A way forward for pro-lifers: Proximity

How can we reduce abortions in a practical, unified way? Well, unity requires us to be close to one another and to the issues we claim to care about. Jesus modeled this principle of proximity when he “became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1.14 MSG). Touching lives, saving souls, loving your neighbor all require proximity. Unfortunately, Christians self-isolate from believers on the other side of the political spectrum, thereby diminishing our collective impact.

Christian Republicans who want to be a “voice for the voiceless,” for example, must begin to listen instead. Your prolife brothers and sisters who vote for Democrats have many important things to say about fighting abortion. Unfortunately, we are often shut out of the conversation. This was actually promoted recently when Charlie Kirk denounced Lecrae for his support of Ralph Warnock. Sadly, Kirk’s audience applauded the idea of banning Lecrae from churches.

I don’t get it. Is being a Republican a prerequisite for salvation? Since it is not, please open your ears to Lecrae’s testimony, which includes his remorse over losing a child to abortion. Lecrae and many Christians like him are voices for the voiceless too, namely women and children living in poverty. Given that 75% of abortions are performed on women who are poor, pro-lifers must be willing to listen to and believe what Democrats say about poverty in America. We have a unique lens and experience on issues that actually matter to you. We are trying to help you understand that an abortion-minded woman does not just face a crisis pregnancy. Her whole life is a crisis.

How do we know this? Because we are proximate to poverty. We are literal neighbors to mothers in America who cannot adequately feed and clothe their children. Many of us grew up in poverty or we work on behalf of the poor. This is our mission field. Don’t shut us out of your church.

We speak for the women that conservatives characterize as welfare queens. We know poverty is not a sign they are lazy or sinful. We see these women recovering from trauma, working for low wages, and unwelcome at churches because they are accused of “shacking up.” We are saying to you that if you want to be a voice for their unborn babies, then let us be a voice for their born babies. We know the negative outcomes these children and their parents face: adverse health conditions, low educational attainment, mental illness, and early death. We are saying it’s not enough to support mothers in the brief moment of time when they are deciding whether to “choose life.” They are facing 18 years of providing for a child in a nation with 34 million people living in poverty. Choose life oversimplifies the reality for a woman who, in keeping her unborn baby, feels like she is choosing a life of destitution.

Those of us who serve the poor need proximate Christians, people who are willing to join us in the work. You don’t have to go to Haiti. There are poor families living in the trailer park around the corner from you. Check out the poverty stats in your state.

In practical terms:

  1. Build relationships across local nonprofit organizations. Those that serve the poor should collaborate with pregnancy centers to develop mutually beneficial programs. Prolife Democrats need to sit at the feet of those dedicated to guiding women through their darkest hour. I have personally been proximate to the training required of pregnancy center workers and volunteers. Their mission field is vital in reducing abortions.
  2. Christian business owners can offer food and resources. My daughter and her husband make it a point to do community outreach in low-income neighborhoods. I especially appreciate that they involve their son so he can learn to give. Their goal is to know, love, and employ those who might otherwise be neglected. And they represent a company that claims to hold Christian values. Business owners can find creative ways to meet, greet, hire, feed, and serve the poor.
  • 3.Churches can adopt a family. Liberals sometimes criticize conservatives who claim to hate abortion yet choose not to adopt. On one hand, it really is a sad testament for Christianity. There are millions of us in America, but we can’t find it in our hearts to take in the 122,000 children waiting to be adopted? It tells us that we are either selfish or smart. We either don’t want to raise more children because it will upset our lifestyle or we know we can’t afford to raise more children. So in some ways, we make the same calculation made by some women who choose abortion. Either they don’t want a child to upset their lifestyle or they know they can’t afford to raise more children.

Let’s get the plank out of our eyes. We can sacrifice more than just a day marching for life in Washington. If we really want abortion-minded women to keep their children, we need to step up in tangible ways to make it possible. More ideas in the next post.

Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.

Proverbs 21.13 NLT

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