Sunday, February 23, 2020

Pro-Life, Anti-Trump

In my dialogue with evangelical friends, I have come to the conclusion that there is one reason above all others for the evangelical support for President Trump. That is the issue of abortion. The importance of that one issue trumps (pun intended) all others and justifies their support for a man who in his personal conduct and language is the antithesis of everything the gospel stands for. The potential saving of millions of lives of unborn children is worth it for these Christians.

I am pro-life. I have been consistently pro-life for fifty years. I was pro-life before the famous Roe v. Wade case. I was pro-life before the anti-abortion movement was called pro-life and before evangelicals hopped on the bandwagon with the Moral Majority in 1979. I was pro-life before I was a Christian or a pastor. I have participated in pro-life events and supported pro-life ministries. I understand the values of the pro-life movement.

My opposition to abortion began with my commitment to nonviolence. I came to my pro-life stance from reading the works of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and adopting their philosophy of nonviolence. Gandhi specifically names abortion as an act of violence. King never specifically addressed the issue of abortion, as far as I know, but he was a consistent champion of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence, which Gandhi called ahimsa. I see abortion as violence against the most vulnerable, powerless, and voiceless among us.

It is because I am pro-life that I will not vote for Donald Trump. I will not support a man whom I see as anti-life. As late as 1999 he described himself as “very pro-choice” and “pro-choice in every respect.” It is clear to me that the only reason he has recently flip-flopped on the issue is to recruit the support of evangelicals. He knew he could not get their votes without changing his position. But he doesn’t believe it. He is not pro-life. He never has been.

My evangelical friends point to his appointment of pro-life justices to the Supreme Court as evidence that he is supporting the pro-life agenda, regardless of what is in his heart. I say that appointing these judges will not change anything, and he knows it. To try to outlaw abortion by appointing activist judges who will “legislate from the bench” is a lost cause. It will never happen.

Christians cannot successfully outlaw abortion through the Supreme Court any more than Christians could outlaw alcohol during Prohibition a hundred years ago. Neither can we outlaw tobacco or guns or automobile accidents or war or anything else that kills people. The parallels to Prohibition are very apparent. Those who are ignorant of the history of the 1920’s are doomed to repeat it in the 2020’s.

Stacking the Supreme Court with anti-abortion men in order to impose our standard of Christian morality on American society is a fantasy that will not work. It would be like trying to criminalize adultery or Sabbath-breaking or taking the Lord’s name in vain - which are three of God’s Top Ten, by the way.

If Christians cannot – or are not willing to - enforce the Ten Commandments through legislation, why should we criminalize abortion, which is never mentioned in Scripture? Evangelicals do not even consider the violation of these commandments as disqualifying a man for president! Not to mention the command against bearing false witness.

Even if the Court did somehow succeed in reversing Roe v. Wade, we could never enforce it. It would not stop abortions any more than we have been able to stop illicit drugs by criminalizing them. It would only fill our prisons with mothers and doctors, and we already have the highest incarceration rates in the world. It would only result in more deaths, including those of pregnant women.

The best strategy for those of us who are truly pro-life is to save as many lives as possible by making sure that abortion is “safe, legal, and rare.” Because I am pro-life and pro-religious liberty, I will not impose my morality on others by criminalizing abortion. My wife and I have a saying that we have often voiced to each other during my forty years in ministry: you can’t make people do what is right. The most we can do is to be a testimony and example of what is right.

Trump is not pro-life. That is evident by all his other policies. Pro-life means that you try to save the lives of children after they are born as much as before they are born. Reelecting Trump will not save one child. In fact it will cost more children their lives. It will insure that more children are poor and die early because they are hungry and homeless. It will ensure that more children are gunned down in our schools and on our streets because our president will not take a stand against the NRA. It will ensure that more children die in camps at our southern border and in repressive countries beyond our borders.

It will keep the US at the bottom of the list of developed nations when it comes to infant mortality. If Trump really cared about saving the lives of infants then he would make lowering our nation’s infant mortality rate a priority of his administration. He would do whatever is necessary to guarantee the healthcare necessary to save the lives of children and pregnant women. But he doesn’t because he is not pro-life! At the most is he pro-birth, which is not the same thing.

Being pro-life means spending more on programs that save lives than on weapons that take lives. Being pro-life means being against the death penalty, political assassinations, and endless wars like in Afghanistan. It means caring for the life of our planet and the environment, which is what keeps the human species alive. That is what it means to be pro-life.

A vote for Donald Trump is a vote against life and against children. Our presidential election in November is a choice between life and death. As the scriptures say, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life so that you and your children may live.”


Unknown said...

Trump isnt a good choice, but the alternative canadates are socialists-a form of government proven over and over to fail society. So who is there to vote for?

happi said...

For those truly interest4ed in reducing abortions it seems that Colorado is showing the way just as Portugal has shown the most successful approach to treating and drastically reducing addiction. For the Portugal success read "Chasing the Scream" for Colorado here is a link ttps://

Maryjane Pettengill said...

Thank you for this insightful and thought-provoking essay. It is beyond time, and for the greater good, for people to sit quietly and think things through, on their own, using basic logic. Dorothy finally saw what was behind the curtain. We can do it, (I hope).

happi said...

So many are content to believe that "The end justifies the means". The evidence is now in. Wrong. I thought that idea went out in the Middle Ages. Happi