I plan to come back to my normal blogging schedule next week, beginning a new set in the “Drawing from the Well” series on the Nicene Creed. Today, I wanted to share some thoughts I have had recently about a pitfall I see in the pro-life movement.
What is the pro-life movement about? What are its specific cultural and political goals? How does it measure success? I believe the movement is primarily about one thing, and thus the success of the movement depends on the achievement of one measurable objective: the elimination of legal forms of murder in the United States and other (mostly Western) nations that currently allow it. The farther we drift from defining the term “pro-life” from that specific objective, the more fractured and weakened the movement will become. Continue reading
I am currently teaching a Sunday School series entitled “The Gospel, Politics, and Culture” at my church. This past Sunday I argued, among other things, that one aspect of the political witness of the church is the formation of strong moral convictions on the pressing moral-political issues of our day. As disciples of Jesus, we must not assume that the church must have no voice on issues that are politically contentious. While I do believe that the church should not get pulled into the weeds of specific political strategy (e.g., supporting this bill over that one), it has both the right and the responsibility to take a clear position on moral issues such as abortion, the nature of marriage, and religious liberty, among other things.
I will be teaching on the three issues I named explicitly above: abortion, the nature of marriage, and religious liberty (the three issues addressed by the Manhattan Declaration of several years ago). The fact that my mind immediately gravitates to these three issues when I consider the question of moral formation in our churches may suggest to some that I am simply proposing a right-wing agenda for churches. Why, some might ask, wouldn’t I focus on alleviating poverty, providing universal healthcare, and immigration policy? Aren’t these moral issues as well? Doesn’t my approach indicate that I am nothing more than a partisan cloaking his preferred issues in the language of discipleship? Continue reading
Rachel Held Evans recently argued for the propriety of voting, at least in some circumstances, for pro-choice candidates, even if one holds pro-life convictions. Her main argument for doing so is that pro-choice candidates who pursue progressive policies (i.e., Democrats) are often more likely to create conditions in which a culture of life can prevail by helping to reduce poverty and expand access to contraception. These conditions, in turn, help lower the number of unwanted pregnancies, which is primarily what elevates the abortion rate. Although no candidate is perfect, on balance, it is often better to vote for one who is pro-choice for these reasons.
I believe Mrs. Evans is badly mistaken here. I will explain why below, but first I want to sweep away any idea that may be in my readers’ minds about my motives here in relation to Donald Trump. One of Evans’s main purposes in her article is to argue that pro-life voters should vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump. Lest anyone misread me: I am not defending Donald Trump here, nor am I arguing that anyone should vote for him. I do not intend to do so. Continue reading