Is the sanctity of life of the preborn child a civil rights issue?
We are guaranteed the “right to life” in our founding documents — the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution — as a “blessing” endowed by our “Creator” God himself. A growing strategy of much of the sanctity of life movement involves the idea that the only way we are going to convince most of the American public is to equate the campaign to protect the life of the preborn child with the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the abolitionist movement of the 1850s. The main difference, of course, is that the majority of effective civil rights leaders and abolitionists were African Americans themselves. Yes, there were a few notable exceptions. But could these movements have gained traction if they were left to the white elite politicians of the day? Probably not. Human beings will fight and suffer for their own rights, but rarely will we sacrifice for the ones who are hidden, and especially the offspring of sin that we wish to hide. This has led to the framing of abortion in terms of “a woman’s right to choose” and “reproductive freedom.” Children resulting from rape and incest are pushed to the forefront of the debate. These tiny, innocent human beings are continually offered up as examples of the produce of abominable sin that must be hidden from public view. This is why abortion on demand won the day. The “exceptions” argument was expanded to a comprehensive equal rights argument to allow for the killing of the preborn for every inconvenient pregnancy.
What red-blooded American is not in favor of individual rights?
Although we can frame the argument around the right of the woman vs. the right of the preborn child, when push comes to shove, the selfish choice will always be to preserve our own “rights” when the right to life of an unnamed fetus infringes upon our own pursuit of happiness. This is why the right to life ought to be framed in terms of the liberties granted to us by God in terms of biblical ethics first, and only then in terms of civil rights protected by the government. Liberty cannot exist immutably without the Law of God. It is wrong to murder precisely because God made us in His own image and gave us His breath and life. This is the only valid way that the right to life should be framed. Yes, we can know it is wrong to murder through natural law without any mention of faith in God, but without Christian ethics, cultures and governments will always find artificial loopholes for whom we may kill with impunity. History is replete with horrific examples of these exceptions.
Further, egalitarian humanism is actually a form of liberal modernism. Liberal democracy is a political theory centered on individual rights. This includes classic conservatism, neo-conservatism, and libertarianism on the right, and then socialism and all social democratic movements on the left. All are forms of liberal democracy, the word “liberal” standing for the liberties of the individual. In this political theory, the human being reigns supreme and is the source of all law. Unless we frame the question in terms of rights and liberties derived from God himself, we open the door to all sorts of rights never imagined before in human history — reproductive rights, abortion rights, homosexual rights, transgender rights, and even rights of Personhood granted to animals and bodies of water. The problem is that egalitarian humanism itself is fundamentally at war with the God who created us in His image with the form and personality reflective of life to be valued and protected.
In the time of the Soviet Union, one dissident, Vadim Borisov (b. 1945) noted that the rationalist humanism which took hold in Russia in the early 19th century inevitably led to a destructive nihilism.
We discover with astonishment that so-called rationalist humanism actually lacks an adequate rational basis for its defense of the dignity and inalienable rights of the human personality – for which it has often risked both life and limb. The American Founding Fathers who many years ago first propounded the “eternal rights of man and the citizen” postulated that every human being bears the form and likeness of God; he therefore has an absolute value, and consequently also the right to be respected by his fellows. Rationalism, positivism and materialism successively destroyed the memory of this absolute source of human rights. The unconditional equality of persons before God was replaced by the conditional equality of individuals before the law….
In breaking the link between the human personality and the absolute source of its rights, and yet affirming them as something to be taken for granted, rationalist humanism has from the outset been inherently inconsistent, as its more logical successors very quickly understood. Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud (and many others) resolved the inconsistency each in his own way, leaving not one stone upon another in the edifice of blind faith in man’s dignity. These men represented the theoretical, logical culmination of mankind’s humanist rebellion against God. They declared “our innate moral consciousness” to be self-deception, noxious illusion, fiction – as demanded by a rationally ordered consciousness. This century’s totalitarianism, trampling the human personality and all its rights, rhinoceros-like, underfoot, is only the application of this theory to life, or humanism put into practice (Vadim Borisov, “Personality and National Awareness,” From Under The Rubble, 194).
