The leaked Supreme Court brief which may preview a coming decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has sparked protests at Catholic churches, vandalism of Catholic Church facilities, and threats to disrupt worship services and other church events. These actions by pro-choice activists are designed to intimidate Catholic Supreme Court justices and convince the Catholic Church to moderate its clearly articulated position on abortion. Although it is a distinct possibility that justices may be influenced; it is not likely the Catholic Church will move on the issue.
Southern Baptists, along with many other evangelicals, have long stood with the Catholic Church as advocates for pro-life positions and policies. While current activism is focused on the Catholic Church, the rest of us should prepare for the full impact of pro-choice vitriol to erupt if the Supreme Court actually overturns Roe vs. Wade. Abortionists are determined to retain the right to kill babies, interpreting the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to apply to them—but not to unborn infants or anyone who holds religious beliefs they do not share.
For many pro-life advocates, a common response to pro-choice positions—and even more to increasing activist attacks—will be anger. That’s an unproductive response. Rather than get angry, it would be better to get ready. Here are some suggestions.
First, develop realistic expectations of what is about to happen. Don’t be shocked when churches are desecrated; priests and other leaders are physically attacked; worship services, conferences, or conventions are interrupted; and judges and politicians are assaulted. The leak of the brief is rooted in a “by all means necessary” strategy which may lead to any of these actions. Having realistic expectations diminishes the emotional impact when extreme measures are taken.
Second, determine to hold your ground—meaning your position and, in some cases, the ground you are standing on. Make up your mind now that you will hold to your convictions and not change your mind about the sanctity of life. In addition, churches have a right to assemble, to gather peaceably, and to protect worshippers on their property. Cooperate with your church leaders to implement appropriate plans to preserve sacred worship space.
Third, share the gospel more than argue policy with people you know. Many pro-life advocates mistakenly think sharing salient facts will change the mind of a pro-choice proponent. That’s not likely to happen. The Bible says the “god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Cor. 4:4). It’s often counterproductive to argue with unbelievers about politics, public policy, social justice, or any other issue, even if the solutions are grounded in a biblical worldview. Until gospel illumination occurs, fundamental understanding of what is true is unlikely.
Finally, don’t fear what is coming or complain about it when it does. The American church has been favored in our culture for so long we have forgotten we are “strangers and exiles” (1 Pet. 2:11). We are supposed to be a minority people, advocating for biblical standards in contrast to the worldliness around us, and willing to sacrifice ourselves in the task. We may be heading toward a difficult summer when we are required to do these things.
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