Every day in America, the strong murder the weak. And it’s legal. It’s legal for the strong to murder the weak in America because Americans have grabbed for a godlike power to determine what is real and what is not real, who is human and who is subhuman. This is a profoundly important point made by Pastor John in his latest Sanctity of Human Life Sunday sermon, and in a clip recently sent to us by a listener to this podcast. Here is Pastor John to explain.
Abortions come from self-deification. Deification — what in the world is that? To deify something is to treat it as God. So, self-deification is to act as though you’re God. I can hear someone say, “Oh, here comes some over-the-top, overstated, fevered, rhetorical, sermonic flourish about our ‘becoming gods’ if we’re pro-choice.” You listen and judge if it’s fevered.
In 1992, in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy spoke one of the most important sentences uttered in the last fifty years for echoing and shaping our culture. He said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” That’s breathtaking.
“That is legally enshrined self-deification: the strong decide which of the weak are persons.”
Here’s one of the outworkings of that self-deifying worldview. Minnesota, along with 37 other states, have fetal homicide laws, which are laws about how you can treat a baby in the womb. You can read these just like I did: Minnesota statutes 609.2661 to 609.2691. These statutes distinguish first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, manslaughter, and assault — all of them relating to the unborn. For example, statute 609.2661 says,
Whoever does any of the following is guilty of murder of an unborn child in the first degree and must be sentenced to imprisonment for life:
(1) causes the death of an unborn child with premeditation and with intent to effect the death of the unborn child or of another.
To which you all respond, “That’s the definition of abortion.” Why doesn’t this law, which clearly states that whoever “causes the death of an unborn child with premeditation and with intent to effect the death of the unborn child,” rule out abortion? If it’s there in the law, why doesn’t that rule out abortion?
Simple. Statute 609.266 gives some definitions:
(a) “Unborn child” means the unborn offspring of a human being conceived, but not yet born.
Amen! That’s good. It goes on:
(b) “Whoever” does not include the pregnant woman.
So, “whoever . . . causes the death of an unborn child with premeditation” doesn’t include the mom. And then it goes right to the chase in 609.269. All these sections protecting the unborn child “do not apply to any act described in section 145.412” — which is all about abortion. Oh, okay. So, abortion is just an exception.
Here’s the implication. It is illegal — in Minnesota and lots of states — to take the life of an unborn child if the mother wants the baby. And it’s legal to take the life of an unborn child if she doesn’t. In the first case, the law treats the fetus as a human with rights. In the second case, the law treats the fetus as a nonhuman with no rights.
“God’s divine person-forming work in the womb is not to be preempted by any self-deifying human being.”
Humanness, the existence of a human being, is decreed by the will of a mother. The baby is young and weak. He can’t cry out, “I’m a human.” Therefore, the will of the older, the stronger holds sway. And by her will, she may confer upon the human, “You’re a human” — or not. If she does confer humanness on this thing, no one may kill this baby. And if she does not confer humanness on this baby, it may be legally, with impunity, killed. That is legally enshrined self-deification: the strong decide which of the weak are persons.
- We reject that in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism.
- We reject that in the case of Confederate race-based slavery.
- We reject that in the case of the Soviet Gulag.
But in the case of the unborn, millions of people — millions in the church, which is what I care about most — embrace the self-deifying principle that the human will of the strong confers personhood: If she wants the baby, it’s a baby. If she doesn’t, it’s not. She’s God.
Knit, Woven, Formed
Now, according to God’s word, the baby inside and outside the womb gets its personhood from God.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . .
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13–16)
God’s divine person-forming work in the womb is not to be preempted by any self-deifying human being. So, I say again: abortion is caused significantly by human self-deification.