are Christians in name though. In lacking the fundamental belief in the right to life, for all human beings created in God’s image, they are lacking a belief far too important. As long as they are without such a belief, they are not Christian to the fullest extent which they can be.
Recently, the pro-life community and news sources have been all over reporting on Faith Aloud’s and Clergy for Choice creation of a 40 Days of Prayer. Except this prayer campaign is for something which God can never honor, because it’s for the process of abortion, which kills off countless numbers of his creation.
Also, recently it was announced that the Reverend Harry Knox, who served as a Obama faith adviser, will be head of a pro-abortion religious group, the Religious Coalition on Reproductive Choice. A Lifenews article recently reported that, Reverend Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers, chair of the RCRC board of directors, said, “In the current climate of relentless attacks on abortion and birth control in the name of religion, our country needs the faith-inspired courage Reverend Knox brings to safeguarding and advancing women’s health and the dignity of all people.”
To reiterate, you can advance women’s health without advocating for a procedure like abortion. Abortion also completely refutes the last part of Dr. Smith-Withers’s statement, because “the dignity of all people” is not upheld through abortion. It can’t be when at least one life ends from it as a result. The first statement also bothers me, though, because such attacks are not “relentless” and just “in the name of religion.” I am indeed speaking on behalf of my religion, but also of a religion that cannot advocate for the killing of the unborn and still keep to Church teachings.
The Church, has nothing against individual conscience, just as long as it doesn’t contribute to killing of the unborn. As a Christian, I could not reconcile being Christian but not pro-life. Being pro-abortion does not match up with Christian teachings in any way. The way in which the organization uses the phrase “individual conscience[,]” it is likely that Catholics for Choice would tell me that my decision to be pro-life is based on my individual conscience. The page about their work even states that I have to “respect others’ right to do the same.” Just as the church realizes that people have “individual consciences,” the Church also affirms respecting the rights of others. But this once again does not mean allowing the killing of the unborn. And unlike in the case of organizations such as Catholics for Choice, the Church recognizes and respects the rights of the unborn as well.
As for Christians who follow denominations which may be pro-choice, I would ask them to ultimately refer to what Jesus would do. Jesus asks believers to follow his example of caring for those who are insignificant, marginalized or despised by society, which the unborn certainly are to some people. He also does not, as God does not want, us to advocate for the killing of those who are also God’s creation in God’s image. One can be pro-life and know in their heart it is the Christian thing to do, even if their domination is not inherently. It is the Christian thing to do to be pro-life when it all comes back to following Jesus first and foremost. The Bible is full of too many examples as to why the unborn is also a human person, and therefore killing them cannot be advocated.
It’s not just that I can’t reconcile being Christian and not pro-life. Rather, I don’t understand how anyone else could, either. One’s stance on abortion is not, and can never be, an issue where one is merely on the sidelines. Of course, being pro-abortion is not merely being on the sidelines. But, it is doing so without being Christian. If we are to call ourselves true Christians, then we have to not only stay off the sidelines, but do so with a consistently Christian perspective.
Even my boyfriend, who was once pro-choice because according to him he never had to really think about the issue before we met, was ultimately convinced not only by me. In sharing our views at a pro-life event while visiting a friend’s college campus, he shared that it was also his Catholic faith which made him realize he couldn’t be anything but pro-life.
Of course, there are people and organizations which are pro-life and are of other faiths or no faith at all. Secular Pro-Life is one such organization I especially commend. I believe in all pro-life people and organizations uniting, regardless of their faith or lack thereof. For whatever reason, they consider it important in standing up for life.
There are persons who are pro-choice, who also consider themselves to be Christians. They may be Christian according to their own conscience. One may consider the definition of a Christian to be simply someone who believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. But a Christian should also seek to grow in his or her faith in order to have that true, complete faith. It is like a spiritual journey. And while we may all be in different parts of our spiritual journey, one of the first parts of a spiritual journey in being truly compatible with Christ’s beliefs should involve being pro-life. To truly believe in Jesus I believe that one should be willing to follow his teachings, including fighting for the unborn.
I do not seek to address Christians who claim to be pro-choice in order to shame them or condemn them. We are all imperfect humans, and we all make mistakes. I just ask that they more carefully examine their faith. These people need to ask themselves if they truly feel in their hearts that such views can be compatible – not only with the rest of their faith, but with the God they pray to.