Few politicians find themselves embroiled in controversy over infanticide and late term abortion. Fewer still find themselves caught up in controversies about both infanticide and racism in a span of three. Governor Ralph Northam managed to pull of this political feat last week.
On January 30, Governor Northam said the following on a local radio station,
So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother
Then on Friday, February 1, Virginians learned that the governor had dressed up as either in blackface or as a member of the Klu Klux Klan for a party. The governor quickly apologized, saying, “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.” But then on Saturday, he denied appearing in the yearbook photo saying he had no memory of the photo. But at the same press conference, he revealed that he did remember using blackface when he went to a party. Responding the events embroiling the Virginia capital, politicians ranging from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Former Vice-President Joe Biden have encouraged Governor Northam to resign his office because racism has no place in American politics.
Many evangelicals across the state of Virginia and across the country echo these calls for the governor’s resignation.
But many have evangelicals have also been troubled by the nature of the outrage leveled against Governor Northam. He has been attacked over and over again for his racist actions. Senator Kamala Harris rightfully noted, “Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have not place in the halls of government.”
By comparison, little fanfare has been given to the governor’s endorsement of late term abortion and infanticide. Consequently, many evangelicals are crying foul. They believe that advocating for the death of infants is definitely newsworthy. It is.
But some Christians have gone a step further and said abortion is a more significant issue than racism. Are they right?
Abortion & Racism
Over the weekend, Americans learned that Governor Northam’s yearbook photo was leaked by one of the governor’s medical school classmates. The anonymous classmate was spurred to action by governor’s statements on abortion and infanticide. Had the governor not dived into the abortion debate on Wednesday, there would have been no accusations of racism on Friday.
But the connection between abortion and racism extends beyond the actions and words of the Virginia Governor. Abortion and racism share the same philosophical underpinning. For abortion and infanticide to be permissible, society must deem some humans to be less than human because of their age. And for racism to thrive, society must deem some humans to be less than human because of their heritage and/or skin pigmentation. In short, abortion and racism can only exist if societies and governments permit some human beings to deny the humanity of other human beings.
The Bible clearly states that all human beings are full human and fully represent the image of God. Age, time in the womb, skin color, health, and one’s parents’ do not change a person’s worth. Genesis 1:26 clearly states, “God created man in his own image in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Christians affirm that all men and women descended from Adam and Eve. All men and women share in the glory of their creator regardless of the size, color, or earning potential. All deserve to be valued, protected, and defended by society. All Christians should defend babies from abortion and minorities from racism.
Moreover, both evils have led to the gross mistreatment and to the murder of innocent men and women who Abortion has claimed more than 61 million lives since 1973. And slavery has claimed the lives of 5-12 million African-Americans. And that number does not include those who died because of neglect after the American Civil War or because of groups like the KKK. Can Christians truly say one sin is more reprehensible than the other?
The answer is, “No.”
The Church’s Response
The church must condemn both infanticide and racism with equal vigor. One is not worse than the other. Both debased twins must be opposed.
Admittedly, Christians should lament the silence surrounding Governor Northam’s defense of infanticide and late-term abortion. His positions are morally indefensible.
But evangelicals should not treat the condemnation of Governor Northam’s racist activities as being a distraction from the real issue. His racism is just as morally indefensible as his view of abortion. And Christians should rejoice when secular reporters and politicians affirm and encourage seek to defend life.
Admittedly, those who both support abortion and battle against racism have an inconsistent worldview. And, Christians should highlight this inconsistency, calling politicians to defend the life of every American.
But in defending live, the Church must be careful to avoid pitting abortion against racism. Rather, the church should passionately speak against both sins.
Every life should be precious in the sight of God’s people.