Dear “Pro-Life” Christian, Life is Losing Right Now

Dear Professed “Pro-Life” Christian,

I know you think you’re winning right now—or you’re trying really hard to pretend that you are. (I sense you losing a bit of confidence lately, seeing how sideways everything is going and trying your best to put up a good front.)

I wish you could see that you can’t win here; that is, if you’re aspirations truly are to be an advocate for life.

I know you witness these months unfolding and watch an ill-gotten Supreme Court being crafted in your favor, you hear the incendiary sermons from emboldened celebrity evangelists and the brazen posturing of opportunistic politicians, and you imagine a day in the near future when you will have secured what you feel will be a righteous victory—and you’ll have lost.

The best-case scenario right now for you, is an eventual overturning of Roe V Wade, and the criminalizing of abortion. That’s really always been the end game here, and I imagine that prospect propels you now. Yet you and I both know that this reality won’t save any lives, that it will actually endanger more.

We know this because of the Evangelical Christian teen purity culture built around abstinence has failed miserably. Its hardline stance, vilifying of sexual activity, and rejection of birth control have never prevented young people from having sex—only ensured that when they do, they will be unprepared, uneducated, and unprotected.

Forced abstinence and outlawing have only yielded more unintentional pregnancies (despite you claiming God wants them), created more parents ill-equipped to raise children, put more stress on already overwhelmed social systems, and birthed more vulnerable people who you’ve already shown you have little or no desire to care for.

You currently criticize all the “lazy freeloaders looking for handouts,” and yet you’re fighting tooth and nail to create more of them. I know you can’t see the cognitive dissonance, but it is there. Maybe that’s because you idealize the “life” you think you’re fighting for. It all looks and lives the way you do in your head, and so it’s easy to defend now.

I also know you feel like you’re winning today because you walked into the polls in November of 2016 fueled by a fake news, false narrative: that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats celebrate the killing of children. I hear you say that a lot. If you believe such an intellectually irresponsible stereotype of half the population, I probably can’t convince you otherwise. All I can tell you is that it’s patently untrue.

In nearly a half century of life, I’ve never met a single person who fits such a dangerous caricature. No group of progressives or women’s rights activists or secular humanists stand around high-fiving one another when anyone chooses to terminate a pregnancy. As a two-decade Christian pastor who has counseled teenagers and adults, I know the emotional gravity of those moments, the complexity and the difficulty those decisions are fraught with. I know the unimaginable weight before and after, whatever the choices—and I know that no one has ever flippantly faced such things. We all want fewer abortions too, but we also believe responsible sex education and birth control are the best way to ensure this.

When you paint millions of people who disagree with you as all soulless baby-killers, you’ve lost any respect for those lives. 

Voting on a single issue has come at a heavy price for you, too. I think in the quiet moments you see it. In an effort to secure a symbolic victory for “life,” you have aligned yourself with a man and an administration with nothing but contempt for most of the living.

It’s why, even while waving the flag for the unborn, you’ve had to discard much of the already born:
You’ve had to make peace with migrant toddlers taken from their parents and placed in dog pens.
You’ve had to accept millions of people losing healthcare and being disqualified for preexisting conditions.
You’ve have to turn the other way while protections for the land, water, air, and forests are erased.
You’ve had to rationalize Muslim families being harassed and gay teenagers bullied and young black men killed because, of the policies and rhetoric of your Presidential choice.
You’ve had to excuse foreign interference in our election process and in the highest levels of our Government, and all the danger this presents to every citizen.

Millions of people exposed to poverty, sickness, instability, adversity, and violence by and through this President—all so you can keep telling yourself this America is moving pro-life.

You’ll abide the expelling immigrants and the turning away refugees, you’ll keep walking past roadside beggars and normalizing hate crimes, because that is the collateral damage of voting on one issue: everything else has to be ignored or the imbalance becomes obvious, the human cost becomes clear.

And that’s why you’ve already lost, friend: because this Presidency is parasitic, because it values nothing but power and money, because any kind of life is of no interest to it. When you make a deal with the devil, you never really win.

You’ve lost, because life in America beyond the birth canal is under more duress and facing greater threat than it ever has—especially if it is of color or transgender or Muslim or poor.

So I’m grieving today for the nation we are living in, and I’m grieving for you because I know you think you’re winning and I know that is an impossibility.

As a person who is pro all life, and who knows there is no one law or single issue that protects it in all its beautiful diversity, I’ll lament the heavy toll of these days and of you fighting a myopic battle that cannot be won.

We’re both on the side of life here, and we’re equally failing. I’d call myself a pro-life Christian too, though we differ greatly on what that looks like.

One thing I know is that no humanity is being protected and perpetuated right now.

It is all losing.

