What should we do now that Roe v. Wade is overturned?
This is a very divisive question. There is celebration and lamentation across the nation. While there is dire disagreement over this topic hopefully both sides can treat each other with dignity and have dialogue where needed.
There were three Justices that did not agree with overturning Roe. Their opinion, known as “the dissent,” talks a lot “about the effects of pregnancy on women, the burdens of motherhood, and the difficulties faced by poor women. These are important concerns. However, the dissent evinces no similar regard for a State’s interest in protecting prenatal life.” Why is no concern shown for “prenatal life,” or what is termed, “potential life”?
As Americans, we have super slow speed limits in school zones. Why? Because we want to protect children. We don’t know for sure that a child will die if we speed but we still have laws and don’t speed—and infringe our freedoms—to protect kids. Why? Because life is precious.
So, even if you believe that life inside of a womb is just “potential life” remember school speed zones. We infringe our freedoms all the time to protect against possible death.
Why do we do that? Because we as a country value life. So, we take precautions and inconveniences to protect it. I believe, as Roe was overturned, we turned back to that precedent. And we as a country became more consistent. And for that, I thank God.
As a Christian, I believe abortion is not morally justifiable so I rejoice at the overturning of Roe v. Wade. But I also realize the massive needs that will quickly be apparent. So, I can somewhat understand my friends that are lamenting. I disagree with them, but I feel for them. I want all those that are feeling burdened to find help.
So, what should we do?
1. Praise the Lord Roe v. Wade has been overturned!
Christians believe in the sanctity of human life—all human life. Abortion is not morally justifiable. Therefore, Christians rejoice in the ruling that was announced on June 24th. The Guttmacher Institute reported 930,160 abortions in 2020 and the CDC reported 625,346 in 2019. We rejoice that the overturning of Roe v. Wade should drastically reduce that number. Christians rejoice because they believe all lives are precious. And so, they shouldn’t be jerks to those who disagree with them. They should know and show that they too have value.
2. Pray for our country that is very divided over this issue and for states that will now have the power to make their own abortion laws.
We should pray and do what we can to see laws passed across the states to protect life. Pray also for peace and that we would be united as states. A recent Gallup survey reports that 52% of Americans consider abortion morally acceptable (though 71% say it shouldn’t be legal in the third trimester).
3. Pray that the Church and communities across America will care for mothers and their babies; that babies that otherwise wouldn’t have been in the world would receive help in the world.
Christians must continue to care for the most vulnerable amongst us. As Roe falls there’s a massive opportunity and need for the Church to rise up and love. The Church has the answer. My we employ our minds, wallets, and houses to tangibly care for those in need.
Because Christians believe in the sanctity of human life and in justice, we also care about the moms that would have had the abortion and we care about the babies that will now be born. In the U.S. in 2017, about 1 in 5 pregnancies ended in abortion. And around 75% of abortion patients in 2014 were poor (income below $15,730 for a family of two) or low-income. This shows the massive needs that will arise in the coming months. Let’s pray. Let’s also consider how we can be part of the solution and love our neighbors well.
The church has a long history of carrying for mothers and children in need. This is because Jesus modeled caring for those in need. That’s a big part of what the good news of Jesus is all about. We are sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is that savior. And so, we love because He first loved us.
The Bible calls us to action. The Bible calls us to stand up for the oppressed (Is. 1:17) and to speak for those who cannot speak (Prov. 31:8-9 cf. 3:27). Birth rates will go up but so will infant mortality rates. But as more babies are birthed may hearts of compassion and care be birthed. May Christians meet the new challenges with Christ’s tangible love. As Roe v Wade falls, the church must rise.
4. Read the opinion on Dobbs
If you are going to be strongly for or against the ruling it would be wise to know what it says and why. So, I’d encourage you to read the opinion on Dobbs as well as the opinion on Roe. It was certainly helpful for me. The argument in the Dobbs opinion shows that “procuring an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history.”
So, I encourage you to do those four things.
Now on to the work of loving and serving our communities well!
 “The church responded to the practices of infanticide and exposure through their care of exposed infants. From the earliest days of the Christian church, Christians collected funds for distribution to the poor and sick. As part of their concern for the vulnerable members in their community, the early Christians acted to protect exposed infants… Indeed, the Christian church gained such a reputation for their care of exposed infants that churches became the established site for abandoning infants” (Louise Gosbell, “’As long as it’s healthy’: What can we learn from early Christianity’s resistance to infanticide and exposure?”).
Imagine I gave you a pill that made you feel morally obligated to give me money… Kinda random but hear me out. After the pill wore off, what would you think of your moral conviction to give me money? Would you regret it? Question it? Probably both.
That’s what moral conviction is if we’re simply evolved creatures. Why? How is that so?
Naturalistic evolution teaches that our sense of morality evolved
Naturalistic evolution teaches that our sense of morality evolved. That is, our “moral genes” just happened to make us better suited for survival, and thus those with a moral characteristic passed on their “moral genes.” And so, we have morality. But, so the thought goes, just as the Neanderthals died out, morality could have died out. Or certainly, a different form of morality could have won out.
In fact, Charles Darwin says in The Descent of Man that if things had gone differently for humans they could have evolved to be like bees, where “females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters.” The atheist Michael Ruse in his book, Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy, says, “Morality is a collective illusion foisted upon us by our genes.”
So, if we’re simply evolved from monkeys, morality is the equivalent of taking a pill that makes us think certain moral convictions are right. But the reality would be different. We, based on this view, only have those convictions—whatever they are: treat people nice, don’t murder and maim, etc.—because we happed to evolve that way (“took the pill”).
