I find it fascinating that the same week we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, we also observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. I find it sad that it seems that few people are in favor of both events. It seems that all too few people are pro-Civil Rights and pro-Unborn Rights.
Why are so many either/or on these two issues? Why aren’t we all both/and on these two issues.
I am pro-Civil Rights. I am very thankful that in 1963 and 1964 our nation passed the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Acts. Yes, I understand that legislation alone does not change hearts. However, as a nation, we have a moral responsibility to enact laws that protect all people. It is the bedrock of our national beliefs:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men . . .
So, although I recognize that passing the Civil Rights Act did not change a single heart, and though I recognize that ultimately it is through Christ and His Church that true reconciliation will occur, I still believe it was the right, moral, political, national action to take to enact the Civil Rights Act. Therefore, I celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a reminder of his role in the crusade for Civil Rights.
Likewise, I am pro-Unborn Rights. I am horrified that in 1973 our Supreme Court legalized abortion. My prayer is that just as the Dred Scott ruling was overturned by a later Supreme Court, so Roe v. Wade will also be overturned.
The same arguments that were used first to enslave blacks and then to victimize blacks are now being used to kill unborn children. For slavery it was states’ rights and the rights of white land owners to do as they pleased with their “property.” How wicked. And it is just as wicked that anyone’s “rights” could be put above the right to life of any unborn human being.
Some argue that Pro Life legislation will not change hearts, therefore, forget legislation and focus on Christ and His Church. Again, why not both/and? Just as the Civil Rights Act was the right, moral, political, and national action to take, regardless of whether it changed one heart, so an Unborn Rights Act would be the right action to take morally, politically, and nationally regardless of whether or not it changed one heart.
Pro-Civil Rights and Pro-Life
Based upon biblical principles, every human being is entitled to equal civil rights. Based upon biblical principles, every human being is entitled to the right to life (unborn rights).
Based upon the Declaration of Independence, every human being is entitled to civil rights (the right to liberty). Based upon the Declaration of Independence, every human being is entitled to unborn rights (the right to life).
I don’t expect to make many people “happy” with this post. Frankly, I don’t care. Likely, many will be “unhappy” with me on each side of these two issues. Fine.
Happiness, at least how we define it today, is unimportant. Interestingly, when the writers of the Declaration of Independence spoke of the right to the “pursuit of happiness,” they had in mind the Greco-Roman idea of happiness. To them it meant the right to freely pursue a purposeful life of meaningful contribution to society.
If we supported Civil Rights and Unborn Rights, then every human being would have the right and the opportunity to freely pursue a purposeful life of meaningful contribution to society.
Because of my commitment to the Bible and because of my interpretation of the Declaration of Independence, I am pro-Civil Rights and pro-Unborn Rights.
Because of my commitment to the Bible and because of my interpretation of the Declaration of Independence, I believe Civil Rights and Unborn Rights are both legislative matters and church matters. That is, we need national legislation that declares it is politically right to protect every human being’s Civil Rights and every human being’s Unborn Rights. And, we need the Church of Christ to fulfill Her calling to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth so that law or not, by grace we choose to grant every person their civil rights (right to liberty) and their unborn rights (right to life), so every person can enjoy the pursuit of happiness (the right to freely pursue a purposeful life of meaningful contribution to society).
Note: I understand that my respected colleague in ministry, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, cautions Caucasian to be very careful when using the comparison between Pro-Life and Pro-Civil Right (between abortion and slavery). You can read his helpful thoughts at Yes, How Dare You Compare Abortion to Slavery. Notwithstanding, I believe, as Pastor Anyabwile does, that the comparisons themselves have value and are valid.
Join the Conversation
What are your thoughts about linking pro-unborn rights and pro-civil rights?