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A Discerning Look at the Christian Pro-life Movement in America

By Angela Wittman

Can two walk together except they be agreed?
- Amos 3:3, 1599 Geneva Bible

Proverbs 31.8

First of all, may the Reader be aware that I’ve been a part of the pro-life movement since becoming a Christian in 1993. In fact, the right to life of the preborn and my complicit silence to their murder is the very first sin the good Lord brought to my attention after my conversion to Christ. The knowledge that as an unbeliever I had bloodguilt on my hands for not speaking up for the preborn burnt like a hot knife into the very depth of my being. But I also had true joy and freedom due to the knowledge that I was now a new creation in Christ and I could repent of that sin – and repent I did! I immediately began attending local meetings for the Christian Coalition and a local RTL group. I quickly became involved in the movement and traveled to the State House in Illinois to speak on behalf of the preborn and to Washington DC for the annual Roe v. Wade marches. My activities included campaigning for pro-life candidates and lobbying for pro-life legislation.  I also began volunteering at a local Pregnancy Care Center and eventually “graduated” to protesting / sidewalk counseling at the local abortuaries, which I continued to do on a regular basis up until a few years ago. I’ve also written numerous articles on the prenatal murder of the preborn, while sharing pro-life news and information via newsletters and blogging which has now become my main ministry; I spend an average of three hours a day reading / blogging various Christian and pro-life related articles. So, my observation of the Christian pro-life movement has been built on years of direct involvement and firsthand knowledge.

May all glory be to God for saving a wretch like me and making her into a daughter of the King.

A few days ago I came across an article by Sarah Terzo posted at Live Action News, who is an atheist pro-life advocate, member of Secular Pro-Life and Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, plus owner/creator of the website ClinicQuotes.com. In the article Sarah complains about being refused a position as a volunteer at a Christian Crisis Pregnancy Care Center:

…They were open and friendly when I told them I wanted to work there. They listened when I told them I had had a great deal of experience discussing abortion on the internet, and had helped numerous women choose life. Then I told them I was an atheist. “Sorry, we are a Christian ministry” the woman said. “We don’t have atheists or nonchristians working here. But you are free to give a donation.”

I asked them if I could have a position where I wouldn’t be called upon to counsel women. Could I do paperwork or answer the phone? The answer was no. They wanted no help from me.

As an experiment, I took up the phone book and called nine crisis pregnancy centers. I did not find a single one that would allow an atheist to volunteer.

Well, I have to applaud the CPC’s that maintained the integrity of their Christian ministries by refusing the help of an avowed atheist.  I am certain that even though Sarah probably doesn’t want their prayers, she has them – including mine. But the focus of my concern isn’t Sarah Terzo being denied a position in a Christian organization, it’s the “Christians” who support Sarah and who think the Christian CPC’s were unfair and mean to her.

Here are some excerpted comments made by “Christians” at Sarah Terzo’s article “On being a pro-life atheist:”

It takes courage to join a movement which is made up mainly of people with beliefs so different from your own. It must be very hard for you sometimes, if it gets so bad as to discourage you from the cause itself. As a Christian, I imagine it would be tough for me if most of the people supporting a cause about which I cared deeply continually laced their discussion with atheistic/some-other-very-different-worldview statements and ideas. It would be easy to feel isolated and unwelcome.

I’m one of those people who prefers the use of non-religious arguments against abortion. Sure, I believe God is central to the cause, but many people aren’t looking for a religious argument. The God I believe in is a rational one and is not offended by the idea of thinking carefully about one’s beliefs. Thus, there are plenty of rational reasons behind God’s desire for the protection of the unborn. Why shouldn’t I voice them? The Pro-Life position is so logical.

Besides, this isn’t just a moral or spiritual issue; it is a legal issue in what is supposed to be a nation which separates the church from the state. If we want people to take us seriously in such a context, then we’d better know our secular arguments.

So we have that uniting us at least, and probably more. So… thank you for what you contribute to the Pro-Life movement. I actually find the existence of Pro-Life atheists to be encouraging.

Exactly. The sad reality is that Christianity has a lot of baggage. For those of us who are Christian, evangelization is tough enough. But to make our pro-life “evangelization” contingent on our evangelization of Jesus? We really up the ante.

So, I too prefer arguments grounded in human rights rather than directly in Christianity. They will appeal to a much wider scope of people, and are much harder for people to dismiss as “religiosity.”

