Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Case for Pro-Life Advocacy

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds has an interesting interview with Scott Klusendorf, President of Life Training Institute, who offers his thoughts on how pro-life advocates should respond to the election win by Barack Obama and his plans to support Pro-choice legislation. Klusendorf has a forthcoming book titled, The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage Culture (to be published by Crossway in March 2009). His comments on Obama’s support for the Federal Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) have direct relevance for other nations with liberal abortion laws like Australia.

Klusendorf states that:

“FOCA creates a federally guaranteed right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy that goes way beyond Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Should the federal courts ever reverse or otherwise gut Roe and Doe, FOCA would enshrine abortion rights into law at the legislative level. Parental consent, informed consent, restrictions on tax-funded abortions, and physician conscience laws would be swept away, along with federal and state bans on partial-birth abortion.”

His most interesting comments concern what Christians should do about the possible threat to make abortion on demand easier and less controlled in the US. He suggests that action is necessary and that we must not give up on the Pro-Life agenda. He also suggests that we need to equip more Pro-Life advocates to engage the culture, not shrink back in defeat. He outlines four ways to do this:

1. Christian leaders should purposefully preach and teach a biblical view of human value, and do it often.

“…the biblical worldview explains human dignity and equality: All humans have value because they bear God’s image (Genesis 1:26, 9:6, James 3:9). At the same time, the science of embryology establishes that “human life” is not a “label we confer,” but a biological reality we discover. From fertilization forward, the unborn are unquestionably human. Hence, biblical commands against the unjust taking of human life (Exodus 23:7, Proverbs 6:16-19) apply to the unborn as they do other human beings. Like everyone else, they have the image of their creator.”

2. Christian leaders must not only preach about human value; they must equip their people to engage the culture.

He argues that theology gives church members a biblical foundation for their pro-life beliefs and that Apologetics will provide the tools to take biblically informed beliefs into the marketplace of ideas.

3. Pro-life Christians must hold their churches and parachurch organizations to account.

However, while holding people to account he argues that we need to “….equip Christian leaders rather than criticize them.”

4. Pro-life Christians must recruit more full-time apologists.

He suggests that we need people dedicated to educating and challenging others. He reinforces this view with a confronting quote from Gregg Cunningham of the “Center for Bioethical Reform”:

There are more people working full-time to kill babies than there are working full-time to save them. That’s because killing babies is very profitable while saving them is very costly. So costly, that large numbers of Americans who say they oppose abortion are not lifting a finger to stop it. And those that do lift a finger to stop it do just enough to salve the conscience but not enough to stop the killing.

It seems to me that the strategy he outlines for the USA has relevance for other countries like Australia. As I concluded my previous post on the recent Victorian Legislative changes to the abortion laws we need to act in his country as well.

We need to be arguing against abortion, not in a self-righteous way, but on moral and ethical grounds supported by hard facts and biblical truth, that present the case for the rights of the unborn child and the sanctity of life. We need to avoid being judgmental and simply taking the high moral ground.....history will judge us badly when it considers that in Australia alone up to 100,000 abortions are performed each year.

Links of relevance to this post

Full post from Justin Taylor, "Stayin Alive: Pro-Life Advocacy in the Obama Era. An Interview with Scott Klusendorf" here

My daughter Nicole has some great posts on abortion on her blog 168 Hours that you can read here.

A previous post from Justin Taylor with comments from Don Carson on practical ways forward can be found here

Related material on Medical Ethics from CASE Scholar Dr Megan Best can be found here.

Advance Notice

a) Conference

CASE will be running a conference on Medical Ethics at New College on the 21st March 2009. More details will be posted on the CASE website soon.

b) Next issue of Case on Medical Ethics

We will also be focussing on medical ethics in the next edition of Case magazine.

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