WHAT’S FAITH GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Pro-life and Pro-choice: nothing stirs up contention more than these two words. Pro-life people often take a stand on this issue because of their religious beliefs; however, pro-choice seems to be a religion of its own.
Although pro-choice advocates deny their stand has anything to do with God or faith, religious fervor runs high on both sides. Additionally, pro-choice advocates support and defend “their religion” in ways that often put Christians to shame.
If you didn’t watch the news last month, there were a lot of women in Washington, DC on January 19, 2018. The March for Life is an annual protest against the appalling decision to legalize the murder of children. This march began in 1973, which was the year Roe (v) Wade legalized abortion throughout the United States.
As the organizers of the march described the history of the pro-life movement to a reporter, it occurred to me that the pro-life movement didn’t begin in 1973. It started in ancient times.
PRO-LIFE (VS) PRO-CHOICE IN ANCIENT TIMES
Disposing of others’ lives has been around almost as long as humans. After all, Genesis, the first book of the Bible, records the first murder! (Genesis 4:8)
Unfortunately, children have always been easy prey, used as pawns in our government, political, and religious systems.
At one time in history, people thought that children gave magical protection to a building or structure; for this reason, archeological digs find children interred in the foundation of buildings.
Appeasing the gods through child sacrifice was a common practice, particularly by the Ammonites, who worshiped Molech. (Deut. 12: 29-31 and Lev. 18:21)
Moreover, there is also evidence to suggest that the Carthaginian Empire practiced child sacrifice, in the extreme, to gain the favor of their gods. Some historians think they also used this practice to control their increasing population.
SCRIPTURES INDICTING ISRAELITES PRACTICE OF CHILD SACRIFICE
Unfortunately, influenced by the surrounding cultures, the Hebrews succumbed to the barbaric practice of child sacrifice; despite numerous and dire warnings from God.
In 2 Kings 16, we read that King Ahaz began his reign as king of Judah; however, he did not follow God’s laws: “indeed he made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 16: 3b NKJV).
When King Josiah ascended the throne of Juda, he wanted to bring the nation back to worshipping the one true God. Therefore, Josiah “…. Defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech” (2 Kings 23:10 NLT).
PRO-LIFE ADVOCATES IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
It’s depressing to think that God’s chosen people practiced such heinous acts, Despair not, there were pro-life advocates among the Israelites.
First, let’s look at the book of Exodus. Here we find two women who risked their lives to take a pro-life position. Shiphrah and Puah were midwives to the Hebrew women during the time the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt.
Indeed, these women had “good” reasons for decreasing the population. Why bring more children into slavery and hardship?
But, surprisingly, it wasn’t these ladies who wanted the population controlled. Fearing the Hebrews numbers and strength, Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys as they helped bring them into the world.
The Bible tells us that the midwives feared God and did not obey Pharaoh’s edict. Courageous describes these women. After all, Pharaoh had total control; hence, they jeopardized not only their positions but their lives to save the babies.
However, when Pharaoh interrogated them about their failure to carry out his demand, these women did not back down. Yes, they lied about the reason they were unable to kill the baby boys, but God blessed their pro-life stand, protected them from Pharaoh’s wrath, and gave these two women families of their own. (Exodus 1: 15-21)
The mother who chose adoption
Since the midwives didn’t murder the baby boys, Pharaoh changed the edict. “Throw all newborn Hebrew boys into the Nile River.” (Exodus 1:22) Moses was born during this traumatic time. Therefore, his mother, Jochebed, put him in a well-crafted basket and placed him by the Nile River because she knew Pharaoh’s daughter frequented this place. Additionally, she devised a plan with Moses’ sister, Miriam, to save her son.
Miriam’s job was to keep a lookout for Pharaoh’s daughter and approach the princess with a plan. “Shall I get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” (Exodus 2: 1-10)
What a difficult thing to do, but Moses mother chose adoption over the death of her child.
I don’t know why more women don’t do that today. There are so many couples longing for a family.
Then there is the famous story of Solomon’s wisdom. Two prostitutes who lived together had a child within three days of each other. One baby died. Both mothers claimed the living child was theirs, and the dead baby belonged to the other woman. S
Cutting the baby in two was Solomon’s solution; thus, both women could have half of the baby.
Of course, the birth mother said to let the baby live. This pro-life prostitute sacrificed her desires for her child to live.
Unfortunately, pro-choice advocates persuade women to avoid any sacrifice for the child’s sake; instead, they encourage women to abort the baby so they can go on with their lives as if nothing changed. Sacrifice is a dirty word.
Government lacks respect for life
In Matthew, we see another example of pro-life sentiment.
When asking for directions at King Herod’s palace, the Magi referred to this recently born baby as “king of the Jews.” King Herod took immediate action to preserve his position, thus ordering the military to carry out a horrific massacre by killing all boys two and under in and around Bethlehem. Of course, the baby Jesus was no longer in Bethlehem, but Herod did not know this.
Matthew quoted Jeremiah to express the grief caused by the slaying of innocent children. “Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children are gone” (Jeremiah 31:15b NLT).
Until the massacre of children ceases, we too must continue to weep and cry out for justice.
LACK OF RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE IS NOT NEW
So this lack of respect for life is not new. Throughout history, humans have casually destroyed and murdered.
Was this lack of concern in ancient times because they worshipped false deities that were cruel, heartless, and selfish?
Today, is it because we think we are nothing but evolved animals?
No matter the reason, we must not grow weary in defending children’s lives from those who see them as expendable or a means to an end.
Certainly, January 22, 1973, was a shameful day for the Supreme Court of the United States.
In 2016, the CDC and Guttmacher Institute reported that there were over 58 million children killed through this legal procedure.
CONCLUSION AND COMMENTS
However, as long as there are people, defenseless children will always be at risk. But we can take solace in knowing the there will also be pro-life advocates who follow God. After all, God considers children a gift.
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’ And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left” (Matthew 19:14-15 NLT).
Please, I welcome respectful and thoughtful comments on the subject.
Blessings until next time.