Thursday, 2 August 2012

Fighting Abortion with Truth and Charity

In a previous post, I suggested that the pro-life battle is first of all a spiritual battle, and only incidentally a political and social struggle.

For that reason, I maintain that the weapons we should turn to first, and rely on most fundamentally, are spiritual weapons, not political ones.

I suggested truth and charity as essential, and also prayer and fasting.

In this post I want to explore these ideas a bit further.

I have singled out truth and charity for a specific reason.  If we as Christians claim to be pro-Life, it can only be because we are pro-Christ.  For He said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’  (John 14:6).  He identifies himself with life -and also with truth. Moreover, He tells us that He is the Way.  So if we are to fight for him as Life, the Way to do that is also Himself, and He is Truth.

This intimate connection of Way, Truth and Life, all expressions of Christ’s own identity, must surely inform and inspire our pro-Life work;  this aspect of Christ’s self-revelation is surpassed only by the ultimate revelation that ‘The Father and I are one.’ (John 10:30).  That, combined with St John’s profound understanding of God that leads him to assert ‘God is Love’ (1 John, 4:8) gives us the foundations of the Christian pro-Life stance.  We are pro-Life because we are pro-Christ; the Way in which we are to be pro-Life is also Christ; and Christ is Truth and Love.

What does that mean in practice?

First of all, it must mean that we are completely truthful in our pro-Life work.  We do not accept abortion up to a certain age, or abortion or euthanasia in certain circumstances, or for certain groups (eg the handicapped) in order to win political advantage.  If our goal is the elimination of abortion and euthanasia, then we must be honest about that goal.

Likewise, we must tell the truth about pro-life issues in season and out of season, not worried that we may be mis-represented or lose political advantage.  Thus we should not give the impression that we share the secular view that finally an individual’s autonomous choice is the right criterion for deciding whether to abort or not.  I have blogged previously about my concerns around non-directive counselling, for that very reason.

However, underpinning that is the law of charity.  We must continually purify our motives and intentions.  Precisely because abortion and euthanasia are so hateful, we must be on our guard against hating people associated with them.  Our concern, if we are to follow Christ, must always be for their well-being and in particular their salvation.  

The worst victims of abortion, from a spiritual point of view, are not the innocents who are killed, but those who, with some degree of guilt, are responsible for that.  Their very souls are in jeopardy. We cannot judge the guilt of any individual, of course.  But we may observe that the likelihood is that at least some of those involved have some culpability (even if only at the level of willful ignorance) and some may have considerable culpability.  They need our prayers and our love, even as we campaign against their actions.

That principle applies even more to women who are seeking abortions. Whilst we know that what they are contemplating is a terrible thing, we must always remember that we owe them love and support.  Indeed, it is almost axiomatic that a lack of love and support is what has led them to the terrible position in which they find themselves.

At the immediate level, that should govern our behaviour towards them and our speech and thinking about them. But at the more profound level, we cannot really claim to be pro-life if we are not actively seeking them out and offering love and support before, during and after whatever crisis drives them towards the dreadful choice of aborting their child.

I mentioned prayer and fasting as the other requirements of the fight - and that is because it is a spiritual battle against the Devil himself, and some kinds can only be cast out with prayer and fasting.  That is not optional for pro-life Christians...

There is much more to say about all of this, but this post feels long enough for now.  I may come back to the topic - and as ever welcome your views in the comms box.

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