The Atlantic’s headline writers must have envisioned people concluding abortion might not be so bad if a pastor thinks it’s moral. There is no other reason for the story. It’s certainly not newsworthy.
May 31, 2019 By Glenn T. Stanton
The left has been on a frantic jag the last few weeks to get us all to remember just how wonderful and important abortion is. One of the most despicably desperate efforts was a recent New York Times editorial by a particularly infamous late-term abortionist explaining (and this is not a typo) “Pregnancy kills. Abortion saves lives.”
Pregnancy: Very bad. Abortion: Very good. But of course, 100 percent of everyone who has ever existed does so because a pregnancy did what it naturally does and an abortion didn’t. The craziness of this editorial is a dramatic demonstration of just how paralyzed with fear these folks are about losing their cherished right to be free of children.
The Atlantic recently published a less dramatic, but equally desperate, article entitled “A Pastor’s Case for the Morality of Abortion.” Three trigger words here are supposed to create a confused dissonance: Pastor. Morality. Abortion. A case for the morality of abortion by a pastor. We imagine The Atlantic’s headline writers envisioned so many of us concluding abortion might not be so bad if a pastor thinks it’s moral. There is no other reason for the story. It’s certainly not newsworthy.
This pastor, Jes Kast, is not well-known. She is extremely fringe and not particularly influential. She didn’t recently change her position on the issue through dramatic soul-searching. And she’s a United Church of Christ pastor, a denomination that never saw an abortion it couldn’t celebrate. She also describes herself as a femme queer lesbianwho wants us to “queer this sh-t” we call our lives.
She serves on Planned Parenthood’s national Clergy Advocacy Board and talks endlessly about the need to protect “reproductive rights,” as if she’s pro-fertility. She’s not. She’s a woman who’s proudly political even in her choice of lipstick.
Every day I put my lipstick on, it is a form of protest. When Hitler took over and the war was going on women who were fighting back against the Nazi infiltration would wear red lipstick. Hitler apparently hated it when women wore red lipstick. So for me, it’s an act of protest to put red lipstick on.
This is the person The Atlantic chose to make the moral case for abortion. On top of all this, she doesn’t even make a decent case, as if there is one, much less from a Christian perspective. But let’s give her the respect of taking seriously what she says.
Abortion For Any Reason Is Totally Moral
First, she is very clear that she is all-in on abortion. When asked if she perceives any instance under which abortion is immoral, she says definitively, “I don’t. I really don’t.” These are the words of a fanatic. That’s not an accusation, but a fact. She believes that snuffing out the life of a pre-born child is such an inherent good in and of itself that nothing should override it.
Not the abortion of a girl because a boy was desired, which happens by the millions around the world. How does a feminist square that? Not because one has a cruise coming up in six months. Not because the mother just wants to. These and any other reason are more weighty than the life of the child. That is pure fanaticism.
If Kast thinks the above are extremist examples, then she shouldn’t justify abortion by bringing up the rationale of the 12-year-old rape victim, which she does. It’s the reddest of herrings. Tragic as this would be, the extremely abortion-friendly Guttmacher Institute tells us that only 1 percent of women who get abortions do so because of rape and less than 0.5 percent do so because of incest.
But these make up perhaps 98 percent or so of the reasons folks give for why abortion should be legal. According to Guttmacher, 74 percent say they had their abortion because having a baby would dramatically change their lives or because they think they can’t afford a baby right now.
The Jesus Who Allows Whatever I Want
So what is Kast’s theological case?
Most anyone would agree she’s quite creative with scripture. In her rationale, she quotes Jesus saying, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” It’s a wonderful statement from the savior, but you should sit down for her commentary on how this makes abortion moral.
What Jesus means here, she explains, is that “God’s plan for our lives is to actually have a meaningful life with loving contentment and satisfaction.” She continues, “Because of that—because I value life, and I believe Jesus values life—I value the choices that give us the type of life we need.” Claiming that access to abortion is a part of why Jesus came and the abundant life he offers is abhorrent and blasphemous. Has she no shame?
But she’s not done; “When people talk about, ‘Our body is a temple of God, and holy,’ I see that as, I have the right to choices over my body, and the freedom to make the decisions that are right for me.” Apparently she thinks this is compelling. That is the fullness of her case for the morality of abortion. Basically, she is giving the precise rationale for abortion that prosperity preachers give for why God wants you rich.
The True Christian Story Starts in the Womb
What this pastor misses is that which is at the very center of Christianity—Christ Himself. She must know where His story starts.
The Christian story begins with God becoming fully human, not in the Christmas manger, but nine months earlier as a human zygote in the womb of a teenage girl who was not yet married. This is quite a dramatic introduction to Christianity, and it says everything about the morality of abortion for the Christian.
If God enters the world as the smallest of unborn human life, the smallest of unborn human life is very significant indeed. Christianity’s savior grew every day from that moment of his divine conception in Mary’s fallopian tubes, nestling and growing in her womb, never becoming anything more than what he was at that moment—fully God and fully man. Thus, Christianity has always taken an extremely high and unique view of the unborn, more so than any other religion or philosophy. This cannot be overstated.
Our pastor misses that this is precisely why the earliest official collection of Christian ethics and morality—found in the “Didache,” or “Teaching of the Apostles”—clearly states that no one “shall murder a child by abortion, nor kill them when born.” This is in the same list that prohibits adultery, fornication, stealing, murder, lying or speaking evil. (Chapter 2:2) Abortion is immoral.
The First Worshippers of Christ Understood This
Our pastor also fails to appreciate who the first recorded worshipers of Jesus were, and where this all took place. It happens in a very wonderful and intimate place—another woman’s womb. Early in her pregnancy, Mary, Jesus’s mother, goes to visit Elizabeth, her close family member who is also with child. The moment Mary walks through the door of Elizabeth’s home, something remarkable happens in utero.
The child growing inside of Elizabeth, none other than Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptist, leaps with joy at the arrival of his savior. Likewise, Elizabeth reveres the one who is in Mary’s womb. The first worshipers of Jesus are a pregnant woman and her unborn son. The womb and its natural bounty are very sacred and fundamental parts of the Christian tale.
Thus, no pastor can remain faithful to the belief system he has supposedly dedicated himself to serve, teach, and proclaim, yet dismiss the inestimable value of life in the womb from the moment of conception. A life exists there because God delighted in creating and sending that wholly unique life into the world as a gift and blessing. A life that bears God’s very image and likeness.
People who contend that ending life in the womb is moral have made themselves God, telling Him they reject His gift and know best. They have denied who Christ was and became. It is to dismiss the wonder of His own history and essence. Any pastor who teaches this has denied the center of his own faith.
This pastor says she follows “this guy named Jesus who said, above all … love your neighbor as yourself.” She believes protecting so-called “reproductive freedom” and “women’s health” does this. She refuses to appreciate that the unborn is the most vulnerable of neighbors that lives right under a mother’s heart.
There is no moral, Christian case for abortion. And there’s no space in Christianity for pastors, in direct violation of the Lord’s apostles , who teach that there is.
Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com.
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