Posts tagged ‘Vote’

Ireland Legalizes Abortion

This blog was one I was hoping I would not have to write.

When I first heard the news that Ireland was voting on a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to its Constitution – which recognized that both a mother and her unborn baby have an equal right to life, effectively barring abortion-on-demand – I almost began preparing a blog under the assumption that the amendment was going to be overturned.  But then I saw that polls showed a narrowing contest.  So, I waited and hoped.  My hopes were not realized.

Ireland was the last major European nation to have broad restrictions in place against abortion.  The fact that legalized abortion-on-demand has come to yet another country grieves me deeply.  Here is why:

  • I am grieved because abortion clinics tend to market themselves to minority communities, leading to a devastating and decimating loss of life among these communities.
  • I am grieved because some men will use this repeal as a hammer to pressure their hookups, their girlfriends, and, perhaps, even their wives into getting abortions they don’t want in order to appease astonishingly selfish men who do not want to raise children they don’t think they need.
  • I am grieved because I know that, for many women, abortions leave emotional and spiritual scars of guilt, shame, and pain that often go unaddressed and unadmitted.
  • I am grieved because I know that some women will not fully or truly understand that they have traded the preciousness of life for a vaunted “choice” that only proves to be shadowy and sad.
  • I am grieved because I know that, before this referendum passed, some women in Ireland whose pregnancies imperiled their lives did not receive the medical attention they needed.
  • I am grieved because I know that some people who claim the name “Christian” have self-righteously condemned those who have gotten abortions.
  • I am grieved because thousands upon thousands of little lives will now be lost as abortion comes to yet another place.

Yes, I am grieved for many reasons.  And yet, at the same time I grieve, I am not, to borrow the juxtaposition the apostle Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, grieving without hope.  Here, again, is why:

  • I am hopeful because I know that, even as abortion clinics set up shop in minority communities, churches are there too, offering clarity and care to expectant mothers in frightening situations.
  • I am hopeful because I know that, for every selfish man, there are many brave women who will push against the pressures and persuasions of self-centeredness and, instead, heroically raise children as single mothers, or even put up children for adoption as they seek to give their precious little ones good lives instead of tragic deaths.
  • I am hopeful because I know that even as many women will surely be hurt by the abortions they endure, many more women will also discover the healing and forgiving grace of Christ and will use their pain to help others make different decisions.
  • I am hopeful because I know that even a choice of death through an abortion cannot overcome the choice of God to grant life through His Son.
  • I am hopeful because I know that, at the same time some medical professionals are foolish and harmful in their opinions and practices, many more are careful, kind, and wise in how they approach and treat their patients.
  • I am hopeful because I know that, for all the people who self-righteously judge those who have gotten abortions, many more humbly help and demonstrate Christ’s love to those who desperately need compassion and care.
  • I am hopeful because I know that the millions of children who have been lost to abortion aren’t really lost, for abortion is no match for eternal life.

I grieve what has happened in Ireland.  I grieve what has been happening since 1973 in my own country.  But I do not grieve without hope.  Indeed, I cannot grieve without hope.  For I follow a man who, when He was confronted with His own death, responded to those who were bent on His execution by saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).  Christ confronts death with forgiveness.  I am hopeful that Christ will confront our decisions toward death in the same way.  Abortion may have won a vote, but I am still hopeful that life will win the victory.

May 28, 2018 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

The Court of Public Opinion



We are a nation of polls.  We poll public opinion on just about everything imaginable – from how Congress is doing their jobs to how the president is doing his job to how many people support gay marriage to how many people support tougher gun control laws to how many people support the legalization of marijuana.

It’s this last bit of polling data that formed the focus of an L.A. Times article by Robin Abcarian, which chronicled the shifting tide of public opinion on our culture’s most famous controlled substance:

The Gallup organization released a poll showing that for the first time in 44 years, a wide margin of Americans – 58% to 39% – believe marijuana should be legalized.

Less than a year ago, only 48% said pot should be legal. That is an astonishing leap of 10 points in the last 11 months alone.[1]

The article explains that Colorado and Washington have led the curve by legalizing recreational marijuana use and their progressive policies, in turn, are moving the country forward:  “Like gay marriage, pot is here to stay.  And just like gay marriage, it seems like the rest of the country is finally starting to catch on.  Or light up.”

Personally, I find it ironic and more than a little medically disingenuous that at the same time cigarettes are increasingly controlled and decried because of the health risks associated with inhaling nicotine, tar, and smoke, using marijuana, which impairs motor abilities and adversely affects cardiopulmonary health, is increasingly accepted.

Regardless of the medical and, for the matter, moral arguments against the legalization of marijuana, I nevertheless must agree with Abcarian’s conclusion:  “Like gay marriage, pot is here to stay.”

Why do I concur with Abcarian’s conclusion?  Because we live in a society obsessed with and ruled by public opinion.  Our working presupposition is that if the majority of people approve of something, that something ought to be implemented societally.  And if the majority of people approve of something, that something ought to be considered good and right.  Public opinion, then, shapes far more than our federal policy; it guides our society’s morality.

But there is a problem with public opinion.  Because the people who proffer it are sinful, public opinion can be sinful.  One need look no farther than Pontius Pilate’s opinion poll:  “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 27:22)?  I’m not sure the public was right or righteous when they gave their opinion on Jesus’ sentence.

The apostle Paul reminds us of the stark sinfulness that can sometimes mark public opinion when he writes:

[People] have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:29-32)

According to Paul, the public delights in sanctioning sin.  Far from being good and moral, the public is sinful and wicked.  And lest we think we are somehow immune to the depravity of the general public, Paul reminds us that we too play a role in society’s degeneracy:

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. (Romans 2:1)

It’s not just that public opinion “out there” can be wrong, it’s that our own opinions can be wrong because our opinions are stained and maimed by sin.

In a culture where public opinion shapes nearly everything, Christians have a countercultural message:  what is moral and best is not always what is popular and promoted.  Instead, what is moral and what is best is that which is revealed by God.

So what does this mean for the debate over legalizing marijuana?  It means that a debate such as this one cannot be settled by a poll.  Instead, we, as Christians, need to think about this issue in light of God’s Word.  Perhaps what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:20 is a good place to begin:  “Therefore honor God with your body.”

[1] Robin Abcarian, “Like gay marriage, medical marijuana is here to stay,” L.A. Times (10.23.2013).

November 4, 2013 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

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