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A radical and revealing abortion bill

Andrew T. Walker | Moral anarchy in Congress and moral cowardice in some evangelical circles


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press about abortion legislation. Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

A radical and revealing abortion bill
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No language can give an adequate description of the moral hideousness of the abortion bill recently passed with a party-line vote in the House of Representatives. The bill is titled the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” In truth, it is about destroying the health of the unborn.

Specifically, the bill codifies Roe v. Wade, but it goes even beyond what most European nations allow when it comes to abortion rights. It allows for abortion for virtually any reason at any point in a pregnancy. It overrides any state-based law that would regulate abortion. The bill gives incredible leniency to abortion providers to justify abortion. All said and done, the bill would make America one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world.

The bill even erases women as it adopts non-binary gender language. If this is not extreme and radical, what is?

In service to civility and public discourse, “radical” and “extreme” are terms we are told to use only in the rarest of occasions. Now is one of those times. If American citizens are not justified in responding with outrage to this bill, they are not justified to raise outrage at anything.

The legislation represents moral anarchy. The unborn are left to absolute vulnerability. That is the very purpose of the bill.

No peace or rationalization can be made with this legislation. It needs to be named for what it is—high treason against God’s moral order. It reveals not only the moral degradation of one of America’s major parties but it is also an indication of a more basic moral crisis in America.

The bill stands no chance of becoming law—for now. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s vote for the bill (it’s rare for a speaker to cast a vote) communicates her absolute commitment to abortion as public policy. Abortion is now ingrained in the progressive and secular worldview. Moreover, it seems the bill’s architects know the prospects of the bill’s looming failure, signaling that the political theater behind the bill has less to do with serious governance and more with virtue-signaling its loyalties to the most extreme segment of America’s abortion industry. The bill’s passage is more about avoiding the wrath of the abortion regime.

As the Supreme Court prepares to take up a blockbuster abortion case from Mississippi, we should expect every sector of liberal-dominated American culture to turn the heat up on conservative justices. The threat will be clear: Rule in abortion’s favor, or else.

The deadly reality of the bill demands that we speak, but one of the more revealing elements of the response to the Democratic abortion bill has been the relative silence of evangelicalism’s highest-profile leaders in registering protest. Evangelical leaders have been so conditioned by the liberalism intimidation of our day that they now largely fail to raise a hand in serious protest to liberalism’s overreach. That a bill like this could pass is a tragedy. The lack of response from many mainstream evangelicals is an embarrassment.

If you want to understand the divide in evangelicalism, just consider the contrast between the silence of the evangelical left and the outspoken moral outrage of the truly pro-life evangelicals. The evangelical left is increasingly cosmopolitan, and it is often muted in response to anything prized by the cultural elites. We are looking at two patterns: One group responds with a shrug; the other with shock.

Too many evangelicals (or those who call themselves evangelicals) live in fear of elite standards of opinion. It’s a race to the top for cultural acceptance, but a race to the bottom, if measured by faithfulness.

Even still, the moral atrocity of what just occurred calls us to speak. What do we say? Start with this: God is the author of life, and he is not mocked (Acts 3:15; Galatians 6:7).


Andrew T. Walker

Andrew T. Walker is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.

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S LEWIS

Even though I agreed with the author's opinion, this was a half-baked opinion piece. It fell apart for lack of specificity. To be more than mildly interesting, it needed some details. Tell us, please, the names of some of the silent left-wing evangelicals (Wallis?) whom you hoped would be speaking out against a dead-in-the-water bill. Tell us the names of those bold pro-lifers who spoke up. Tell us something of value. Tell us something. Otherwise all the piece amounts to is: can you believe what Pelosi did yesterday? As if we needed more reasons to scoff.

TWHS LEWIS

I have to agree. Even the term, "left-wing evangelicals" is new to me. I can easily speculate who is being talked about, but we do need specifics in order to think about solutions.

