This week, Governor Cuomo of New York signed the Reproductive Health Act into law, while the legislature joyfully applauded. This act does three things; first, it moves abortions from the penal code to the public health code, effectively decriminalizing most instances of the death of an unborn child (whether through an abortion or through a violent act on the mother). Second, it expands who may perform an abortion from physicians to any “health care professional.” Third, and most heinous, it removes the current 24-week ban on abortion, and allows a baby to be aborted at any point of a pregnancy if the fetus isn’t “viable” or the health of the mother is in danger. The cash-out of this law is that a psychiatrist could diagnose a mother who is nine months pregnant as “mentally endangered” by the birth of the child, and her midwife could give the baby a lethal injection, induce birth, and dispose of the carcass without anyone facing any criminal charges. To make it all worse, Governor Cuomo lit up the World Trade Center tower pink in celebration of this atrocity.
Now, I want to commend our congregation for all of your activity to fight for the unborn. You’ve marched, shared articles online, volunteered at pregnancy centers, called representatives, and adopted orphans into your homes. However, we live in a nation where such an atrocity can take place, and the national guard isn’t mobilized to put a halt to such a miscarriage of justice. Further, this slaughter of the unborn takes place daily less than a mile from here in our local hospital.
NY State needs repentance. She and our nation remain under God’s judgement, and deserve to become a smoking crater. If we desire our nation to come to repentance, we must exemplify true repentance. Have you deleted the apps you use to access porn? Have you sought forgiveness from the friend you slandered? Have you finished the job you promised to get done but left half-done? Have you stopped making excuses for why you keep committing that same sin? Have you fled from your sin, burning down every bridge of temptation as you go? If we are so sluggish and sloppy in our repentance, should we expect NY and our nation to do any different?
The preceding was the text for an exhortation I gave to our congregation this past Sunday, and I have some further thoughts. The besetting sin of evangelical Christians is niceness. We want to be thought of as nice people. We know we are called to kindness, compassion, and charity. But we should never confuse these virtues for the counterfeit vice of neutered niceness.
Niceness is the quickest way to dull the edge of the prophetic sword. At the recent March for Life in DC I saw many signs expressing the sentiment: This Feminist is Pro-life (or something along those lines). The problem there is that it is precisely because of feminism that we even have the blood on our hands of 61 million slaughtered babies. Feminism is en vogue of course, but the problem with trying to sidle up to worldly mindsets in order to advance God’s kingdom, justice, and righteousness is they are running the opposite way. It’s like inviting the other team’s linebacker to carry the football for one play. If you hand him the ball, he’s not going to run to your end-zone.
Secondly, Christian leaders and laypeople alike reacted to the NY bill by reminding us that we shouldn’t simply say “Abortion is murder” without also saying to pregnant mothers, “We’re here to help.” This seems to me that we have forgotten that the church is to have a prophetic voice. But we have substituted the prophet’s raspy rebuke of sin, with the panderer’s mealy-mouthed niceties.
Of course we should offer to help mothers who are considering an abortion. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a church that doesn’t have some association with ––or support in some way––pregnancy centers. We are already doing what our evangelical leaders are rebuking us for not doing. They are the ones, however, who have failed to point the bony finger in rebuke of NY’s sin. What NY did was an egregious sin. It provokes a holy God to fierce wrath to see children unjustly butchered, while politicians applaud.
Remember, we ought to take the plank out of our eye, so that we might see clearly to remove our brother’s speck. This does not imply that once we deal with our own sins that we are to leave our brother in his sin. If you see your fellow-state overcome in a sin, rebuke him, in order that he might be restored. Christians…do not be afraid of the prophet’s voice. The prophetic voices of men like Wilberforce was how slavery was abolished. That was how Israel was often brought to repentance. We do ourselves no favors in the cause of advancing the Kingdom of God, by setting down the prophetic sword which says, “New York rests under the judgement of God for the bill they just passed.”
All of this comes back to what my exhortation to our congregation was, repent. We must turn from our sins, in such a way that unbelievers see that we are serious about forsaking sin. Let your light so shine…our light is that we have seen how dark our sin is, and turned from it, and now call all peoples, states, and nations to turn from sin.