In comparison with the Soviet system, not only is Western liberalism also man-centered, but in fact it is worse than communism and even fascism because liberal democracy is the last man standing. It is not as though the communists and fascist didn’t kill more people — including hundreds of millions through abortion — but what we are dealing with today is worse because it is much more entrenched and has no fatal opposition as of yet. Therefore, the power to deny rights to “non-Persons” knows no bounds. Neither does humanism’s aid to perversions of God’s intent for human sexual behavior. And so liberal humanism’s license to kill also knows no limits. Jews, Slavs, Gypsies and Poles were legally eliminated under fascism by centering on race. Liberal humanism instead focuses around individual rights and then morphs into transgenderism, transhumanism, posthumanism — and finally it will show its true face as anti-humanism. The only way of regaining a correct view of the Personhood of the individual as an immutable truth is in recognizing Jesus Christ — the perfect Person who is fully man and fully God from His conception in the womb — the source of all our liberty.
We have already said that personality in its original sense is a specifically Christian concept. It was unknown to the ancient world, whose consciousness was totally individualistic. The Greeks, for instance, despised all barbarians, and the citizens of Rome despised all non-Romans…. Christianity does not ask mankind to deny the variety of personalities composing it, nor to become an amorphous mass. It urges mankind to transform itself entirely, “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Every people, every individual person must achieve his fulfillment in the Church. When this comes to pass, when all nations have achieved this goal, this will be the perfect fulfillment of the corporate personality of mankind – Christ’s Church, in which the nation’s spiritual experience, their “glory and honor,” will be laid at Christ’s feet (Borisov).
Liberalism with its emphasis on individual rights is at its base an anti-human, anti-Person, anti-Christian and murderous ideology. It is a political philosophy that wears a nice mask, but hides a hideous monstrosity underneath. The vast majority of America’s liberals and conservatives have fallen into the trap of thinking that a man-centered idea of democracy is a pure and righteous cause. Thankfully that mask is dropping.
Lessons From Recent History
Here I should relate a short explanation as to how liberal humanism turned so anti-human. If we trace liberalism to its origin, there was a respect for preborn human life and a celebration of traditional marriage and gender roles. When abortion was legalized in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Western liberal democracies at first stood firm in their defense of human life and Christian sexual ethics. It was not until after fascism was defeated and communism began to teeter that the West began to liberalize its abortion laws. It was not until after communism fell that the West began to allow same sex marriage and celebrate a slew of sexual perversions. It was as though, as the last man standing, we could afford to test a holy God who had surely judged the blasphemous modernism of Nazi fascism and Soviet communism.
When I first began full-time Christian missions work with The Forerunner in 1989, the Berlin Wall almost immediately fell. The Tiananmen Square Massacre had already happened on June 4th of that year. Soon after that, I was taking short-term missions trips to the Soviet Union. We established a student-run newspaper and several media projects there. There had never been a student-run Christian worldview newspaper in the whole history of the Soviet Union. Now we were publishing articles on numerous issues that dealt with the power of biblical ideas applied to all areas of life and society. Over the next few years, our team based in Kiev, Ukraine began to impact a newly founded youth-oriented church movement in many of the republics of the former USSR.
Shortly after that came the first Gulf War. While I continued my missions efforts, I supported the Middle East military campaign because I believed that since communism had fallen, Islam was the last dominion-bent globalist worldview that was left competing with Christianity. I believed that liberal democracy would allow freedom for the Gospel to be preached in all the nations of the world. These dictatorships would allow free elections and then freedom of religion, speech and press would be established. We would soon see the Gospel grow mightily and prevail in “closed” Islamic nations.
My view was challenged by Steve Schlissel in 1999 when we interviewed him for a video I was co-producing called God’s Law and Society. Schlissel said he believed that we were soon going to have homosexual marriage in America because our religion was no longer Christianity, but “egalitarian humanism.”
It was the first time I heard that term and I didn’t like the sound of it.
Why are equal rights humanistic?
I did not want to think that “equal rights for all people” was somehow a false religion. I happen to like the First Amendment. I like my civil rights. Of course, I don’t want “equal rights” being used to normalize sexual perversion and the killing of preborn children. But the more I’ve thought about it over the years, I now realize that this is 100% correct. Liberalism is not liberty. It’s a hollow shell of freedom — of each man doing what is “right in his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 12:8; Judges 17:6, 21:25; Proverbs 12:15, 21:2).
The Fourth Political Theory
There have been three great political theories in the 20th century. Each is based on modernism. Modernism is a rationalist philosophy of the late 19th century that has greatly affected theology, politics, science and art. Modernism is anti-tradition, anti-religion, anti-family. The urge of the modernists is to create a new world free from the shackles of the brutish ignorance and oppressive systems of the past. The three great modernist political theories were liberalism, communism and fascism. Fascism was defeated by an alliance between the liberals and the communists in 1945. Communism died of old age in 1991. That leaves liberalism as “the end of history” — as some people have called it. But liberalism too has now died. Only the Western politicians in charge of preserving it don’t know that it’s dead.
