Sunday, April 27, 2008

Unwanted Babies? Attitudes of Pro-Life People

As I have become more and more familiar with the pro-choice community and their goals and ideas, the thing that has shocked me most is not the "inside scoop" on how the abortion rights activists think, but rather the similar attitudes that many (probably the majority of) Christian pro-life activists hold.

I don't think that our society (which aborts about 1 out of 3 babies, and over 90% of Downs Syndrome babies) will ever change until the pro-life people themselves grow a different attitude towards children. We will never "fix" the "abortion problem" until we see every child as the most valuable thing that we can ever be privileged to call ours.

Everyone - pro-choice people included- values babies who are wanted, when they fit into our plans, and when they are beautiful and perfect.

What about when they don't fit into our plans? Many pro-life people exhibit the same attitudes towards unplanned pregnancy that pro-choice people do; the only difference is that they do not see abortion as an option.

I have so often found myself chatting with a pro-life activist who makes the comment, "My daughter is pregnant with her fourth kid! What is she thinking? I certainly don't have the time to help her if she's going to go on and on having children!"

Or young men and women who are on the front lines of trying to stop abortion in our nation...
And yet, when marriage and family comes up, they're quick to state, "Well, I'm certainly not planning on getting married and having a family anytime soon! I want to get my degree and then work as the director of (fill in the blank - whatever noble pro-life organization they want to help). Kids would tie me down! Heaven knows I can't stand the thought of wiping runny noses and changing diapers all day. No, I want to do something really important and world changing - like policy reform!"

Or one young pastor who my brother recently met. He's passionate about affecting the world for Christ and making followers of Jesus out of other young people. And yet, over a dinner time conversation when asked if he planned to have a children, he screwed up his face and said, "No big family for me! I will have too many other ministries going on, and kids aren't my thing anyway. I guess if my wife really wants one, I'd be okay with one or two. But that's IT!"

Tell me - what is different about these attitudes than those of someone who also thinks kids are great - as long as you want them? The ONLY difference is that one group believes that abortion is an option when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. The other group groans with dismay over an unplanned pregnancy and the thought of a child interrupting their grand plans, their career, education, financial status, quiet evenings to themselves, or sticky fingers on their table just the same as the pro-choice people.

Somehow we as Christians have made it okay to not like children, to think they are trouble, a bother, an inconvenience or interruption to our lives, and yet we condemn those around us who mirror our attitudes and groan at the thought of an unwanted baby... and then act upon that attitude.

The true heart and character of a society is reflected in how it loves, respects, and protects the youngest, the oldest, the weakest, and the most vulnerable. How do we measure up?

We often love our careers, success, and money more than we love people. Money can evaporate overnight, our reputation can be gone in an hour, and our career can be gone as quickly as the twin towers.

We, as a society, have become incredibly selfish and short-sighted in our priorities. It's time that we begin to remember that only people last forever.

Do we really believe that children are the world's most valuable resource, or do we just say that? The children of today are the world of tomorrow.

We should re-evaluate whether our own lives exhibit attitudes that value human life. We can't just talk about being "pro-life" and expect the girls at Planned Parenthood to see anything different than their idea of "right." If we want a lost world to have God's priorities, WE must first develop a heart like God... loving, valuing, and wanting all children, not just when they are convenient, part of our plan, or extra lovable.

So often we are too busy to listen to a child, to smile at a child, to want a child. We must learn to love children unconditionally, even when they don't fit our plans, and even when they are not perfect and beautiful.

Why? Because God values them. It's that simple.

God thinks that motherhood (and fathering) is beautiful - something of eternal worth. Why don't we aspire to what HE values, rather than we decide to do to change the world? Wiping sticky fingers may seem trivial, but when one can see God's heart towards that little person, they will see parenting as a high calling and often times a literal way of being a "living sacrifice."

What could be more fulfilling than being a parent - a life-giver? Those who built the Effiel tower or wrote the Constitution or ruled ancient Greece never were given such an awesome responsibility - to bring forth an eternal soul, a person made in the image of God!

Our children are the future. We must learn to see them as more than inconveniences that disrupt our careers, cost money, and cause too much trouble. We must learn to love children and to value them for what they are - treasures of infinite, eternal value!


Laurel said...

I've had this up in my browser since I first read it last night. Having trouble finding words.

Mary, you have expressed so many tough and beautiful truths in this post. Wow and Amen will have to sum up my thoughts.

As ever, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Mary, you have put words to something my heart has been saying for so long! I love your wonderful ability to find the commonalities between warring groups, your knack for bringing peace. You have hit the nail on the head here -- the pro-choice and pro-life communities DO think about unwanted children exactly the same way! The only difference is whether or not they consider abortion! Of course! I have felt my heart and compassion for the pro-choice community growing a lot over the past year -- perhaps the reason is because they are no different than me. They are acting on a choice that I would only make in my mind. And Jesus did say, after all, that just THINKING about killing your brother does in fact make you a murderer. What a convicting, troubling thought. We (the entire pro-life community) must ask God for forgiveness for not taking the log out of our own eye, and for forgetting that our children are precious, every one of them.