Est. May 2008

18 August, 2013

Consequences

In a recent article at Relevant, Haley Henderson and Stephen Boyd argue that the Church is on the wrong track regarding their opposition to abortion; in fact, the tenor of the article seems to be that, since abortion is here and seems here to stay, the church has a responsibility to offer ‘love, grace, compassion and humility’ and to ‘abandon the harsh rhetoric and manipulation that sways instead of secures.’

But they say little or nothing about what the Church ought to do to curb abortion in the first place; take this quote, regarding the new Texas law that Wendy-of-the-pink-sneakers tried so hard to eliminate:
Because of this law, lives will be saved from an unsolicited death. That is a very positive development. But it may also force children into an unsolicited life. There will be an increased risk for babies to be born to young mothers, teenagers and abusive homes. These are needs the Church must be ready to meet. Indeed, that has to be what we mean by being "pro-life." (emphasis mine)
How can the Church deal with ‘young mothers’ and ‘teenagers’ (I think we can safely append the word ‘unmarried’ to those designations) who get pregnant?  Dealing with that issue, I would imagine, would curb the necessity for abortions.  But (much to the chagrin of Henderson and Boyd, I’m sure) it will require some ‘harsh rhetoric’ to do it.

First of all, what causes babies?  Sexual intercourse.  How to you prevent babies?  Don’t engage in sexual intercourse.  And please spare me the old and tired, ‘you can use protection to keep from getting pregnant’ line: prophylactics are man-made, and everything man makes eventually fails, folks; this includes remembering to actually utilize available prophylactics.

How can the Church work to stop abortion?  By teaching people (especially their young people) about the seventh commandment; you know the one – You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14).  Adultery, as you know, isn’t limited to having sexual intercourse with someone you’re not married to: Jesus, in His commentary on this commandment (Matthew 5:27-28) tells us adultery is any non-marital sexual thoughts or actions.  Now thinking about sex is difficult to control, though it can be controlled; controlling the action is much easier.  This means you can adopt Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug slogan, ‘Just Say No’, and apply it to having sex out of wedlock (and yes, contrary to popular belief, young people can control their sexual desires – after all, they’re human beings, not animals).

If the churches actually decided to teach that God expects us to control our sexual desires until we’re married, and would expect (or demand, or require) their congregants to obey, they could quite likely make a reasonable dent in the number of  ‘young women’ and ‘teenagers’ who feel it necessary to go to an abortion clinic to ‘get rid of a problem’.

So many churches have stopped teaching about sinfulness and its consequences – not just in the sexual realm, but in everything.  What the churches need also do is start teaching that the choices one makes lead to consequences, whether good or bad, and my making a specific choice one has also chosen whatever consequences come.  If you choose to steal, for instance, you’ve also chosen to be labeled a thief if you’re found out; if you choose to lie, you’ve also chosen to be labeled a liar if you’re found out.  In the same way, if you choose to have sex – whether within or outside of marriage – you’ve chosen the possibility of pregnancy.  And once you’ve chosen you have to deal with the results.

Since we know that adultery covers a lot more ground than just having sex with somebody else’s spouse, what are we to make of the churches’ response to re-marrying divorced people?  In the same chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells us that the only God-approved reason for divorce is ‘sexual immorality’ (verses 31-32), yet many churches allow re-marriage of people who’ve divorced for whatever reason they choose, or for no reason at all.  In our modern ‘no-fault’ divorce society, ‘sexual infidelity’ carries the same weight as ‘I just don’t like him/her’.  If a church is going to allow this sort of ‘serial adultery’ (as many more conservative Christians, including myself, call it), they are standing on sand when it comes to enforcing God’s rules considering any other form of adultery.

If churches want to stand firm on abortion, they must first stand firm on adultery.  That means they have to stand firm on the Bible.  Until they’re willing to do so, they will be stuck in the position of janitor, cleaning up after those who make poor choices because they weren’t called to account to make good ones.

No comments: