Last Sunday we “celebrated” what is known as “Sanctity of Life Sunday”. In Christian circles, this means that preachers everywhere speak on the evils of abortion to a congregation of nodding amen-ers, and everyone goes home feeling both righteous and also sad, cause, you know, dead babies.
My own pastor delivered a compelling sermon on this very subject; and he stressed the importance of how treating every life–the born and the unborn–with dignity–is something we’re tasked to do as Christians.
Abortion is wrong.
It is really wrong.
And late term abortion? Well that’s just inarguably murder.
And I was gonna let another Sanctity of Life Sunday come and go, and this post was beautifully written and heavily edited and headed for the permanent trash
but then New York made abortion legal at 24 weeks gestation when the health of the mother is at stake, and the collective republican internet lost its dadgum mind.
“Every life is precious! How can anyone think this is ok? Life begins at conception! Those poor precious babies! Abortion is murder! Adoption is an option!”
And it’s all legit correct, and it needs to be said.
So we scream this stuff from our couches on social media. We pat ourselves on the backs in our church pews. Sometimes we even make signs and stand on sidewalks and shout, and we have conversations with each other about how “they” are so bad and so lost, and how “we” are so enlightened and good.
I have some questions about the one day a year we choose to talk about it–the sanctity of life: are we celebrating the living? Mourning the dead? Shaming pro-choicers? Condemning people who have even entertained the idea? Becoming so fluffed up in our ideals that we ignore or even applaud our own supposedly called-for hatred towards the very people we are commanded to love and serve? What are we doing? Are we all on the same page? Are we?
Because while I’m all about the pro-life “movement” in theory, I’m not so much down with the way it’s carried out politically. (Is it possible to be an extremely conservative liberal? Asking for a friend.)
I’m hesitant to align myself with a group that speaks out (often belligerently) against abortion but does relatively nothing when it comes to acknowledging the dignity of the rest of human life–both the born (the poor, the orphan, the widowed, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the immigrant, the foreigner, the democrat, etc.) and the unborn. I’ve been so convicted lately about my own apathy concerning what’s known in Jesus Land as “the least of these”.
James 1:27 says:
Pure and undefined religion is this: take care of orphans and widows in their affliction, and keep oneself unstained from the world.
This is technically a no-brainer, right? We’re Christians–it’s what we do: we help people and we know things.
But this verse…it haunts me.
It haunts me because I can’t focus on the evils of abortion yet ignore the poor, the sick, and the hurting in the city right where I live.
I can’t congratulate myself for being pro-life and then criticize my friends for foster-adopting orphans because “they already have their own biological children.”
I can’t love on the babies and then condemn an entire country of people–families, with children–based on their religious beliefs.
I can’t say I love all people, made in the image of God, unconditionally, and then flood my friends’ newsfeeds with hateful memes, inflammatory and divisive articles, and racist garbage on a regular basis.
(Y’all stop reading now unless you promise not to hate me.)
If I say life begins at conception, I can’t vilify Planned Parenthood without at least questioning the standard practices of IVF procedures.
If I say life begins at conception, I can’t very well mourn the number lives lost through abortion clinics without considering how many more lives were casually discarded (or donated to scientific research) (legally, and lucratively) through fertility clinics.
Adoption is an option. (Read that post and hate me all over again!) And I’m thankful for it, because I wouldn’t be here without it.
I know so many wonderful people who are fostering or fostering to adopt sweet children in need of homes.
But in the state of Oklahoma alone, there are literally thousands and thousands of children waiting in emergency care for placement in foster homes. I can’t even tell you how many more kids are already in foster homes waiting to be adopted. (Update: 12,000.)
Know how many churches there are in Oklahoma?
(BRB, throwing up.)
(I am so serious: stop reading.)
So who’s going to adopt them, Patricia? You? You just went bankrupt and effectively destroyed 20 embryos in your quest to give birth to your own biological Bentleigh Grayce.
Adoption is expensive in that adopting a baby through a private agency will cost you a minimum of $35k, but good news: adopting through the state costs zero dollars.
Zero dollars to adopt.
And there are other ways to help orphans. May God help me to explore them over the course of the next 50 years of my life.
I have to do better. I can’t be so staunchly against abortion and then down-vote every single law or program that would help women and children.
We have to give people access to family planning education and birth control. We have to teach women how to take care of their minds and bodies. We have to teach men to respect women.
We have to acknowledge the importance of fatherhood. We have to encourage adopting families and stand alongside parents who are struggling to overcome poverty and abuse. We have to support families in their time of need, and we have to quit judging people on welfare who have a two or a million kids.
We have to place value on an adopted child that equals the value of a biological child.
I can’t forget the orphan.
I can’t forget the widow and the single parent
Or the unemployed
Or the deployed
Or the handicapped or the terminally ill
Or the elderly.
One person is not any more or less important than the other
No matter their religion or economic standing.
They are not afterthoughts; they are not less than us.
We cannot forget them.