CDIF8410TWH

Agree. Name names.

Salty1S LEWIS

I think his purpose in writing wasn’t to point out names but was meant to make those Evangelicals who are silent, to let the Spirit convict them. Those people likely know who they are. They are the ones who pretend that Democrats are no different than Republicans when the Republicans all vote against abortion and all but one Democrat votes for abortion.

We look at the war on Christian morality in America and we do see Democrats leading us over the cliff. Certainly Republicans aren’t perfect, but allowing Democrats to bind people in sin so they are that more resistant to the Gospel should alarm us if we care about holy things.

Justin858

This piece was spot on until the last third. Why does Professor Walker feel the need to chastise "evangelicalism’s highest-profile leaders" just because they don't comment on everything he wants them to comment on? Why is he making arguments from silence, as if in this digital age, everything must now be responded to or you're complicit? And then he goes on to assume ulterior motives ("so conditioned by the liberalism intimidation of our day" and "live in fear of elite standards"). Have you discussed this with them and know this to be true?

I think this is quite unhealthy and unhelpful. And of course he doesn't mention anyone specifically, so we're left to guess who he means. This is the kind of polemic writing I expect from The Daily Wire, not World. If part of the purpose of Opinions is to call out other Christians for not getting on Twitter or some other platform quick enough, I have no interest.

MamaHobbitJustin858

I doubt whether the good professor was talking about Christians not getting on Twitter or other social media. How many of our evangelical leaders, though, have made any sort of public statements about this outrage in the Capitol?

Back at the beginning of the pro-life movement, immediately after the Roe vs. Wade decision was handed down, the Roman Catholics were almost the only ones to speak up for the unborn. It took a number of years before evangelical believers got into the act. We don't need to be "taking the late train" again on this issue.

Salty1MamaHobbit

What “outrage in the Capital”? How many of the inciters were FBI agents or other special government agents? What percentage of the total crowd actually went into the Capital? Was it 1%? You are pushing propaganda MamaHobbit just like the leftist Mainstream Media and others that this was a outrage. We cannot forget that the election WAS stolen and the anger was justified.

Bill C

"Evangelical Left" -- I suppose this term is appropriate, unlike "Christian Left" which is at best an oxymoron. It is sad to associate anything related to Christ with bills such as this one.

SuperBoppy

Just as disturbing - where were the Republicans (and where are they now?) when five years ago, Project Veritas exposed the fact that Planned Parenthood sells the body parts from aborted babies to further profit from doing abortions, which is a felony. Why do the so-called pro-life politicians keep giving Planned Parenthood more and more money every year, when prosecutions should be handed out, and Planned Parenthood should get $0 in funding?

not silent

I am not silent on this issue, as I have written about it many times and previously volunteered for a crisis pregnancy center. But it's more complicated than just figuring out which party says its platform is "pro life." For one thing, I think "pro life" should be "pro" all human life-not just unborn children. It should mean a willingness to help children and their parents AFTER they are born and to help other vulnerable people and groups.

Second, morality is not just about where a person stands on abortion. I was once encouraged to vote for a local pro life politician; but I found out before the election that there was documentation of a previous DUI, a charge of domestic assault, and shady financial dealings! How was I supposed to trust someone like that?

Third, republicans may have the moral high ground as far as their "platform" on abortion, but I don't agree with all the measures they have used to promote that stance. Back in the 1980's I did not agree with tactics like blockading abortion clinics, screaming at women seeking abortion and calling them murderers, or using violence to stop abortion (i.e., bombings and shooting of doctors). I think it has been more helpful to educate people about fetal development and to provide them with options and assistance when they feel the need to seek abortion. (I have met quite a few women who talked about past abortions, and they ALL said it was traumatic and caused them sadness but they felt they had no other choice because of finances or other barriers.)

