When Is Abortion Racism?
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
For the sake of full disclosure let me tell you one of my main aims in this message: In the name of Jesus Christ and rooted in the gospel of his death and resurrection for sinners (including abortionists and pastors), my aim is to stigmatize abortion by associating it with racism. I would like you to link abortion and race the same way you link lynching and race.
Abortion and Racism
My aim is that those who abhor racism will abhor abortion—“Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9). My aim is that abortion would be as culturally taboo as racism is. My aim is to hasten the day when being publicly pro-choice will be as reprehensible as being publicly racist. My aim is to hasten the day when declaring yourself pro-choice would be like declaring yourself a white supremacist.
My aim is that just as once even though the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case of 1857 held that Black slaves were property without rights as free persons, yet today we view that as unthinkable; so also even though the Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade case of 1973 did not give the unborn the rights of free persons, nevertheless the day may come when that too is viewed as unthinkable. Racism might—and often did—result in the killing of innocent humans; in our history, it often did. But abortion always results in the killing of innocent humans. Between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 Black people were lynched in America. Today more Black babies are killed by white abortionists every three days than all who were lynched in those years (Life Education and Resource Network).
But I am getting ahead of myself. I simply want you to know where I am going, so that no one will say I made this association between abortion and racism in a sly or subtle way. It is not subtle. It is open and intentional and, I hope to show, justified. May God make the support of abortion in America and around the world as unthinkable as support for racism.
I don’t expect to escape misunderstanding or criticism for this message. But a few attacks might be avoided by quoting Randy Alcorn whose view I share:
I do not believe that most people who support abortion rights are racists, any more than I believe there are no racists among pro-lifers. I am simply suggesting that regardless of motives, a closer look at both the history and present strategies of the pro-choice movement suggests that “abortion for the minorities” may not serve the cause of equality as much as the cause of supremacy for the healthy, wealthy and white. (Eternal Perspectives, Sept.-Oct. 1993, p. 9)
Again my aim is to associate abortion and racism, not to equate them. Whether the association is justified, you will decide. It’s not a biblical declaration; it’s a cultural observation. But we must look at the Bible to see why I would venture to makes such an observation in a Christian sermon.
What Abortion Is
First, a word about what abortion is, and then a look at our text. I got an email last week from one of our apprentices who told me of a conversation he had with a junior high student: “He . . . had never heard of abortion, nor did he know what it was. That fact alone shocked me.” So if you don’t think you know enough to be an educator, think again. If you simply know what it is, you know enough to educate. And education really matters. There is mass ignorance. Merriam Webster defines abortion as “The termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” Defining abortion as the “termination of pregnancy” is like defining the death of your aged father as the “termination of hospice care.” Abortion is the intentional killing of unborn babies. It happens by inserting instruments into the mother’s womb pulling the babies into pieces and removing them. There are special clinics where it happens. There used to be over two thousand. Today there are about 740. They have killed forty-six million babies since abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court in 1973. Each year 1.2 million abortions happen in the U. S. You can watch an actual abortion online at The Center for Bioethical Reform [Editor's note: the video begins immediately and is very graphic.] One of the fullest and best sites for education on abortion is Abort73.com.
Abortion and the Gospel
Before we go further into abortion and race, let’s look at our text and put this issue in the context of the Christian gospel. In Ephesians 5:6, Paul writes, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” “These things” refers back to verse 5: “You may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” So the really great issue of the universe is described: People may enter the kingdom of Christ, or people may endure the wrath of God. The great issue of life is: How shall I escape the wrath of God and enter into the eternal life of Christ’s kingdom?
The answer has been fully presented in the first three chapters of Ephesians, and a summary is right here in Ephesians 4:32-5:2. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” So put 5:2 together with verse 4:32. Verse 2: “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” In other words, Christ died for sinners—people who need forgiveness. Women in this room who have had abortions. Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, mothers, grandmothers who condoned or even demanded it. Doctors who urged it or performed it. And all the rest of us sinners in this room who will perish under the wrath of God (v. 6) if we reject God’s substitute for us, Jesus Christ.
