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Through the looking glass

The new year may provide turning points for pro-life and other issues

Through the looking glass

Thousands of people march on Constitution Avenue during the 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C. (Sipa via AP Images)

As 2018 dawns, predictions abound, with many focused on odds of triumph: Who will dominate the Winter Olympics, the Super Bowl, and later in the year, the midterm elections?

Time magazine offered a preview of 2018 by featuring on its cover the four women starring in the upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time, based on the acclaimed children’s book by Madeleine L’Engle. The novel appeared in 1962, but its themes are familiar: good versus evil, light versus darkness—who or what will win?

The first week of 2018 brought more urgent questions about epic struggles: Would protesters in Iran crack the nation’s Islamic theocracy, or would a government crackdown on protesters crush the dissent and the dissenters?

Would the United States move closer to military conflict with North Korea, as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un declared his 2018 resolution to mass produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles? (The leader also claimed the entire United States is within range of a nuclear attack by the rogue nation.)

Meanwhile, another long-running conflict continued, grabbing less attention but presenting staggering numbers: In the 45 years since the Supreme Court forced states to legalize abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision, National Right to Life estimates more than 59 million unborn children have died through abortion.

Thankfully, the abortion rate is at its lowest point since 1973, according to the pro-abortion group Guttmacher Institute. But when we mark finally killing less than a million unborn children in a single year, such a victory seems as tragic as it is sobering.

The year ahead brings important battles in the larger pro-life struggle: In a critical free speech case, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a California law requiring pro-life pregnancy care centers to promote abortion.

California lawmakers passed the legislation in 2015, and it proclaimed that licensed pregnancy care centers must post signs telling women the state offers free or low-cost abortions to eligible women. It says the centers must also include a phone number for a local abortion center.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed suit to fight the legislation in October 2015 on behalf of a network of pregnancy care centers. A year later, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the law. ADF asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, and the justices agreed last November.

A handful of related decisions are encouraging: In October, a superior court judge in Riverside County, Calif., issued an injunction against the California law, saying the legislation “compels speech and regulates content. … This speech is not merely the transmittal of neutral information, such as the calorie count of a food product.”

Pro-life groups have successfully defended against similar laws in Maryland, Illinois, Texas, and New York City, and pro-life advocates say it’s absurd to require them to promote a practice they oppose as part of their core identity.

Indeed, workers in abortion centers seem plenty able to reach their target audience on their own. In its recent annual report, Planned Parenthood reported it had conducted 321,384 abortions in the last year.

Another front to watch: The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood, which receives nearly $500 million in taxpayer funding a year.

The Justice Department confirmed the probe in December. In 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives both referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI, saying the group illegally profited from fetal tissue sales. The abortion giant has denied the charges.

Pro-life voters will also be watching to see if Republicans in Congress move to defund Planned Parenthood in the year ahead. Many were disappointed when the Senate failed to take such action last year.

It’s unclear how much Republicans will be willing to go for in a year with midterm elections looming. The GOP’s hold on the House of Representatives and its current 51-49 majority in the Senate are both shaky. Democrats have more Senate seats to defend than Republicans, but 2016 showed pundits what the Bible teaches as well: Don’t try to predict the future.

In the meantime, it’s important to note that some of the most critical battlefields remain local and relational. Whatever the prospect of legislation or court cases in 2018, advocating for pro-life causes remains a moral, cultural, and spiritual struggle to promote the value of every life.

It happens in pregnancy care centers and living rooms and school clubs and Sunday sermons and foster care agencies and personal conversations and private and public prayer. It often involves both victories and setbacks, but we can be sure of the long-term promise recorded by the Apostle John: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.

Jamie Dean

Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the political beat and other topics as national editor for WORLD Magazine. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

Comments

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 01/07/2018 10:59 pm

    Yes, elections do have consequences and had more Christians supported Roy Moore the number of the Republican majority would be 52-48 in the Senate giving the possibility of addressing the abortion issue a much higher probability. It seems to me some Christians have blood on their hands! 