Finally, I am not confident that ALL republicans are taking a higher moral road than ALL democrats with all policies. Abortion is very important but there are other issues which may also involve life and death. I could write a book about it all, but this comment will have to do for now.

Big Jimnot silent

Sure, not every Republican is a true pro-lifer and not every Democrat is an abortion-lover. I'm reminded of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressman, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, that had an illicit affair then tried to browbeat his mistress into having an abortion. Doesn't sound like he was truly down with the cause. But on-balance, the Democrat Party platform, policies, voting record, funding priorities, judicial appointments, etc. are horrible when it comes to abortion, way worse than Republicans.

I don't mean to shill for the Republican Party, they have plenty of scoundrels to be sure. I can understand why a Christian would dislike the Republican Party. But I cannot understand why a Christian would like the Democrat Party.

not silentBig Jim

I think the problem is the perception that one must choose between one of the two major political parties or one has wasted one's vote and the perception that abortion is the only moral issue that matters. I once voted for a local candidate I had serious qualms about because they were pro life, but I swore never to do it again. This is my choice, and I realize others may disagree; but I would personally rather vote my conscience and look for a candidate I didn't consider the "lesser of two evils" than base my decision on who is more "electable." (Maybe it's a pipe dream; but I keep thinking that, if enough people took a chance on them, some of those candidates might become MORE electable.)

At any rate, I may have focused on the republicans in my previous comment; but that doesn't mean I am a democrat. Frankly, I don't like EITHER of the major parties. This is only my opinion, but I don't think we will get better until we use our votes to DEMAND something better.

Salty1not silent

I think you are morally confused if you think the 62 million abortions which the Democrats have pushed is anywhere near the crimes committed by Republicans! May God help you!

not silentSalty1

As I stated in my previous comment, I am not a democrat. But I think it's probably best to leave the judging and weighing of hearts and deeds to God, who knows the hearts of all.

I will be the first to admit that I need God's help to guide me and provide discernment in these difficult times, and I accept any petitions or prayers for his help from fellow believers.

RevK8

Thank you for this new addition to the World newsgroup! What a devastating commentary on our culture. I am thankful to belong to a Christian denomination that supports Life from Creation to natural death.

mrbobmac

It's my guess many evangelicals are silent on this issue not so much because of lack of concern, but weariness.

I live in Florida where hurricanes are on the docket six months of every year. The media LOVES hurricanes because it gets viewers, and the local media in particular practically prays for hurricanes to threaten Florida (pardon the spiritual allusion). They then hype the hurricanes ad nauseum. Residents, then, fall into two camps: Resignation ("been through this before, nothing happened") and Unbridled Fear ("the sky IS falling!"... particularly newer residents).

The problem is that major hurricanes DO happen, albeit rarely. And when they do, many people are seemingly caught off-guard and unprepared. They then blame the government for 'not warning them' even though the Nat'l Hurricane Center's amazing site tracks every storm from its first to last puff.

I feel the same about the abortion issue. Do I care? PROFOUNDLY. The problem is that there is so much bad news coming out of Washington that something of this significance can easily be lost... in the deluge of always-bad news.

FIMIKImrbobmac

A wise observation. We should indeed be strategic about when we need to speak up, because reacting to every negative development inevitably leads to the fatigue you described. That's why I'm not as dismayed as the author about the lack of outrage from mainstream evangelicalism over a house bill that has little chance of becoming law. We should hold our fire for the stuff that really matters. That's wisdom, not weakness.

CDIF8410FIMIKI

When to speak up is when wicked rulers go on record with their votes.

Salty1FIMIKI

I think you miss his point, we should speak out on a radical bill that could have serious implications for the pro-life movement if the Democrat majority votes for it. To pretend that it couldn’t possibly get voted in when the Democrats have the majority is foolishness. Also, the writer points out the extreme nature of the bill that should warrant our condemnation in the public square and in our churches.

The Old Testament is filled with examples where believers were fatigued and wearied, but God was not happy with them.