One Abolitionist’s Manifesto
I am an abolitionist.
What is an abolitionist and how does it compare to being pro-life? Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) lays it out…
“Abolitionist” is not a synonym for “pro-lifer.”
Pro-life is the expression of a moral opinion. Abolition is the expression of a moral action. When you call yourself “pro-life” you are letting people know what you think about abortion. When you call yourself an abolitionist, you are telling them what you aim to do about it.
Pro-lifers prefer gradual, over immediate, abolition.
Abolitionism has historically been wed to the doctrine of immediatism. The history of the pro-life movement has been one of gradualistic means and measures, incremental legislation, ameliorative programs, and the inclusion of exceptions to abortion along the way to its eventual total abolition. Abolitionists reject the idea that you can effectively fight evil by allowing it in some cases or do away with it by planned out incremental steps which preserve it along the way. Abolitionists reject the notion that you can ever commit evil in order that good may come. Abolitionists cry NO COMPROMISE!!! Pro-lifers cry “get the best that you can get when you can get it,” and consistently support the “lesser of two evils.”
You can be a secular pro-lifer. You cannot be a secular abolitionist.
To be an abolitionist you must believe in a higher law. One does not need to believe in a higher law or deity to embrace an adverse opinion regarding abortion. But to argue that abortion is evil and ought to be abolished regardless of whether 99.99999% of the rest of the human population agrees with you requires the existence of a binding moral law which has its reference point outside of humanity.
Pro-lifers prefer common ground. Abolitionists prefer to proclaim the gospel.
A majority of pro-life leaders and organizations argue that one need not convince a person that God exists or that abortion is sin, in order to convert them to the pro-life position. While this may be true, abolitionists never choose to remove God or the gospel from the conversation. Abolitionists believe that abortion exists because men deny that God does. The pro-life movement argues that we should talk less about sin and more about science. Less about salvation and more about “saving the babies.”
Central to the work abolition is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Bringing abortion and its justifications into conflict with the Gospel is the primary mechanism of Abolition. Abolitionist understand our work as being part of the Great Commission. Abolitionists adopt these Five Tenets of Abolitionand practice these Two Modes of Abolitionism
THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT ARGUES THAT WE SHOULD FOCUS ON SAVING THE BABIES. THE ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT ARGUES THAT WE SHOULD FOCUS ON CONVERTING THE CULTURE. ABOLITIONISTS BELIEVE THAT SAVING SOULS HOLDS THE KEY TO SAVING BABIES. ABOLITIONISTS BELIEVE THAT A CONVERT TO CHRIST IS A CONVERT TO THE CAUSE OF ABOLITION.
Several years ago, I met in person with most the “founders” (for lack of a better word) with Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) at a Panera Bread restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Chiefly, I went out of a desire to mediate a dispute with a pro-life organization, Babies Are Murdered Here (BAMH), in what I felt (and still feel) was a wholly unnecessary conflict, and also to relay concerns regarding the ecclesiology of some.
I sat there in a meeting with Toby Harmon, T. Russell Hunter, Alan Maricle (a long-time contributor to this website) and the Wagnon brothers. The intellectual spine of this non-organization movement that has reached from coast to coast was a peculiarity to me. These men were altogether unimpressive, at least compared to what you would expect for the progenitors of a such a movement. These were young men in their twenties and early thirties who seemed to have turned the pro-life world upside down. They reminded me of certain fishermen from ages long ago, who had nothing going for them but their utter conviction, unshakable faith and contagious passion. These were men who had one notable thing in common, other than their mutual faith in Jesus and ambition for the Gospel; they had enough of compromise.
My mere attempt to meet with these men and lack of an immediate repudiation of them anathematized me to certain men, including several notable evangelical bloggers, the BAMH contingent including Apologia Radio’s Marcus Pittman, and several others. And yet, having given them JD’s Inquisition, not much less stringent than that of the Spanish variety, I could find no fault in them. At least, I could find no fault that would limit my support for their endeavors to end human abortion. As God as my witness, and as any of you can attest, I can sniff out heresy like a hound. I found none.
Accusations that they have made the Gospel about abortion, I found lacking when compared to the full body of their work and ministry. Accusations that they have poor ecclesiology I found could not be substantiated as systemic to the movement as a whole, and found the movement was not at all ecclesiology-related. Accusations that they do not respect the local church I found to be utterly false, as their passion is entirely focused upon the local church. Accusations that the Church Repent project was somehow wrong I couldn’t find true without incredible hypocrisy, for as a polemicist, I regularly call the church to repent. Accusations that their tactics are uncouth, radical and unseemly I completely agreed with, and I then and now rejoice in every last uncouth, radical and unseemly tactic they employ to wake a sinfully slumbering church from their stupor.
The potential election of Donald Trump has brought to life in me the abolitionist spirit like never before. I’m done with compromise. I will not be told that I have to choose between sinister and evil, choose between wrong and wicked, or choose between bad and worse. I can and I will stand upon unshakable principles and answer to God Almighty accordingly. And I do not believe that God has called the church to compromise, but to faithfulness.
The following is my own abolitionist’s manifesto.
- I will not vote for candidates or legislation that will discriminate against one person’s life for sake of another’s. This means that I will not countenance incrementalism. Given the last forty years of history in the pro-life movement, it is an indisputable historic fact that incrementalism does not work. It will not work. I will not vote for candidates or legislation that calls abortion anything but murder and treats it accordingly. I will not vote for candidates or legislation that will settle for anything but the complete, total and immediate abolition of abortion. I will settle for nothing but the criminalization of abortion. Should legislators or executors of law desire my support, they will submit to support for the criminalization of abortion or expect my opposition to their candidacy.
- I will not castigate or repudiate any moral tactics to end abortion and inhibit the innocent taking of life short of citizens stealing the magistrate’s sword to punish the wicked. I am done with concerns that particular tactics are not keeping with decorum or are uncouth. I’m done being embarrassed by the passionate protests and pleading of others. I assure you, when we stop ripping the faces off of babies I’ll be the first to urge we go back to more acceptable forms of civility. Until then, a culture that murders infants has no rightful claim to civility.
- I will not allow Christians or churches to hide behind faith as a shield for wickedness. The church should be judged first. The church should be called to repent first. For too long, professing Christians have been sheltered from criticism because they are on “our team.” My team is now righteousness, and I show no partiality.
- I will not consider anyone objecting to the passionate pleading and energetic methods of abolitionists to be pro-life merely because they give mental assent to the sinfulness of abortion. Yes, I am aware that “pro-life” is simply a moral position, a mere agreement with the wrongfulness of infanticide. For myself, I am refusing to consider anyone who is not acting on abortion (in at least the most meager fashion) as truly and meaningfully holding to the pro-life position. I am sick and tired of professing Christians thinking because they vote Republican or march in a parade that they are pro-life in any meaningful way. Act to end it, or be a part of the problem. Be with Jesus, or be against Him.
- I will regularly travel four hours to preach at the closest abortion clinic. I will weekly do something substantive to end this evil. I will use every ounce of my influence to end this barbaric practice. I will not merely hold an opinion. I will hold back those marching toward the slaughter or be damned by my conscience before God. On that great day of judgment, I will say that I did something. And when history vindicates us as prophets to our age, whether before the coming of our King or after, my children and grandchildren will be able to count me among the few who did more than hold an opinion.
Will you join me? Let’s turn the world upside down.
[Contributed by JD Hall]