Sarah, please please please do not ever give up the fight!! I’m so sorry to hear of your experiences. I happen to be a Christian, but my pro-life stance is rooted in the scientific and biological proof of an unborn child’s humanity. And yes, I do believe that my views on abortion happen to line up with my faith in God. However, everyone in the pro-life movement needs to embrace those from ALL walks of life, all ranges of beliefs or non-beliefs. Those who are of faith should pray hard and pray all they can, but at the same time, that does not represent every person in the movement. I’m EXCITED about groups like Secular Pro-life. I’m HAPPY to know that those who have no religious affiliation are willing to show that the pro-life community is not a bunch of bible thumpers. This is a human rights issue, not a religious issue. The overturning of Roe v Wade MUST be based off of the fact that science proves that an unborn child is a living human being and is entitled to legal protection. You, Sarah, are NEEDED! Thank you for all you have done so far. You will continue to do great things. And I know you are an atheist, but I will pray on your behalf for the hearts of the Christians in the pro-life community that have refused your help, that they realize the walls they are putting up (I hope that’s okay with you).
You’re awesome and an inspiration!!!

It appears to me that those “Christians” (if they really are in Christ) have forgotten that their first allegiance is to Jesus Christ and His commandment to make disciples of the nations. They’ve misplaced their loyalty from Jesus Christ to the pro-life cause. Instead of remaining faithful to Him, they have sold their Christian inheritance much like Esau sold his for a bowl of stew. Instead of relying upon the LORD for victory, they have chosen an arm of flesh, much like the Israelites did in the Old Testament when choosing Egypt over the LORD as an ally in war.

Sarah also complains in her article that:

A while back, I posted a poll in a pro-life forum, where I asked pro-lifers if they would march side by side or work with a pro-life atheist. Almost half of them said they would not. They told me that they would not want to be “unequally yoked” with a nonbeliever.

While Sarah is offended at the 50% who stood firm on Scripture and said they would not march or work side-by-side with a pro-life atheist, I have to express being offended at the other half who said they would and ask if they have lost their way? Isn’t our emphasis as Christians supposed to be on the Gospel? Don’t we yet understand that lives and hearts changed by the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ is what will ultimately end the holocaust of the preborn in America?

40_days_for_life

Friends, I know many of you have been preaching and praying for revival in America… But perhaps we should do some housecleaning in Christian Pro-Life America first by preaching and praying for revival there.  As for me, I’ve decided to begin attending the 40 Days for Life events at local abortuaries, not to pray with the attendees, but instead to pray for them as I pass out Bible tracts.

While 40 Days for Life describes it’s mission as: “to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion.” It is in reality an ecumenical movement between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics as can be seen in this image posted on their “About” page: http://www.40daysforlife.com/about.cfmfall2012batonrouge3

One can also read their endorsement page and see that leaders from different faiths have given it their stamp of approval:

NORMA McCORVEY (Roman Catholic)
Former “Roe” of Roe v. Wade
President, Crossing Over Ministries

LOU ENGLE (Evangelical?)
President, The Call

www.thecall.com

FR. FRANK PAVONE (Roman Catholic)
National Director, Priests for Life
Pastoral Director, Silent No More Awareness Campaign and Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

www.priestsforlife.org

WENDY WRIGHT (Roman Catholic?)
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute

www.c-fam.org

JOE SCHEIDLER (Roman Catholic)
National Director, Pro-Life Action League
www.prolifeaction.org

These are just a few examples of the hodgepodge of pro-life leaders who endorse 40 Days for Life.  A discerning Christian might not want to promote or be part of such a group in obedience to God’s command to: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? – 2 Cor. 6:14 KJV

The ecumenical Christian might want to ask their self if they truly want all glory to go to God for ending prenatal child-murder via abortion or are they somehow seeking to undermine His work by uniting with unbelievers when He has clearly revealed in His Word that this is wrong and thus bringing glory to themselves for ending the holocaust of the preborn. Just who are you serving? The Sovereign Lord who holds the hearts of men in His hands or some man made effort destined to fail due to sin and compromise in the Christian pro-life camp?

Christians, please for the sake of the preborn, wash your hands and hearts and seek the Lord’s help in your efforts. Stop being an affront to Jesus Christ and instead be a blessing.

