Psalm 82:3-4 “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
Maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
I recently finished reading a historical, fictional series, based on events surrounding the American Civil War. I began to realize that I was ignorant about the terrible events and treatment of the African American race. My heart went out to the thousands of slaves who were considered to be as equal with the animals, too stupid to be considered worthy of considering. Woman had their children taken and auctioned off on slave blocks, husbands and wives were ripped apart, black woman were sold into brothels, and several even raped by their white owners or commanded to reproduce with whomever their owner saw fit so as to increase a plantations slave population. They were stacked in heaps beneath ships and branded like cattle. Many who would try to escape, or who could not keep up with their expected work were beaten and even punished to death. I suppose, I knew in part that these events happened, but I never considered the atrocity of it, or felt it as a real occurrence until reading these novels. Amazingly, it has not been long since slavery was finally abolished through the whole country of the US in 1865. And it is not as if the abolition of slavery ended racism. It has indeed been a long, hard fight for African Americans to gain a widespread respect as equals.
I don’t know about you, but when I consider such shocking and terrifying events I have a sense of disbelief, as if it is incomprehensible that such evils have occurred. As I read about these things many questions came to my mind. I often thought to myself “how could people have been so evil?” “How were they so blind? Couldn’t they see that the black people were humans, capable of loving and thinking and hurting?” Yet surely, people born today are no less inclined or prone to evil than they were then; given the same circumstances and opportunity to commit such crimes unpunished, men today would take full advantage. These deeds are a testimony to the biblical doctrine of the depravity of all mankind.
Ecclesiastes 9:3 “Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”
Isaiah 32:6-7 “For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the Lord, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. As for the scoundrel- his devices are evil; he plans wicked schemes to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right.”
Not only did I ask myself these questions, but I was also left wondering “how could this go on for so long? Where were the Christians? Surely they knew that this was wrong.”
To my relief there have been courageous Christians speaking out against slavery throughout history. “The famous English preacher Charles Spurgeon had some of his sermons burned in America due to his censure of slavery, calling it “the foulest blot” and which “may have to be washed out in blood (The Christian Cabinet).” John Wesley referred to human bondage as “the sum of all villainies.” William Wilberforce laboured for abolition in Britain for twenty long years, and only three days before his death heard news of the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, abolishing slavery from most of the British Empire. Yet still, I cannot help but wonder where were the masses of Christian men and woman fervently labouring to see this wicked crime done away with?
Abortion and Dehumanization
It has dawned on me that the same degree of evil continues on today, not only in other countries around the world, but right here in Canada. Who is needier, more oppressed, more slandered, and denied justice than the approximate three-hundred murdered children in Canada, every single day? They are inflicted with pain, ripped from the womb, and denied even the most basic right: to live. The comparison between slavery and abortion is stunning.
Such practices and beliefs are often built upon the false premise that these people are somehow less than people, and if not taken into our control will be as a plague. This is called “dehumanization” which means to deprive a person of human qualities or attributes; such as individuality, compassion, or civility. If a person wants to justify harm done to a particular people group, the most effective approach is to dehumanize that group, so that others will learn to disdain them and ease their guilty conscience by considering them as less than human.
All that one needs to look at to see the effectiveness of dehumanization is Hitler’s indoctrination of Nazi Germany, where Jews, and “undesirables” were made to be thought of as not only an inferior race, but often portrayed as demonized creatures. Consider the lies that are foundational for the justification of racism, which is that men have simply evolved from goo to ape to varying stages of “man,” and that only the fittest will survive and endure. So then what is a black man? One might say he is something between a chimpanzee and a white man, and therefore better off as the possession of the charitable and intelligent white man, who can at least provide him with the food and clothing he would be incapable of attaining.
What about the unborn? “It would be better that they not be born into such unfortunate circumstances” some will say, while even wielding this “pro choice” power as if it too were an act of benevolence towards both woman and child.
Do people think about them in a similar way, as an object somewhere between animal and human? Do we see people assuming the role of God over the lives of unborn babies, seeing themselves as fit to dictate whether it is best the “thing” lives or dies?
