When Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, Sydney, my eldest, shared her excitement on an Instagram story. As a young woman of faith, having already experienced the suffocating grip of misogyny within numerous circles of male-dominate leadership in the American Church, the idea of a woman of color having a seat at the MOST important table in our country needed to be applauded. And that was all it took for the DMs to start coming in; people wanted to “educate” her on how someone who is pro-child and pro-women could NEVER vote for a Democrat. I mean, it’s understandable, right? We’re Christians and Harris is pro-choice, so it’s unfathomable that Sydney would even consider applauding a candidate with a (D) by their name.
But, before you assume anything, especially without any awareness of our story, you should know that Sydney is extremely educated and taking a stand on “pro-life” issues. She’s been in pregnancy crisis centers across the country, hearing stories and spreading the message of love and hope. She understands the importance of life and is a FIERCE advocate.
Just so we’re clear, let me say this: If you disagree with me… that totally okay. Your convictions are yours and I’m not trying to change your mind. I’m just offering a different perspective. One from a woman who has #1) had an abortion (you can read more about my story HERE) and #2) spent the last few years advocating for those facing an unplanned pregnancy to choose life.
I believe “pro-life” is an all-or-nothing stance and, unfortunately, we don’t have to look far within the confines of our government to see the hypocrisy and hierarchy of the “pro-life” movement. After the past 18 months, I’ve seen this conversation walked out a few different ways. And, listen, I’m more than happy to talk about ALL the elements of a genuine “pro-life” position: from conception to death (by natural causes). We can talk about how a TRUE “pro-life” candidate would never advocate for war, always send assistance to countries suffering from famine, and NEVER support the implementation of the death penalty. But, I want to specifically focus of the issue of abortion.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I believe the best way to decrease the number of abortions in our country is to create a culture where women and men want to continue on with their pregnancies. I also believe the best way to achieve this is to make health care and child care readily available, support public policies created to alleviate poverty and advocate for a living wage. Because when we work towards the creation of a society where the choice becomes easier to make… well, the choice ACTUALLY does become easier to make.
For far too long, the American Church has focused its collective time and money on the legal components of abortion, ignoring, and sometimes actively opposing, the social policies supporting families. Constantly offering the never-delivered promise of making abortion illegal, the Republican Party, with the help of their friends in the “moral majority,” has tirelessly worked against efforts to create policies that could significantly reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Simultaneously, they have also manipulated voters into believing their crusade to end abortion, through the punishment of those women looking to terminate their pregnancies, is the only way.
But, it isn’t. (And for the record, nowhere in scripture do you EVER see Jesus advocating for submission through punishment.)
Last night, a friend shared with me an article written by Rachel Held Evans. She wasn’t someone I followed and our theology might not align on a lot of points, but it doesn’t matter. Just in case you missed that, let me say it again: IT DOESN’T MATTER. Her words on the issue could be mine… and, before you get your underwear all wadded up, it’s not because I’m throwing out my theology to grasp onto something comfortable and easy to digest. (I know how you “evangelicals” think… it’s one of the benefits of being one of you for so long.) It’s because there’s a tension here that NEEDS to be pressed into; it needs to be filtered through the gospel.
…I think abortion is morally wrong in most cases, and support more legal restrictions around it, I often vote for pro-choice candidates when I think their policies will do the most to address the health and economic concerns that drive women to get abortions in the first place.
For me, it’s not just about being pro-birth; it’s about being pro-life. All children deserve to live in a home and in a culture that welcomes them and can meet their basic needs. Every mother deserves the chance to thrive. Forcing millions of women to have children they can’t support, or driving them to Gosnell-style black market clinics, will not do.
I believe we have to work together — pro-life and pro-choice, Democrat and Republican, conservative Christian and progressive Christian — to create a culture of life that celebrates families and makes it easier to have and raise kids. This is the only way to make our efforts to rarify abortion truly sustainable.Rachel Held Evans
The question becomes simple: How do we do this? Well, if you know me, you know my answer: First, we stop spending RIDICULOUS amounts of money on ourselves… our mega-church buildings and laser light worship shows. (But, this isn’t limited to how we spend our money as a collective church body.) Second, we, as individuals, need to take a long, hard look at how we spend OUR money… and I’m not just talking about our 10% to the church (which is really only 2% nationally… but that’s a WHOLE other conversation!).
When our day comes, I truly believe we’ll be held accountable for how we stewarded the other 90% of our money. Did we follow the prescript of the Acts Church, taking only what we need and giving the rest to our brothers and sisters in need? Or did we spend it on ourselves? The same can be said about our time. Are we willing to care for the women who choose to continue on in their pregnancies? Will we come alongside them and provide the services they need… child care, health care, rent and tuition assistance… to help position them for success? This is where the church is needed. This is where the church can have the greatest impact.
THIS is what the church should be known for… NOT shaming women and condemning them to hell. And, honestly, we’ve spent way too much money on getting politicians elected, policies passed, and judges appointed. Stop focusing on changing laws and, for the LOVE OF JESUS… start chasing hearts.
So, for all the people who’ve sent our family DMs on the issue: We hear you. We understand your position and you have every right to hold it. For yourself. But, PLEASE listen to what I’m about to say. I WILL be voting for Biden and my salvation is secure. We actually sleep really well at night. And our commitment to showing the love of Jesus to women facing unplanned pregnancies is still intact. You might not like how we’re going to vote, but you don’t have to. My advocacy for the unborn is real and my commitment to the women facing unplanned pregnancies is real… and who I vote for in an election will never change that.