May God have mercy and bless this commentary. In Lord Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

13 thoughts on “A Discerning Look at the Christian Pro-life Movement in America

  1. Pingback: A Discerning Look at the Christian Pro-life Movement in America | Christian Pro-Life News

  2. Good article! This was also the same struggle we had with the Prolife movement with our church ministry…lots of ecumenical compromises…though I’m surprise reading this that there’s more people who want to be faithful to God at least where atheists are concerned…

  3. Hey friends, I’ve been sharing my thoughts on the pro-life movement with some of my pro-life heroes. These men have been in the movement since the early days of rescue. Here is an article that speaks to some of my concerns by Rusty Lee Thomas:

    PRO-LIFE IDOLATRY?

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived (Numbers 21:8, 9).”

    Israel was well on their way in the Exodus adventure. God’s promise to bring them out of bondage and into the Promised Land was coming to pass. True to form, however, at the slightest provocation, Israel griped, complained, and resorted back to the slave mentality of Egypt. God, in His vast patience, endured these numerous outbursts of unbelief time and again. In this particular incident, His longsuffering ended. The proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” fell. Israel crossed a line they would soon regret.

    As their souls were discouraged along the way, they “spoke against the Lord.” God answered. Nature turned against them as “snakes on the plain” bit the people and many died (Numbers 21:6, 7). There is nothing like God’s judgment to cause people to reassess the situation and jar them back to reality. God’s Word states, “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people (Numbers 21:7).”

    Though God’s anger is for a moment, thankfully His mercy endures forever. As God’s people repented, the Lord instructed Moses to fashion a brass snake and place it on a pole. Those who looked upon it were healed. To this day, the snake on a pole remains the symbol of healing in the medical profession. Our Lord Jesus seized upon this Biblical example of God’s healing to declare His once and for all sacrifice for the sins of the world. John 3:14, 15 states, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Jesus promised that if He would be lifted up from the earth, He would draw men unto Himself (John 12:32). Through Him, God’s ultimate salvation and healing amongst the nations would be established.

    Old Testament Israel, however, underwent a dreadful transition. Initially, the snake on the pole was a reminder of God’s great mercy of healing. Through the years, the nation turned it to an object of veneration. This was something that went beyond the scope of honoring God’s deliverance. Thus, it became an idol fit for destruction. Israel had taken something good and turned it into something evil in God’s sight. Like some in the Church today, we can be tempted to exalt the gifts, instead of the Gift-giver. We can foolishly have faith in our faith or we can corrupt God’s worship by worshipping our worship.

    Nonetheless, it was left to King Hezekiah to make amends with God. Under his administration, he instituted many righteous reforms. God’s Word declares, “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan (bronze thing) (2 Kings 18:4).”

    By now, some may question how this teaching relates to the provocative title, “Pro-life Idolatry?” Glad you asked. As one who has been in the pro-life battle since the fall of 1988, I have witnessed the good, the bad, and the really ugly. In recent days, it seems the last twenty years has come to a head. Perhaps, God is at work, if we have eyes to see and hearts to obey.

    Although there was a pro-life movement before 1988, it was the Christian ministry of Operation Rescue that birthed genuine repentance amongst God’s people. God’s word was like a hammer and a fire (Jeremiah 23:29). Christians of all stripes and colors beat their breast, came low to the ground, and finally pointed the finger in the right direction. This authentic heaven-sent brokenness produced fruits meet for repentance as tens of thousands of Christians stormed the gates of hell. To those who had the privilege to participate in this movement, Rescue was God’s answer to the many prayers that faithfully cried for revival. When it finally came, there was nothing we would have held back from God, not even our own lives.

    As the years progressed, the Rescue movement underwent a similar dreadful transition. This modern day “snake on the pole” of true repentance, degenerated from something that once honored God (and I say this with tears) to something that has brought disgrace and shame to His name. The early pictures of Rescue displayed Christians united in the cause of Christ. We wept, humbled ourselves before God, and turned from our wicked ways. We beseeched God to forgive our sins, the sins of our nation, and to heal our land. Today’s news, however, makes public something quite different. The images have changed and none for the better. Much of it reveals a splintered pro-life movement at each others throats.