When I was in grade eleven biology, only about seven years ago, my text book and my teacher both informed me that the human fetus develops gills like a fish, a piece left over from early evolution. Such heinous things have been taught, by drawings of course and not photographs, of a human fetus with gills, and a tail like a lizard, and a yolk sack like a chicken. This article is not for the purpose of proving that the unborn child is worthy of respect as a created person from the point of conception. I believe that it is. If someone has questions or disagreements I’m willing to go into this more deeply. But the point is this: if you want a people to feel alright about exterminating Jews, viciously slave driving blacks, and tearing out babies from their mother’s womb, all so as to selfishly convenience themselves or to advance their own power, then you best convince them that such beings are not equal as persons no matter what length you have to go to. Sear their conscience like a branding iron, and slowly feed them lies about others right from their youth, so that when they are older they will think nothing of behaving wickedly towards another human being.
And all of this rooted in self love and preservation. Jonathon Edwards said “Those that are truly governed by self-love, if it was in their power to destroy a while nation or the whole world, if they could gratify their self-love by it and promote their private interest by it, they would do it… If all the world be trampled underfoot, he cares not for that; yea he delights in [it], in case he thinks he has his own advancement in it.”
May I Be Rightly Sensitive
I think it would be inaccurate to say that every racist or pro “choice” person basis their particular stance on the belief that different races or unborn children are less than completely human. Most often, I would assume that is their stance, but sometimes a person might be fully aware that they are causing the physical and/or emotional harm of another person, equally human to themselves. I would say with confidence however, that the wide spread indoctrination of a society that certain persons do not meet the criteria for personhood, is essential and foundational for the widespread acceptance of abortion in a nation.
I don’t want to be insensitive and put an identical label on every person who has ever stood up for abortion, the much more prevalent problem in our culture. There are people who have undergone abortion and been deceived into believing they had the baby’s best interest in mind, and there are those who really cared nothing for the baby but only for their own wants. I know there are woman and men who have made the choice to abort, only to return home with their conscience screaming and their heart empty and aching. There are those who were so young, and so confused, who may have only followed the guidance of a friend, a parent, or a school counsellor, only later to wonder why they had ever made that choice. On the other hand I would imagine there are some who used their science text book as an excuse in the hardness of their own heart, and felt nothing but relief as they left the clinic, only to return freely into their sinful lifestyles. “Next time,” they think, “I’ll make sure to take the morning after pill.” There are men who feel they can no longer call themselves a man after what they’ve done, and men who in the deceitfulness of their heart consider that the more sin they can commit without regret or consequence, the manlier they must be.
But whatever the case friends, I cannot apologize for calling abortion what it is: Murder. And murder is a sin against God, punishable by eternal death. No matter how it came to be, it cannot be undone and it must be paid for in full either in our own blood or in Christ’s blood. We have a culture, and even a “Christianity” that is afraid of offending anyone especially in conversation about “sensitive” issues. But please hear me out, and hear my clearly: is it that we are so afraid of offending people, or is it more so about self preservation? Because if it is really the person that we care about, shouldn’t we care more about whether or not they spend all of eternity in Heaven or in Hell than we do about a few minutes of discomfort? Think about that. Really, REALLY think about that.
But What About Compassion?
It is possible to compassionately address the evil in people, without lightening the blow.
I will share with you what gives me compassion when I think about slave drivers, fascist dictators, and avid pro-abortion activists. We’re going to go deeper than the lies that spark the hatred and murder of others. Deeper than the lie itself, which is often painted up with so much eloquence, is the ruthless and unrelenting “father of lies” himself. Read the words that Jesus said in the following texts, and if you do not know Him pray that He would set you free from such a snare.
John 8:43-46 “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.”
Satan hates man, because He hates the God who made man in His own image, to be a reflection of Him on the earth. He wants to so mar the face and the significance of man, that people no longer recognize the sanctity of each human life. He has “blinded the minds of the unbelievers, (2Corinthians 4:4)” to what should plainly be recognized as glory revealed. If man can look at creation, shrug and say “coincidence” and to his own brother and say “a product of evolution,” than it is not so hard to sow seeds of contempt between races, or even a mother and the baby in her womb. Knowing that it is God who ordains life, who knits children together within their mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), knowing that it is God who gives life and God who takes it away (Job 1:21), Satan would have men assume the role of God and take life into their own hands. Satan is a liar and a murderer, hating both God and man, and working to deceive the nations. Abortion is not only an attack on human life, but at its core it is an attack on God.
