I recently sat in horror listening to the KBC legislative agent, Tom Troth, explain how some representatives of the commonwealth are willing to approve laws that abort babies — even after they have reached a state of viability. I sat there with mouth wide open, wondering if there will ever come a day when this sin against humanity will end.
Anthony Bradley, an African-American historical theologian, has written some provocative essays on the lives of African diasporic people in America. When Bradley writes on abortion, for example, he takes a distinctly biblical and afrosensitive perspective.
In my thinking, the latter term means understanding the black experience from the vantage point of African agency insofar as blacks help others to see issues from their perspective. In other words, African-Americans help interested friends to refocus preconceived cultural lenses to speak sensitively to matters pertaining to black life. When this dialogical process takes place, conversation partners will better understand why one issue political mantras are typically found wanting amongst African-American citizens.
However, when you hear of the brutality enacted against these unborn babies, you understand why others might say, “I will never compromise the abortion issue to support other pressing issues.” We must be sensitive to both sides of the political argument while remembering to contend for the faith and those who are most vulnerable.
In Bradley’s 2005 article, “Abortion by race,” he compares the lynching of African-Americans from 1882 to the 1960s with the number of abortions performed on African-American wombs since Roe v. Wade (1973). According to Bradley, there were 3,445 lynching victims versus 12 million aborted babies. The juxtaposition is astounding. I must sound the alarm!
Evangelicals and Roman Catholics rightly confront the murders of unborn children through civic protest and legal petitions for a just society. And yet, the abortion plague has not been abated in America.
Which raises the question, is there a more effective tactic to curtail this malady?
Bradley argues that the ancient practice of hospitality will trump political hubris any day. Alongside Bradley’s insightful treatise, I will add spiritual friendship as a means of grace to the mix of evangelical activism. Spiritual friendship offers mutual respect and responsibility that willfully goes the extra mile on the behalf of confused image-bearers.
Of course, a covenantal dynamic of this sort typically happens between believers, but there is a place for exercising spiritual friendship with one who is outside the eternal arc of safety. That is to say, common grace friendship which points the unbeliever to the love of Christ.
Bradley notes that early Christians came alongside hurting orphans misused by dehumanizing laws which aided and abetted political demonism in ancient Greece and Rome. They took oppressed children into their households, exemplifying that “pure religion that is undefiled before the Lord is that Christians take care of widows and orphans” (James 1:27). Obviously, this approach takes deeper commitment than a weekend conference, a one-day rally or picket lines designed to verbally assault distraught image-bearers walking their child’s last mile.
Dead. Child. Walking. Will evangelical Christians incarnate themselves amongst the lost in love long before someone contemplates entering the door of no return for the unsuspecting child?
Perhaps there is a more excellent way to spread the love of Christ, shepherd people in crisis and protect the lives of the unborn. If you want to care for all of life, here are some suggestions:
1) Research schools in your community that have a high level of latchkey children. A latchkey child is typically home alone between the hours of 4-7 p.m.
2) Develop an after-school experience to abate the temptation to experiment sexually.
3) Pray over these schools and neighborhoods daily. Build coalitions with community members to meet the needs of lonely children.
4) After someone has tragically aborted a child, let the broken-hearted person know that there is hope in the gospel by developing and extending an invitation to a churchbased abortion recovery ministry.
Curtis Woods is associate executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.