How to Be a Pro-Life Christian Feminist

Shame women

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Several years ago, I sat in a hot tub relaxing with a girlfriend my age who was not a Christian. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she confided in me, “I had an abortion a few years ago.” Her face was blank, numb even. I could not tell if she felt shame or regret, but I could see that she nervously awaited my Christian response.

As a conservative evangelical at the time, I felt a little sick to my stomach. I was raised to look at this one issue as a horror. I mean, is there anything worse than a mother “murdering” her own baby?

I am not judgmental by nature; probably because I am so messed up by nature and need a lot of grace, so I hid my disgust and simply listened. She needed to get it off her chest, and I needed to hear someone say it. My innocent evangelical ears had never even heard a woman admit to an abortion.

This was an introduction to what real women are facing, and I would soon be working with real women and advocating for their rights in the home, Church, and world.

I have always had a passion for defending women, even with my very conservative background. Once when Luke and I first started dating we were enjoying a nice dinner with friends on a party street in Norfolk, Virginia. Young women were walking up and down the street with club clothes on, and grown men had large signs that said, “Repent, Whores. Or burn in hell.” Or something of that nature.

I could not focus on Luke, my friends, or my dinner. All I could do was focus on those men demeaning and condemning those young women to hell.

The Spirit came over me, and I stood up without telling anyone at the table what I was doing, marched outside, grabbed a Bible out of one of the men’s hands, and started preaching at him about Jesus’ love for women – even women who are dressed like whores.

I despise when Christians shame women.

It makes my blood boil, because it will only turn them away from Jesus, and then they will not only continue to dress like whores, but perhaps they will actually become whores. Condemnation is the worst way to win souls to Christ. Only God’s amazing love and kindness leads humans to repentance (Romans 2:4).

This is why I am beyond disturbed by the Christian pro-life movement; especially in the evangelical church.

This video by Jeff Durbin, who is a neo-Calvinist pastor and prides himself on being an advocate for the pro-life movement, is a prime example of why the world wants nothing to do with Jesus when they see how we deal with our pro-life stance:

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some beautiful Christians who advocate for the pro-life movement and do it with love, but even they often take a self-righteous approach.

Last year, when I decided that I would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump (because I am not a single-issue voter), these loving, sweet ladies unfriended me on Facebook because they could not stand that I would vote for a pro-choice candidate. This is not right. This is self-righteous behavior and it is finding our identity in one political issue.

There are many moral issues in politics and I happen to be more passionate about gender equality than abortion, and I will tell you why:

1.     I believe that gender equality will lead to many fewer abortions.

2.     I don’t believe abortion will ever be outlawed, so why fight a losing battle?

3.     Even if abortion was outlawed, women will still get them at the same rate (Source) and die from procedures gone wrong (and so will their babies).

4.     I believe the Christian pro-life movement is doing more damage than good for the salvation message, and laws don’t change hearts, JESUS DOES.

When I was writing my master’s thesis, I learned that both abortion and infanticide both were normal and acceptable practices among the Pagan Roman and Greek cultures that the early church was set in. Baby boys were highly desirable and baby girls were not.

Therefore, it was common for married couples to keep only one baby girl.  If it was thought that a second baby would probably be a girl, the mother would have an abortion, and if the child was born and turned out to be female, the child would be exposed outdoors to die.

Abortion was far from taboo, and even murdering one’s own baby girl was far from controversial. One can see this in a letter written by Hilarion in 1 B.C.E. to his wife, Alis, who was pregnant. 

Know that I am still in Alexandria. And do not worry if they all come back and I remain in Alexandria. I ask and beg you to take good care of our baby son, and as soon as I receive payment I shall send it up to you. If you are delivered of a child [before I come home], if it is a boy keep it, if a girl discard it. You have sent me word, “Don’t forget me.” How can I forget you. I beg you not to worry. (The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark).

It is obvious that Hilarion is far more concerned with his wife’s feelings than the murdering of their possible daughter. This was the culture that they lived in. This was the law of their land.

When the new sect of Christianity started to spread throughout the Roman empire and into the Greek cities, a light began to shine into the darkness. There is great sociological evidence that women were far more attracted to Christianity than men at first, because it offered much more equality and respect towards women than pagan cultures did.

Of course, this began with Jesus Christ, the man who let Mary of Bethany out of a “woman’s place” and treated women as His equal partners in ministry and friendship. His example trickled down, and women flocked to the men who followed Jesus’s lead, by empowering them as equals; by assuring them over and over – “Dear sisters, there is neither male nor female in Jesus Christ, for we are all one.” (Galatians 3:28).

And so, the women came and they came by the masses, until they outnumbered the men. They left behind the pagan gods that told them that they were second class citizens, deserving of death even in the womb and as an infant. They left behind the pagan religions that told them they were not welcome to participate at the decision-making tables or in the pulpits. They found freedom. They found equality. They found Jesus, and they would never, ever go back.

THESE CHRISTIAN WOMEN HAD A HEART CHANGE.