Christ died for sinners—that’s what the phrase “gave himself up for us” means in verse 2. And then in 4:32, he says, “God in Christ forgave you.” The aim of his giving himself up for us was to forgive us. If we receive Christ as our only hope and guide and treasure, if we are “in him” by faith, then God’s forgiveness is ours. “God in Christ forgave you.” That means that we may escape the wrath that is coming and enter into the kingdom of Christ. O that every sinner in this room would hear this and believe this and feel this. Only in Jesus Christ is there salvation from the guilt of sin and the wrath of God. And that salvation is available for every abortionist and everyone involved in abortion at every level. There is nothing too hard for God.
In Jesus Christ, God Forgives Sinners
And lest anyone think that you are simply too sinful—that there have been too many sins for too long—listen to the way the great sinner, the apostle Paul, speaks to you—directly to you. This is 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” In other words, if God can save me, the foremost (he was a murdering Christian-hater), then he can save anyone who comes to him. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Now with that spectacular good news in place, Paul calls us to walk in the light and expose the works of darkness: Ephesians 5:8-11, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” When a person is forgiven for all his sins, and escapes from God’s wrath, and enters the kingdom of Christ, he has a calling—to be light! To shine with the light of Christ in the world. To display the beauty of Christ and to expose the fruitlessness—the moral emptiness and deadly effects—of the works of darkness. We sang as children, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” But have you ever sung, “Shine all over Planned Parenthood, I’m gonna let it shine . . .”?
Paul carries the image on through in a very hopeful way. His hope is not that the light of goodness and righteousness and truth simply expose and damn. His hope is that it expose and that the exposed will become light. That the spiritually dead will be quickened from the dead and call upon Jesus and join the forces of light. Ephesians 5:13-14, “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”
Out of Darkness, Into Light
Paul’s aim—and our aim with him—is not damnation. Our aim is salvation. “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” That is possible for pastors and abortionists and all who have been involved in abortion. And there is a very particular application here for the words, “When anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.” Some of the strongest witnesses to the light of life are women who have had abortions and come out of the darkness into the light of forgiveness and light. They have become light. They are shining with the truth. Let’s turn to one of them who had two abortions and listen.
Dr. Alveda C. King is the daughter of Rev. A. D. King, Martin Luther King’s brother. She is the founder of King for America. Her uncle had a dream that she loves. Here is her own dream:
We have been fueled by the fire of “women’s rights,” so long that we have become deaf to the outcry of the real victims whose rights are being trampled upon, the babies and the mothers. . . . What about the rights of each baby who is artificially breached before coming to term in his or her mother’s womb, only to have her skull punctured, and feel, yes agonizingly “feel” the life run out of her before she takes her first breath of freedom. What about of the rights of these women who have been called to pioneer the new frontiers of the new millennium only to have their lives snuffed out before the calendar even turns?
Oh, God, what would Martin Luther King, Jr., who dreamed of having his children judged by the content of their characters do if he’d lived to see the contents of thousands of children’s skulls emptied into the bottomless caverns of the abortionists pits?
It is time for America, perhaps the most blessed nation on earth to lead the world in repentance, and in restoration of life! . . . Abortion is at the forefront of our destruction. Partial Birth Abortion is perhaps the most heinous form of this legal genocide. . . . The only healing and redemption is in the blood of Jesus, blood willingly shed so that we could stand today and cry out for the blood of the unborn that is drenching the land of our children.
. . . [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] once said, “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.” How can the “Dream” survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. . . . If the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to live, our babies must live. Our mothers must choose life. If we refuse to answer the cry of mercy from the unborn, and ignore the suffering of the mothers, then we are signing our own death warrants.
I too, like Martin Luther King, Jr., have a dream. I have a dream that the men and women, the boys and girls of America will come to our senses, and humble ourselves before God Almighty and pray for mercy, and receive His healing grace. I pray that this is the day, the hour of our deliverance. May God have mercy on us all.
