August 29, 2008
A few years ago, novelist Anne Rice, famous for her vampire stories, recommitted herself to her Catholic faith. She then announced that she was dedicating her writing talents to Christ. One result was the wonderful book, Christ the Lord, a story that imagines the childhood of Jesus.
It is apparent that Rice's beliefs are deep and genuine—which is why I was so surprised to learn she is endorsing a staunchly pro-abortion presidential candidate.
As Rice explained on her website, "My . . . vote must reflect my deepest Christian convictions. For me, these convictions are based on the teachings of Christ . . . which include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and above all, loving one's neighbors."
In response, my friend, Princeton professor Robert George, also Catholic, gently reminded Rice of the teachings of Mother Teresa: "We cannot fight credibly against other social and moral evils, including poverty and violence, while we tolerate mass killings by abortion."
George is right. Now, some of you may be thinking, "There Chuck goes again, mixing religion and politics." But as I write in my new book, The Faith, Christians did not leap into politics five minutes after Roe v. Wade was decided. Christian doctrine on the sanctity of life, coupled with the Church's involvement in politics, began 2,000 years ago.
For instance, the Didache, a first-century manual of Christian discipleship, teaches: "In accordance with the precept of the teaching, 'you shall not kill,' you shall not put a child to death by abortion or kill it once it is born."
Church father Justin Martyr put it equally bluntly: "We have been taught that it is wicked to expose even newly born children" to die in the elements, for "we would then be murderers."
And in the Church's first political appeal in the second century, Christian apologist Athenagoras wrote this to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: "We say that women who use drugs to bring on an abortion commit murder."
Medical advances confirm what ancient Christians took as a matter of faith—that the essential identity of every human life remains the same from conception to natural death.
Whether we believe this and accept responsibility for the unborn child depends on our view of humanity. Do we believe that humans were created in God's image? Or do we believe, as the secularist does, that humans are just one more example of evolution's chance handiwork, no different in kind than lice and lungfish?
If we believe that life evolved by chance, humanity must invent its own reasons for being, and the ethics by which we govern ourselves. That means, whose lives we value become a matter of what can be done to produce the greatest happiness for everybody, but that is a deeply dangerous view—for unborn children, the handicapped, the elderly, or the simply inconvenient.
I hope you will read my new book, The Faith, because in it you will learn what Christians believe, why we believe it, and why it matters. We have defended, as you will see in the book, the sanctity of life at every stage through the centuries, including leading all the great human-rights campaigns. It may sound harsh, but in the book I say, "Christians who are pro-choice are denying the Gospel and have to question whether they have not separated themselves from the company of Christian discipleship."
This commentary first aired on February 7, 2008, and is part four in a five-part series.
Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
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From BreakPoint, July 31, 2008, posted with permission of Prison Fellowship, www.breakpoint.org.