This is shaping up to be a momentous weekend in Southern Baptist life. On Sunday, at 4 PM Eastern, the Sexual Abuse Task Force will be releasing its report and all indications are that the effects will be nuclear. There are reports that the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe vs. Wade may be released on Monday and that eruption will make Mount St. Helens look like a firecracker.
I am on vacation in Virginia with family and have been sent into isolation because of a COVID infection, so I have time to share my opinions on some of these matters. I know you have been on pins and needles, waiting for me to opine on these things, right? Here are my thoughts on the impending reversal of Roe v Wade.
For the sake of this article, I am going to assume that the final decision of the court will be in line with the preliminary draft decision that was leaked and that Roe will be reversed.
1. It is a glorious moment and we should all rejoice.
I have to admit, I did not think this would ever happen. Roe had been in effect for nearly 50 years and even pro-lifers when being vetted for the Supreme Court spoke of it as settled law. My hope was that the court would rule that states could limit abortion, especially in later stages of pregnancy.
Roe was bad law, a right created out of thin air. It was wrong-headed and it shouldn’t have taken 50 years to reverse it.
This is a surprise, a welcome one that brings all of us a spirit of rejoicing.
3. There have been two approaches among pro-lifers.
Those who oppose abortion, believe life begins at conception, and that it is sacred to God, have diverged on the best strategy for fighting it. Some adopted an all-or-nothing approach, called abolitionism. Others adopted a more incremental approach, believing that it was best to win small victories along the way, rather than to hold out for final victory.
Incrementalists believe their approach has been the key to this final victory, while abolitionists are equally sure that their approach has won the day.
3. Internecine war in the pro-life community is tragic.
I saw a tweet by an abolitionist toward someone who practiced the incremental approach, demanding that he “repent” for his disobedience to God. To me, that is unnecessary, unfortunate, even ungodly. Christians who share a goal may disagree as to the best approach and it is a shame that instead of rejoicing at this great thing that has happened, so many are taking this moment to attack fellow believers who did not fight the fight with the same approach they did.
Frankly, when the first response of a lot of folks was to go on the attack against fellow-Christians who were also pro-life but had a different strategy, it reveals how unhealthy that segment of the Christian world is.
People who seek the same goal with different means are enemies to be destroyed?
4. The Supreme Court leak was a serious issue.
From all I have read, such a thing has never happened before, that a draft opinion has been leaked. In our politically fractured world, the gloves are off, and “all’s fair in love and war” is the new ethic. This is a serious breach of ethics though. It should be investigated and if the perpetrator can be found, the person should be prosecuted. If a Justice is involved, impeachment should be considered.
5. Reversal of Roe does not outlaw abortion.
I’ve seen this coming from both sides – the idea that abortion will become illegal. Mostly, though, it has come from hysterical people on the left. Such is not the case. This rule will put abortion laws into the hands of state legislatures. Abortion laws will vary from state to state.
6. This reversal will amplify the “Two Americas” phenomenon.
Many states will adopt restrictive laws against abortion and others will adopt abortion-on-demand. Red will become deeper red and blue will become brighter blue.
7. The electoral effects are generally overstated.
I wander into wild opinion and prophetic speculation here, but some are saying that the reversal of Roe will energize the Democratic base and stop the Red Tide in the November elections. I doubt it will have that much effect.
I have seen “surveys” that showed documentary evidence that American both strongly supports and opposes abortion. It depends on how the questions are worded. From my understanding, most Americans do not want abortion totally outlawed, but most also oppose abortion-on-demand. Rape and incest exceptions are widely supported. Ask the right question, you will get the answers you want.
It is my belief that the electoral effect of this decision will not be what the left hopes it will be.
- First, there are a relatively small number for whom abortion is a primary voting issue, and those are divided between pro-life and pro-abortion.
- Second, it is May, and by November, there will be eight more crises that will come up. American voters have short memories.
- Third, in an election like this, economic issues are far more likely to be decisive. Inflation, recession, spiking gas prices – these issues will likely be more on voters’ minds than Roe v. Wade.
8. Outlawing abortion is wonderful, but it is not our primary goal.
It is easy for us to allow ourselves to be sidetracked by political victories, even wonderful ones such as this. Outlawing abortion does not accomplish Acts 1:8 and does not advance the Great Commission. Our job as the church of Jesus Christ is to make disciples.
9. We shouldn’t spike the ball.
When one side wins a political victory, there is almost always a backlash. That backlash is worse when the winning side spikes the ball, when it tries to rub the victory in the face of the losing side. We have won a great victory, but we must continue to seek to win hearts and minds, to convince people, not just to enact laws. We should act with wisdom and tact, not with threats and intimidation.
10. There are divisions in the pro-life community that could cost us dearly in the future.
Where do we go from here? Do we seek laws to punish women who have abortions with imprisonment, regardless of the backlash these laws may engender? Do we fight one another or unite even in our differences? It is better for the kingdom and for the pro-life movement if we accept one another even with our differences than if we fight.
This battle is far from over, even though the reversal of Roe is a great moment. We need to continue to work wisely and courageously on the issue while keeping our focus on the real work of Christ.