Modernity by definition is concerned with destroying the traditional cultures of great civilizations. Liberalism does it by focusing on individual rights. Communism does it by focusing on class warfare. And fascism does it by focusing on race or the state.
Modernity has failed because the vast majority of people in the world have rejected it. We are seeing a Revival of tradition, family, religion and deep culture throughout the world. Modernity is dead and a renewed world of traditional civilizations is arising.
So we need to recognize that any political system based on modernism will always be dead on arrival. It will promise freedom through some closed system that concentrates on statism, race, class or individual rights to replace the freedom only found in obeying God’s law. Any modernist political system will run its course fairly quickly and end in oppression and mass graves.
Neo-conservatism is defined either as liberalism that has become slightly more conservative or as conservatism that has acquiesced to the liberalism of past decades. The problem is that the neo-conservatives don’t have an alternative except for a “liberalism light.” The more traditional conservatives are good at describing the problem, but they have absolutely no solution except for more of the same modernist theory that led us into our moral free fall in the first place.
Modernism began in the 1800s as an attack on God, family, religion and tradition. Ultimately, it turned out to be an attack on the human being itself. And that is the crux of the issue. If you choose to remain a human being, then you must choose to recognize Personhood. That is, we are all made in the image of God. Life is sacred not because our government decides it is, but because God made life. Every ancient tradition celebrated that truth whether it was Christian, monotheistic or pagan. That is why all major religions of the world are almost identical in morality in the way they view abortion, sexual ethics, marriage and the family. However, religions that deny the true God eventually fall into the trap described by the Apostle Paul in Romans of worshiping the “creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Paul goes on to say that there is a point of no return of sorts in which God begins to give creature worshipers over to their own “vile affections” (Romans 1:26). After that we begin to see the cheapening of human life that separates pagans from Christ worshipers. Ultimately, the light of Christianity will win out over lesser theistic worldviews. Christianity made huge strides in the 20th century in all major spheres of the world. In the meantime, modernism put up a good fight to extinguish all religion in the West.
In 2022, we have arrived at a time when all modernist political theories have failed, even though the mindset is still entrenched in Western dogma, especially in the power bases of entertainment, news media, education and politics. It is precisely because liberals understand they are losing their political power base that they have now become so militant in imposing a cancel culture and limiting access for traditionalist voices in the public square.
In a nutshell, the key error of liberals and all modernists is that they understand civil government and social change as being imposed from the top-down. In fact, this is the only way they can enforce social change. Instead, the Bible teaches in law-based liberty and reformation from the bottom-up through redemption and regeneration over a long period of time in history.
Why abortion became politicized in the 20th century
Although child sacrifice is a plague as old as the human race, abortion became a necessary pillar in all modernist political systems.
- For liberal democracy based on individual “rights,” the right of a woman to choose when to have children supposedly brings empowerment and equality with men — but at its base liberalism is an attack on God’s authority in the society.
- For communism, abortion is needed to advance class warfare — women must be free to work for the struggle to defeat bourgeois capitalism.
- For fascism was based on racism — the master race must be free to reproduce, while the lower races must be kept in check through abortion and forced sterilization.
All three modernist systems needed abortion to achieve secularism — to weaken the family and the traditional religious and cultural values as the foundation of society — to replace our reliance on God with the worship of the individual (liberalism), the classless society (communism), the state or the master race (fascism). We must also emphasize that these three systems are evil not because they are socially liberal, anti-capitalist or racist — although that certainly makes them evil. They are evil first and foremost because they are modernist. Each modernist political theory opposes the rule of God and His Law.
It’s not that we don’t have the individual right to life. We do. The sanctity of human life is a creation ordinance. We are each made in God’s own image. We first see the explicit commandment of God against murder in the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 3). From the moment of the first murder, “You shall not shed innocent blood” became explicit. However, the civil rights movement with its emphasis on life and liberty has become a movement completely divorced from God’s moral law. It didn’t used to be that way, but that is now what it is.
From that point, the postmodernists threw off the yoke of the crippling modernity to forge new rights in previously unimaginable areas. So we make a huge mistake when we appeal to “Black unborn lives matter” and other slogans that are used by the cultural narcissists of our day. The woke social justice crowd is never going to concede that abortion is murder. Civil rights only matter to the narcissist when it is “my rights” and “my political causes” that benefit.
So in conclusion, we are never going to eliminate abortion by challenging it with individual rights. We can only cancel abortion with the first principles of truth found in God’s Law.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:27).