    How did something so good and godly become such a travesty? Sin! God’s Word states, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:14-16).” Our sins of pride, lust, greed, envy, covetousness, and jealousy turned a sincere godly movement into another idol fit for destruction. Flip Benham, National Director of Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, concurs. He stated in his recent article, “Dealing with the Sin of Operation Rescue,” “It was not because of FACE, RICO, lawsuits, justifiable homicide, timid pastors, weak churches, ad nauseam, that we failed. It was our own sin.”

    Through the years, I have seen many Christians start well, but end terribly in this battle against the culture of death. Whereas the majority of the American Church professed love for God, most did not seem to care enough to love their neighbor as themselves. Many who named the name of Christ remained silent and inactive as babies were (and still are) targeted for slaughter. Rescuers, however, not only took serious our professed love for God, but also our duty to love our neighbor as well. Yet as the battle was prolonged and intensified, some in our movement became more pro-life than Christian. Subtlety the commandments of God became inverted.

    Instead of first loving God and then our neighbor, love for our neighbor eventually surpassed the first and greatest commandment. It seemed the more our nation and the Church ignored the dead babies, the more obsessed many in our movement became. Tragically, in the midst of this debacle, some became so embittered that they lost their first love. They ended up leaving the Church and abandoning their first works. Revelation 2:4, 5 warns, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

    God’s Word is clear. The love of God is absolutely essential to keeping all His commandments (John 14:21). We do not have the option to pick and choose which commandments to obey based upon a pro-life agenda. This is why we must be Christians first, then pro-lifers. Jesus is the source of life. Indeed, apart from Him, there is no life in pro-life. Thus if we do not reconnect with Him and reestablish this divine order, we will continue in the Machiavellian “the ends justify the means,” strategies that have caused more harm than good.

    I would dare say that it has been this philosophy that is responsible for leading so many astray from the straight and narrow. At what price? Let me count the cost. It’s produced murder, bombings, jockeying for position, plagiarism, taking unwarranted credit, lying, cheating, theft, usurpations, gossip, false accusations, Christian cannibalism, and a host of other evils. Yes, we have all learned too well in this battle how to bite and devour one another (Galatians 5:15). And what is the response, while these scandals take place? We smile at the cameras, justify ourselves, and invoke the name of Jesus upon our feigned lips.

    In the midst of this duplicity, does anyone stop to consider what has happened to our hearts, the very ones that were once broken for the cause of Christ and the little ones made in His image? Have they become so hardened by the deceitfulness of sin that we can’t see the mess we’ve made (Hebrews 3:13)? Tragically, this appears to be the case. Thus most of us remain blinded and do what is right in our own eyes. When confronted with our misdeeds, we simply convince our embittered minds that all is fair in love and war. And besides, we still hold to the noble goal of ending the holocaust in America, right? Wrong! We can do a good work in a bad way. We can have a great motive to end abortion, but our actions can still be condemned as evil by God.

    God’s Word states, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).” We shout from the mountain tops that God hates the hands that shed innocent blood and yet conveniently ignore that this same God hates those who sow discord among the brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19). How much more division, bitterness, hatred, variance, strife, contention, wounds, hurts, and broken fellowship must come before we repent? How many more lambs will be fleeced and devoured as we seek to glorify ourselves instead of the God we claim to serve? We seek names, titles, funds, recognition, and our own legacies, while babies still die, the Church languishes in a state of denial, and America is going to hell in a hand basket.

    To state that these things ought not to be, is the understatement of the century. Though we may have started out to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, many of us have ended up giving the enemies of the Lord reason to blaspheme Him. Jesus stated, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (Matthew 23:23).”

    Yes, it is right, just, and true to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death (Proverbs 24:11, 12). This we ought to do, but we should not neglect the other weighty matters of God’s Law/Word. Virtues like humility, servanthood, faithfulness, courage, truthfulness, integrity, and godly character, must be yoked with our pursuit to rescue the lost and perishing. God help us to return to pleasing, loving, and serving His purposes and not our own.

    Recently, I was reading from our OSA Bible reading schedule in the Gospel of John. It inspired my own version of “I have a dream.” As our Lord was preparing for His departure, He stripped Himself, donned a cloth about his waste, got on his knees, and washed the feet of His disciples. Yes, He washed the feet of the one who would betray him, the one who would deny Him, and all who would forsake Him.

