As a missionary on home leave from the Dominican Republic, I was interested in seeing and participating in the Christian witness of life in Canada. What are Canadian Christians doing about the mass killing of the unborn?
The church community is divided on the issue of abortion. The official position of the United Church, the Anglican Church and the Presbyterian Church is to allow for easy abortions. The more ethically-conservative churches such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformed churches are against easy abortions.
One could safely say that the Christians of Canada are divided against each other on this issue. It’s a church problem and the church is part of the problem. Undoubtedly, Christians must witness within their own churches and hold their leaders and representative councils responsible for upholding life and justice. Also, Christians should organize beyond the ecclesiastical borders into organizations which uphold life and justice.
The picketing of the Morgentaler clinic is worthy of Christian support. Not only is injustice being committed against the unborn, but the operation of the clinic is blatantly against the law of the land. The police sit idly by, watching the women go in and out, having had their unborn child murdered.
But the police are not the only idle ones. How many church leaders and church members are watching this crime, sitting idly by the television set or with a newspaper at the reports of this unprecedented mass killing of the unborn sweep the “civilized” West?
I could not help observing that, as a missionary to the Third World, I have never seen so many people killed in a short period of time as I have by watching the ladies walking in and out of the Morgentaler clinic on November 14, 1985. And that only represents the tip of the blood-covered iceberg.
Commitment and zeal
I have helped mothers with their children suffering from malnutrition, most of the children eventually died. But, at least, the mothers loved their children enough to seek life. The new generation of Canadian mothers who walk across the picket lines at the Morgentaler clinic, or who cross the picket line of their conscience, are not seeking life but death.
I was impressed with the commitment and zeal of the picketers on November 14. I was pleased to see so many Christians. Does picketing really help? I think it does.
- Picketing is a partial deterrent for potential customers who do not want this “private matter” to become a public spectacle.
- Picketing is a communication to the public and government as to the crimes taking place.
- Picketing gives opportunities to present alternatives to abortion both to visitors and to women who have had abortions.
- Picketing deepens one’s struggle against the powers of evil and death.
- Picketing is moral support for concerned people who strive on behalf of the unborn throughout society.
- Picketing is a reaffirmation of family. The family as an institution is under attack through abortion – mothers having their children murdered, sexual permissiveness, unwanted children, guilt-ridden parents. The history of Canada will document the effect of the over one million children aborted in two decades.
- Picketing is a sing of justice. Although the politicians and police watch the murders taking place, the presence of the picketers shows that at least some people be they not our leaders, know that this is wrong.
- Picketing is a sign of grace. Murderers and lawbreakers can be forgiven if they confess their sins.
- Picketing shows that Christian unity is possible. Roman Catholic and Protestants alike find each other working for the same Lord, at the same place.
- Picketing is an appeal to God to restrain and frustrate the way of evildoers and to intervene for the righteous.
To return to the role of the Christian churches, what can Christians do? The churches need to be picketed too. It probably won’t be necessary to stand outside the doors, but petitions and organization can happen within. If Christians cannot influence their church to life and justice, how do they expect society to change? Church renewal and faithful obedience is essential to societal development in responsibility.
Some of the regular picketers at Harbord Street told me that picket lines are getting smaller. Pro-life organizations should make it a high priority to keep the picketing going. The future of Canada will be shaped on this battle line.
The Rev. Dr. Neal Hegeman is a missionary with the Clinton Christian Reformed Church.