The law said that they could get as many abortions as they wanted and they could throw their babies in the trash can if they felt like it, but oh no, these ladies were feminists, and they were going to save their lives and the lives of their baby girls.

They did not need to go around advocating to change laws. They had ZERO political power to do that. But they did have a much greater power. They had the power of the Holy Spirit inside of them and they let their light shine as bright as the morning sun.

Because they did this, many pagan women desired to know Christ too and their hearts were changed. In time, they felt abortion was not the right choice for them or their babies, so they made a moral decision on their own to keep their babies.

There is not one implication in the Bible of Christian men and women trying to make the Pagan empire surrounding them change their laws on abortion and infanticide. Instead, the Christians simply practiced their convictions and let their light of life and love and gender equality shine.

While men and boys continued to outnumber women and girls in the pagan communities due to killing off baby girls and abortions gone wrong on women, women and girls began to flourish in Christian communities because their lives were considered equally valuable and worthy of breath.

Laws can never bring about redemption; if we are truly pro-life, may we focus our efforts on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and the gender equality and freedom that He offers women and baby girls – inside and outside of the womb.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Help Jory Micah Break the Glass Steeple by Following Her Blog (Insert Your Email). Find Her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @jorymicah.

Jory Micah Holds Her Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies: Christian Doctrine and Church History. She Wrote Her MA Thesis on Women in Church Leadership During the 1st & 2nd Centuries, Which You Can Read Here:

Masters Thesis

 

 

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26 Comments

    • I have a suspicion – correct me if there is good reason to believe the argument below does not work – about when life begins.

      Do you know anyone who still have a hair lock of a deceased loved one? That hair lock contain DNA. That hair lock does not mean the loved one is still alive. DNA does not equal life.
      What happens at conception? New DNA is created. DNA, as in the previous paragraph, does not equal life.

      When do we declare that a life ended? Usually, when a heart stops. Otherwise, when it is deemed that only life support keeps the heart going, that a life cannot keep going alone, we call it “brain dead” and say it is not unethical for a doctor to remove it from life support.

      The unborn is deemed to have such brain function at about 20-23 weeks. This certainly counts as being alive. As such, I believe there are rather few living humans killed by abortion – most are not living yet.

      (If you believe a heart beat is a life, and is unethical to remove someone with a beating heart from machines, it is at 5 weeks.) But I can’t get “alive at conception, when DNA is created”. Unless you believe the DNA in a hair lock makes it a living human.

    • One major problem, Jory.

      I agree with you 100% that it is the gospel, not the law that changes people’s hearts.

      But the only way people will know they need a heart change is if they are told what they are doing is sin. Sure, Jesus never “shamed” a woman, but He certainly instructed them to “go and sin no more.” The problem is that I don’t see this in your article. I’m not seeing you call abortion sin, and because of that, why would a non Christian be led to think they are doing anything wrong?

      And it’s not just you. The entire “feminist evangelical” (if the two are even compatible) movement seems to be doing the same thing. When challenged on things such as homosexuality, abortion, and other key social issues that the church has always believed to be sinful, your movement is quiet. In fact, by reading your blog and your twitter feed, one could easially get the feeling that the only things you actually believe to be sin are to be a Republican or a complementarian.

      You raised the point that you are not a “single issue voter.” Maybe not, but it certainly seems that you are a “single issue preacher.” It’s not Christian for you to be “more passionate” about the modern feminist movement than about preserving the life of a child. You can try to spin it however you like, but ultimately you must face the fact that you support an idolatrous movement over the life of an unborn child. The modern feminist movement worships its femininity and autonomy, not the risen Christ of the Bible, and they have no tolerance for anyone who does.

      You say you want to free women from mysogony and patriarchy. It will do them no good if they are still the slave to sin. It is inconsistent and unhelpful for you to be a “single issue pastor.” After all, what good is it for the women who follow you to gain the whole world if they lose their souls?

      Start calling people to repentance for things other than just voting for Donald Trump (which I didn’t). Sin is sin, and you ignoring it and avoiding it isn’t helping the women you claim to support. You want to call people to egalitarianism? Fine. But to do so without calling them to biblical repentance will form a line of many who agree with you theologically yet have never encountered the risen Christ. I wouldn’t want to have to answer for that one day.

      • Allow me to worry about what and if I will have to answer to God one day. I have a personal relationship with Jesus. He will let me know if I am off in how I am leading. God bless.

      • Jory,

        You’re response is very telling. Thanks for approving my comment, and I can only pray that some will see the error of placing the worship of one’s gender over the God of the Bible. (Not accusing you of that, but the broader feminist movement)

  • Point #3 you made is the point that led me to rethink my stance on abortion, or more specifically, the pro life movement. It led me to realize that pro life is more about the life of the child while it’s in the mother, not the mother herself or the child once it is born. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Coincidentally enough, my extremely pro life mother just told me last night that she thinks that abortion in the case of rape or incest is okay. This is not something she would have said a decade ago, but she said that she simply cannot understand what that is like, so she cannot judge. It’s amazing what the facts can do to your heart!

