If someone asks you if you are a friend of life, how would you respond? More importantly, if you give an affirmative response, do your actions give evidence to that fact?
That question forms the premise for this month's Western Recorder. Being a friend of life encompasses several critical issues in today's society and requires believers to not be silent when it comes to defending life from the womb to the tomb.
The scourge of abortion ravages our country. Some may find a degree of solace in the fact that abortions have declined in America since 1990. But one abortion is too many. Since the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, there have been more than 61.6 million abortions performed in this country, as of Jan. 10, 2020.
To put that in perspective, there are more abortions performed every year in America than combat deaths in all of this country's wars (1775-2019), according to the Guttmacher Institute, considered the gold standard for abortion data. Abortion would be the No. 1 cause of death in this country if those statistics are compared to deaths attributed to heart disease or cancer.
In Kentucky, COVID-19 deaths are reported daily by the governor and passed on by the news media to readers, listeners and viewers. But there's no running total publicized on abortion deaths, which far surpass coronavirus fatalities. Often we are told that coronavirus deaths can be curtailed. But abortion deaths must be stopped — a reality that we pray every politician, activist judge or health care professional who participates in an abortion procedure will realize.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible tells us every human life has dignity and worth. Gen. 1:26 says every human being bears the image of God. Psalm 139 says every baby is knit together by God in the womb. Matt. 19:13-15 describes what happened when little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. The disciples were critical, but Jesus immediately corrected the disciples — "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Further proof that no life is expendable is found in Exodus. Pharaoh ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill all boys born from Jewish women. Thankfully the midwives feared God more than Pharaoh, and many babies were spared.
People find it intriguing when rescue stories are told of a baby left abandoned at a church door for someone to care for, or a child rescued from what looked like certain death. Tales of heroism are seen in many cases, and the secular media eagerly tells those stories. Yet rarely is a voice heard by those same sources when a baby is rescued when life is chosen rather than an abortion.
Throughout the ages, churches and theologians have affirmed the humanity of the unborn child. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, author of the book The Cost of Discipleship, said abortion is "nothing but murder." Swiss theologian Karl Barth said, "The unborn child is from the very first a child … not a thing, not a mere part of the mother's body … Those who live by mercy will always be disposed to practice mercy, especially to a human being which is so dependent on the mercy of others as the unborn child."
At the 2020 KBC Annual Meeting, Sen. Ralph Alvarado — a medical doctor — spoke passionately about the time during his residency that he was told to attend to a woman who was miscarrying in her 21st week of pregnancy.
Alvarado, 26 at the time, admitted he didn't want to administer care just to see the baby die. But the baby was delivered, weighing 131/2 ounces and struggling to breathe. The hospital fellow with Alvarado said, "He's making an attempt to live, I cannot sit here and do nothing." The child — who had a name, birth date and medical record — was taken to neonatal intensive care, where he lived for 10 days before a complication ended his life. "Nobody would doubt that was a human being. From that moment forward, it changed my perspective," Alvarado said.
As Christians, we pray that other medical professionals will experience the same conviction that Alvarado did and be spokespeople for the rights of the unborn. We must be quick to say that abortion is wrong — that no Supreme Court has the authority to overrule God's principle of the value of every human life. We pray that God would have mercy on our country and turn the hearts of people toward the biblical truths about life. In making our case for life, we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16).
Christ-followers can aid the 47 faith-based pregnancy support centers in Kentucky (kybaptist.org/pregnancycare). Those centers exist to share Christ and help women choose life for their unborn children. Not to be forgotten on this issue are the thousands of children in this state's foster care system.
Support Sunrise Children's Services as it ministers to children who desperately need a loving family.
May we always keep in mind the biblical truth that children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord (Ps. 127:3-5). Let's not fit into society's view that children are a liability. Rather, may we see them as God does — He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow … (Deut. 10:18).
Chip Hutcheson is interim managing editor of the Western Recorder, the monthly magazine of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. You can email him at email@example.com.