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Bethel McGrew: Linking arms with good Samaritans


WORLD Radio - Bethel McGrew: Linking arms with good Samaritans

Without compromising on truth, Christians should stand with brave pro-life allies on both sides of the political aisle

Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, (from left) Kristin Turner, of San Francisco, Lauren Handy, of Washington, and Caroline Smith, of Washington Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, September 26th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next: progressive pro-lifers. You’ve heard “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Today, some Christians are asking whether that applies to fellow pro-life activists who don’t share Christian convictions.

WORLD Opinions Commentator Bethel McGrew says a recent court case puts a fine point on that old adage.

BETHEL MCGREW, COMMENTATOR: Three pro-life activists have been found guilty in a court of law. They face potential penalties of 11 years each in jail and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Last month, five of their friends were convicted of the same crime. What exactly was that crime? Trying to save babies.

In a shameless miscarriage of justice, the Biden Justice Department prosecuted the activists for their 2020 protest at a Washington, D.C., abortion clinic, while throwing out evidence of real criminal activity at that same clinic. Even though abortionist Dr. Cesare Santangelo admitted he let live-born infants die on his table, he continues to walk freely, while those who tried to save his victims are in custody until their next appeal.

Some of the activists are part of the group known as PAAU—Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising. They are a motley crew who defy easy labels in the culture wars. In addition to abortion, they protest capital punishment, animal cruelty, torture, and war. Some even identify as gay, trans, or queer. Some are atheists. According to a close friend of one defendant who witnessed last month’s hearings, this information wasn’t even admitted as evidence.

As PAAU members have consistently staged protests and made headlines over the years, many pro-life voices have rallied around them. But some conservatives look at their political track record and urge caution, or even a withholding of support. In a 2021 article for LifeSite News, writer Matt Lamb bluntly argues that they shouldn’t be welcome as long as they affirm an LGBT agenda. Christian conservatives oppose both abortion and LGBT activism for a reason, as part of a consistent worldview.

Lamb isn’t wrong to point out the profound worldview incompatibilities inherent in PAAU’s unusual activism patterns. However, there’s a rather presumptuous air in this language of welcoming or not welcoming people into the pro-life movement. After all, who decides exactly who is “allowed” to protest abortion centers? Is there a committee? The awkward fact remains that eight pro-life progressives are currently facing prison for trying to save babies. They may not all be Christians, but they don’t have to be in order to perceive the evil of abortion by the light of their own consciences.

The parable of the Good Samaritan may not be an exact analogue here, and it has certainly been misapplied to death in much progressive preaching. Nevertheless, these activists could all legitimately claim the title of “Good Samaritan” for their selfless acts of service on behalf of society’s most vulnerable. To the extent that they would like pro-life conservatives to compromise on other foundational truths about bodies, minds, and souls, we should oppose their agenda. But there’s no moral law decreeing that we should withhold our pro-life solidarity in an hour of dire need.

And so, in defense of life, we stand with them.

I’m Bethel McGrew.

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