5 things pro-lifers shouldn’t say
Use your words to establish your basic argument not distract from it.
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Should we say that Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger was a racist? We shouldn’t, and I’ll tell you why in just a minute. Welcome to the Case for Life podcast, where we equip you to defend your pro-life views. We want to thank our primary sponsor, Life Training Institute. for their help in making this podcast possible. We are entering an election cycle and things are really getting heated. In fact, there’s all kinds of things being said on both sides of this issue that in many ways distract from the main thing. And it’s vitally important as pro-life apologists that we keep our messaging clear. And there are a few things I hear out there that perhaps we ought not be saying any time, let alone in a political season. I’m going to give you the top 5 things that pro lifers should not say. Number 5 comes in as this. Should pro-lifers talk about Margaret Sanger being a racist? And my answer is no. And here’s why. It’s not because she wasn’t one. I think you can make a good case she was. She certainly was in favor of eugenics, her famous saying, more kids from the Children from the fit and less from the unfit applies here. She had a Negro project aimed at getting black pastors. to get their congregants to use contraception so there’d be fewer black babies. I get all that. But really, it doesn’t have anything to do with the arguments that are being advanced. So ask yourself this question. Let’s say that Planned Parenthood’s founder was a racist. How does that make the argument that abortion is wrong? I mean, this is no different than pro-abortionists saying to pro-lifers, It was misogynist men who thought up your argument. Now that’s untrue, but say it were true that all pro-lifers are misogynists. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. How does that refute the argument that’s being made? Again and again, we say on this podcast, Arguments stand or fall on their merits, not the person making them. The only way to evaluate arguments for abortion is to look at their internal merits Are they valid? Do the conclusions follow from the premises? And are they sound? Do the premises contain true statements? If the arguments fail those tests, that’s the reason we should oppose them, not because of the people making them. And the same would be true here when we look at things that people say about Margaret Sanger or about anybody else who was pro-abortion. Look, there’s a lot of shady characters that are pro-abortion. I get it. but it doesn’t do us any good to attack them personally. What we want to do is look at the arguments that are being advanced. The number 4 argument that I hear out there from pro-lifers that we should not be saying is that sin is sin. Abortion is no different than any other issue. It’s all sin. And if you aren’t repenting, you’re going to go to hell for those sins. Okay. It’s true that all sin separates us from God. That much is true. But here’s the part that’s not true. Not all sins are morally equivalent. If you don’t understand that there’s a difference between stealing a pencil and dismembering a living human being in the womb, Something is broken in your moral compass. Do we really think, for example, that rape and saying a cuss word are morally equivalent. They are equally sinful, we can argue. But here’s the thing we need to remember as biblically grounded Christians. While it’s true that all sin separates us from God and we are equal in that we equally share a sin nature, it is not true that the acts that spring from that sinful nature are morally equivalent. There are things that are worse, and this is borne out in Scripture. For example, in Proverbs 6, We hear God say there are things that he hates, sins that he hates, one of which, by the way, is the shedding of innocent blood, hands that shed innocent blood. Elsewhere, in the book of Isaiah, for example, God tells his people he will not hear their prayers because their hands are stained with blood. Innocent blood has a preeminent moral quality to it in Scripture, in that We are to oppose it and we are to do all we can to stand against it. It is a particularly egregious sin in God’s economy. So to relativize it and say, well, all sin is sin, doesn’t teach what Scripture teach. And it certainly isn’t accurate when we just think about it from a common sense point of view. There is a difference between stealing a pencil and murdering someone. And if you don’t see that, something is off in your moral compass. The other thing you’ll hear is that, and this is number 3, number 3 goes like this. Well, you know, we can’t be pro-life if we don’t live it out consistently. Believe me, there’s nothing that makes our critics happier than when pro-life advocates take on unrealistic job descriptions. Things like, well, we can’t be pro-life unless we’re also helping families with discipleship. We can’t be pro-life if we aren’t working to save marriages from divorce. We can’t be pro-life if we’re not helping refugees. We can’t be pro-life if we’re not helping the poor amongst us. We can’t be pro-life if we’re not teaching fathers how to be better dads. Okay, these are all great things, and I hope Christians do all of them. But to say that you can’t be pro-life unless you embrace all that— gives pro-lifers a job description that would break the back of Superman. The reality is we are finite creatures. There’s only so much we can do. And the shedding of innocence blood in our culture through abortion represents a preeminent moral crisis. It’s right that pro-lifers give more weightier focus on that issue than they do taking on every evil under the sun, which they can’t possibly do without bankrupting their efforts to save children. So we want to avoid this idea that, oh yeah, we aren’t pro-life unless we’re consistently pro-life on all issues. That is a bad way to argue. It’s also a bad way in terms of helping advance the pro-life objective. The second bad way pro-lifers sometimes argue is to say that politics doesn’t really solve anything. that we want to make abortion unthinkable. We don’t want to make it illegal. That is a very foolish thing to say. A society that makes abortion rare but still allows you to intentionally kill innocent human beings is still a very evil society. So we should not be saying we want to make abortion unthinkable but not illegal. The truth is we want to do both. And the law is an important way to help people see that abortion should be unthinkable. The law is a moral teacher. It tends to instruct us on what we ought and ought not do, especially in a culture that rejects biblical authority outright. The law, in many cases, is the only thing people have as a compass for what’s right and what’s wrong. I don’t think there’s any moral issue I can think of any time in the last 100 and 50 years where changing the law didn’t also help change the moral culture. For example, in 19 60 most people in the south opposed legislation purporting to give blacks equal rights. They thought that was