Friday, July 22, 2011
Abortion is “...‘too nice a word for something cold, like murder.” Rev. Jesse Jackson, 1973
Addressing the marchers at the pro-life “March on Washington” in 1977, then pro-life Civil Rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson said,
“There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of [a] higher order than the right to life,…that was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside your right to be concerned. What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of a person and what kind of a society will we have 20 years hence if life can be taken so casually? It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind-set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.”
Rev. Jackson failed to answer his own question in the affirmative, eventually embracing a pro-abortion position when he ran for president in the 1980’s. Nonetheless he spoke prophetically. America has followed his lead in answering his question in the negative and our “hell” can be measured by an unprecedented holocaust. Since abortion was legalized in 1973, over 52 million pre-born human beings have lost their lives to abortion, 15-16 million of them African American. Since abortion was legalized in 1973, abortion has had a genocidal effect on the African American population. Today African Americans are the only minority in America that are experiencing a decline in population. (see www.toomanyaborted.com and the 60 & 90 second videos “Epidemic” and “Number One Killer” at http://www.blackprolifecoalition.org/)
Since every abortion takes the life of a defenseless human being, abortion is the preeminent civil rights issue of our day as slavery was in years past. The humanity/personhood of the unborn is now an irrefutable fact. Douglas Erlandson writes, “When the fertilized egg (or zygote) is first formed, it already possesses its full complement of DNA or genetic information. That information never changes. A person’s sex, blood type, hair and skin color, and future height are all determined in that first cell. From that moment on, unless its life is terminated, it will develop until it becomes an adult human being.”
Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, M.D., of Harvard University Medical School agrees, “…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception…” Renowned Professor of genetics, University of Descartes, Jerome LeJeune, M.D. concurs, “…after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being.” The evidence is incontrovertible. The unborn are distinct, living human beings from the moment of conception.
This has significant legal implications. The Declaration of Independence, states “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” (emphasis mine) Therefore as Randy Alcorn has written, “The ‘right to life’ is not some modern antiabortion slogan. It is the most fundamental assertion of the most significant founding document of out nation.”
In other words, the unborn are guaranteed the right to life under the U.S. Constitution, a right Roe v. Wade failed to uphold in denying them personhood. This injustice paralleled the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision of 1857 that denied Dred Scott, a freed slave, personhood because his skin color was black. Justice Harry Blackmun, writing the prevailing opinion in Roe v. Wade, acknowledged how central personhood of the unborn was in that decision. He wrote, “The appellee…argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment…If this suggestion of personhood is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.” The scientific evidence that has come to light since Justice Blackmun wrote these words conclusively substantiates the personhood of the unborn.
The Court, however, has lacked the integrity and moral will to revisit the case. And they are not alone. Many Americans have turned their back on the plight of the unborn, as did Jesse Jackson, for various reasons, be they political, financial or personal (convenience, sexual freedom). In its haste to embrace moral relativism and abandon the historic commitment to transcendent moral truth, America has been willing to sacrifice the most innocent and vulnerable segment of its population for personal gain.
Randy Alcorn has rightly pointed out that “...The right to a certain lifestyle is never absolute and unconditional. It is always governed by its effects on others...One person’s right to a preferred lifestyle is not greater than another person’s right to life...Even pochoicers must acknowledge that the ‘right to control one’s body’ argument has no validity if the unborn is a human being.”
From both a legal and moral perspective, the central issue in the abortion debate is not “women’s rights” but “human rights,” the “civil rights” of the unborn.
Monday, July 18, 2011
This morning, I read chapter four and five of 1 Peter. This letter was written to a persecuted church (1:6). "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you should share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when the glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4:13 ESV)
A little later I watched a video about Chen Guangcheng , a blind Chinese human rights defender, who served over four years of mistreatment and imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese Communists for exposing 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in Linyi County in 2005. China aborts 13 millions unborn children annually, many of them forced. That is an average of over 35,000 abortions per day.
I couldn't help but contrast Guangcheng's courage and sacrifice with the silence of the American church as over 3,000 unborn babies are aborted each day in the USA. I'll never forget the words of a Broward County pastor explaining why he would not speak about abortion in his church. "Fifty percent of my people would leave."
"We must value our relationship with heaven more than our relationship with the world," says Pastor Walter B. Hoye II who, just a few years ago, spent time in jail for refusing to stop speaking words of life and hope to abortion clients in front of an Oakland California abortion mill.
The gospel is the answer to America's abortion crisis. What America needs to hear is the truth about abortion wrapped in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Taking human life stands at the center of Satan's agenda. Jesus exposed him as a "murderer" (John 8:44) who came "…only to steal and kill and destroy." (John 10:10) Jesus went on to contrast that with His mission, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:10-11 ESV) There could not be two more diametrically opposed missions. One is bent on taking life, the other sacrificing life to give life – abundant life!
That is the message those contemplating an abortion, those performing an abortion, those who have had an abortion, and those endorsing abortion need to hear. Human life is so precious in God's sight that God clothed himself in our humanity in order to rescue us from the certainty of death. The Gospel has always centered on passing from death to life.
