I was reading this post, which reminded me that we are constantly asking the wrong questions and thereby proposing the wrong answers. The post addressed the morality of abortion and government’s role in legislating it. This is not really a critique of that post, though one should be given.1 Rather, it is an attempt to work out some thoughts that always come to my mind when almost anyone speaks on abortion.
I am reminded of Jesus’ words on another topic, divorce:
Then Jesus left Capernaum and went southward to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. As always there were the crowds, and as usual he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”
“What did Moses say about divorce?” Jesus asked them.
“Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man merely has to write his wife an official letter of divorce and send her away.”
But Jesus responded, “He wrote those instructions only as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness. But God’s plan was seen from the beginning of creation, for ‘He made them male and female. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together.”
The religious leaders wanted to justify their attitude and actions by pointing out allowances made by God in their civil law. Jesus would have none of that. He realized that asking whether something was legal was not the same as asking if it was “right”, much less if it was “best”. I think our discussion of abortion should take note of Jesus’ words. Regardless of whether abortion is legal, tolerated in some situations, or even expected in others, it is present on account of the hardness of our hearts. If our hearts really understood and practiced God’s love and compassion, we would have none of it. This is a far cry from trying to justify it, and ourselves.
If abortion is legislated and practiced, it needs no veneer of respectability, no arguments for its morality or justness. All such arguments only point to the weakness of man-made morality. We need to treat abortion as what it is, a rupture of God’s intent for the family and our respect for life.
- I simply am lacking in time and energy to do it right now – especially since it is unlikely Jeremy and I would stay on the topic of abortion, since underpinning his comments is a much richer array of thought about God, the value of humanity and individual choices, etc.