As pro-life people, part of our goal is to change the way people act. We hope to see a world in which no one chooses to end the lives of their unborn children. However our goal is not to control people, but to instill a genuine respect for human life.
The struggle to restore respect for the unborn is proving to be a long one. Consequently, we may be tempted to try to stop abortion by some shortcut. There are some shortcuts, however, not worth trying.
It may be tempting in our pro-life work to restore and promote the fear of God—to portray God as a Punishing God—the God of Anger. I am old enough to remember when this Punishing God was brought out frequently in an attempt to keep people on the straight and narrow. He was portrayed as the dispenser of sure and fearsome punishments on those who strayed.
We really don’t hear much of this God of Anger anymore. It might be that restoring belief in such a God would keep some people from doing evil, including the evil of abortion. Nonetheless, we cannot be party to any such revival
God is Love. That is the very heart of the Gospel. Each and every person is entitled to a living, vibrant relationship with the God of Love. The possibility of such a relationship is central to what it means to be human. That love relationship is the core of our redemption. To convert the God of Love into the God of Anger would be a terrible shame. It would involve alienating people from God. None of us has the right to alienate God’s children from Him no matter how lofty our purpose.
Our desire to see an end to abortion also may tempt us to promote certain attitudes toward sexuality hoping that such attitudes would reduce sexual misconduct and abortions. It is not difficult to promote attitudes which make people uncomfortable or embarrassed whit human sexuality and sexual pleasure. At various times and places, a repressive attitude toward sexuality has emerged.
Once again, it might be that such an attitude toward sex would result in fewer abortions. But, as before, we have no right to promote anti-sexual attitudes.
Sex and sexual pleasure were created by the god of love for his sons and daughters to enjoy. Sexuality, including the pleasure it brings, is to be embraced enjoyed and celebrate. This is god’s own gift and we must not interfere or detract from what god has given.
This does not mean that all sexual behaviour is acceptable. Far from it . Like all of God’s gifts sexuality is to be lived out in a way which is in accord whit his precepts. What we cannot do, however, is portray sexual activity and pleasure as somehow improper, undignified or a cause for embarrassment.
A negative view of sexual pleasure is sometimes promoted by people who hope to keep others from immoral sexual activity. Everything that I have seen and heard of people’s upbringing and behaviour leads me to believe that negative sexual attitudes do not result in positive sexual behaviour. My own, admittedly limited, observations is that persons raised in an atmosphere of negative attitudes toward sexual pleasure are not any more likely than others to lead exemplary sexual lives.
To convert the god of love onto the god fear is alienate people from god. To promote negative attitudes about sexual pleasure is to alienate people from their very selves. It would be wrong to do either as part of our effort to end abortion.
Promotion such negative beliefs and attitudes about god and sex will not lead us to a pro-life society. Even where they take hold, they are destined to fall by the way side. God intends that his children should grow into fully free and mature individuals who understand him as love and sex as joyful. Our pro-life works a hopeful exercise because we realize that such positive beliefs are perfectly consistent whit a respect for pre-born human life.