Suffer the Little Children
“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14 KJV).
On January 20 we will observe Sanctity of Human Life Day. Each year we choose the Sunday closest to the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. That decision matters because at least 50 million babies have been legally aborted in the last forty years.
50 million is a lot of people. Here’s a way to think about it.
Take the population of Georgia,
Plus the population of Michigan,
Add the population of Virginia,
Plus the population of Nebraska,
Add the population of Nevada,
Include the population of Iowa,
Add the population of South Dakota,
Then add the population of Rhode Island,
Take the population of Arizona,
Plus the population of Oregon,
Add the population of Kansas,
Include the population of Vermont,
Plus the population of Mississippi,
Then add the population of Alaska.
That would total approximately 50 million people.
That’s 14 states wiped out.
That’s what we’ve done in America since 1973.
That’s what we’re still doing.
In 2009 41% of all viable pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion.
It’s hard to know what to do with a number like that.
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains a divisive issue in American politics. In one hopeful note, the Gallup Poll on Abortion shows that support for the pro-life position has been slowing rising since 1996. In 2012 50% of those surveyed called themselves pro-life while 41% self-identified as pro-choice.
Because this is a sensitive issue, many people prefer not to think about it. In any congregation you will find a spectrum of opinions and a spectrum of experiences.
Some are angry.
Some are brokenhearted.
Some are guilty.
Some are chained to the past.
Some are frustrated.
Some are unsure where they stand.
Some want to change the subject.
It’s almost impossible to find anyone who is truly neutral.
How should we approach this issue? I wonder what Jesus would say about abortion. How would he feel about it? What if he were walking among us today? Is there any way to be sure about what he would say?
We can begin with one obvious fact. Jesus never directly addressed this issue, mostly because abortion was not commonly practiced in Israel. It was considered a pagan practice. Because the Jews in Jesus’ day did not kill their unborn, there was no reason to address the issue (See The Early Church on Abortion and Abortion in the Bible and Church History).
So if we ask, “What would Jesus do today?” we’re not asking the right question. We ought to ask, “What did Jesus do and what did he say?"
The gospels leave us with many important clues, none more important than this. How did the Lord Jesus treat children?
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