The Choice

I do not have a uterus. I can never have a baby in said nonexistent uterus (though I hope to help put one in my wife’s someday). I am a man, and I’m writing on abortion. For many of you that is going to be tough to swallow. How can someone who has no idea what it is like, write on such a sensitive subject? Well if you will indulge me I will explain. But for now I will simply say this, I am not anti-woman or woman’s health (heck I married one and I want the best for her). I am simply pro baby. As a Christian male that is what this boils down to for me. If you think that skews my view and that means that I have no business writing this, then that saddens me. It saddens me that you will not hear my viewpoint simply because of who I am or what I believe. There should be an –ism for that. Perhaps sexism or anti-Christianism? Eh that’s neither here nor there. I’ve told you my stance. Now let me tell you why.

***DISCLAIMER: when I talk about abortion, I am not referring to the 1.5% that happens because of rape or incest. Though I have the same view, there are slightly different reasons. Nor am I talking about abortions that undoubtedly save the life of a mother. That is a decision that I would never want any mother and father to have to face. Though the words of John 15:13 ring in my head, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” I am brought to tears sitting next to my wife typing and thinking about the what ifs with her.***

When I look at the debate on abortion I see two sides each focusing on two worthy causes. Those that are pro-choice are focused on the woman, and given what she has to go through, that focus is adequately placed. For those who are pro-life, the focus is on the baby itself. Given what it must overcome, that focus is also certainly well placed. So where is the rub? One side claims that because the baby is inside the woman, she gets to decide what to do with it. (Never mind the fact that the father might have a different idea despite that fact it is his child as well.) But think about this. That baby is not part of the woman’s body. It does not take having a uterus to know that. Science says that babies have their own DNA, blood supply, brain, heart, and the list goes on. Science says that. Not a politician, or an activist, or a Christian. Science says that the woman is the host for another life. There is a body inside her body. She is not just one big body. She is two. So who gets to decide what happens to this new life?

When a child is conceived there are four parties involved: the mother, the father (it takes two to tango, and the lack of value placed on fathers is for another post), the child, and God. Three of these parties have the ability to make their voice heard. I imagine that you the reader are smart enough to figure out which three. So yes, that leaves the baby as the only party without a way to give their opinion. Who gets to speak for that child? Who decides if it lives or dies? Is it the mother who had sex and now carries the baby? Is it the father who also had sex yet does not carry the baby? Or is it God, the one who has breathed life into everything, including the DNA of this unborn child? DNA that has existed since that strongest swimmer met the accepting egg. It is God. It is His child, a child that He has entrusted to two of His other children. Their job is to steward that child. Parents are commanded to, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (KJV). They are now responsible for the life and wellbeing of that child. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, in the bible does God give any parent or guardian the power to decide whether a child lives or dies. Yet somehow we as humans, obsessed with our stupid “rights” have it in our head that we can choose who lives and dies.

New York is a great example of this obsession. It is now legal to abort a child up until the moment it is born. Why? Because “My body my choice,” seems to have been a better tagline than the idea that everyone has the right to, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 1776). Better yet, Jesus describes the value of human life like this, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26 (NKJV). Here we have the God of the universe caring for birds in such a way that one might think they were His prized creation. Yet they are not. The value we have as individuals and humans far exceeds them. Our lives are worth way more. Heck the idea that, “All men are created equal,” (Declaration of Independence, 1776) and the thought that we as a nation are telling the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” (Statue of Liberty inscription), are touted time and time again in the debate on immigration. Yet they are nowhere to be found when dealing with the lives at stake within our borders. Every life is worth something. Nevertheless, there are those who do not see it that way. There are those who have decided that they get to decide who lives and dies. In doing this they have set themselves above God. That, my friends, is a dangerous place to be.

