Americans are reconsidering their view on life issues. For the first time since the question was posed in 1995, an August 2001 Gallup Poll revealed the number of Americans considering themselves "pro-life" equals the number who say they are "pro-choice" (46 percent). In September 1995, 56 percent claimed to be "pro-choice" and 33 percent "pro-life."
In the poll, 61 percent of respondents said abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances. (The first time that question was asked, September 1994, only 51 percent of those agreed with those statements.) And 93 percent said when an unborn child is injured or killed as a result of a violent crime against his mother, the perpetrator should face "additional charges for harming the unborn child."
Even with this apparent good news, advances in medical technology that easily allow a woman to carry the unborn child of strangers, a relaxing of the laws protecting the unborn, and the ease of aborting with non-surgical, potent drug "cocktails" have pushed us far beyond most persons' ethical comfort level. Material produced by the National Organization for Women commonly refers to abortion as "the most fundamental right of women," ahead of the right to vote and the right to free speech, according to the web site, www.roevwade.org.
With babies being routinely conceived in laboratories and with women having the right and the ability to abort their unborn in the "comfort" of their home, some are successfully blurring the boundary between right and wrong. What was unthinkable yesterday is commonplace today. Our culture places convenience and self-satisfaction above life itself.
There is a struggle in America between two "remarkably disparate and contradictory worldviews," says Richard Land, the president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The tension between those holding to the sanctity of human life position and those ascribing to a quality of life position is most clearly manifested in the life issues such as cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, and abortion on demand, explains Land.
Out of this moral morass has come a cooperative effort by the SBC's North American Mission Board and Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to call Southern Baptists to be champions for life. The culture is sorely in need of Christians who know beyond a shadow of doubt that a morality based on convenience and comfort is a flawed morality and who are likewise dedicated to the dignity of the human person and the value of every life, insist Land and Robert Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board.
Despite culture's protests, the boundaries have not shifted. The Bible is clear that human life is to be respected and protected and that God alone is Creator. He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Christians have a responsibility from God to speak out for the innocent and defenseless.
"On September 11, the vivid sights and sounds of the horror of well over 3,000 people being slain by terrorists began to reverberate on our airways and in our minds," says Reccord. "Nationally, we have grieved over that tragedy. Yet, much more quietly since the 1970s, some 3,700 babies are daily put to death at the hand of abortionists."
Despite the attempts of some to justify these actions by claiming that the unborn are not yet human beings, Reccord says, "Their little hearts begin to beat by the 28th day after conception. And the very name by which we know them is fetus, Latin for 'young one.'"
Land and Reccord emphasize that champions for life are those believers who dare to take a stand and speak the truth on behalf of our nation's tiniest citizens.
"Champions for life know that life begins at conception and that these embryos are human beings," Land said. "We do not have the right to sacrifice those human beings for the supposed medical or emotional benefit of older and bigger human beings any more than we have the right to play God in trying to clone a human being. The unborn deserve to be objects of our protection, not objects of our manipulation."
"Ultimately, regardless of what the American Medical Association or the Supreme Court claim, the supreme authority and giver of life, God, clearly tells us in His Word that a fetus is a person (Jer. 1; Psa. 139)," Reccord says.
Since 1973 abortion has taken the life of one out of every three babies conceived in America. "We didn't have a 33 percent fatality rate at Omaha Beach. We didn't have a 33 percent fatality rate at Iwo Jima. We didn't have a 33 percent fatality rate in any single engagement in Vietnam or in the Civil War, but we have had a 33 percent fatality rate on unborn human beings in the U.S. since 1973," Land observes. "Life begins at conception and these embryos are human beings in their own right," he says.
Southern Baptists have a history of standing firm for the sanctity of human life, Reccord says, adding, "Through Alternatives for Life, sponsored by our North American Mission Board, Southern Baptists have taken steps to give pregnant women the strength and help to resist abortion and to give their babies the greatest gift of all, the gift of life."
Yet our nation is in need of even more Southern Baptist men and women who are willing to commit to assisting women from their local communities who are in crisis pregnancies and to aid new mothers who need the loving support of caring Christians, the two SBC leaders say. "Champions for life raise their children with an understanding that human life is precious and God-given, and they keep pressure on their elected representatives to protect human life — at every stage of life," Land adds.
To join thousands of Southern Baptists who are already champions for life visit www.namb.net/alternatives or call (800) 962-0851.