Ms. King refers to abortion as genocide. Rev. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. goes further and refers to black genocide. In 2002, he birthed a website by and for African Americans called Blackgenocide.org. The lament at that website reads like this (referring to statistics in 2002):
[The] incidence of abortion has resulted in a tremendous loss of life. It has been estimated that since 1973 Black women have had about 10 million abortions [probably up to 13 million now]. Michael Novak . . . calculated, “Since the number of current living Blacks (in the U.S.) is 31 million, the missing 10 million represents an enormous loss, for without abortion, America's Black community would now number 41 million persons. It would be 35 percent larger than it is. Abortion has swept through the Black community like a scythe, cutting down every fourth member.”
A Vision to Do Something
Perhaps the best way I can put this is to let John Ensor describe the situation racially, not in the abstract, but in the context of his vision to do something about it. John founded five crisis pregnancy centers in Boston called A Woman’s Concern. That remarkable achievement is part of something amazing nationally. In the last thirty-five years, the Christian community has founded 2,300 pregnancy help centers. This means Christians ready to help women before, during, and after pregnancy, while saving the children.
But here’s the catch. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. They were founded by Margaret Sanger whose “Negro Project” in the 1930s was designed to reduce the births of black children (Randy Alcorn, “Planned Parenthood: a Closer Look At Its Founder and Philosophy, Eternal Perspectives, Sept.-Oct., 1993, pp. 8-9; see also George Grant, Killer Angel: A Short Biography of Planned Parenthood's Founder, Margaret Sanger [Franklin, Tennessee: Ars Vitai Press, 2001). Today 78% of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority communities. John Ensor takes this as the crucial challenge of the pro-life, crisis pregnancy center movement: Go to the urban centers. Here is what he says:
To date, the pregnancy center movement has grown mostly in rural and suburban areas. The great challenge now facing us is to respond to the abortion industry’s dominant business strategy of abandoning rural and suburban abortion facilities and targeting urban neighborhoods. For example, Planned Parenthood closed 17 abortion facilities in 2004. But they sold 20% more abortions. How did they do this? By targeting minority neighborhoods in major cites. Currently, 94% of America's abortion facilities are in cities. And African-American women, who make up 13% of the female population account for 36% of all abortions.1 Latino-American women makeup another 13% of the female population, but account for another 20% of all abortions. (See Susan Enouen, "Planned Parenthood Abortion Facilities Target African American Communities.")
In other words, the de facto effect (I don’t call it the main cause, but net effect) of putting abortion clinics in the urban centers is that the abortion of Hispanic and Black babies is more than double their percentage of the population. Every day 1,300 black babies are killed in America. Seven hundred Hispanic babies die every day from abortion. Call this what you will—when the slaughter has an ethnic face and the percentages are double that of the white community and the killers are almost all white, something is going on here that ought to make the lovers of racial equality and racial harmony wake up.
John and his wife Kristin just moved temporarily from Boston to Miami to take up the challenge. Forty percent of all the abortions in Florida are done in Miami. There are forty abortion-selling centers in that city, but only one ultrasound equipped pregnancy center. John and Kristen hope to turn that around, not only there, but with CareNet and Focus on the Family, across the country.
Here is his closing dream: “The abolition of abortion is in sight, and will be looked back on by future generations the way we currently look back on slavery, when the pregnancy center movement is established in our cities and led by the Black, Latino and White Christian community." I know that I am talking mainly to a white audience. But not only. Word spreads. One person could make all the difference.
O that the murderous effect of abortion in the Black and Latino communities, destroying tens of thousands at the hands of white abortionists, would explode with the same reprehensible reputation as lynching. May the Lord raise up from the African-American churches and the Hispanic-American churches a passion to seize the moral high ground against the slaughter of the little ones. Such leadership would sweep the field, and the white pro-choice establishment would fall before it. May it happen in the name of Christ and for his glory and for the good of all people until the Lord of glory comes. Amen.