As humans we do not have enough wisdom, love, grace, compassion, or any other attribute of God to make decisions of this weight. For those who think we do, or who simply do not believe in God, let me ask you this. Where shall we draw the line? As the years have gone on the line for abortion has been pushed back farther and farther: from never, to first trimester, to second, and now to third. What is next? Postpartum? Oh Chuck that is ridiculous! I know some of you thought that. Now I seem like someone who is now throwing out obscene ideas just get a reaction or get my point across. Am I? Check out what the governor of Virginia said regarding the life of a child. The idea that a mother can give birth, put the baby in a “comfortable” state, and then decide with her physician whether that child lives or dies and if that is best for her “health” is preposterous!

With this concept, conception is certainly not the line and now birth sure isn’t the line. Then where is the line? Because now I see no place it can be drawn. How long does this mother have to decide? 1 hour? 1 day? 1 week? All the while this child of God is breathing, living, and feeling. By saying that a mother has the rights to decide if her child lives or dies, we are now treating babies as property. Is that all a baby is now? Is it property whose worth and value we get to set based on whether or not we want it in the moment? Surely not. Surely we are not valuing another human based on what they can or cannot provide for our own lives. Surely we do not keep the babies we want, and throw away the ones we don’t. Yes, the government says that they are the parents’ responsibility until they are 18. Does that mean that a parent is allowed to terminate their child’s life up until that point if they are becoming bad for their “health,” or are no longer valued? While that seems crazy and far-fetched, with each so called “women’s health” bill that is passed we inch closer and closer to that.

Think about this. Everyday there are mothers who give birth to children and that child is immediately taken from them. Child Protective Services has deemed the mother and/or father a danger to the life and wellbeing of that child. Does killing them not fall into that category? If a mother on meth is not fit to make decisions regarding her child, then a mother who wants to kill hers because it is not the right time for her certainly should not be fit to either.

The government is responsible for protecting its people. When God speaks about the value of life, and the mother refuses to listen because of her obsession with choice, the government must step in.   Babies are humans. They are to be treated as humans. Little tiny humans who deserve the best life possible, no matter what. I understand that babies can rock worlds. There was a time in my life when a baby would have been wholly inconvenient, and it almost happened. But that inconvenience is no excuse for murder. A mother is not in charge of the fate of a child. A father is not in charge of the fate of a child. A doctor is not in charge of the fate of a child. The fate of a child rests in the hands of God, the one who has nothing but love and hopes for a great future for another one of His glorious and precious creations.

So next time you are faced with the issue of abortion think about this. Who is this about? Is it truly about the baby? Is it truly about its life? Or is it about something else? Women’s health is a worthy cause. Women’s rights is a worthy cause. The life of each baby in the United States of America is a worthy cause.

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Being Christian Isn’t Very American

From the Bible Belt to the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island, being Christian and being American seem to go hand in hand. Yet, today’s society tells a totally different tale. This tale is that the two do not go together like apple pie and ice cream in July. This tale shatters some of the truths we have taken for granted for our entire lives. Well the reality is that this tale is true. One cannot claim to hold true to Jesus and the ideals of American, as presented in the constitution, without running into some severe and unfortunate contradictions.

It all started in the late 18th century, when America was being established. Having fled for religious freedom, from the Catholic Church ironically, the colonists won independence from Britain. Now they wanted to establish a new government that would not betray them and that they could control. Enter the likes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the men who penned the Declaration of Independence and Constitution respectively. They were leaders of their day, and today we look to them to claim that America is a Christian nation. Oh how wrong we are. Sorry Dr. Carson and Senator Cruz, America cannot return to its Christian roots because there really are not any. When Jefferson and Madison sought to create a new government they turned to the philosophies of five men: Niccoló Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Montesquieu. (I encourage the reader to read about these men as their full beliefs cannot be covered here.) While they differed in ideas, from the more violent Machiavelli to Locke’s ideas on life and property, there is one thing they agree on: religion should have little to do with government. Wait what? That’s not the story we have all been told. America was founded on Christian values by Christian men. Wrong again. Jefferson was a deist and Madison never really claimed religion. The truth is that our founding fathers and their role models thought that Jesus taught good morals. They loved him as a teacher and a prophet, but that is all they saw him as.  The founding fathers took some moral ideas from Jesus and used them to enumerate some freedoms. What they established was a constitution that is the basis as to what being American really means. But in doing so they twisted the spirit of what Jesus taught and switched the focus.

