I am often saddened by the way the church and the world engage. Most recently, I have watched the unfolding of the Hobby Lobby case with distress. Church, why are you choosing this issue as a focal point? World, why do you insist on painting the church in the worst possible light? I would like to see this conversation unfold on a different plane.
First of all, we don’t know when life begins, when a person becomes themselves, when they are united with a soul. This is a moral, philosophical, and religious question that remains but poorly addressed in the Bible. This being the case, it smacks strongly of arrogance for one religious group to demand the whole nation to enforce as criminal their personal convictions on this issue. If you are convinced that the moment of conception is the moment of acquired personhood, then by all means attempt to persuade others for your cause supporting the unborn! But please, be aware that you have made an assumption concerning when life begins. This is a matter of debate that cannot be decided with traditional scientific studies. But this debate is about what is MORAL, not what is CRIMINAL. Because our country has the separation of church and state, laws are determined by the current social mores–not on a Biblical foundation. In order to accommodate the range of moral, philosophical, and religious opinions on this issue, laws need to be in place that are aligned with what IS generally held in common (such as prohibition for late-term abortions) and that protect the rights of all religious parties (doctors, and insurers, should be able to choose not to perform abortions or sell related medicines, and women need to have access to all health care options).
Once there is a distinction between creating just laws for the United States and living according to Christian morality, the church will be more free to discuss this issue with nuance. In particular, the significance of sex has recently been overlooked in favor of emphasizing the value of life. The addition of the pill, and other related medical advances, has created a new possibility for how couples may approach their sexuality. Sex and procreation can now be nicely separated. When is this acceptable? When is this approach to sexuality itself undervaluing life? I don’t have answers to these questions, but am eager to engage in a robust debate to address them.
But of this I am confident: silencing, belittling, and judging an opponent’s opinion is not the way to demonstrate Christ’s love.