  • Funny that I was just thinking about this today. I am pro-life and pro-democracy which means my beliefs based on my faith cannot be legislated and imposed on others. But as someone who is pro-life, I can build bridges with those in my church and in the world so that should this horrible dilemma ever face them, I could share some hope and insight …. and if they HAVE made that difficult decision at some point, to offer comfort and hope.

  • Jesus had all his problems with the religious people of the day not the sinners thus things are still the same but he has a remnant that will listen to the Holy Spirit and shine his true Love and forgiveness

  • The lady in that video really had little to offer in factual evidence, instead she offered emotion, rhetoric and metaphors to make her case. The pastor should have claimed he identified as female to engage on her level! Her arguments simply failed!
    However, once the metaphors are stripped away her true immorality shines through. First of all, if a baby is just a cluster of cells, then you and I are also just a cluster of cells, but, if NASA found these same cluster of cells in space every newspaper and news outlet in the world would headline the fact that we just discovered life in space. Secondly, the argument that a baby is in the mothers womb gives her the right to abort it harkens back to slave owners who also claimed a right to choose to do whatever they wanted to a slave because they are on their property and were not fully human. Thirdly, my relatives in Europe were rounded up and sent to gas chambers or shot in the head by the millions because an ideology dictated that we were not fully human. Fourthly, the ideology of eugenics also taught my relatives were not fully human and needed to be sterilized so we would not be able to have children and be wiped off the planet. This teaching was accepted and held by academia and the elite in Western civilization from the USA to Europe.
    All of these things were legal but they were not lawful. They simply bought into the most dangerous lie that some people were not fully human in adherence to an ideology. Some of these people were Christians but they also accepted an ideology in opposition to Christianity but revised scripture to make it fit. This is also true with the feminist ideology.
    In what reality can a person have the right to kill another person for convenience by them simply existing?

  • I forgot to address the statistics you provided are derived from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, or AGI, which is the most wealthy and politically powerful pro-abortion lobby groups in the world. The research was funded by the Hewlett Foundation (a strong pro-abortion body) and the work appeared in the Lancet, also a force for pro-abortion.

    Dr. Alan Frank Guttmacher was the President of Planned Parenthood and also the Vice-President of the American Eugenics Society. He also founded the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and the Association for the Study of Abortion.

    To trust pro abortion groups to provide us the statistics for their agenda is like trusting cigarette companies to supply the scientific data on the health effects of smoking. To actually believe that abortion rates are going to be the same as countries where abortion is not only legal but cost nothing and paid for by the government would have to take a level of understanding reserved for those who are either naive or intellectually dishonest. To place numbers on illegal abortions are just simply guesswork or lies. Remember, these organizations sell abortion all over the world as a product and will even lobby governments to make the legalization of abortion a condition in trade and aid agreements. We do have solid statistics that are comparable to the USA and Canada in Ireland and Poland. http://liveactionnews.org/true-or-false-banning-abortion-does-not-decrease-abortion-rates/

  • Good arguments for allowing the world to be the world and the Christ followers be a light in the darkness. We cannot compell pagans to act like God empowered persons. Respect and compassion are the fertile ground of evangels work. Thanks Jory. Your work is strong and clear!!

  • If the majority of the world agrees with your position, you are almost certainly outside of Biblical doctrine. People have given you clear evidence of where you are in error and you claim revelation from Jesus because of some “personal” relationship with him.
    The gospel is to be preached and sin is to be called sin. Stop watering those things down because you have a following or a feminist agenda. Murder is murder, if you are pro-life, then there is no other option. Abortion is murder, and should be illegal.
    You are promoting that we should just allow it to happen. Do you offer anything to the ladies who are going to the abortion mills? The pastor gave a logical argument and was met with emotion and hate.
    One day, we will all bow before Jesus and I think the pastor in that video has nothing to be ashamed of trying to save babies. Can you say the same, with the doctrine you are trying to promote? Take some time and lay aside your presuppositions and you might be shocked to hear what the Bible is trying to tell you.

    • Bryan, the pastor in the video is actually turning the world away from Jesus, and as far I can see from your comment, so are you.

      • Why? Just because I do not share your view? I have listened to the response by the pastor to you (on his podcast) and he had some questions that could become an honest look at world views. Could you be wrong?

      • You say he is turning people away…but his little church, outside of one PP, has literally saved, I think at last count, 70 babies from abortion. They have babies and mothers and families in their church right now who they reached doing what you are criticizing. He has a sermon on youtube where he ends with a mother and her baby coming on stage to share that she was literally on the way back to get an abortion. Through tears she shares how Jeff literally saved her baby and brought her to Christ by doing exactly what you are criticizing.

        I think the issue here is that it doesn’t appear that you ultimately think that abortion is murder. If you don’t think it is murder, then you of course wouldn’t like someone shouting and pleading with people to not walk in the doors to PP and murdering their baby. But if you truly believed it was murder, that literally every day PP is slaughtering and tearing apart, limb by limb, the unborn, how is it possible to criticize those begging for it to end.

        And ultimately, shame for false reasons, and as a way to unrighteously abuse, is itself a sinful act. But should the act of murder not bring shame?

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