American Evangelicals, Abortion, and Life after Birth
It is not enough to be just a pro-life advocate group in the twenty-first century American culture. Unfortunately, in the American society, American evangelicals are known to be a group that identifies itself with the political values of the Republican Party, which is often equated with “family values,” and summarizes as those who fight for life. To put it differently, many critics have argued that the overarching tenet of American evangelicalism in respect to social issues lies in its aggressive campaign for the protection of the life of the unborn. On the other hand, American evangelicals have failed miserably to engage contemporary culture and the pressing human needs of the moment critically, reasonably, ethically, and responsibly. It is doubtful to me that secular (non-theistic) humanism has adequate resources to deal effectively with the problem of pain and human suffering in modern times. Nonetheless, we must hope for the possibility of radical transformation in our culture and reflect critically about this pivotal issue: given the collective wound we are experiencing as a people and nation, can Evangelical Christianity save contemporary American society?
Arguably, American evangelicals have neglected life after birth, and undermined the structural demons and social sins that entangle a large number of the American population—especially the poor, underrepresented families, and various minority groups in the American society. American evangelicals need to be more comprehensive about what they consider as moral issues and pressing ethical demands. In such a time as this as we are transitioning into a new political era and leadership, we are optimistic and pray earnestly that American evangelicals would use their energy, influence, and finances to fight against other forms of human oppression, social evil, and structural injustices the same way they have traditionally deployed these same resources to campaign against the unethical and devastated human action we call abortion.
This twenty-first century is a critical time in American history for American evangelicalism to rethink in a revolutionary sense about its ethical framework/system and reconsider itself both as a religious movement and liberation movement that also values life after birth, and prizes equally the demand for justice, peace, dignity, respect, love, unity, reconciliation, and democracy for all. American Evangelical contemporary ethical system is not “thick” and rigorous enough to confront the pressing human needs of contemporary American society and the radical transformation of the human condition and nature in these urgent times. The peril of the Evangelical mind is inevitably its unreadiness to face critically and responsibly the changing American culture. In the same line of thought, the danger of Evangelical theology is its inadequacy to be relevant to the culture and values of the “millennial” generation.
We are convinced that Christians of all denominational identity or category and ideological persuasion should also oppose racism, poverty, war, imperialism, injustice, oppression, labor exploitation, segregation, and any form of sin and evil that dehumanizes people and challenges the image of God in man and woman. Any neglect of any of this pressing need would render Christianity disengaged with contemporary culture, and the life-experiences and lived-worlds of individuals. The soul of the American people is already deeply wounded and tattooed by a painful history of alienation and fear. In contemporary American society, Evangelical theological ethics need to be more comprehensive and Christ-exalting and God-honoring!
As Prophet Micah reminds us, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Followers of Jesus Christ need to be pro-life from conception to adulthood. They ought to believe, teach, and live the message of the Gospel by caring for and defending the rights of the most vulnerable: children, women, the undocumented immigrant, the poor, the orphan, and underprivileged families.