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A friend asked about the effectiveness of political rallies and why we should spend our time going to them. This was specifically addressing a rally in Austin, TX on Feb. 25, 2017 for the total abolition of abortion. The following was my answer. It was later published by Abolish Abortion Texas. The principles apply to other issues as well.
For those that are not politically involved, the question of why going through the trouble of loading up your family, sometime very large families, and driving several hundred miles to attend a political rally is a legitimate one. There are several reasons why a rally can be an effective tool to positively influence your culture. This, of course, assumes a) the rally is properly run and b) the cause you believe in is, in fact, positive. While the list could be much longer here are a few reasons why it worth the effort, if those two criteria are met.
First, a rally is a visible sign of the support for any issue or bill. Any issue can be widely supported, but if there are no visible signs of that support it becomes much easier to deny that such support exists. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” comes to mind. Phone calls are great, but an image leaves an impression. This truth is applied both in the positive and negative. If we claim there is wide support for an issue, and a large crowd shows up for a rally it confirms the claim. It also confirms credibility to the one making the claim. If on the other hand, we claim the support is wide, but only a few dozen people can be bothered with showing their support, the image of a few lone rangers will also be a lasting one. It then becomes much harder to be believed when making such a claim in the future. This brings us to my next reason and general rule for understanding politicians.
Modern politicians are much better at counting than reading. The details of a bill matter far less than the voting public’s support for it. If there is one thing politicians love, it is staying a politician. This means the greatest fear for most of them is a group of angry, in-district voters. Nothing communicates an angry group like images of an angry mob demanding action. The thoughts of this angry mob coming from their district is enough to keep them up at night. An important point to remember is that we need be angry and not sin (Eph 4:26). Our anger should be directed to the evil that is being allowed.
Another principle of winning at politics is controlling the public conversation. A successful rally should draw media attention. What they say about us is less relevant than that they mention us. An insignificant rally will be easy to ignore. A large, diverse group all coming together for the sake of a cause is a story. A successful rally doesn’t guarantee media coverage, but an unsuccessful one guarantees the media won’t cover it. If people aren’t talking about our issue, we aren’t winning.
It was several months when I first ventured out into one of the most hostile places in the country. I had no idea what I was in for. I generally do not go seek after confrontation. It was, however, inevitable at this place. It was only a matter of time before I would be challenged on everything I believe. I knew it would not be easy. I knew there would be some opposition to my presence. I had no clue as to how much… or by whom. To be honest, the only reason I was even there was due to some mixture of obligation and peer pressure. That would change very soon. This is an issue that until recently, I confess, I hadn’t thought much about. I am speaking of the ever polemic discussion on abortion. There can be no better example of how one’s worldview matters than at the doors of an abortion center. (I refuse to call them clinics.)
It is to be expected in a culture that hates God for there to be a great chasm between how the unbelievers and Christians will respond to this topic. This is no surprise. We would expect those that have no respect for the Author of life to have very little respect for life itself. There are plenty of these people that frequent the abortuaries around the country. Many hate God. They will tell you so with an evil smirk on their face. They are not the focus of this post. Ours is an examination of the Christian culture. It is introspective. How are we, as Christians, to think about this issue? What are we to do? More importantly, how does the Bible present the issue of abortion? I suspect most Christians are like I was, and think very little about this issue. Now having been involved in this ministry and discussing my experience with many professed Christians, I have noticed some common attitudes towards abortion. Most would agree with me, in principle, that abortion is wrong. They might even agree that abortion is murder. However after I press the issue a bit, I am likely to get a response that will fall into one of two categories.
The first, and most common, response I noticed was the need to allow for exceptions. They would always preface this with an agreement that abortion was wrong. That would be quickly followed by a plea that “we can’t be so firm in all cases.” It is always in the name of compassion. The most common reason for allowing an exception is the case of rape. It seems so uncompassionate and cold to force a rape victim to have her assailant’s child. We, rightly, look at these women who have gone through some traumatic experience with sympathy. We want them to heal quickly. We want them to move past this violation that has been forced upon them. We can’t understand how they can heal with the constant reminder of a child. We feel compassion as to how these children will be raised. This leads us to another common reason for allowing exceptions. We think it is compassionate and wise to consider what kind of childhood the baby would have. We assume that if a mother is considering an abortion, she isn’t ready to be a parent. If she isn’t ready, what kind of mother would she make if she did have the baby? It isn’t fair for the child to grow up in a family that doesn’t want him, is it? We think of all the cases of physical abuse, emotional abuse, poverty, etc. We don’t want to see children live that kind of life, so we allow for exceptions in our own heart. It is the compassionate thing to do, we think. There is one argument for exceptions that doesn’t even have a hint of compassion. It is the case that we should allow for exceptions because the children will probably end up dependant on the state. Since the state can’t afford many more dependants, we need to allow for abortions to save the state and those funding it. This is by far the most offensive reason I have heard. Sadly, I have heard it though.
The second type of response is generally an excuse from being involved. These are the people that agree abortion is murder. They know it is wrong. This is a large majority of the Christian culture. They know it is wrong, but it remains distant. They remain silent. There is no reason for them to get involved because they personally would never have an abortion. They are against it, but it doesn’t really affect them. They think they have done their duty when they voted for a “pro-life” candidate for political office. They stand in support of Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Perhaps they even send them a nice donation once a year. They fool themselves into thinking that they are involved in the fight. I can sympathize with this position. Whatever the reason may be, we provide excuses from being personally involved in any significant way. We vote Republican and assume our duty is over. We may rationalize why we aren’t doing more, but the truth is we don’t want to do any more.
