Yesterday, Politico published a leaked draft opinion of the upcoming Supreme Court decision that indicates that the nation’s highest court is slated to strike down the long-standing Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the “right” for mothers to abort their children making it difficult if not impossible for states to pass any meaningful legislation restricting abortion.
In the wake of that leak, everyone on both sides of the political and religious aisles has weighed in expressing every imaginable emotion from ecstasy to impending doom. Of course, the usual Evangelical elites have also regurgitated their institutional talking points, many of which can be reduced to one thing: Trump Derangement Syndrome.
This was the case with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor, Karen Swallow Prior, who said she’d rather wait 50 more years to have Roe v. Wade overturned than have had to endure four years of Trump’s presidency. And, of course, there are those who’ve expressed a bittersweet appreciation in spite of enduring Trump. But make no mistake about it, none of these people can ever bring themselves to credit the former president for making this happen.
Yet, these same people—the center-left progressives who now represent the face of Evangelicalism—will no doubt capitalize on this moment to advance their own political purposes. Those progressives, the social justice warriors, are already using this to prop up the notion that a post-Roe society requires welfare to underprivileged women in exchange for not murdering their children.
Brent Leatherwood, the acting president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), published an article on the ERLC’s website yesterday calling for this very thing. In the article, Leatherwood writes that “In the wake of this leaked revelation, there will no doubt be many mothers currently carrying an unplanned child, and other women, who are going to be fearful of what all this means.”
First off, there are women who feel this way already. As Christians, the way someone feels is irrelevant to how we should think about what God has revealed—and God has revealed that all people, born and unborn, are created in the Image of God and that to take the life of any innocent person is murder. It is an attack on God’s image and therefore an attack on God Himself.
Arguing, rightly have you, that the abortion industry is going to continue to instill fear into mothers with unplanned pregnancies, Leatherwood continues:
But we must avoid losing sight of those mothers. Some of them are legitimately in crisis because, in many instances, they have been told the lie that their lives and livelihoods are going to be negatively affected by the birth of this child. So our words in this moment should not be ones merely of celebration about what is contained within this draft opinion, but also of care for those who will not greet this news with joy.
Here’s a thought experiment: Some single mothers are legitimately in crisis because they’ve lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. These mothers have children ranging from 6-months-old to 9-years-old. These mothers are now extremely fearful because they are unable to take their children to a killing farm where they can dispose of their now unwanted children—children who are causing them further financial harm. We should be compassionate toward them about their fears and care for them.
Here’s the problem, the abortion industry has not only the secular progressives convinced, but even professing Christians—like Brent Leatherwood—conditioned to believe that unborn children are less human than born children. Nobody in their right mind would agree with the thought experiment above—nobody would believe that we should be compassionate toward parents who would prefer to end the lives of their older children for selfish gain. This is not rational thinking, and it is certainly not biblical thinking.
So then, why do we make exceptions for unborn children? Why are we obligated to have a special compassion for murderers, or would-be murderers, of unborn children?
To be clear, we should not be against Christian ministries such as the crisis pregnancy centers that do these things. God is a God of mercy, and churches, ministries, and Christians should extend the same mercy to those who would receive it when possible. But that isn’t the point of contention—the point of Leatherwood’s article is political.
Leatherwood’s contention is that in exchange for striking down Roe, Christians should support government-sponsored welfare programs for low-income women. He writes, “Now is the time to innovate new policies that serve mothers and families, give every child the right to take his or her first breath, and promote flourishing.”
To be clear, the right of every child “to take his or her first breath” is not given by the government, it is given by God. Government policies don’t give us rights, they protect them. And the government absolutely should protect and guarantee the right of every child to take his first breath. But to suggest that the government now needs to “innovate new policies that serve mothers and families” or “promote flourishing” is nothing more than welfare.
It is not the government’s responsibility to redistribute wealth or provide public services at the expense of others. Again, churches, ministries, and individual Christians are free, and biblically called, to provide mercy (charity) to others to a biblical extent, but these are not rights, are not guaranteed, and Christians certainly should not enlist the civil government to enforce the ministry of mercy. That’s called theft.
And worst of all, suggesting that we provide these services as a bribe for not murdering a child is just sick. Yet, that’s where the ERLC is taking the Southern Baptist Convention right now.