The Pro-Life Movement Is Anti-Christ
Let’s get straight to the clickbait cause that title ain’t clickbait.
The Pro-Life Movement is anti-Christ in its most fundamental reason for being.
When I say “anti-Christ” I’m not talking about a fictional character in a hokey end times movie. I’m talking about the spirit that has infused the entire movement since its conception just a few short decades ago. Notice I said the movement, not an individual’s beliefs about embryos or the beginning of life or when it is or is not acceptable to terminate a pregnancy. The Pro-Life Movement is the very embodiment of the spirit of anti-christ for the very reason the Pro-Life Movement exists: to force those outside of conservative Christianity to adhere to the beliefs of conservative Christianity.
This is what makes the seemingly admirable sentiments coming out of many Christian circles right now about “stepping up” and taking care of future children a red herring; and it’s not simply because that work could have been going on for decades but has been opposed by those same Republican voting conservative evangelicals at every turn.
The fundamental problem with overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t a lack of childcare.
It’s forcing women to give birth.
By forcing them to conform to a faith that is not their own.
Force is not just not of Christ, it is anti-Christ in the truest sense of the word because at the heart of both the Christian faith in general and the life of Jesus in particular is the cross. It is the anchor point on which the entire Christian faith turns. It is a moment of radical humility and a refusal by Jesus to use force to save a life even though the force at his command was infinite. At its very core, the message of the gospel is one of freedom and open invitation, not coercion and force.
The tragic irony is that American evangelical Christianity both knows and treasures this fact. Sharing the gospel with non-Christians in hopes that they will freely choose to follow Jesus is the bedrock of evangelical Christianity. And yet it is that same American evangelical Christianity that is also at the heart of the Pro-Life Movement, a movement born out manipulation, coercion, force and political power.
With roots in the creation of the Moral Majority, the Pro-Life movement was never really about saving lives. It was always about creating a wedge issue with which to manipulate a political base into reliably voting a certain way. It was and always has been a nefarious campaign by the powerful to gain and maintain power through deception, bogus science, and fear-mongering. Even the name “pro-life” is intentionally deceptive and manipulative in that the implication is that those who do not identify as pro-life are therefore pro-death. But that is absurd. No one is pro dead babies. Who would be? But we - especially those of us in the Church - have been conditioned to believe that the choice is between two black and white options: murdering or saving babies.
And it never has been.
The issue of abortion is wildly complex, deeply nuanced, and incredibly personal. But to get bogged down in ethical debates about abortion itself is still to miss the point of why the Pro-Life Movement and its successful overturn of Roe V. Wade is so deeply problematic and fundamentally antithetical to the way of Jesus. Debates about when life begins are, like childcare and adoption, yet another red herring because as important of an ethical debate as that might be, those debates only serve to deflect the conversation away from the central concrete issue and towards something more nebulous. The simple truth is the beginning of life is a philosophical question, not a scientific determination. What one thinks of abortion, even if one is absolutely convinced it is murder, is a personal belief, not a scientific law because there is no scientific standard of when a human life begins. You can be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that life begins at conception, but that does not make it a scientific fact. It simply makes it your strongly held religious beliefs.
And in both the United States and the Christian faith, forcing one’s strongly held religious beliefs is not ok.
Just ask Jesus.
He never forced anyone to follow him.
In fact, he even turned people away from trying to follow him when they weren’t ready to do the sorts of things a follower of Jesus is called to do. And when he could have called down legions of angels to save his life and overthrow the government, he chose to die instead.
Paul echoed this refusal to force one’s faith onto others in his fist letter to the church in Corinth when we wrote “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” In other words, even if Paul thought the world outside the Church was lost to sin, it wasn’t his job or that of the Church to force their will on others or expect them to conform to his sincerely held religious beliefs.
Of course, that’s not to say Christians don’t have a long history of forcing our sincerely held religious beliefs onto others. From crusaders and conquistadors to caesars and presidents and countless tyrants in-between, Christianity has a long, terrible, and indefensible history of forcing others to conform to our faith.
What we see today in the Pro-Life Movement is little more than the continuation of Christian colonization, this time of a woman’s body. It’s a sort of perverse Manifest Destiny that believes it is God’s will that every fertilized egg in America be carried from conception to crib no matter how much damage is done along the way. Nevertheless, while these modern day conquistadors of the Pro-Life Movement may have a long historical tradition of forced conversion to draw from, forced conversion is the way of Caesar, not Jesus
But let me be clear: I am not calling for any of my fellow Christians to change their beliefs about abortion or when life begins.
What I am calling for, however, is for my fellow Christians to stop trying to force their beliefs onto others, lay down their crusader swords, and follow the way of the servant Jesus instead the way of a conquering bully. To be a people of the cross is to refuse to force our will and beliefs about how life should be lived onto others. Which is why being pro-choice is entirely consistent with the Christian faith even if you personally oppose abortion because Christianity is founded on grace and freedom and the refusal to force others to conform to our will.
The overturn of Roe V. Wade is not a victory for the Christian faith.
Nor is it the ushering in of the kingdom of God.
It is the decades long culmination of born again conquistadors who have exchanged the way of Jesus for a lie.
It is anti-Christ in the truest sense of the word and should be denounced by anyone who identifies as a Bible believing follower of Jesus.
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