Historically, when the Gospel saturates a culture, the devaluation of human life is reversed as the human heart is regenerated and the transcendent truth of the sanctity of human life is embraced. The current state of America can be attributed to the reversal of that process over the last half century.
For decades now, preachers have feared the man in the pew or the man of the world more than God and His Word. Peter had a message for our day. "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:16-17 ESV) A few weeks ago Pastor Rusty Lee Thomas wrote, "God establishes His divine order of judgment. First, He will deal with the Church's complicity and complacency with evil. Afterward, those who advocate and promote evil…"
In light of Peter's warning, let us boldly preach the Gospel to our nation, crying out for mercy and for another spiritual awakening. Historian Keith J. Hardman in his book, The Spiritual Awakeners, writes of America's three Great Awakenings, noting how these awakenings "…energized the churches and poured countless new converts into them…In each of these three periods the church has poured its zeal for righteousness into the bloodstream of the nation…Renewed and empowered Christianity has been the single most important moral factor in making America great."
This remains America's hope. America needs another "infusion of righterousness into" its bloodstream. History can repeat itself, but the way may be paved with suffering. If so, are we willing to pay that price?
(You can see the video of Chen Guangcheng at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpVJidDqVJo)
Saturday, July 2, 2011
This week I received the 2010 abortion statistics for my home state of Florida provided by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration - compiled by gestation weeks and county where the terminations occurred. Good news and bad news. The good - there was a slight drop in the state of Florida totals from 2009 – from 81,919 to 79,908 (2010), an average of 220 babies per day. Broward County, where I live, also saw a small decrease from 2009 – 12,827 to 12,186 (2010), an average of 33 babies per day. Palm Beach County to our north also saw a decrease from 2009 - 5,904 to 5,645 (2010) an average of 15 babies per day. The bad news, to our south, Miami-Dade saw an increase from 2009 – 18,615 to 19,390 (2010) an average of 53 babies per day.
We praise God for every decrease in the slaughter of the innocent, however the loss of life represented in the 2010 report remains staggering – difficult to comprehend. I've yet to hear daily television or radio newscasts report that "Today, sources at the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reported that another 33 babies were murdered in Broward County while still in their mother's womb." The loss of life continues unabated without notice or comment – as though it wasn't happening!
Michael Spielman (www.abort73.com) has said, “The domestication of abortion has made it tragically commonplace, so much so that we seem to have lost our ability to be outraged by it. How is it that even we who oppose abortion are not more overwhelmed by the fact that it is legal, in the United States of America, to tear apart the tiny bodies of helpless unborn children?” (“A Biblical Mandate to do Something about Abortion”)
Where is the response of the Church in the midst of this holocaust? Where is the moral leadership of its shepherds in a culture of death that encourages and justifies the brutal killing of one's own offspring? Where is the compassionate intervention for those at risk for abortion?
Just days before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America (OSA), said, “Abortion will come to an end, when the Church of Jesus Christ makes up her mind it will come to an end – not a second sooner. The responsibility for ending abortion in America rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Church of Jesus Christ.”
His words are consistent with the vision and mission statement of OSA which says in part,
“As the Church changes its heart toward unborn children, God Himself will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and bring healing to our land. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only answer to the abortion holocaust…There are no cheap political solutions to the holocaust presently ravaging our nation. Like slavery before it, abortion is preeminently a Gospel issue. The Cross of Christ is the only solution.”
How I wish the American Church would embrace that truth. Earlier this week Pastor Rusty Lee Thomas wrote,"…abortion is a national sin that has wrought national calamities. Part of these calamities is good has become evil and evil, good. All of us are either complicit or complacent when it comes to the American holocaust. Our nation is staggering under the weight of blood guilt."
Ultimately, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the solution to America’s abortion crisis. Innocent blood has polluted the land and profaned the name of the Lord. However, there is a greater blood shed at Mount Calvary that can transform the heart of a mother to choose life for her child, and cleanse the guilty - forgive, heal and restore the post-abortive. America needs to hear God’s truth about abortion wrapped in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. His blood is sufficient to cover the sin of abortion - the sin of pushing a girlfriend, wife or daughter into an abortion - the sin of paying for an abortion - the sin of performing an abortion or the sin of doing nothing about abortion.
As we face the national tragedy of abortion, the Church of Jesus Christ faces a great challenge as well as opportunity to make a difference. I am here to serve the Church in that effort.
Rev. Jim McGarvey
Church For Life
Serving the Church in its response to America's abortion crisis as it:
- communicates the message of the sanctity of human life
- ministers healing and restoration to the post-abortive
- provides compassionate help to those at risk for abortion.
The Sanctity of Human Life” a message given on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday January 23, 2011 at Riverside Christian Fellowship at http://www.954church.com/media/sermons?page=6
My PowerPoint message, "Abortion, the Devil & the Church - Exposing the Satanic Forces Behind Abortion" given at Riverside Christian Fellowship, October 4, 2009, online at http://www.rcfonline.org/podcast/page/19/ You can see the PP slides by clicking next to “Notes”