In one of Jesus’ more startling sayings, He declared: ‘Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets’ (Luke 6:26). Back in the 1960s when the call for liberalised abortion laws was becoming increasingly fashionable, the pro-abortion lobby usually sought to portray itself as a radical, freedom-loving movement which was confronting an uncaring and wealthy establishment. As the years have unfolded, it has become obvious that it is nothing of the kind. It has become the new establishment, with all the ugliness of the old establishment, and a few extra ones thrown in for bad measure.
In 2013 Barack Obama awarded the feminist, Gloria Steinem, the Medal of Freedom. Ms Steinem had aborted her child in 1956, and she recalled that event:
It is supposed to make us a bad person. But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could! I think the person who said: ‘Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament’ was right. Speaking for myself, I knew it was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life. I wasn’t going to let things happen to me. I was going to direct my life, and therefore it felt positive.
That kind of secular Pharisaism – the attempt to justify oneself rather than repent and accept God’s justification – sounds like a hollow defiance of reality. Furthermore, it does not seem to have done her worldly career any harm. Not everyone can expect to receive a presidential medal for killing off an inconvenient child and portraying it as an act of nobility, freedom and responsibility.
The story is similar in other parts of the Western world. Peter Singer, an expert in bioethics, has defended infanticide for any child up until the age of 28 days. What magical change takes place on the 29th day – which means that the child suddenly becomes worthy of life – is not explained. This is unsurprising. One disturbing point to be made is that the advocacy of infanticide no longer belongs to the lunatic fringe. Indeed, the lunatic fringe and the mainstream at times appear to be well-nigh identical, much as Communism and Fascism resemble one another.
It was Peter Singer and Bob Brown who in 1996 co-authored The Greens, a manifesto for Australia’s political future. This was taken seriously as a third party option in Australian politics by the obsequious media. Finally, in 2012 Singer was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for ‘eminent service to philosophy and bioethics as a leader of public debate and communicator of ideas in the areas of global poverty, animal welfare and the human condition’. It is things like this that make Jesus’ words seem less startling.
It is the pro-life movement which is radically counter cultural. If your desire in life is to get ahead, the pro-life cause is not for you. These are days when we are not to seek great things for ourselves (Jer.45:5). One of the most wonderful Christian writings of the twentieth century is If, from the pen of Amy Carmichael who devoted her life to the children of India.
If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
The world applauds its own, and at the moment defending the lives of unborn children is not something it wants to face, let alone endorse. But press on, for the cause of truth and life must win, and those who have sought the world’s acclaim will share in its judgment.
Rev Dr Peter Barnes
Chairman of Evangelicals for Life