Pro-life Presbyterians should protest, but is there a more effective response?
“A rally in support of abortion giant Planned Parenthood took place inside a Presbyterian Church in Louisiana last month,” reports Carole Novielli of LifeNews.com.
“Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast organized the “Stand with Women” rally in support of a new abortion facility in Crescent City. The rally took place at the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans affiliated with the PC(USA). Rev. Fred J. Powell, III is the church pastor.”
Novielli’s article includes this link to video of the rally. Rally speakers present a familiar well-scripted message intimating that Planned Parenthood cares about women’s health, women’s bodies, and women’s rights, and “reproductive justice”—especially the “full spectrum” of reproductive justice. What they don’t say but what “full spectrum of reproductive justice” really means is abortion.
How should pro-life Presbyterians and pro-life Presbyterian churches respond?
Rev. Gerrit Dawson, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Baton Rouge (EPC) located about 80 miles from the planned abortion facility had this to say in response to the PCUSA church’s rally:
"My heart always hurts when I read about people who bear the name of the Lord of life supporting the ruse of Planned Parenthood. It's all so Orwellian to me: language of "health" covers what all but the most gullible know: Planned Parenthood not only provides but encourages and profits from abortion. By contrast, I am so thankful for our ministry partners which truly love the pregnant women who come to them, caring for them through every stage of pregnancy and even in the early years of parenting. They work bravely and tirelessly to show with costly action the value of every human life."
I believe his response touches exactly the right balance between truth and care, both important components if we are to effect change and ministry that leads to life.
Pro-life Presbyterians should respond by raising an outcry, by exposing the truth about Planned Parenthood activities and agenda (as I have done previously here, here, and here) and unpacking the unspoken meaning of the language of “reproductive justice” (as I have here). .Pro-life Presbyterians should respond with repentance, prayer, and exhortation as Presbyterians Pro-Life has done within the PCUSA for more than 40 years.
Is there a more effective response that leads to life?
Remember the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus and of Paul to love, to care, to lay down our lives, to give it all away, to put the other before ourselves! As pro-life Presbyterians—as followers of Christ:
· We have Light that the world needs to see (Matthew 5:14-16). If women ”see our good works,” see us loving women in crisis pregnancy, see us offering tangible, practical alternatives to abortion, studies indicate that most would choose life for their babies.
· We have non-judgmental Love that women yearn to experience (Matthew 7:38-48). Jesus, who lay down his very life for us, has taught us to love without thought for ourselves. Love that is freely given—even to one who has treated us like an enemy—is an irresistible force. We can risk a love that gives everything because God has loved us like that! A woman who is abortion minded is often focused on her “rights” because no one has ever loved her without wanting something in return. Show her the love of Jesus and you help her see what the possibility that she could love a child more than herself.
· We have resources God intends for us to give (Matthew 5:19-24). Chances are someone in your congregation has baby furniture or clothing sitting in their attic that is desperately needed by a pregnant young woman who feels abortion is her only choice because she “cannot afford a baby.” Someone has a spare bedroom or two that could house a pregnant woman whose parents (or boyfriend) will throw her out if she refuses abortion. Someone else has cash sitting in a savings account that could pay medical or legal bills to help a woman choose to bring her baby to term and make a plan for adoption.
· We have The Holy Spirit to enable and empower us (Matthew 7:7-11, 24-27). God has promised to give good gifts to His disciples. You may feel God’s call to leadership of pro-life ministry in your church, but have no idea how to start. PPL can help you with resources, training, and tools for ministry, but really it is God’s own Spirit who equips and empowers those that he calls. If you say yes, He will accomplish it!
What too many of us have done for too long is to complain among ourselves about the activities of the pro-abortion Presbyterians like those at FPC New Orleans, but say nothing publicly. We have whispered behind our hands about women who have chosen abortion, but have done nothing to offer women real alternatives to abortion. Dare I say, at the risk of losing my readers, many have thanked Presbyterians Pro-Life for our work and our witness, but only a faithful few have given financial support or become personally involved in our work.
To get back to my main point, there are indeed effective ways that pro-life Presbyterians can respond to the wrong thinking that celebrates an abortion provider. The church ought never to celebrate death, but instead to lift up the victory over death accomplished through the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Determine today to help your church provide an effective alternative to Planned Parenthood in your community. Make a commitment to celebrate life! Begin by contacting Presbyterians Pro-Life. Ask us how to mobilize a team in your congregation that is intentional about ministry to abortion-minded women. God is still working on PPL too and we’d love to talk with you about the new things we are learning about pro-life ministry!