By NEMS Daily Journal
“Love your neighbor …”
– Mark 12:31
“Love your enemies …”
– Luke 6:27
Today marks the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, which overturned state laws that had banned abortions.
Roe v. Wade’s principles have been lauded as a landmark of liberty and lambasted as a milepost on the path to perdition. Its legal thinking has been held up as an example of visionary interpretation and maligned as inventive activism.
People of faith, often even within the same traditions, come down on both sides of the issue.
Some make the case that loving one’s neighbor does not include forcing a 12-year-old victim of rape to carry the resulting pregnancy to term. Others contend that life begins at conception and that to abort a fetus is no less than murder.
Solomon himself would be hard pressed to establish common ground, and we will not try to do so here.
What we offer instead is a reminder that both sides’ accusations against the other give all of us room to love our neighbor better than we do at present: If we cannot change the opposition, we can still be circumspect about our own shortcomings. People on both sides of the issue have something to learn from their critics.
Pro-lifers must redouble their efforts to support pregnant girls and women in difficult circumstances. To answer their critics, they should open their homes and wallets and hearts more than ever, to help stabilize the lives of these troubled people who are also made in God’s image.
Abortion opponents should also recommit to delivering every pronouncement against what they believe is the sin of abortion with an equal or greater message of mercy, grace and forgiveness.
Pro-choicers of faith, to be credible to their critics, must be more than ever willing to address the sin issue – to promote chastity and monogamy, despite the contempt in which most of society views those values. Even while extending the mercy and grace that comes easily to many of them, pro-choice people of faith should declare that traditional sexual values still have practical, emotional and spiritual application and that the dilemma of abortion stems from the dilemma of sin.
Nothing yet in view will establish a middle ground in the debate over abortion, but that does not excuse Christians from the duty to love their neighbor as themselves.
Abortion is contentious enough, though, that it can make enemies of those who claim to be brothers. In that case, scripture still answers: “Love your enemies.”
Both sides, though, can improve the problems that surround the abortion controversy by listening to their critics – and taking due action.