I have a question, “What makes a child conceived due to rape or incent not created or less created in the image of God?” God’s answer: nothing. What about yours? No one denies the difficulty and hardship caused by an unplanned pregnancy and no one denies that it is magnified when it occurs in the case of rape or incest. The abortion issue has been a political lightning rod for a longtime, but due to comments made recently by Todd Akin, the republican senate candidate from Missouri; it has once again re-emerged in prominence. In response to a question concerning whether or not he believes abortion should be legal if the pregnancy occurred as a result of rape, he said the following, “From what I understand, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut it down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.” Now it must be said that the first portion of his statement was totally inaccurate as there is no evidence that a woman is able to stop conception in the case of rape. Akin has since apologized for his misstatement. But the second part of his comment concerning who should be punished in such an unfortunate circumstance was not only accurate but biblical. Sure, he might have phrased his view in perhaps a better way, but I contend all of us could’ve better phrased some of the things we’ve said before as well. As you might expect, the Democratic Party pounced on Akins statement in a desire to paint both the Republican Party and especially its nominee for president, Mitt Romney as extreme. The Republican Party fired back with a response of its own. They first called for Akin to withdraw from the Missouri senate race. Thus far, he has refused. They then spoke of the extreme views that President Obama holds on abortion. Lastly, the Romney campaign affirmed their pro-life stance, but with exceptions, those exceptions being in the case of rape, incest or health of the mother.
It’s no surprise to see biblical authority under attack. It’s been under attack. It’s challenged daily, as various interest groups, politicians and citizens debate different cultural issues that exist in our society. Naturally, abortion and when life begins has not escaped this debate, but along with gay marriage, it is perhaps the most vicious of any of these debates. This is especially the case during a major political campaign season. The response of non-Christians should not surprise us. When you don’t believe in God, why does His authority matter? If you do believe in Him, it should. But as Christians, we are also guilty of parsing the issue of abortion on the basis of rape or incest. This is not a biblical position. When God said, “Let us make man in our image…” He didn’t follow it up with, “except in these circumstances”. Since when did rape or incest change the authority and the truth of Genesis 1:26? Just because a child is conceived in sin, doesn’t lessen their rights nor does it change whether or not that child is made in the image of God. Is it any less a sin if a child is conceived out of wedlock? While there are certainly politicians who have spoken out and held firmly to Scripture regarding this issue, many cower in the corner afraid to speak out for fear of their political futures. And while the Republicans, of which I am registered, seek to take a higher moral ground on this issue, the practical result of Romney’s stance is no different than the Obama position. Both ultimately place man above God and spit in the face of biblical authority. God will not be mocked. I wonder if our politicians realize that we’re living the consequences of our denial of His authority, our sin. I wonder if they realize that because we suppress His truth and exchange it for a lie that His restraining hand of grace is being removed from our nation. Mostly, I wonder if they care.
This is not only a question for our political leaders; it’s a question for each of us. Have you ever really read Romans 1:18-3:20? Thankfully, there’s Jesus! There is always hope in Him. But we must never presume upon His grace because He is not bound by it. It is His unmerited favor. God doesn’t live in the world of relativism. That’s the world we like living in because it makes us feel better about ourselves. The argument of “my stance is more moral than yours” doesn’t win His favor when that stance in itself is contrary to His will. Sure we want policies that lead to fewer abortions and not more, but don’t mistake an abortion policy that has exceptions for rape or incest as being biblical because it’s not. God is a holy God. He is a God of absolutes and He has absolutely made His will clear on abortion, the issue of life and when it begins. What is also clear is the lack of courage among many of our political leaders. As they do most things, they view abortion through a political prism rather than the prism of Truth. They seem more interested in political expediency and advantage than anything else. Their actions deny God’s blessings for faithful obedience in spite of hardship. Each political party accuses the other side of being extreme, but what’s extreme is the audacity of both sides to disregard God’s authority. But more than anything, it appears both parties want to focus on the other side’s position because they really don’t want to have to explain theirs. But one day, they will. One day, we all will.