Infanticide or Racism: Which is Worse?

whats-worseFew 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.

A Review: God’s Very Good Idea

God-good-story-ideaA quick glance at the T.V. screen and the list of stories on your web browser reveals an good-idea-1America increasingly defined by violent street protest, Black Lives Matter, The Alt Right, football players kneeling, and Confederate monuments being torn down. The chaotic world of American race relations is touching everyone, including our children.

Entering into to this dark world with Scriptural brightness, Trilla Newbell wrote the book, God’s Very Good Idea, to help children understand why people are different, why differences lead to conflict, and how Christ unites differing people with his love. Newbell’s book reveals how our human differences fit into the gospel with a simplicity and colorfulness that preschoolers can relate to and that adults can appreciate. Given our time, I believe Newbell’s book is a very good idea. I am thankful to her and to the Good Book Company for having the foresight to publish this delightful book.

Summary of the Book

good-book-3The illustrated pages begin with creation, detailing how God creates all kinds of different people who all reflect his image, having hearts full of love. But because Adam and Eve sinned and because we sin, God’s very good idea was corrupted by sin. People began to fight with each other because they were different. Thankfully, God does not leave people in their sin. Jesus came to live and die to forgive people for sin. He made a way for people to once again love him and to love each other. He redeemed the lost so that all kinds of people would be a part of God’s family. As the book says, “God MADE it. People RUINED it. He RESCUED it. He will FINISH it.”

Why Get It?

good-idea-2I encourage you to grab a copy of this book because Newbell does an excellent job of placing the discussion of human differences within the gospel narrative. She neither minimizes nor ignores the reality that different skin colors and hobbies can lead to tensions. She places the blame for racial conflict in the heart, knowing that racial struggles are truly heart struggles. Our differences are not the result of sin. But they have been influenced by sin. Consequently no subset of people is inherently better than another group of people. And no group is more like God than another group. All men and women are created in the image of God. All are fallen. All can be redeemed by the blood of the cross. We live in a day where people are quick to violently divide over differences. Newbell’s message of peace via the cross is desperately needed and extremely helpful. If you want to equip your kids a biblical perspective on how to relate to people that are different than them, I encourage you to grab a copy of God’s Very Good Idea.

Can you think of a better idea?

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5 Thoughts On Last Week

1. Racism is Real

I am not saying that you are racist. Nor am I saying that all of our crises are racially Five-thought-blogmotivated. Nor are all of country’s problems tied to racism. But racism is real. The recent controversies make this fact abundantly clear.  Our black brothers and sisters and neighbors feel that the system is stacked against them. Throughout the history of our country, they have been attacked and belittled because of the color of their skin. And those feelings have been touched off over the last year or so.

If we pretend otherwise, we are closing our eyes to needs of our neighbors. We must recognize the pain many in the black community feel. We must admit there is racism in our towns, neighborhoods, and churches. We must confront it when we see it. And we must repent of it when we practice it. We cannot meaningfully speak into our culture until we have removed the log out of our own eyes (Matt 7:5).

2. Sin in the Ultimate Problem

The U.S. is coming unglued because of sin. As I John 3:4 makes clear sin is lawlessness. When we sin and when we live for self and for our wants, disorder and chaos always follows. As James 3:16 says,

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Innocent people have been murdered because people are controlled by sin. If we want peace, we must address the sin in our hearts and the sin in our culture.

3. Evil Has Consequences

The controversy of late have involved some very sinful men and women. Now, one person’s sin in no way justifies another person’s sinful actions. As I Thess. 5:15 clearly says, “See that no one pays back evil for evil.” But the scriptures also don’t excuse sinful choices (Gal. 6:7). If we are driven by hatred, we will can expect to be destroyed by evil. Proverbs 26:27 says,

Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone it will come back on him.

4. Only Jesus Saves

Because racism is ultimately a sin problem, there is only one solution. And it’s not a nationalized police force or body cameras. It’s the gospel. The gospel saves. Through the gospel men and women get the power to love their enemies and to bless those that curse them. Through the gospel men and women can stop viewing their race as superior and can begin treating other races with love. Only the gospel can save and bring peace. As Christians, we need to be quick to preach the gospel with our words and actions. We need to love those who are different from us by practically meeting their needs. And we need to tell them about Jesus. Only through the advancement of the kingdom of God can racism be ended.

5. Parents Have To Step Up

One thing I have noticed over the years is that kids are not inherently racist. If put together a whole a bunch of black, white, and Asian preschoolers into a room, you don’t get race riots.

To some degree kids have to be taught by adults to think that their race is superior. Admittedly, little kids are sinners and are ready to embrace sinful ideas. Parents can model the gospel and still have racist kids. But most kids adopt racist ideas because their parents practice them.

If we want gospel change to happen in our culture, we have to live it out in our families. We have to apply Colossians 4:11 to our homes:

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

We have to stop using racist language and criticizing minorities as if the color of one’s skin determines their actions.  We need to be open to having friends that look different from us. We need to encourage our kids to make godly friends, caring nothing about their friend’s skin color. We need to start modeling the gospel.  I.e, we as parents have to view all people as being created in God’s image.