Life is precious. Miraculous. Delicate. Created by a loving God who makes every human being unique. King David prayed: My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all [my] days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. (Psalm 139:15-16, HCSB). God is the Author and Artist of human life.
Life, made in the image of God, is also a fundamental right. According to The Declaration of Independence, "All men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The order is significant. Life is the first God-given right of every human being. If you don't have life, you certainly can't enjoy liberty or pursue happiness.
Unfortunately, our God-given right to life in America has been undermined in our "culture of death." Consider the following:
• The lives of aged, physically and mentally challenged, and terminally ill Americans are potentially threatened by advocates of the "the right to die" movement — which will ultimately lead to euthanasia here as it has in Europe. Remember Terri Schaivo?
• Human embryos are being produced and harvested for the purpose of removing their stem cells. In the process, pre-born human beings are destroyed and then discarded — all in the name of scientific progress.
• Abortion ends the lives of more than 1.3 million unborn children in America every year.
However, the Bible teaches that human life should be highly valued at every stage from the "womb to the tomb."1 When God set forth the final five of the Ten Commandments to protect people's rights and preserve order in society, the first one was a prohibition against murder. But not only does Scripture prohibit the wrongful taking of human life, it also commands that we protect human life. Proverbs 24:11 says: Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter (HCSB). Certainly, human embryos harvested for stem cell research and pre-born babies aborted have been unjustly sentenced to death.
We dare not be fooled by the arguments of the abortionists. They ask: "What about cases of rape, incest, physical deformities, or the endangerment of the mother's life?" Though each case could be debated, all of them together account for only 7 percent of all abortions.2 My question is this: "What about the other 93 percent? First, let's do away with the vast majority of abortions and then talk about these other concerns.
Yet, the abortionists insist that we're dealing with the overburdened and the under-aged. Here are the facts:
• Eighty percent of the women who abort their babies are over twenty.
• The largest percentage are white and middle-class.
• More than 40 percent of all abortions are performed on patients for the second, third, or fourth time around.
• Eighty-three percent of women who abort their babies are unmarried.3
So we're not talking primarily about teenage girls who get pregnant or poverty-stricken women who can't afford a baby. Most have participated in illicit sex and are using abortion as a means of birth control. The statistics do not lie.
This month marks the thirty-third anniversary of Roe v. Wade. There have been over 40 million pre-born babies terminated since abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court in 1973. In fact, one out of four pregnancies ends in abortion.4 Truly, the most dangerous place in America is a mother's womb. Abortion is indeed the American Holocaust.
What should we do? What can we do? What must we do?
First, we need to be informed. It is the duty of Christ-followers to be salt and light in our culture, but before you take action, do your homework. Consider how biblical principles address the critical moral issues of abortion, cloning, harvesting human embryos to do stem cell research, and euthanasia. There are a host of excellent resources, including the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's (ERLC) website at www.faithandfamily.com.
Second, we need to be compassionate. We certainly should not condone sin, but we should care for sinners, leading them to repentance and restoration. Christians should be just as concerned before the pregnancy and after the pregnancy as we are during the pregnancy. We need to encourage Pregnancy Support Centers as they help women choose life and then seek to give their children a life, whether in their own home or with a loving adoptive family. One of the many ministries we can support is the Psalm 139 Project, which provides ultrasound equipment to these centers. Once a mother sees her child on ultrasound, she is far less likely to have an abortion.
Third, be active. James 2:26 says: faith without works is dead (HCSB). If we believe abortion is wrong, we should do something about it. Progress is being made — the politicians are feeling the heat, and some have begun to see the light. Congress overwhelmingly voted to do away with partial-birth abortion, which is nothing more than infanticide — pulling the baby almost out of the womb, suctioning the brains out, and crushing the skull. President Bush signed a ban against this grisly procedure into law. Yet liberal judges have blocked the ban as "unconstitutional." For now, abortions continue to be performed for any reason, at any time during the pregnancy, even to the point of killing a baby "partially born."
However, don't get discouraged. Don't give up. Hear our marching orders in Isaiah 58:1: Cry out loudly, don't hold back! Raise your voice like a trumpet. Tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins (HSCB). We need to be that voice. We need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
There are several ways we can do that.
• Pastors can preach on the biblical value of life. (Pastors can e-mail me for a full-text sample message at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
• Recognize January 15 as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. The ERLC has excellent resources to help you promote it — call (800) 475-9127 for information.
• Contact your Senators and Representative. Visit www.faithandfamily.com, enter your zip code, and follow the prompts.
• Support judicial nominees with a pro-life record — such as Samuel Alito, recently nominated to the Supreme Court.
• Vote your Pro-Life Values in 2006.
This is a strategic — perhaps pivotal — election year. Do your homework on the candidates, register to vote, and vote your values. Make sure to visit www.iVoteValues.com.
Think about it. Voting for a pro-abortion candidate is like a citizen of Nazi Germany saying, "You know, I don't like what Hitler is doing to the Jews in the gas ovens, but I support him, because he's good for the economy." How can anyone do that? Yet, it happens every election. I remind you, 6 million died in the Jewish Holocaust, but more than 40 million and counting have died in the American Holocaust! So remember next November. Be active.
Fourth, and above all, be prayerful. Fall on your knees and pray to Almighty God that He will change our hearts and the direction of this nation that has launched out into a sea of innocent blood.
Pray that even as slavery ended, and even as the Jewish Holocaust ended, that the American Holocaust might end as well.
Pray that the murder of the innocent unborn will come to an end, and by the grace of God and our repentance, our nation's dark night of the soul might also end and the light of the gospel might shine brightly in America — a land where we once again value life!
1 Obviously, those who are justly sentenced to death by capital punishment are another story (See Genesis 9:5-6).
2 See http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/abortionstats2.html. Statistics may be found at: http://www.agi-usa.org/presentations/abort_slides.pdf.
4 Statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute. See http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/abslides/abort_slides.pdf.
Kenyn Cureton is Vice President for Convention Relations, SBC Executive Committee.