Before we moved to Nashville seven years ago, we lived five years in what I still believe is the greatest city in the world—New York, New York. I am indebted to NYC, and to the church I served for that season, for much of who I am as a minister today. Although I am still a work in process, this great city and thoughtful church broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of what it means to follow the whole Jesus and the whole Scripture, into the whole world, the whole time. As my former NYC church’s motto states, “The gospel changes everything.”
The gospel changed ME in NYC, in part by helping me understand more fully the moral imperative to do justly and love mercy, to give witness to your love for God by loving your neighbor as yourself. It was at my NYC church that the Lord opened my eyes more widely to the notion that “pro life” must always be a comprehensive position, never merely selective. We preached that according to Scripture, human life begins at conception and ends at death. Therefore, an unborn child and, say, my mother who is currently suffering from Alzheimer’s, are due as much honor and dignity and advocacy and fierce protection as an asylum seeker or refugee, a victim of racism or trafficking, or for that matter a film star, a Pulitzer winning author, or a United States President. Being pro-life is never less than pro-infant…yet it is also much more.
Any self-proclaimed “pro-lifer” who speaks for the unborn but stands indifferent toward the desperate conditions that tempt many women to consider desperate decisions, is only partially pro-life. Like the New Testament Pharisees, she or he will place burdens on others’ backs, but won’t lift a finger to help bear the burden.
That’s not pro-life.
Last week, the state of New York decided in the name of “freedom” and “choice” and women’s empowerment to make sanctioned, and in some circles even celebrated and cheered, decisions that have the effect of (a) stripping some infants of their ability to continue living, and (b) permit medical professionals to perform acts of lethal, bone-breaking, skull-crushing, blood-gushing violence against said infants. (I am tempted to replace that last sentence with something more gentle and less graphic…but should I?).
Read more here.
In Illinois, the Satanic Temple of Chicago got permission this year to erect a sculpture stepping on Christmas. Placed near a Nativity, a Christmas tree and a Menorah in the Illinois Capitol’s rotunda, the edifice depicts a snake wrapped around a woman’s hand as she holds an apple. It makes Satan the hero for promising that if Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, it would render them “like gods, knowing good and evil.”
Also in the rotunda is a sign that says “religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” That would be news to the Christians who led the fight against slavery, fought for civil rights, ended child labor, founded hospitals and advanced the concept of mercy in a very cold world.
Since this kind of detail is absent from most school history books, the results of the Grinnell survey should not come as a surprise, nor the official acceptance of a Satanic sculpture as morally equivalent to a creche.
The good news is that despite all their best efforts to snuff them out, the lights sparkling in commercial splendor and on front lawns all across America still point to a baby born 2,000 years ago who brought God’s love for humanity into startlingly bright focus.
• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times. His latest book is “A Nation Worth Saving: 10 Steps to Restore Freedom” (djkm.org/nation, 2018).