(EDITOR’S NOTE – Sunday, Jan. 17, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention.)
Over the past several months, we have seen a movement of protest and concern entitled “Black Lives Matter.” There have been a number of events where black men died while in the hands of law enforcement. Reacting to these tragic events, persons shouting this phrase have sought to raise social and spiritual awareness that black lives matter.
Another movement of protest and concern that has gripped the nation over the past few months is in response to a succession of videos that reveal an egregious pattern of persons deliberating the sale of body parts from aborted babies at Planned Parenthood clinics.
A collision of values
These two occurrences have shaken our nation and hopefully given cause for all of us to review our own value system. Do black lives matter? Certainly. Some think the value of black lives has been devalued by others. All caring people, and certainly all Christians, know that black lives do matter. In fact, as we know, all lives truly matter. No life, regardless of race, culture or creed, should be devalued in any way. This should be at the forefront of the ministry of our churches.
I am also convinced that babies’ lives matter! To be in a society where people casually discuss the sale of body parts or organs from aborted babies is certainly beyond belief. There was a time I would not have believed such a horrible example of unethical behavior could occur in our country. However, here we are. We have reached a new low in our society.
We live in a nation of surprising contrast. We are a nation that goes to unbelievable lengths to protect the rights of individuals in every conceivable way. And we are a nation that embraces the wholesale slaughter of the weakest and most vulnerable among us. While society is obsessed with the rights of the individual, denial of fundamental rights to those not yet born is legally and culturally accepted and even encouraged.
The vast majority of the 58 million babies who have been destroyed since Roe v. Wade were killed for convenience. Some try to argue the justification of abortion where the life of the mother is at stake or whether the impregnation was done through rape or incest. But statistics are clear. The top reasons women choose abortion are convenience – they want to postpone childbearing, they want no more children, they can’t afford a baby, they think having a child will disrupt their education or job, they think a child would complicate their relationship with their partner, they are too young or their parents object to the pregnancy.
Some convince themselves that a child is not a human being until after birth. Others believe a woman’s right to destroy the life within her is a higher right than the baby’s right to life. Still others support abortion laws by saying they are necessary to protect women from unhealthy or unsafe circumstances.
The reality is that a child’s heart begins to beat at four weeks and children not yet born feel pain and experience emotion. We must not compound one wrong – an unwanted pregnancy – with a true tragedy – the murder of the unborn child.
A review of scripture
Scripture affirms God’s creation and love of the not-yet-born. Psalm 139:13–14 states, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” In Isaiah 44:2, the Lord is spoken of as “He who made you, who formed you in the womb.”
When Elizabeth, who was expecting John the Baptist, heard Mary’s greeting, the Bible says “the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). There was a recognition on the part of the unborn John the Baptist of the presence of Mary in whose womb was the coming Son of God.
The Ten Commandments also speak to this wholesale holocaust of the innocents: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
What can Christians do in the face of such pervasive evil? What can we do when even some who claim the name of Christ support the issue of choice so firmly that they would justify the killing of millions of precious babies?
Evangelist Ravi Zacharias points out that the only place where the entire suffering of this world can be handled is in the heart of God. To each of us, God grants the ability and the calling to act where we can and how we can. I pray that God would lead each of us to do what we can do regarding this crucial issue.
A call for response
In every respect, we must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We need to spread the Word, the truth of God, to all who are around us. We must let them know that this evil must be stopped. While I believe that those aborted babies are in heaven, for which we are grateful, they have been denied the ability to grow in the Lord and to give their lives in honest confession to the Lord. We must stop this horrible tragedy.
We must become involved in the political process. As people who are blessed to live in a democracy, we have a voice, and we need to share that voice. When we do, people will lambaste us for being extremists, fanatics and reactionaries. So be it! Others will claim that we are against the rights of women. Say you what you want, we are standing up for the rights of millions of unborn women and unborn men!
We must continue to provide loving care for those who are in situations where they feel the necessity of an abortion. We must support wonderful organizations that minister through the body of Christ to young women who are caught in these very difficult circumstances. We will continue to love them, care for them and their babies, and help them in every way possible.
My wife Dayle and I have formed a friendship with Jeannie Scott Smith and her husband Carter. Her book Shattered into Beautiful recounts an emotionally-wrenching journey from shame and lonely aches of grief, guilt and loss to spiritual forgiveness and restoration through Jesus Christ.
The womb was not designed to be a tomb! Help turn the tide from wholesale slaughter of innocent, precious children. Our churches must continue to reach out in love, care and ministry to anyone who has sinned, including the sin of abortion. The church must be the place where women and men find forgiveness, grace, love and new life in Christ. And it must be the place where we urge others to join us in shouting that babies’ lives truly matter to God!
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Frank S. Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. This article first appeared in the Executive Committee journal SBC LIFE at www.sbclife.net. Scripture references in this article are from the NIV.)