On Abortion – Evangelicals need to stop being lazy

In the UK, abortion isn’t such a hot issue as it is here in the US.  I think in the UK abortion is seen as just one of many wrongs, such as gambling, abuse, pornography, alcoholism, materialism to name but a tiny few, we Christians would like to see less of.  We don’t single it out for special treatment like done so in America.

We are also much more opposed to the idea that prohibiting people from doing something is the best way to solve a problem.  The only solution evangelical Americans seem to offer to the issue of abortion is to ban it.  This seems to be the most antagonistic response possible, but I think the attitude in the UK is to offer a much more holistic solution.  If we can reach people with the gospel, if we can offer them hope, then all sins, including that of abortion, will be reduced.  Of course this is much harder, takes generations, but will radically renew society with the Kingdom of God.

I have come to see the approach that Evangelical Americans have to abortion, to ban it and oppose every facility, is really the lazy option.  It is like teaching a child to play nicely with her brother by taking their toys away so they won’t argue about them anymore.  It doesn’t get to the root cause of the argument.  Similarly, if American Evangelicals want people to stop having abortions they need to help them, and teach them the hope they can have and to value life.  Evangelicals need to take the long road, invest in other people’s lives and stop living in their Christian ghettos (see Better Late Than Never).

The feminism movement in the US has become synonymous with fighting for abortion rights.  It doesn’t have to be this way, there are many feminist causes that Evangelicals could back that may help to limit abortion.  For instance Maternity Pay and Maternity Leave (both of which are standard in the UK) should be championed by Evangelicals (churches need to lead by example by offering these) and will encourage women to keep their babies and not abort them.

There are other solutions worth looking at too.  The link with abortion and profit has to be broken, in a radical move I’d like to suggest that abortions are made free and centrally funded.  If an abortion facility knows it can not make money from performing abortions it will stop marketing them and contraceptives will become the preferred option.

In short Evangelicals in the USA need to stop taking the easy option of protesting; they need to engage with the communities they are in and bring light and hope so that abortion is eliminated because no one wants one anymore.  Simply protesting against abortion and calling for it to be banned is the lazy choice.

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Better late than never

It has been ages since I last wrote something on here, it has been hard to pin down everything I have been thinking about and form coherent points.

In a previous post I promised an observation on why I believe there to be greater solidarity in Britain. I think it is to do with our schooling. Pretty much everyone goes to a school outside the home, unlike the USA, and shares a common experience. Uniforms help too. I can’t help but observe that the American preference for home schooling and small, mostly Christian, private schools, is detrimental to society and only adds to the ‘us/them’ dichotomy seen everywhere from politics to gated community.

Another realisation I have regrettably come to, and why at times I can finding living in the USA so depressing, is this.  Living in fairly atheist Britain, as part of what is essentially a Christian minority, I had always believed that if there were more Christians the country would be better. Yet I come to America where the percentage of practicing Christians is far higher and find ugly arguments over guns, xenophobic reactions to the plight of refugees and men, such as Ted Cruz, who calls himsef a Christian, with an agenda that is utterly different to what I believe is on Jesus’ heart (poverty anyone?).

I think it’s time to go home.

Why am I doing this? The questions I would like answered.

So, why am I writing this blog?  There are a few questions I want to discuss out loud and in public in the hope that maybe some others are wondering the same things and have some wisdom to share.

I am British and live in the US right now.  At a recent dinner at my house my husband and I had invited two other couples.  One of the other couples was British and non-Christian, the other was American and Christian.

Throughout the evening the American Christian couple made endless comments that I disagreed with, they showed contempt for any efforts I made to save the planet and were pro-guns.  They hated Obama and assumed I as a Christian would too.

On the other hand, the non-Christian British couple were anti-gun, took steps to reduce their carbon footprint and thought Obama great.  In short, we had far more in common with our non-Christian fellow Brits than the American Christians.

So my question is not who is wrong or right, but rather why do Christians from not so different cultures differ so much?  How have we come to such polar opposite conclusions about important matters?  Does culture hold more sway over us than our faith?  Shouldn’t it be the other way round?

These questions and others are what I wish to write about in this blog – in short, the intersection of culture and faith and the impact it has on us.

There are no right people

One of the remedies for reducing gun deaths that I hear most often from Americans is that they wish guns could be kept out of the hands of the ‘wrong’ people,  but that it is ok for the ‘right’ people to have guns.

There are no right people though, all of us are capable of using guns in a bad way.  This is backed up both theologically and in practice.  The bible tells us we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.  We are all wrong people.

History tells us too that in certain circumstances, the nicest people can become the deadliest killers. Think of the ordinary, law abiding citizens of Germany who were brainwashed into killing multitudes at Auschwitz.

We are capable of far more sin and harm than we imagine and there are no right people who we can be certain will never use a gun for harm.

Some bible verses in support of Solidarity & Fraternity

I have added a couple of posts arguing that Christians, American ones in particular (though I am sure we could all do better), should act in more solidarity with others, particularly the poor and underprivileged.  Here are some bible verses to back up that position which talk of brotherly love (fraternity) for others:

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” – Romans 13;9

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. – 1 John 3:16

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. – Proverbs 31:8

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.  Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. – Hebrews 13:1-3

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? – Isaiah 58:6-7

I will add more as I come across them.