Nestled between two worship services, a small group meal and study and a quarterly business conference was my presentation for the 2013 annual Apologetics Conference. Past topics have included writing and marriage. This year the topic is abortion and apologetics. Yeah, not for the faint of heart is this conference. If you want to see my presentation, you’ll have to register at the conference homepage. They have everything archived, including my previous years presentations.
I began by insisting that we who value life are winning the struggle and I used Facebook to prove it. You’ll just have to watch to see how I do that.
Everything was rocking along pretty well until I insisted upon two concepts that I think are pretty important but apparently not many people in the conference agreed. In fact, someone accused me of being ‘liberal.’ It has been a very long time since that has happened. I actually enjoyed it.
What did I insist upon that got people riled up? Well……
- Well, the first thing that seemed to raise hackles amongst people was my opinion that the word ‘abortion’ is probably too strong a word to use in sermonizing and in general church discourse. My reasoning is that it has become one of those harsh words that can have a very negative connotation to many people. There are only a handful of words that are stronger in the English language–such as the “N” word, faggot, and masturbate. Even if one uses the words properly and without emotional connotation they just take the focus off the goal and move it onto something else. Notice how as you read this, me writing “N” word probably makes you feel so much better than actually typing out the awful word. Why? It carries so much emotional baggage for understandable reasons. I think the word abortion does the same thing. It takes people’s minds away from our argument about the purposes of God, the sanctity of life, and our responsibilities as sexual beings. For this I was accused of adopting ‘liberal Gen-Xer language.’ Maybe, but I think I’m right. I want to persuade people, not offend them.
- The second thing I did was to connect the abortion issue to the death penalty. I put forward the argument that we in the Christian community lose credibility when we argue for the sanctity of life of the unborn but vociferously advocate for the death penalty. My reasons for opposing the death penalty are nuanced and complicated but the key reason is that in the United States the practice is racist. People of color tend to be executed at substantially higher rates, while those who are wealthy are able to afford better lawyers. Life and death should not depend upon the skill of a lawyer. Other reasons include the concept that Jesus was executed by the state for crimes he didn’t commit, because the state is not always right and the aforementioned lack of credibility on the issue when engaged with the world in general about policy. I would gladly cede capital punishment to strengthen the defense for the unborn. Turns out, this is pretty controversial. Many folks disagreed with me on this capital punishment issue. Their arguments ranged from citations of Old Testament biblical passages to the case that harsh penalties save lives and establish the importance of victim’s lives, thus paradoxically preserving life even as it takes it. I accept these arguments, perhaps in a perfectly just world they would sway me. We do not live in that perfectly just world.
I said a lot of other things, but if you want to see those, you’ll have to register and watch the video.