Why Christians (except for Calvinists) Should be Pro-Choice

I recognize that this post will be concerning for some of my readers — perhaps even heretical. Many of you will not agree with what I write here. I challenge you to read and consider anyway. Feel free to comment – in a respectful way – for this could be a dialogue. I rather prefer that it is.

My husband recently found himself in dialogue with an associate, who observed, with some confusion that he believed that my husband was a Christian, but was unsure. The question arose, because he had knowledge that my husband holds some “un-Christian views.” Upon further dialogue, my husband learned that his salvation was in doubt, based on his pro-choice, feminist views. I could not be prouder of my husband.

How funny is it that this conversation came the day after…. no kidding, the day after we watched the movie God’s Not Dead together. Nancy, Stephanie, per your earlier requests, I would now be happy to engage with you in dialogue about this film.

I was hesitant to engage this film, as I am much of Christian sub-culture, because my historical view of Christian sub-culture I have believed that its existence promoted a separate culture, encouraging disengagement with the culture in which we find ourselves. Also – I find aspects of it decidedly predictable, and often of lesser quality than that which exists in the culture at large. It is safe. I am not convinced we are to play it safe. And I am certain that God has not called us to disengage with the world and culture around us in a way that would lead us to create a parallel universe.

This movie may have changed my mind; not because it was fantastically done, or because the caricatures – ahem – characters were particularly well-developed; not even because the caricatures – err – characters include varying depictions of strength in both men and women. No, the reason this movie changed my mind was this: the crux of the pro-God argument was the importance of choice — that theological, spiritual, and moral choice must be allowed, and is congruent with God’s design for free will.

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This is why I am pro-choice. This is an issue of moral choice, and as such, the decision needs to reside with the decision maker, as the subsequent benefits and/or consequences thereof will fall upon the decision maker. Precious few lawmakers (who are predominantly male) in Washington will ever feel the weight of one woman’s decision to have a child, abort it, or give it up for adoption, except perhaps as it impacts their voting record, popularity, and campaign funds. We cannot and should not mandate morality.

God saw it fit to offer free will, so that each person could choose to love, hate, obey, or not to his or her own degree. This was important for God. Why is it not more important for God’s people? It is the Holy Spirit’s design and work to convict, and I find that as I press more into my relationship with God I am more inclined to obey him in various struggles and choices of my daily life. But I am no legalist. I move when the Spirit leads me, and trust the Spirit’s timing. If we make moralist laws, we demonstrate distrust for the Spirit’s work in the world. How much more restful and faithful is it to allow the decision maker to bear the consequences of his or her decision?

As a counselor, I am often asked to help people make decisions or to tell people what they should do. I am loathe to take on this task, as I am not the Spirit in these lives. I know not the entirety of what someone is up against or what they will face down the road as a result of any given choice.  But I believe the Spirit does, and that people have the ability to hear from the Spirit to the extent that they know the Spirit. For that reason, I will continue to stand on the side of those who would honor God’s design for free will, and willingness to use even this choice for his good in the world. For that reason, I would call Christians to stop harming others by imposing their widely varied standards of morality on those who do not choose to believe or participate in their religious acts.

For that reason, I beg you to stop shaming women, or advocating for the restriction of their exercise of free will in the context of the abortion debate.

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5 thoughts on “Why Christians (except for Calvinists) Should be Pro-Choice

  1. … i value free will and i don’t believe coercion produces transformation of any kind, but i struggle with this issue… my freedom has to stop where another is harmed, esp if i am a follower of Christ, so this boils back down to whether one believes the fetus is a human being just like mom

  2. Theresa and Ellis, I thank you for your comments, and for showing up as you responded. I struggled with the irony of suggesting that anyone else “should” anything. I personally resonate with feeling restful in the tension of honoring my understanding of God’s goft of free will, while on a personal level being confident that abortion is not for me.
    Theresa, you identify one of the weaknesses in my argument. However, being not an expert on the subject of when life begins, or what point an embryo or fetus is a human being, I have a choice to either become an expert on the issue, or to defer to the experts who don’t have a consensus, or live in the tension and come to my own decision, and to allow others to do the same. I have personally chosen the third option.
    I so appreciate your heart for nonviolence that resonates in your wrestling here. Thanks for showing up and taking the time to refine my thinking here

  3. Interesting argument. However, where do we draw the line then at what other laws deal with morality issues… For instance should murder be legal as we would hope the Spirit at work within the individual would stop them from murderous acts or what about child abuse?? The reality is that any & all laws address what is moral & what is not. As a society we could not function without any law.
    Let me say I am not now nor will I ever be pro-shame…something I thing many Christians have allowed themselves to Aline with, thinking that it goes hand & hand with the pro-life cause. I think loving people despite their own choices is a fruit of the Spirit within us – kindness.

    • Emily,
      I love this comment, and apologize for failing to respond sooner! This is admittedly one of the weak points of my argument. I am aware that any society does, in fact establish laws, and needs them, in fact to function. I am not pro-anarchy, or pro-lawlessness, and I have been wrestling with this slippery-slope argument since the day I posted this. I think where I have landed on this is that on issues that are decidedly controversial such as this one, I will err on the side of liberty and free will. Of course, some would argue that your mention of murder in this case is exactly what I am suggesting, as they see abortion as murder and a pro-choice stance in the abortion debate as the legitimization of murder.
      That said, while I am speaking of the abortion debate as a specific example, this post actually pertains to a larger movement for me: an internal shift towards what I feel is a more open, loving, less judgmental, less shaming walk through the world.
      Strangely, then, it also calls me towards on open “pro-choice” stance in gun ownership. I am striving for consistency here. But that tension is the rub for me. I thank you for engaging this conversation and helping to shape my perspective, and I totally share your anti-shame sentiments.
      Love, A.

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