Choice?

No newlywed couple using two forms of birth control expects to get pregnant.  To say I was surprised that a rabbit died 3 months into my marriage would be an understatement.  I was still adjusting to my new life as an Army officer’s wife living over a thousand miles from my family.  I certainly wasn’t ready to start a family of my own.

Yet there I was, sitting in a doctor’s office being given two stunning pieces of news.  First, I was definitely pregnant.  Second, the physician was recommending an immediate abortion.  Two weeks earlier I had been in this same military medical facility undergoing testing to determine the cause of severe respiratory distress.  Not even suspecting I was pregnant, I  had submitted my body to x-rays.  Subsequently upon being diagnosed with pneumonia, I had been treated with several medications that would prove detrimental to the brain of a developing fetus.  The doctor said the combination of those two things would render my pregnancy “unviable”.  If by some slim chance the pregnancy went full term, I was told I would, in all likelihood, deliver a tissue mass with no central nervous system.  The doctor matter-of-factly suggested this whole situation could be “taken care of” within the week.

Pro-choice advocates would tell me how fortunate I was that I could make a decision to end my pregnancy and simply move on with my life.  But as Tim Tebow’s mother, Pam so eloquently shared at www.focusonthefamily.com , the decision about this pregnancy had already been made.  As a survivor of violent crime years earlier, {see “Breaking In, Breaking Through” on this blog, August 2009} I had previously been faced with the decision whether or not to end a life, even one conceived in a violent forceful manner.  It was a painful situation in which I realized that circumstances of a conception do not mitigate the facts…a pre-born baby is a future human being.  In those moments of darkness I fully embraced the concept of choosing life.

 

My son will soon turn 23.   This child whom 3 different doctors ultimately declared I would not carry to term entered this world just as the God who created him had intended and he is living with passion.  He is engaged to be married this summer and visions of future grandbabies…though probably years down the road…are already stirring in my head.

As I listened to Pam Tebow elaborate on her story, her words resonated in my spirit and I was deeply touched by her convictions.  We live in a culture of convenience and instant gratification, glorifying our personal rights at the expense of  innocent children…over 46 million of them in America since Roe v. Wade in 1973.  To trust an “unseen” Creator in the face of such dire circumstances seems simple-minded, naive, even foolish given our circumstances. 

I think Mrs. Tebow would agree with me when I say emphatically, those are labels I can live with. 

I consider myself immensely blessed to have two beautiful sons…one by birth, one by adoption…neither of them merely by choice but by God’s grace.

Who Are “The Least of These”?

When Barack Obama was asked at the Saddleback Forum what he considered to be his greatest moral failure, he included America in his reply,  We still don’t abide by that basic precept of Matthew — whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me,  referring to a verse in the Bible recorded in Matthew 25.

 

Mr. Obama, do you realize “the least of these” is not Matthew’s precept?  It is Jesus Christ’s.  And since Jesus concluded the Olivet discourse with an admonishment to care for the least of these, it begs the question…Who ARE the least of these?

 

America has long sought to address this question.  Ask a hundred different people to define the least of these, you’ll get a hundred different responses…the persecuted church, victims of war, the poor, hungry, homeless, unemployed, disabled, elderly, mentally ill, terminally ill, uneducated, imprisoned, widows, minorities, those who are struggling financially, someone who cannot afford a college education or a home, a car, a cell phone? 

 

When Obama elaborated who he thinks the least of these are, he continued, “That basic principle applies to poverty. It applies to racism and sexism.  It applies to not thinking about providing ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class.”  Somehow, I don’t think Jesus was talking about ladders of opportunity for entrance to the middle class.  But if we concede that He might have been referring to people in poverty, then who gets to define poverty?  Is poverty delineated by American standards?  Or is it characterized by the world’s standards?

 

My 13 year old son & I had been in China less than 24 hours when he asked me this question, “Mom, are we filthy stinkin’ rich?”  My initial thought, “of course not”, had almost crossed my lips before I considered the squalor my son was seeing all around us.  My reply quickly changed to, “Yes, we are.  And so is everyone else in America compared to this.”  Most of us are not wealthy but we have more than we need compared to people of third world countries. 

 

Wes Stafford, President of Compassion International said it best, “The opposite of poverty is not wealth.  The opposite of poverty is enough.”  Enough food that you don’t have to go to bed hungry every night.  Enough shelter that you don’t have to be exposed to the elements.  Enough love that you realize that you are made in the image of God.   By those standards, America is the wealthiest nation on the earth.

 

With hundreds of social programs in place…covering everything from public health, hunger, homelessness, substance abuse rehab, tuition assistance, prisoner re-entry to society…this country has a plethora of resources to address the needs of practically anyone’s definition of the least of these.  Based on this assessment, I would surmise that it would be very difficult to assume that the least of these applies to any resident of America.

 

But what if Jesus wasn’t talking about mere poverty as we know it? Or what if NONE of the people groups already mentioned are the real least of these? 

 

As we speculate on who are the least of these consider this question, what group of people in this nation has fewer rights than animals on the endangered species list?  Who are the most vulnerable, not just in this country but around the world? 

 

In my humble opinion, whoever else the least of these includes, it surely must take into account the unborn.   Over 40 million babies have been slaughtered in this country since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land.  Mr. Obama stated in the Saddleback Forum that “a lot of evil has been perpetrated in the name of doing good.”  Unless we speak up for them, the unborn have no voice to protest evil & the violence perpetrated against them in the name of personal choice.

 

In my home state of Colorado there is a ballot initiative to define when someone becomes a person.  When Obama was asked the question by Rick Warren, “at what point does a baby get human rights?”, he responded, “answering that question with specificity is, uh, is above my pay grade”.  When asked if he had ever voted to limit or reduce abortions, Obama did not answer.  Small wonder he skirted the issue.  The church where Obama attended services for nearly 2 decades operates Christ Hospital in Chicago, a medical facility that allows for the practice of babies born with disabilities to die of starvation & neglect.  Physically imperfect babies who survive abortion attempts are left exposed to the elements, to die alone.  I defy anyone to argue that this practice is not evil. 

 

I would submit that the debate to define the least of these will rage on for decades to come.  It may very well include issues of poverty, racism, sexism.  But to overlook the unborn is to invoke the wrath of a God of justice who will not hold us unaccountable. Jesus said, “WOE unto the world because of offenses…woe to that man by whom offenses come.” {Matthew 18:7}

 

Whoever wins today’s election needs to know that the issue of protecting the unborn is not going to go away.  Today, Norma McCorvey, the woman who was “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade is making an impassioned appeal to hold our next President of the United States accountible for the reversal of Roe v. Wade. 

 

She is asking all of us who care about the least of these to join her.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_J1c8y_7FE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_MUUvcvjEg