    In my mind’s eye, I imagined what God would unleash from heaven if we who once were united in the cause of Christ against child-killing, came together, humbled ourselves, took ownership for our many sins, and repented. What would happen to the gates of hell if we got on our knees, washed each other’s feet, and sought to make things right with God and with each other? What would occur in this battle for the souls of men, the lives of children, and the future of America? This, I believe, is a dream worth dreaming but how many have the courage and humility to bring it to pass?

    King David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23, 24).” Assuredly, it is high time for the Christian pro-life movement to come back and make sure we are more Christian than pro-life. For the sake of our love for God, our preborn neighbor, and our bloodstained nation, let us end our pro-life idolatry and smash the “snake on the pole” in our own wicked hearts. Let us, instead, cling to the cross on which our precious Savior died. Perhaps, God would then be pleased to birth another movement of repentance amongst His people that will finally end the American holocaust. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen (1 John 5:21)”.

    IN KING JESUS’ SERVICE,
    Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas

  4. Pingback: PRO-LIFE IDOLATRY? | Christian Pro-Life News

  5. I am still fighting the Reformation war. Catholics are pro- life, anti-abortion, anti-choice, anti-pain and the like. That seems to be the direction of the Roman Catholic Church.
    I am Anti-murder, pro-choice, and pro-abortion. God declares: “DO NOT MURDER”. I cannot improve on God’s Word and neither can the RCC. God gave Adam a choice. Humans must suffer the consequences of his choice. Nobody can change God’s “obey or else”.
    There has been many abortions and no deaths of the individuals involved. I am a personal example. Explain how the abortion is the sin.
    Secondly, in candy apple murders of children, the amniotic fluid is exchanged for a hypertonic salt solution. The baby is chemically murdered and the corpse is commonly spontaneously aborted by the mother two days later. Explain how the abortion caused the murder of the corpse.
    I suggest Christians humble themselves and promote Jehovah and HIS Words directly. 2 Chron 7:14

    • Hi Carl,
      I agree that terms and words are important. But when one terminates a pregnancy and the baby cannot survive outside the womb or it is left to die, it’s often referred to as an abortion. Praise the Lord you survived an abortion and the physician/nurses cared for you. This is not always the case, and babies are left to die after pregnancies are terminated; the end result is murder and I think the good Lord might not be as strict on terminology as He is the actual crime and sin committed.

      • My abortion was a medical experiment to see if a vaginal abortion would work under the conditions presented. It was designed and expected to produce a live birth. “Terms and words are important” so here are my terms of definition from the dictionary on abortion. Abortion, “The premature separation of the fetal tissue from the maternal tissue”. Murder, “The unauthorized separation of the living soul from the living human body at death”. I realize that is a composite of biblical facts, Ex. 21:25, Gen. 35:18, Gen. 2:17.
        Those definitions are different because humans are usurping God’s sole authority to cause separation in a stoppage of a life. An abortion is not necessarily involved in stopping a life.
        I worked at Spartan Research Animals. That business was started by abortions. Passage through the vagina causes some pathogens to be passed on to the babies. The researchers wanted “specific pathogen free’ animals. Ergo. the fetus’ were aborted and the mothers discarded. Humans fed the young from an eye dropper. Tedious work. Incidentally, only males are used since hormonal cycles screw up testing results.

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  7. I agree with you that, first and foremost, our calling is to the Gospel of Christ. So I am having trouble understanding why you would chose not to allow an atheist into your group. Is our Gospel so exclusive that atheists need not apply? Perhaps one of the people in one of those pro-life ministries was supposed to show the love and saving Grace of God to that atheist. Maybe by being surrounded by other Christians, God’s love could have penetrated her heart. We all needed someone to share the Gospel with us at some point. God loves that atheists feminist lesbian just as much as He loves you or me. I respect the right of a Christian organization to not hire or accept a volunteer based on their beliefs, but I am bothered by all the commenters who act like we shouldn’t even be seen with such a person. Maybe we should stop judging the ground and just start sowing the seed.

    • Hi Molly, There is nothing wrong with standing on the sidewalk with an atheist to protest abortion or try to reach out to aborting parents. The concern is entering into an alliance in which the Gospel message will be challenged by the atheist or possibly watered down or even not presented at all; it’s a matter of integrity for the followers of King Jesus. In your personal case, the situation might be different and if you have opportunity to befriend an unbeliever and be a Gospel light to them, then by all means you should do so. :) May the good Lord bless you as you seek to draw others to Him.

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