Knowing that the unsaved are spiritually blind and deceived, I can find it in my heart to look compassionately upon those who would commit such sins before God. Not only this, but most importantly if you and I are Christians, we need to look at our own lives. I deserved the punishment of death as much as any murderer or abuser out there; Guilty of blasphemy, hatred, stealing, lying, and all types of disobedience, I should be the first to recognize that if God could have mercy on a sinner like me, He can certainly have mercy on any other poor sinner and forgive all manner of trespasses.
In the words of Paul “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost (1Timoth 1:15).”
In light of these things, how can we be silent about these issues, and about sin? It is not a cruel thing to help man see his wickedness, but rather a very loving and necessary thing to do in order to point him to the mercies of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Is There Any Hope?
Psalm 42:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
When you consider the destructive nature by which man has oppressed fellow man throughout history, it is natural to feel down cast in soul, but we must remember that our hope can be strong in God. In Him there is hope for our nation, for the unborn, for abortionists, and every contrite person who has played a role in aborting a life.
I want to share an excerpt taken from John Pipers Book “Brothers We are Not Professionals” in the chapter “Brothers, Blow The Trumpet For The Unborn.” I hope you will see again a similarity between racism (particularly in the American example of slavery) and abortion. This time however, the common ground is not in the nature of the crime, but the nature of the time in which it was regularly practiced. I hope it will both challenge you and also give you hope, because our God is mighty to “defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor (Psalm 72:4)!”
“On March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court, in Dred Scott v.Stanford, ruled that no act of Congress or territorial legislature could make laws banning slavery. The fundamental argument was that slaves are not free and equal persons but the property of their masters.
The ruling is analogous to Roe v. Wade because today no state may make a law banning abortion to protect the unborn. The argument is similar- basically because the unborn are at the sovereign disposal of their mothers and do not have personal standing in their own right. There was no consensus in this country on the personhood and rights of slaves. We were split down the middle. But the issue was so fundamental that the states went to war, and in the end the Lincoln administration overturned the Dred Scott decision. And today, 130 years later, we look back with amazing consensus and marvel at the blindness of our forefathers.
Brothers, may we not dare to believe that by the grace of God and the perseverance of His people in prayer and piety and political action there could emerge in the coming decades a consensus for life and that the twenty-first century could look back on our generation with the same dismay that we look back on the slave laws of this land and on the concentration camps of World War II? Nationwide reformation has happened before- with Wilberforce in England and Lincoln in America. It can happen again. Will you put the trumpet to your lips or be silent?”
What Do We Do?
I have recognized that nearly as much as I have been ignorant about the history of slavery, I have been about the modern day pandemic called abortion. I urge you, with me, to pray that God would grant us a powerful hatred of this sin. May He awaken us from our slumber, confound our silence, and convict us of our negligence.
When I look back in History and find myself thinking “where were the masses of Christians?” I find myself having to ask the same question today. How little we seem to care that nearly a quarter of all conceived children are being killed before they take their first breath; that is 1.3 million babies a year in America alone.
I confess that my degree of sorrow over this is an utterly poor reflection of what it should be considering the circumstances. Could it be, simply because we don’t see it happening? We don’t hear their cries, we don’t see their graves; we usually don’t even know which adults have been involved in it. Their death is so silent that I think we nearly forget them.
Can I just be honest and say I don’t know where to start? I guess I’m starting here with this article, the one thing God has put on my heart so far to do. All I can say is that if there is to be any change in our nation, we better pray to God that He would put this on the forefront of our minds. If God will convict us, and move our hearts in love, than I believe action will flow out of it. We’ll start talking, writing, giving money and time and passion into this cause. Most importantly, we must be motivated to preach the gospel, the power of God for the salvation of souls. May it be Lord Jesus, may it be.
“Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
Hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
Does not he who weighs hearts perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
And will he not repay man according to his works?”