“if Order Now:
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63 thoughts on “Dear “Pro-Life” Christian, Life is Losing Right Now

  1. It would be trivial of me to say, “You took the words right out of my mouth, John,” but nonetheless, that would be true. For the past 14 years I have served as the regional chaplain for Planned Parenthood in the Northwest and Hawaii. Seldom a day passes that I don’t have to step into the defense of Christians who believe in the autonomy of women to make their own personal decisions without pressure or shame from the Church or politicians. Death threats, hateful emails, vitriol from protesters outside our buildings, accusations of being a “baby killer” are a part of my daily diet. Yet I am steadfast in my belief in the empowerment of women. Even my own fundamentalist Christian siblings believe I am fast-tracked to hell. Your blog here made me aware that even though I have a large core of colleagues and am never flying solo, I have found someone who can voice my feelings. Thank you for that. I will print this blog and read it often as a reminder that someone somewhere care about what I do. That, for sure, is a huge blessing that is much needed.

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  3. May I please share with this community that the maternity care system in the US is in crisis and is not able to meet international standards for safety. Our rates for maternal mortality are behind 42 other nations and we are the only developed country where the rate for moms dying from pregnancy and birth is getting worse. Half of US counties do not have maternity care providers/OB hospital services. The GOP version of insurance reform is to remove maternity care as a benefit, which will further erode maternity care access and safety.
    So as we contemplate removing women’s autonomy from choosing abortion for unintended pregnancy, we are choosing for her to be at significant risk of harms up to and including death. Some women have health and social conditions that increase their risks beyond even the abysmal stats that I will provide here: Risk of maternal mortality 1 in 4000; maternal mortality for Black women 1 in 1000 (even higher in NYC, unrelated to SES factors); risk of near death complications 1 in 100; having major abdominal surgery (leading to subsequently higher risks with future pregnancies) 1 in 3; unmedicated tearing of the flesh of the vagina and vulva 1 in 2; depression 1 in 15; symptoms of PTSD 1 in 3; prolonged experiences of discomfort, fatigue, sleep interruption, pain, social disruptions 100%. …. So because the experience of pregnancy and birth puts women at significant risk for emotional and bodily harms, pain, trauma and death, in a country dedicated to individual autonomy, freedom and liberty, one can only assume that a movement to compel continuation of unintended pregnancies in spite of these significant risk of harms to women is based on 1) improper and unethical reasoning, 2) desire for social control over women beyond norms for our civil society.

  4. Thank for writing this & all of your essays helping us know we are not alone in our opposition to this cruel administration. I have nightmares of swastika graffiti appearing in schools- in my nightmares, the principals refuse to allow it to be cleaned away. But in reality, when this graffiti appears, good people quickly work together to clean it off. You are one of the good people, leading the besieged to remain hopeful that this too shall pass..

  5. You never post my comments, but it’s important to get this msg. to you; nonetheless.

    You write, “We all want fewer abortions too, but we also believe responsible sex education and birth control are the best way to ensure this.” Can you imagine Jesus telling the world, ”
    Just reduce the number of heartbeats snuffed out in the womb and I’ll be satified. Just practice responsible birth control and I’ll pretend that I never witnessed your fornication.” Are you a proponent of scripture? Have you read it?

    You state, “You’ve had to make peace with migrant toddlers taken from their parents and placed in dog pens.” You do realize that those photos of children in chain link cages were taken during Obama’s administration, don’t you? Careful of the propaganda that you take for truth.

    You claim, “Millions of people exposed to poverty, sickness, instability, adversity, and violence by and through this President …”
    You can’t be serious. “Millions”? Hyperbolic, much? And your claims are insane. I’ll admit that he’s the most unconventional man to ever hold the office, and he says incredibly foolish things, but my hope would be that any man that calls himself a Christian pastor would follow our biblical directive to honor (and pray for) those that our Creator has allowed to be in power.

    You write, “You’ll abide the expelling immigrants and the turning away refugees, you’ll keep walking past roadside beggars and normalizing hate crimes, because that is the collateral damage of voting on one issue: everything else has to be ignored or the imbalance becomes obvious, the human cost becomes clear.”
    You do understand that we are a nation of laws, and we can decide to enforce that law and regulate the number of refugees we allow into our country. And, as for beggars: homelessness is a multi-faceted problem. For you to state it the way you did leads me to believe you’ve not been too deeply involved with those combating it. We (Christian community) are working diligently to help those unable to help themselves, but always understanding what Jesus said, “the poor, you will always have with you.” And, hate crimes? How ’bout simply, crimes.

    You are so steeped in the world. If you are indeed a Christian, your greatest mandate is to be set apart; calling out as one in the wilderness, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

    Here’s a novel idea, pastor; share the gospel …

  6. As the article said, the pro life gang is actually only pro birth. After delivery, they do not care if the child survives or not.

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