In the interest of full disclosure, I voted “yes” on Initiative 26. After a lot of thought and prayer, the issue boiled down to two questions for me. The first was “Do I believe life begins at conception?” Which I had to answer yes. The second was “Do I believe God is sovereign?” Again, the answer was yes. So I voted yes. I believe abortion is wrong, however, I was very concerned with the wording of the amendment, but I guess it’s a moot point because the issue was voted down. So goes the process of democracy.
But the thing I can’t get over is the response by believers. Particularly this comment released by the Mississippi Baptists:
We mourn with heaven tonight over the loss of Initiative 26, which would have provided the hope of life for thousands of God’s unborn babies in Mississippi. Instead the unborn in Mississippi will continue to be led down on a path of destruction to horrible deaths both inside their mothers and in laboratories. How much longer will God stand for this unprecedented atrocity in Mississippi and the United States? Time will tell, but in the meantime we will be marshaling our forces under God’s direction and deciding what’s next for this movement. – Jimmy Porter, director of the Christian Action Committee in Jackson
There are a couple of things here that bother me. And it’s something that has bugged me for a while. But the most shocking thing about this statement is “Initiative 26…would have provided the hope of life for thousands of God’s unborn babies in Mississippi.” I’ve said this several times over the last few days, but it is so saddening to me to hear things like that from Christian leaders.
I mean…a Christian leader. A CHRISTIAN leader. Saying hope for the unborn lies in…an initiative? Where’s the gospel? Where’s Jesus?
This whole process has reminded me that we, as the American church, have sold out to something less. We turn to the government to legislate morality because we don’t believe the gospel is enough. The fact is, this amendment would not have provided hope for anyone. Only the gospel is capable of doing that.
I don’t think Christians should remove themselves from political discourse and activity. On the contrary. I think Christians should be more involved than they are. I think Christians should be more informed than they are.
But what we also have to realize is that the government is not the solution to the problems that plague our society. Even if this amendment had passed, there would have been a long legal battle over the legality of it. People would still seek abortions. And, yes, it COULD have been abused to some extremes that it had been in other states. Even if it had passed, it wasn’t a done deal it was going to stay in the state constitution and who knows how the law may have been interpreted.
What IS a done deal is the gospel. It has to be central to everything we, as Christians, seek to do. Christ was crucified. Christ rose again. Christ is returning again. How we deal with that changes everything, in my opinion.
The other thing that bothers me about Mr. Porter’s statement was this line: “How much longer will God stand for this unprecedented atrocity in Mississippi and the United States? Time will tell, but in the meantime we will be marshaling our forces under God’s direction and deciding what’s next for this movement.”
The time is short. If abortion is the serious issue we believe it to be, and I believe it is, we don’t have time to sit around and “decide what’s next for this movement.” There are plenty of ministries and organizations that are understaffed and underfunded committed to fighting abortion on the ground level. Organizations like the Crisis Pregnancy Center (which seeks to counsel women during pregnancy) and Young Lives (a ministry through Young Life seeking to minister to young, unwed mothers) need people. They need money. There are already organizations in place, not to mention inner city churches that could use the help. There are other organizations that deal with kids that, as a friend of mine stated, their parents chose to have them but then chose not to parent them that need help. We fight abortion by bringing them the gospel and seeing the power of the resurrected and returning Christ break the bondage of sin that breaks those cycles.
That’s how we do it, and that’s how we move forward.
The United States of America is not a Christian nation. Only once in the history of the world has God made a covenant with a nation, and that nation was Israel. Not the United States. Yes, we were founded on Christian principles, but I don’t see that as the same thing. Yes, it is a travesty that abortion has been legal for as long as it has. Even “Jane Roe” realized how wrong it was.
But legislation isn’t the primary way we should fight it. Especially in Mississippi. I love Mississippi, and I want to see Mississippi be everything it can be. But we won’t get there through legislation or politicians.
We’ll get there through a commitment to the gospel and by living out the Great Commission. And when the opportunity presents itself to change the legal system, we should pursue it. But when those things don’t work out, we have to understand we haven’t been defeated.
And leave justice up to God.
But seriously…we all need to understand there are ways, day in and day out, to fight abortion in a real, practical way.