Pastors speak against California governor’s pro-abortion billboards targeting Texas

In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom placed billboards in pro-life states advertising abortion in the state of California, with many featuring the use of Bible quotes to justify the pro-abortion message. California megachurch pastor John MacArthur responded at that time with an open letter that was both scathing and pastoral in its message, decrying the use of Holy Scripture to promote the killing of innocent human beings.

Now, pastors in Texas — one of the targeted states — have blasted Governor Newsom’s move, responding to what they perceive as the perversion of Christian belief.

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The billboards have been placed in “7 of the most restrictive anti-abortion states,” according to Newsom’s tweet announcing the initiative, and they “explain how women can access care – no matter where they live.” The tweet goes onto make a pro-abortion pledge: “To any woman seeking an abortion in these anti-freedom states: California will defend your right to make decisions about your own health.” 

One of the pro-abortion billboards states, “Need an abortion? California is ready to help,” and has at the bottom a Bible quote from Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” Another billboard features a photograph of a woman in handcuffs, with the caption: “Texas doesn’t own your body. You do.”

Houston-area pastor of Grace Woodlands, Pastor Steve Riggle, pointed out that Newsom’s use of the Scripture quotation ignores the plural: these, that is, the commandment just prior to “love your neighbor” — to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind. “You cannot love God with all your heart and murder babies,” he said according to The Center Square. “How twisted does your mind have to be to take the word of God and pervert it in this kind of way to promote something that is absolutely an anathema to the heart of God?”

The President of the U.S. Pastor Council, Rev. Dave Welch, had dire words for the campaign: “If I were Gov. Newsom, I would not be so eager to simultaneously advertise that he advocates for the unlimited slaughter of unborn children while also perverting the words of Jesus in the most evil manner possible by calling that offense against God an act of loving our neighbor.”

Cuban-American Pastor Lou Veiga of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Houston said he was disturbed by the creeping anti-Christian messages and “calling good evil and evil good.” “By perverting the plain meaning of God’s Law in Mark 12:31 to justify aborting human life, Governor Newsom very badly represents Jesus’ teaching,” Pastor Veiga said, according to Santa Barbara News-Press. “Newsom substitutes death for life, darkness for light, and bondage for liberty. The Governor’s current abortion ad strategy comes as no surprise: Satan himself quotes Holy Scripture, though in doing so, he never seeks anyone’s advantage other than his own (e.g., Matthew 4:6).”

Pastor Riggle stated he was so upset by the billboards that he created his own pro-life billboard campaign in response. Featuring a photo of a newborn baby, Pastor Riggle’s billboards carry a simple message: “Do I matter? God says yes. Abortion says no. Your vote says what you say. Vote for me. Vote for life.” 

Pastor Riggle said he will put eight billboards up throughout Houston, with plans for more in the Rio Grande area of Texas, as well as Wisconsin, Arizona, and eventually other states across America. He plans to work with other Christians to put up similar billboards and encourage voters to vote for pro-life candidates.

“Just remember who picked this fight,” said Pastor Riggle, according to The Center Square. “If you want to pick this fight we’re glad to finish it.”

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