Of course, just because the way that you arrived at a conclusion was wrong, does not mean that your conclusion was wrong. In a test where the answer is A, B, C, or D, I could just choose “C” because it’s my favorite letter. I may be correct in my answer, but I certainly don’t have a solid reason for believing in the validity of my answer. In fact, probability would say my answer is likely wrong.
Another problem with wholesale naturalistic evolution is if we believe it explains everything then it in some ways explains nothing. Gasp. Yeah, that’s not a good thing.
If evolution explains morality, then I’m moral because of evolution which at least in some ways undercuts morality. Some people even say that religious people, like people that believe in Jesus, are religious because they evolved that way. Believing in a higher power brought some type of group identity which led tribes of our ancestors to be more likely to protect each other and thus survive and pass on their genes. And so, religion is the result of random mutational chance.
In fact, you could argue all of our thinking processes are the result of evolution. We’re just matter in motion. We’re all just responding to random whims. From belief in morality to belief in evolution, we’re just evolved to think this way… We can’t do anything about it. It’s programmed into us. It’s the pill we were given…
But if all this is a pill we’re given—what we’ve randomly evolved to think—what should we think?… Isn’t all our thinking just built into us through evolutionary processes?…
Alternatively, Christians believe that humans are created with an innate moral sense.
So, it seems morality is either a fiction with no basis in reality or God created us and explains reality—explains why we have an innate sense that we should treat people nice and not murder and maim.
There are big implications for either view. What is your view? And why?
Yesterday I posted a few thoughts about Matthew 16:27 which says “the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what he has done.”
For a lot of people that may seem very heavy and discouraging. For me, it’s good news. It’s good news because it means there’s meaning. What we do matters.
It makes me think of Albert Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus.” In “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Sisyphus has to carry a huge rock up a hill and you know what happens once he does? It rolls right back down the hill… And again and again and again… Basically, Camus is saying life is meaningless and absurd.
And that reminds me of another philosophical work, the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible. One of the reoccurring phrases in that book is “vanity of vanities.” Is all meaningless? Does what we do matter?
The Bible answers with a resounding “Yes!”
For someone who has wrestled with depression because of perceived purposelessness, it’s good news that what we do matters. It adds pep and purpose to my life… Even if it’s a heavy truth, I’ll take it because it means our lives have weight.
The fact that Jesus will repay each person according to what they have done adds huge significance to our lives. “We’re playing for keeps,” so to speak. Life is the real thing. We should live and enjoy it and we should love God and others. That’s what Ecclesiastes concludes with.
So, I’m thankful for the good news that what we do in life matters. I’m especially mindful of that on the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Martin and the Million Man March mattered. It mattered and racism matters.
It matters that MLK was killed. It matters that MLK peacefully fought for the sanctity of blacks and all people. It matters for a lot of reasons. But for one, it matters because people will give an account for their racism, acts of violence, and even every careless word (Matthew 12:36).
So, as I said, this is heavy and hard. It’s not an easy pill to swallow but it is the medicine we need. We can’t lash out and attack and think it doesn’t matter. Our every action is riddled with significance. That truth, however, shouldn’t cripple us, it should cause us to fly to Jesus who is both our Savior and Sanctifier.
When the options are laid out in front of me, I’ll take actual meaning and significance every time. I don’t want the poisoned sugar pill that says what we do doesn’t really matter. I’ll take the truth even if it’s bitter.
What we do totally matters. It’s hard in some ways to hear that but the alternative is to say it doesn’t matter. And that would be saying nothing matters, there is no meaning.
To close, it seems there are three options:
1) Be crushed by the utter meaninglessness of life (e.g. give up, don’t care) or…
2) be crushed by the utter meaning of life (e.g. try to own everything, try to be the great rescue yourself) or…
3) trust Christ. Christ says there’s meaning and He says there’s hope. What we do matters and we’ve all failed. He, however, didn’t throw in the towel on us. He took up a towel and lived as a servant. He did all the good we should’ve done and didn’t do the bad. And yet He was crushed for us but not under the weight of meaning or meaninglessness but on a cross.
Jesus finished where we bailed, He succeeded where we failed. He’s always right and we’re often wrong. He has a perfect record and He offers it to us.
But are we ready? Can we stand in the storm or will our house be blown to smithereens? Will it crumble on the sand that it is laid or is it’s foundation deep and solid? Will our life vanish and wither? Where is our source of life?
Soon these questions will meet their answer. We will see the truth with our eyes. Soon we will see our faith—or lack thereof—with sight. Soon the gold, or dross, will be revealed. Soon we will see what our treasure truly is.
Yet, even the scorching brutality of heat can be a blessing of bounty and beauty when it’s sustained by the water of the Spirit. And from the sand, we can find a foundation when from the Word we mix our mortar and ever rely upon the unshifting rock of Christ. It’s when the wind blows that the flag is most clearly waved if it’s tightly tethered. Yes, we can stand and standout if we ever lean on the Savior and not the many would-be-saviors that can’t deliver.
So, will the steep decline of morality make us fall or will we cling tighter to our Master? Notice we must cling to our Messiah and not to morality itself. The law is a stone that crushes and upon which our feet slip. Christ is a sure and steady cornerstone.
If we as canceled Christians are going to make it and obtain the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9) and the inheritance that is “imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven for us” (1 Peter 1:4) then we must set our hope fully on the grace and abundant goodness that will be brought to us at the coming of Messiah Jesus (1 Peter 1:13). We must set our hope on and think often of heaven, and not obsess over making heaven here. Here there is no home, only longing. Only a damp, humid, and stinky tent. Our home is being prepared for us. We are campers.
So, let’s live as campers and let’s long for our true home and for the true bed in which we can finally really rest. We as canceled Christians can flourish if we live like the campers we are.
A reader of this post thought it was gobbledygook. Here’s my response.