unnecessary. They opposed it in large majorities, I might add. But here’s what’s interesting. Within 2 years of the passage of the 19 64 Civil Rights Act, a majority of Southerners affirmed equal rights for Blacks, and they wanted them to have a non-segregated society. What changed things? Well, the only thing we can point to is the passage of the Civil Rights Act. that helped Americans see that it was not right to treat one class of human beings differently than we did another. The number one thing we need to quit saying is that there’s no perfect political candidate or party. Therefore, why be involved in politics at all? It’s true, there are no perfect candidates and there are no perfect parties. They are all messed up and flawed in various ways. However, it doesn’t follow that some parties aren’t closer to a biblical world worldview than others. We are right to say that all of us as sinful human beings are going to mess things up, including politicians. That much is true, and you don’t need to look very far to see that on both sides of the aisle. However, There are some parties that align more closely with a biblical worldview than others, and some that are clearly so far outside it that it’s hard to see how a Christian could support them. Now, I want to be careful here. I am not making the argument that if you vote for a party that supports evil, That automatically says you’re not a Christian. Only God can judge the heart. However, I will say this. There are some candidates and some parties out there that if a Christian promotes those parties and candidates, I do wonder if their sense of a biblical worldview is fully intact. In fact, I can make a very good argument, it’s not. If you’re supporting a party that promotes abortion wholesale, something is wrong in your moral compass. Now, I’m not speaking here about new believers who are still coming into a full knowledge of what a biblical worldview looks like. For example, it’s true, as my colleague Greg Kokel says, Jesus first catches his fish, then he cleans them. So we need to have space to allow new believers to have their worldview come more in line. with a biblical one. I’m talking here about established churchgoers, people who have been in church for decades, they claim to be Christian, and they promote active support for a political party that advances wholesale the intentional killing of innocent human beings. I don’t see how, on a biblical worldview, you can justify that. Again, I’m going to withhold judgment about where they are with God. That’s between them and God. We can say that their actions and their statements do not align with a biblical understanding of morality and ethics. That much we can say. So as Christians, especially in a political season, let’s be careful to say the right things, not the wrong things. Again, we want to avoid saying Margaret Sanger was a racist. Well, maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t. But how does that help our case or refute theirs? And the answer is it doesn’t because arguments stand or fall on their merits. Secondly, we definitely want to avoid saying that sin is sin, all sin is the same. The Bible does not teach moral equivalency. It teaches very clearly that the shedding of innocent blood represents a preeminent moral crisis. And we need to get in line with what Scripture says, not what our culture says that wants to relativize all wrongdoing as being the same or say it’s not wrong at all. Thirdly, we want to stop putting unrealistic demands on pro-lifers by saying things like, To be pro-life, you know what? We really do have to take on every life issue under the sun. Otherwise, we’re hurting our Christian witness. No. There’s nothing wrong with Christians, for example, in 19 40 saying we’re going to make saving Jews a primary focus or Christians in 18 60 who said We’re going to work to uphold the human dignity of slaves. They were right to concentrate on those preeminent moral crises. crises of their day. That was the right thing to do, not a wrong thing to do. Fourthly, we want to avoid saying that politics has no impact and won’t change things. Yes, it will. It’s true that politics will not change a person’s heart necessarily. But it will stop heartless human beings from intentionally killing other innocent human beings. And that’s something we ought to work for. Martin Luther King put it well, the law can’t make the white man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and that matters. I agree. And finally, We want to make sure that we don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. There are no perfect political parties. There are no perfect candidates. They are all flawed, but some are flawed worse than others. For example, A governor who has a great plan on health care, a great plan on the economy, and a great plan on education, but thinks it should be legal for you to beat your wife is disqualified from a biblical worldview from holding office, and we should oppose him. His good deeds do not atone for his bad ones. Now, as far as no perfect candidate goes, that’s true. But again, some political parties and some candidates line up better with a biblical worldview. than others. Now, the obvious objection is, well, wait a minute. If I vote for somebody who’s imperfect or I support an imperfect party, aren’t I conceding that everything they want to do is morally okay? No, you’re not. You’re agreeing that it’s right that they oppose the intrinsic evils they’re going to oppose, but it doesn’t follow you’re giving a green light to everything else they might do that is not good. For example, if I’m in a bank and a robber comes in and says to me, listen, Give me all the money you have in the register or I’m going to start killing people. Suppose I’m a bank teller. Would it be okay to give him the money? Yes, it would be. Now, someone could say, well, wait a minute, you just cooperated with the evil of bank robbery. I didn’t formally cooperate with it, though I did materially cooperate with it. In other words, the reason I gave him the money is not because I agree and intend for him to carry out his evil of robbing the bank, I gave him the money to prevent an even greater evil, And there are some times when we vote for candidates who aren’t particularly well aligned with the biblical worldview on some things, But on the big issues like protecting human life, protecting humans who bear the image of God and not promoting bloodshed wholesale worldwide, They align with us on those things, but they may be off on some other areas. Well, we will go ahead and cooperate, not because we support all this other stuff they do that might not be right, but because they help us avoid the large intrinsic evils like the shedding of innocent blood. So we want to make sure we don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. There is only one perfect person and you’re not him. I’m not him. He lived here 2000 years ago, and one day he’ll come back to judge the living and the dead, and our job is to get in line with his worldview as best that we can. Thanks for joining us today. I look forward to seeing you on our next episode.