Something is wrong with Christianity in America.
I am a pro-life evangelical who continues to witness efforts by pro-lifers that are exasperating: baby bottle campaigns orchestrated to help single moms with chump change; protesting outside of abortion clinics; attempts to change the law and alleged deceptive advertising at crisis pregnancy centers.
The problem is that all of these efforts ignore the fact that in America, Christians have more abortions than non-Christians.
In 2011, the Guttmacher Institute reported that 65 percent of women having abortions self-identified as Christian; 37 percent as Protestant and 28 percent as Catholic. A 1996 study found that 20 percent of all nationwide abortions were woman who identified themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.
The overwhelming majority of the approximately 1 million abortions performed every year are by Christians.
Today, the Christian community has no credibility on this issue. Instead, the message being generated is, “do as I say, not as I do.”
Christianity wasn’t always this way. In “The Story of Civilization,” William and Ariel Durant articulate that when Christianity emerged as a major religion during the Roman Empire, the same time that the Apostle Paul made his first missionary trip to Rome, it was the cultural practice to kill female babies after they were born. They wrote that 99 out of every 100 girl babies in a Roman family were killed at birth after the first girl. This was a common cultural practice for the Greeks, Assyrians, Babylonians, Phoenicians and Egyptians. In fact, the Jews and Christians were the only faith groups in the Mediterranean Basin during that period that did not practice abortion and infanticide.
What were the Jews and Christians doing about this dominant cultural practice? Were they protesting or trying to change the law? Was Paul, as a major spiritual leader, rallying new believers to change Roman policy?
What history has shown is that Christians and Jews lived faithfully to their belief and did not accept or follow the cultural norm. They focused on raising their families according to the tradition of their faith. And they took in those who were in need.
Unfortunately, that is not the case today. The church has failed to authentically witness to believers and nonbelievers through its efforts to foster positive life-affirming action. Rather than protest what others are doing, Christians must be the alternative of what they oppose. This means being “pro-life” in all areas of life — as foster parents, as adoptive parents and caring for the single, pregnant female who has chosen to keep her child. This requires the willingness to make a sacrificial, ongoing, life-time commitment.
There is a need for this commitment. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, national estimates for publicly funded foster care and adoption statistics reveal that there are approximately 662,000 children served in the system. This excludes private agency statistics. There are more children in need of a home.
Certainly, some Christians have adopted and are foster parents. Some are providing much needed aid at pregnancy centers. Yet, these efforts are disproportionate to the need.
However, if every Christian community was serious about their role in society there would be no need for the government to service these children.
It’s time for Christians to get serious about what they say they believe — to be known by the alternatives they provide to abortion, rather than by what they oppose. This necessitates that the church, both corporate and individually, offers the environment needed for women to feel loved, supported, accepted, and able to raise a child. Likewise, Christians have the greatest reason to adopt, having been adopted into God’s family, they must give as they have received—generously, abundantly, and without hesitation. They have no excuse not to.
November 21, 2011