Hope and concern after Roe
Members of The Christian Chronicle’s Editorial Board responded individually to…
When The Christian Chronicle’s Editorial Board meets each month, we bring very different perspectives to the virtual table.
We are all Christians but very different people.
Our group includes two 20-somethings and three grandparents. Women. Men. Single. Married. Divorced. Black. White. Oklahoma. Texas. California. Alabama.
Related: Hope and concern after Roe
Thus, when we considered what viewpoint to share with readers about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, we brought eight different voices to the conversation.
And we did not agree. No one shouted or accused others of being evil. But we each brought our own experiences, background and viewpoints. Some of those views are shared here.
On one aspect, however, we are in complete agreement: the children.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” He welcomed children and showed them more respect than the surrounding culture allowed. He also spoke a warning: Do not hinder them.
Whether Christians celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision or fearfully dread its consequences, we must hear Jesus’ words about the children. Welcome them. Care for them. Protect them.
Just as Jesus broadly defined his answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?” we must think broadly when we answer the question “Who are the children?”
In a given moment, they include infants born of unplanned pregnancies. Children in foster care. Unborn children. Children who are victims of rape and incest. Children born with terminal, disabling or painful birth defects. Children who are mothers themselves. Or who are fathers themselves.
Not all children have sweet, sunny faces. Some are frightened, malnourished and abused. Some are surly or violent. Many have never heard the name of Jesus.
Christians have long done good works on behalf of children. In the first century, at a time when the Roman government didn’t consider children to have agency themselves — didn’t consider them a human life worthy of defense — Christians rescued exposed and abandoned infants. That countercultural response contributed to the spread of Christianity throughout the empire.
In this century, Christians fund children’s homes, homes for unwed mothers and adoption and foster care agencies. Medical missions serve children on foreign soil. Christians do a lot. But we have not yet done enough. To care for children, we must care for mothers.
Related: Roe v. Wade overturned: What’s next?
In the post-Roe world many Christians prayed for, churches must consider how they will treat the pregnant 15-year-old in the youth group. Will Christians love, encourage and welcome her?
Or will she be shunned? Will they give her a baby shower?
If we can’t figure out how to love the pregnant teen in our church family, how will we love the young woman who’s never been in our building, or any church building, who may look, act and think very differently from us — the young woman for whom legal abortion is no longer an option? Will we give her a baby shower?
Will we respond when called to advocate for women’s health care? Will we give, volunteer and vote to make prenatal care and nutrition a reality for those who need it? Will we advocate for affordable child care so moms can work? Will we provide that childcare in our churches, in our homes?
Will we “tsk tsk” in the grocery line, rolling our eyes as a young mom pays for groceries and formula with food stamps? Or will we pull cash from our own pockets to pay her bill when she runs short?
Many women who would have chosen abortion will not come to our churches for help. Perhaps they are poor or of color or still stinging from the rebuke of some Christian who shamed them. We will have to go to them, into our neighborhoods and to neighborhoods not our own. We will have to be uncomfortable, uncondemning, compassionate.
Children didn’t choose their circumstances. We must choose to make their circumstances better. We all agree about that. — Cheryl Mann Bacon, for the Editorial Board
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