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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Abortion vs. reconciliation (letter: Sorjourner magazine)

Sojourner magazine

January 1977
I read with some chagrin the article on abortion (“The Abortion Impasse: a Way Out”) by Charles Fager in the December issue of Sojourners.

Fager begins his article with the stated assumption that “reconciliation” is the “central declaration” of the Bible and therefore reconciliation is the great “imperative” for the Christian. Whether or not this is true, Fager gives no Biblical support for his contention and surely the history of the Sojourners is one not of reconciliation but rather of prophetic pronouncement. Indeed, reconciliation has been noticeably absent in the Post-American community’s denouncing of evils in American society.

During the Vietnam era you prophesied in an evangelical wilderness. Now, on another conscience-searing issue (in which evangelicals again find themselves in an ethical wilderness), you seem to hide behind radical chic clichés and seek “reconciliation” rather than justice for the oppressed! I don’t remember you being so sensitive about the intense and honest feelings of those sincere Americans who philosophically were convinced that Vietnam was a moral effort for their country. You proclaimed what you believed to be exegetically valid principles and you let the application of those principles speak for themselves without trying to soften the blow. You have chosen to be dainty with the abortion issue, however.

Fager shows an amazing lack of understanding of sin by postulating the ludicrous “St. Louis Proposal.” The idea that sinful men and women will voluntarily, as a matter of course, respect the integrity and humanness of other men and women is completely alien to Scripture. Quite the contrary, Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:1314 clearly indicate that civil government is invested with divine authority to protect the image-bearers from each other (Genesis 9:6). In a sentence reeking with barbarism Fager states, “Abortion supporters could still uphold their main belief in choice for women even if they accepted the humanity of fetal life.” Is he really suggesting that women will aggressively pursue abortion (even up to the ninth month as they do now) fully believing that they are committing premeditated homicide? God spare us from that depth of callousness.

Why has there been no cry of “outrage and violence” from Sojourners against the slaughter of over 1,000,000 intra-uterine humans in our country last year? You are not afraid to use prophetically inflammatory language to express your outrage against our Vietnam War effort, or against the torture being practiced in the world. You were not afraid to forcefully warn us of the threat of a right-wing evangelical movement in our country. But, compared to the bloodshed and injustice of abortion, all the bloodshed and injustice which you have railed against pale in magnitude. Where now is your thunder?

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