Our petition to get Russell Moore to speak on the ethics of a Southern Baptist Church supporting their deacon helping build an abortion clinic has apparently fallen on deaf ears. Ironically, just one week ago Russell Moore wrote about a female pastor in a liberal denomination who agreed that abortion was wrong but still supported it. And yet, Moore has thus far chosen to go quiet on a Southern Baptist Church doing the exact same thing (in fact, even worse, supporting the construction of an abortuary). Thankfully, our petition – reported about by Charisma News and others – has received over 500 signatures of concerned evangelicals. Moore has, thus far, chosen to ignore them.
Moore may simply be delayed in his response, however. Why? Moore has been busy in recent days defending abortive mothers from worries about prosecution should abortion be criminalized.
Seriously. I can’t make that up.
While sharing his pro-life opinions, supporting legislation aimed at incrementally making abortion more difficult (albeit still ‘safe’ and legal), the Southern Baptist’s chief ethicist doesn’t want women prosecuted for homicide should abortion one day be criminalized.
Would somebody like to explain to me what’s the point of criminalizing abortion if we can’t prosecute people who kill their kids? You’re telling me that after the collective soul in America awakes and we reach the point we stop tolerating unbridled infanticide that once we outlaw abortion we’ll not have a penalty for those still practicing it?
Not only does Russell Moore’s pro-life tiger have no teeth, it’s trying to gum us to death with sloppy wet kisses.
The kerfuffle started when Donald Trump, probably saying something he doesn’t think or mean, that wasn’t planned, and that probably made his campaign managers facepalm themselves into next Tuesday, mentioned that there should be penalties for women who have abortions. Given that it made sense, I presume it was accidental or insincere, and since then, Trump has back-pedaled away from those comments. Ted Cruz, much to my chagrin, capitalized on that faux pas to project himself as a kinder and gentler conservative. Russell Moore first lauded Cruz’ promise not to punish prolicidal and filicidal murderers in social media, and then wrote a post promising the world that “pro-life” people do not want to punish moms who kill their babies.
Regardless of whether or not Trump’s comments come from a genuine and convictional pro-life worldview, all pro-life Americans need to make this issue clear: Protecting unborn babies is not about punishing women, but punishing an industry and a culture that dehumanizes human beings.
First, what exactly are we trying to accomplish in the “pro-life” movement? The pro-life lobby, through incremental legislation, desires to make it increasingly difficult for abortion clinics to operate up until the abortionists wring their hands and give up. Essentially, the pro-life movement is trying to do to the abortion industry the exact same thing environmentalists are trying to do to the coal, oil and lumber industry; without the power to shut the industries down, they desire to over-regulate them out of business. One wonders when and if the pro-life lobby can succeed in over-regulating the abortion industry out of business, what possible consequences would be enduring if we don’t penalize mothers using coat-hangers, pharmaceuticals, or utilizing out-of-country abortion tourism to kill their child.
Secondly, what is the problem with the pro-life movement? By necessity, the pro-life movement isn’t principled or convictional. Certain abiding values and accompanying principles have to be shelved and silenced in order to argue for their incrementalist approach. They have to promote the facade of not really trying to end all abortion, the same way that environmentalists can’t be honest about desiring to destroy our energy independence. Because their strategy is hinged upon public perception, popularity and likability of their incrementalist platform, they cannot be honest and call abortion murder. If they do call abortion murder, they simply can’t treat the prolicidal offenders who practice it as murderers. That kind of unabashed honesty and intellectual integrity will kill a movement founded upon neither honesty nor intellectual integrity. With pro-life incrementalism, the public doesn’t need to be convinced that abortion is murder, but only that the latest suggested regulation seems reasonable enough. It is here that the pro-life movement becomes the enemy of the truth, because it cannot be honest in its desire to end abortion or the nature of abortion as murder, and those who commit it, as murderers.
Third, it is impossible to not dehumanize human beings without prescribing penalties for murdering them. When slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person in 1787 it was dehumanizing. The antebellum slave codes that permitted the killing of slaves without penalty was dehumanizing. Germany’s Final Solution in 1942 that permitted the extermination of “Polish Jewry” without penalty was dehumanizing. A pro-life notion that we can end abortion by our incrementalist over-regulation (a doubtful proposal), dehumanizes babies if we don’t punish those who murder babies.
The only way one can consider abortion murder, and yet not penalize abortive mothers, is if infants are of considerably less intrinsic value than grown children. That is dehumanizing.
This is why the title of Russell Moore as ethicist is infuriating. He is not an ethicist. He is a politician.
Pro-life Christians understand that abortion isn’t just a physical attack on a baby; it’s a spiritual assault on a mother too. The well-known billboard that says “Abortion stops a beating heart” would be more accurate if it said, “Abortion stops two beating hearts.” Abortion is sin against God and child, and it is also sin against women, one that assaults and deadens the moral conscience.
Let me do something that Russell Moore would probably never do. Let me be blunt. Seriously, no nuance. No whimsy. Totally un-Russlike.
Women who kill their kids are not (mere) victims. They are murderers. And the last time it rained, I saw a rainbow. That means the Noahic Covenant in still in force, and the penalty for murder is death.
Are certain women who have murdered their children victims? Sure. Some are victims of abusive relationships. Some are victims of parents who raised their daughters to be cold, heartless, selfish murderers. Some are victims of rape and incest. Some are victims of Karen Swallow Prior, who has refused to call their act murder, because she says it’s “unchristlike,” and has thus dulled their conscience and hardened their heart. They are all victims of the abortionist, who made their womb a crime scene with their instruments of torture. They are victims in the same way that a prostitute is a victim of a John. They have been sinned against, while they themselves are complicit in that same sin. They are victims in the same way a promiscuous man is, having sinned against himself each time he practices fornication. But regardless of being victims in one way or another, moms who kill their babies are also perpetrators. They are also murderers.
We cannot cuddle away murderers in our flannel-laden footie pajamas and snuggle them into penitence. If we are serious that abortion truly is murder, then abortive moms are murderers. And if infants are worth as much as children or adults, those who take their life can be treated no differently than any other kind of murderer. To do so is to undermine our own position, and to send the message we don’t really believe infants are of equal worth and abortion isn’t really murder.
Suffice it to say, abortion is a sin that can be paid for by the shed blood of Jesus. If sins are confessed, they can be forgiven and the offender can be cleansed from all unrighteousness. Even filicide can be forgiven upon a penitent faith in Jesus’ accomplished work upon the Cross.
However, filicide must be punished by the sword given to the Civil Magistrate in Romans 13. The government must be the minister of God to punish the evil and reward the good. The pro-life movement, if Russell Moore’s variety is indicative of it, would deny that reality.
What Russell Moore demonstrates for us is that he can opine endlessly on the sadness of abortion and cooperate in ecumenical allegiances to hyper-regulate the abortion industry, all the while stopping short of treating abortion like it truly is murder. Meanwhile, Moore seems intent on not responding to Southern Baptists actually building abortion clinics in spite of a petition pleading he respond, although he will address liberal female pastors inciting abortion with their speech.
It’s not the pro-life movement lacks conviction. It’s that by the necessity of its nature, it has none at all.
[Contributed by JD Hall]