This is the sad state of our Christian culture. We have come to a point where we are so self-centered that we just don’t care about an issue unless it invades our personal life. We stand ready to be bold and make a statement to the world in defense of Chick-fil-A, but too busy to be bothered by the slaughtering of innocent babies. I think it is safe to say, we have blindly wandered down the path to destruction. We have allowed our friends, our culture and, yes, even our pastors to determine what is and what isn’t worth fighting for. They ignore abortion and we don’t mind. If we want to live a life blessed by God, we MUST return to the Bible. We must return to the Law of God. We must examine what God’s Law has to say about abortion.
As it turns out, the Bible has much to say about the issue of abortion. We will only look at four principles that can help guide us. They should help us to start thinking more Biblically. The 1st principle can be found in the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20:13, we find the sixth commandment,. “You shall not murder.” It seems clear enough. God is against murder. It is wrong to murder according to His standard of righteousness and justice. No Christian I know would advocate in favor of murder, but this only begs the question. Is abortion murder? Thankfully, God gives us examples on how to apply the Sixth Commandment.
“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
Here God gives a law covering the case of accidental abortion (murder). A pregnant mother and her baby are unintentionally harmed by a man, who was in the midst of a fight. He is held liable. RJ Rushdoony points out several important implications of this text. “First….the text cites, not a case of deliberate abortion but a case of accidental abortion. If the penalty for even an accidental case is so severe, it is obvious that a deliberately induced abortion is very strongly forbidden. Second, the penalty for even an accidental abortion is death. If a man…unintentionally bumps a pregnant woman and causes her to abort, must suffer the death penalty, how much more so any person who intentionally induces an abortion? Third, even if no injury results to either the mother or the fetus, the man in the case is liable to a fine and, in fact, must be fined. Clearly, the law strongly protects the pregnant woman and her fetus. Fourth, since even a mother bird with eggs or young is covered by law (Deut. 22:6-7), clearly any tampering with the fact of birth is a serious matter: to destroy life is forbidden except where required or permitted by God’s law.” This law makes it clear that to harm an unborn baby is an assault on the baby. Anyone who inflicts such harm is guilty of a crime. They must be punished in proportion to their crime. The Bible is clear that abortion is indeed murder, for the same penalty is required for a case of accidental abortion as that for intentional murder. Both are capital crimes. This is the 2nd principle: abortion is murder.
The first, and most obvious, application of this law is that God’s forbids us to participate in the practice of abortion. He condemns all forms of abortion, even the accident. The Christian who goes to get an abortion does so in rebellion to God and His Word.
The second application is that God expects His people to actively oppose abortion in their midst. In order to understand the full weight and duty of this second application, we must understand a crucial principle for applying God’s Law. It is the two-fold nature of the law. “The proper meaning of the law involves both the negative and the positive application.” Where a sinful act is forbidden, the opposite righteous act is required. For example, God not only gave laws of restriction between the Israelites, but He gave laws requiring an innocent bystander to get involved when he could render aid, even when it meant helping his enemy.
“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.”
It was a sin for the Israelite to pretend he didn’t see. He wasn’t given the authority to ignore it. God required that he actively pursue righteousness. In short, he was obligated to help. Jesus reiterated this with the parable of the Good Samaritan. God’s law commands that we not only “not do the negative”, but we must also “do the opposing positive.” This is an important truth that has been lost in our day. Men in the past understood this. Calvin once said that we aren’t “satisfying God’s Law by merely abstaining for doing injury to others. The opposite affirmation is also to be understood; else it would not be… consistent.” Or as the Westminster divines put it in the Westminster Larger Catechism;
“That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded…”
It is not enough to avoid the sin of abortion. The duty to preserve and defend life is also commanded. This is the 4th principle. We haven’t fulfilled our obligation to the law if haven’t done all that is in our power to protect innocent life. Solomon in the book of Proverbs puts it this way:
“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay man according to his work?”
As one pastor notes, “We are commanded to do what is necessary and what is Biblical to “rescue” and “deliver” them from their oppressors. If the civil government or we as citizens, stand by in apathy or fear when the defenseless are being harmed and do nothing, when we can do something, we too are guilty of breaking the 6th Commandment, being accomplices to their oppression and violence. He Who weighs the heart and Who will render to all what is due them on Judgement Day accepts no excuses.”
An understanding of these 4 principles should be enough for us to examine our hearts and see if we are closer to the culture than we are to Biblical law.
1. You shall not murder.
2. Abortion is murder.
3. The Law requires a 2-fold application, forbid the negative and commanded positive.
4. The 6th Commandment requires that we preserve life.
If we want to walk down the blessed path of obedience to God’s law, then we have to ask ourselves some tough questions. What have we personally done to preserve life? Why are we so silent on this issue? Why don’t we care more about this? How are we going to change? I’ll close with one suggestion. Pray about how God wants to use you to preserve life. He does want to. He has commanded it of us. If we are to be blessed we must obey, even if it means being uncomfortable.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” Psalm 119:1
 Exodus 21:22-25, ESV
 RJ Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law Vol. 1, p263-264
 Exodus 23:4,5 ESV
 Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law Vol. 1, p219
 Westminster Larger Catechism, Q99, principle 4
 Proverb 24:11-12, ESV
 Morecraft, Authentic Christianity Vol. 4, p640-641