  • Andy Knudsen
    Posted: Sun, 03/04/2018 04:00 pm

    Would it be possible for a pro-life Republican candidate to do anything that would convince you to vote for a third-party candidate with lower chances of winning? I am also disappointed that Doug Jones was elected and I would guess that you most likely think that the charges against Moore were false or exaggerated, but I would like to know if there is anything that would disqualify a pro-life Republican candidate from earning your vote.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 02/04/2018 01:54 am

    For those who feel called please support Judge Roy Moore as he fights the libel and the liberal organizations who destroyed his candidacy with lies and slander.

    https://securecontribute.com/judgemoore-mblegalfund/

    Andy,

    Yes, you are correct, I think the accusations against Judge Roy Moore were fabricated by the left. It really amazes me that so many Christians are all so willing to believe the MSM when they continually spew out propaganda!  If you go back to earlier articles about Judge Roy Moore, you will will see my reasoning that shows why this was a smear campaign. Of all the seven allegations, I showed that only 2 were of any real concern, but even those were filled with flaws! The one lady was caught in a lie about the signature on the year book. Even her stepson didn’t believe her!  The other lady had been a drug addict, and lived a wild life.  When I have to make a choice between believing two people, I will  believe the person who has better character like Judge Roy Moore!  The other glaring point was the timing. Just a few weeks before the election all of this was dumped out in the MSM. It doesn’t take a genius to see this for what it was but a lying hit job! One other point of significance was that the lawyer who brought forward Beverly Nelson - one claiming he attempted to force her physically to perform oral sex - has a daughter who is also a lawyer. She attempted to pay off women in exchange for statements claiming Trump did sexual misdeeds with women. If the daughter was a political hack trying to destroy Trump, why would you believe the mother is NOT a political hack too trying to destroy Judge Roy Moore when they walked in similar political circles?  My question for you is, “How much evidence would you have to have before you would NOT believe the MSM and political hacks?”

    In answering your question, assuming the third party candidate had no real chance of winning, I would have to evaluate both the good and evil that would result between the conservative pro-life candidate and the opposing Democratic candidate, should they be elected. This, I believe, should be the criteria we use in voting for political candidates.  I don’t believe it is biblical to vote for a much worse candidate just because your candidate doesn’t meet some level of standards based on some arbitrary standard defined by some moral Christian pontificator! 

    We should read 1 Tim. 2:1,2 (NIV)

    2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

    We learn from this what we should pray to get - a leader that enables us to live peacefully, and quietly in godliness and holiness.  In other words, this is what we should seek in prayer and it follows that we should vote in the same way, if our government allows us to vote.  We not only promote our own holiness, but we seek to bring God’s standard on our nation.  We vote for the most godly candidate before us who will allow us to live godly and quiet lives advancing the gospel and growing the Church. 

    The notion of sabotaging the best candidate because he doesn’t measure up to some standard of a moral Christian pontificator is plain foolishness and an Old Testament standard implemented when God ruled by a theocracy or theocratic monarchy. It should not be applied today, but we should seek to establish the most godly rulers who will enable us to lead quiet and holy lives.

    Now I have some more questions for you.

    1) How many nasty tweets would equal the death of one baby by abortion? 

    2) How many vulgar and crude statements would equal the death of a baby? 

    3) How many sexual assaults would equal the death of one baby?

    4) How many rapes would equal one baby?

    These are rhetorical questions but they do make you think! Now when we have candidates advocating millions of babies be killed by abortion, then one would say we could have extremely low standards! Yes, that is true but still we will seek godly leaders because God commands us to be holy.  When we elect a candidate who lives like the devil yet claims to be a Christian, that does bring harm to our cause.  This may cause some to vote for the third party candidate even if he has a lower likelihood of winning. I would say though that if the third party candidate had no real chance, why not hold your nose and vote for that wayward believer and pray like crazy that he changes his life around. The elders of the church he attended would be responsible to bring church discipline on the wayward sinner, no matter his position!  “Be holy because I am holy” God says.  We cannot forget that! 

  • Andy Knudsen
    Posted: Sun, 03/04/2018 04:40 pm

    Thank you for responding to my comment. I missed your response until now.

    I think it is acceptable to make strategic choices based on the circumstances when voting, but I also think that it can be acceptable to vote for a third party candidate that appears to have little chance of winning. If God is sovereign, He can use our seemingly pointless votes.

    This situation reminds me of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar in Genesis 16. Abraham (Abram) and Sarah (Sarai) knew that God had promised to give them a son, but Sarah was barren and they were both elderly by this time. Because of this, they strategically decided that Abraham should have a son with Hagar. While God did give Abraham a son (Ishmael) in this way, the child of the promise (Isaac) came later. Similarly, we can vote strategically and God can use that as He used Ishmael, but we could also trust God's promises (e.g. Hebrews 13:5-6) and vote for a better candidate with less chance of winning.

  • CaptTee's picture
    CaptTee
    Posted: Tue, 01/09/2018 01:55 pm

    If I live in California and worked at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, I would have written the following to closest abortion clinic:

    "Since the law requires us to provide you advertizing, we will comply once payment for said advertising has cleared our bank.

    Since our reason for existing is to end abortion (put abortion clinics out of business), our rates will be consistant with that goal.

    Our current rates (subject to supply and demand) will be $1 Million per day payable on a monthly basis payable in advance with no refunds."