Surely that is not true. I mean could we really be this wrong after all of these years? When we begin look at the wording of the constitution and the objective it tried to achieve, we reveal more about the moral basis of our country. Jesus teaches that we should reflect Him, thus setting a certain standard of the heart. Not a standard to be perfect, but a standard to put Him first and others second, to love. The American Constitution says nearly the complete opposite. The Bill of Rights is all about what an individual has the right to. The first amendment says you can believe what you want, say what you want, and live how you want and no one should care, especially the government. The rest of the Bill of Rights, and the constitution really, is more about how much an individual can get, not about what they can give. The founding fathers were not concerned with making sure that people acted in love. They were only concerned that the government was held in check. Thus being American is about taking full advantage of the rights you have been given. That my friends, is quite contrary to how Jesus taught us to love one another and be more concerned for others than for ourselves. The constitution is self-centered and me-focused. It demands that the government, and often times others, give me something. The constitution is a conviction lacking, convenient and watered down version of what Jesus was trying to say, and today’s America people have taken that and run with it.

But what exactly was Jesus trying to say? He was trying to tell the people of the world that he had come to save them, to take them from being sinners to being saints (2 Corinthians 5:21), and the above all He loves them like His father does (John 3:16). But that move requires something. It requires us surrendering our hearts and repenting of our sins (Acts 3:19). There must be that inner change of focus from doing whatever pleases me, to doing whatever pleases the Lord. We do not exist here on earth to glorify ourselves. We exist to glorify God. Are you beginning to see the rub between being American and being Christian? From the constitution’s point of view there is no need to repent, apologize, or anything like that because as human beings we have the freedom to do as we please. Americans have the right to “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness[i],” whatever that may mean, and they love it. They have the right to live life our own way and no one, not even the government can interfere. Thus, other Americans have no right to tell them that they are wrong or that what they are doing is wrong. The constitution teaches tolerance, not love.

This thought process could not be farther from the truth of the Bible. God has laid down firm commands which we are to live by, and can be summed up in two commands. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says this, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” This love is completely different from the tolerance seen in today’s America. Love is about putting God first by obeying and glorifying Him and others second by serving and loving them. This obedience often comes at the price of having to step on some toes occasionally, and being held to a higher standard. But that is what love really is, speaking the truth so that someone might be saved. Tolerance on the other hand is about putting up with others so that one can get what they believe they are owed, and telling people that they do not need to repent from their ways to avoid confrontation. Where the constitution says stay as you are because you have that right, Jesus says come as you are because I love you and want something better for you. Yet Christians fail to deliver this message with love and compassion like Jesus did. Because of this, many people would rather be American than be Christian. As an American anything goes, and there is none of that seemingly hateful Christian judgement (post about this coming later). Who cares if you don’t donate to the poor? It’s your money. Who cares if you think you can get to heaven by doing nothing? You’re entitled to believe what you want. No one should say anything. Being a Christian is harder than being American because it requires that we humble ourselves, love others. Not to mention the fact that being a Christian means we are held to higher standards.

As Christians we have a job, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations of the earth. Well, I think that our home nation is a great place to start. Here we have ideologies that say everyone is accepted and can do as they please because you have that right. Even Jesus says you have that right on earth, it is called free will. But Jesus offers more. When we follow the constitution and today’s society the best we can get is the ever elusive America dream. We can obtain a life where no one tells us we are wrong and we have what we think is a great life. With Jesus there is more. More money, power, or success is not guaranteed. There is however more love, joy, compassion, peace, and a lot of eternal life. When we claim to be Christian we put others first. We live to love them and serve them as we love and serve God, and we hold ourselves accountable to the commands of Jesus. When we claim to be American we hold tight to our rights and fight anyone who tries to take them away. That is selfish and arrogant. We are to be humble and love others. My name is Chuck Schober and I am a Christian, not an American.

[i] Declaration of Independence