Global hunger. Human trafficking. Poverty. AIDS. Child labor. Thanks to the passion and persistence of advocates of social justice, many of these issues are finally registering with mainstream American Christians. We are being challenged like never before to leave our religious cocoons and embrace our communities, to volunteer at soup kitchens, reach out to the less fortunate, and find ways to practically demonstrate the love of Christ in our cities and neighborhoods.
However, one cause is conspicuously absent from the social justice agenda: Abortion.
The statistics remain staggering and anyone who objectively explores the issues involved — teen pregnancy, fetal development, abortion procedures, the demographic tilt, the psychological aftermath, etc. — must inevitably admit the problematic nature of the abortion industry in America. Nevertheless, the number of prominent social justice advocates who speak for the rights of the unborn is scant.
Why is this?
By way of example, one of the most well-known Christian social justice advocates is Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Wallis has been evasive when pressed about a pro-life position. In an article entitled Is Jim Wallis Pro-Choice? First Things columnist Kieth Pavlischek concludes:
…I told Wallis as bluntly as I could, that as far as I could tell his position and that of Sojourners was indistinguishable from the old Mario Cuomo position of being “personally opposed” to abortion while wanting to keep the procedure legal. I suggested that neither he nor Sojourners could honestly be labeled pro-life because, for that term to mean anything, it has to involve advocacy for the legal protection of the unborn. Wallis was equally frank in response. He simply rejected my suggestion that the “legal protection of the unborn” had anything to do with being pro-life. Both of us left that conversation with a clear understanding that Wallis was, quite simply, pro-choice on abortion. (emphasis mine)
Currently, on Jim Wallis’ Sojourner’s site, under Take Action, you can find numerous causes to engage in, such as:
- “Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform”
- “Climate Change: Protecting People and Planet”
- “Fight Child Slavery”
- “Cut the Deficit — Cut Military Spending”
- “Aid, not Troops, in Afghanistan”
- “Support Nuclear Disarmament”
- “Fair Pay for Tomato Pickers.”
Despite this extensive cataloging of “injustices,” the rights of the unborn are largely ignored by Jim Wallis and Sojourners. This omission is disturbingly characteristic of most advocates of social justice. While they plead for amnesty for illegals, assistance for the poor, AIDS research, gay rights, animal rights, nuclear disarmament, and increased environmental restrictions — often invoking the name of Jesus Christ in the process — they seem to look the other way when over 1 million children are aborted each year. Is this justice?
The typical response from advocates of social justice is that the best way to fight abortion is not by criminalizing it, but by eradicating poverty. While this may contain some truth, couldn’t this argument be used against many “injustices”? Why criminalize anything — like drugs, gang violence, human-trafficking, child prostitution, etc. — when there are larger socio-economic reasons behind them? In truth, this argument skirts the larger issue: Is the fetus human? As I’ve put forth elsewhere, our inability to determine when human life begins is more of an argument to legally protect life at all stages than to tolerate its termination at any stage. The fact that advocates of social justice avoid such conclusions – especially while claiming to revere a Book that holds all life as sacred — is disingenuous at best.
Frankly, this is one reason why I am rather skeptical of the social justice movement.
Do the unborn really have less rights than “Tomato Pickers”? Does “justice” NOT extend to the unborn? Apparently, to Jim Wallis, Sojourners, and organizations like them, social justice only begins AFTER birth.
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Question: Why don’t more Christian advocates of social justice embrace pro-life causes?