Yesterday the annual March for Life converged upon Washington, DC and it has caused me to give God and politics a second thought. I am Christian. I identify most closely with evangelicals, but hesitate greatly (now) about using the label ‘evangelical Christian’. I used to think this was a term that characterized one’s doctrinal beliefs, but it seems to have morphed into a description of one’s political platform. I’m beyond disturbed about this on many fronts, but today I’ll just address the abortion issue.
I have a huge problem with the mainline Christian assumption that GOD is Republican. Without addressing any other characteristics implied by the term, He most certainly is not conservative. The dictionary defines conservative as, “Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. Moderate; cautious.” Now, at the risk of sounding blasphemous, does this really sound like the God of the Bible to you? The God in my Bible knocked up a virgin, sacrificed his innocent son, and…hold on to your seats…commanded his people to kill women, children and, yes, infants!! (Oh, and men too although we all too easily dismiss the lives of men as casualties of war and move on.) God is not safe. He is not cautious. He is wild. He is unconventional. His ways and his purposes and reasoning are far beyond human comprehension and we kid ourselves if we think we can stuff him neatly into this box called conservatism!
I have always had a very difficult time, personally, with the issue of abortion. While I have never had to face that choice myself, I have been alongside many women who have either been contemplating the decision or who were dealing with the aftermath of a decision to terminate a pregnancy. One thing rings true for all of them, (and arguably for any woman who finds herself at this place) it is not, was not and will never be an easy decision to make. The truth is that despite her strongest convictions, nowoman can predict her ultimate choice until the time comes to make it.
There are so many factors that play a part in making that choice. I could try to examine what some of them might be, but there is no way I can be exhaustive and do justice to all of the possibilities. And besides, once you start making arguments for, or exploring the merits of arguments in favor of any issue, you run the risk of constructing the very walls of the box you’re hoping to break out of . And the last thing I want to do is to communicate that I have determined the list of factors that are “acceptable” for deciding to have an abortion.
What I do know, to my core, is that I do not serve a one-size-fits-all God. The same God who said, “thou shalt not kill” turns around and says, “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ” (1 Samuel 15:3). Yet, He is good. I don’t presume to be able to reconcile these two statements. And, I am frustrated with those who attempt to because to me, what they are attempting to do is make a wild God safe and cozy by rationalizing away his ferocity. I am not suggesting that God would say, “thou shalt abort.” But, what I am saying is that to each woman who makes that choice, He does say, “I love you.” And to the woman who is on her 8th abortion and seems callous, flippant, and irresponsible, I’m sure He says, “I love you and I’m more concerned about the why than the what.” Even for her, the choice is not easy and callousness is survival. I’m quite familiar with survival.
This is from an article in today’s Washington Post:
On the Mall at Seventh Street, tens of thousands of antiabortion activists were listening to the Rev. James Nesbit, whose invocation was so passionate that his voice cracked and warbled as he delivered the jeremiad.
“It has been told by the prophets in the land that there is a president coming out of Texas, a Burning Bush,” Nesbit prayed. “He will deal with abortion in the land. We ask you to give him an executive order and mantle him and give him a mandate with the fear of the Lord.”
I’ll let it speak for itself.
You can’t legislate morality. God calls us into relationship with him. That relationship is individual and personal. What’s sin for one man may be perfectly permissible for another. That’s not relativism. That’s Bible. Romans 14 to be precise. I believe in moral standards and principles to guide our decisions. But God has shown us in scripture time and time again that neither of these is rigid. He wants us to depend on him when it comes to making choices for our lives, not on the legislature. Maybe it’s just me.
I’ll take my God without politics, thank you.