Yesterday, my wife and I had the joy of seeing our unborn son. We had been anticipating this 31 week appointment for weeks on weeks. I was all smiles and she was all tears throughout the ultrasound as we saw our baby boy moving, smiling, hiding his face, and stretching his legs. I made the comment to one of the nurses that the technology was simply amazing. I just couldn’t believe how clearly I could see my son and all of his functioning organs.
But as we showed our family the video recording of the ultrasound, an eery thought that haunts me even as I write crossed my mind. According to Roe v. Wade it would be perfectly legal to terminate (kill) a 31 week old unborn baby. The sheer evil of that fact is bone chilling. It has always blown my mind that someone could see an ultrasound of a baby (early or late term) and conclude that it is ethical and moral to terminate the pregnancy. But should it really surprise us? I am not talking about the biblical reality of indwelling sin that perverts God’s good creation. In that sense, nothing should surprise us. No, I am talking about an overall attitude toward children in our culture that allows abortionist mindsets to flourish.
I am talking about parents who push their children far too hard in sports to serve their own egos. I am talking about Little League parents who ruin their children’s experience because of their own greed as made evident on a national scale by the Jackie Robinson West Little League team. I am talking about parents who want as many “breaks” from their children as possible. I am talking about the “you know what causes that right?” attitude that places an invisible limit on the number of children that is “reasonable” to have. I am talking about parents living their own lives through their children.
Abortion will continue to flourish in a culture that views children as subordinate to our own comfort and convenience.
Consider just how anti-children Western society seems to be. Of course, we are not as bad as China’s two-child policy, but the ideology is eerily similar. The United States is one of four nations in the world that will allow late term abortions for any reason whatsoever. The other three are Canada, China, and North Korea. Great company, right? This is no-fault divorce on steroids.
Jon Bloom writes that we must speak accurately and truthfully about abortion. We must see abortion for what it really is–the premeditated and intentional killing of children. Consider the evil possibilities. You don’t want your child because he has a deformity? Fine, abort and “try again.” You don’t want twins because thrift shops ain’t your thang? No problem, just abort. You don’t want your baby girl because you just realized you aren’t ready to be a parent? No biggie, just abort and try again later.
This have-it-your-way approach to children inside the womb is, in my opinion, the evil residue of an anti-children culture outside the womb.
When my wife and I first married over a year and a half ago, we were advised to spend the early years of our married lives doing a few things before we even think about having children.
1. We were told to build our careers. You can’t have kids without both of you working well-paying jobs.
2. We were told to travel. See the world! When you start having kids, you won’t be able to travel until you retire.
3. We were told to enjoy each other. This is the most insulting piece of advice we received, by the way. It was hard to bite my tongue. We were told to enjoy each other before we have kids, because when the kids come life will be “all about them” (*eye roll*). Children evidently rob parents of love for and joy in one another.
The counsel we received early on in our marriage was to build our lives. Get a good job so you can buy a big house and nice cars. Then, think about having one (maybe two) kids. So, the fact that my wife and I married in our early twenties and are expecting our first child is insanely radical to many in the world and in the church. The judgmental looks and subtleties we receive on a weekly basis is a reminder that a desire for children is a radical venture, especially when you have yet to “live.” This is because children are often viewed as a burden, an afterthought to self-serving greed.
Am I saying there is something inherently wrong with making a lot of money and living in a nice house before thinking about marriage and children? Strictly speaking, no. But the ideology behind waiting for marriage and children in most cases is what I see as dangerous. It views self as superior. Marriage is a means to enhance an aggrandized view of self. Children are an afterthought. When marriage and parenthood are entered into on these foundations, they will surely sink; and both spouse and child will suffer.
For the husband who takes a wife to serve his ego, he will sacrifice her needs for his desires. For the father who has a child after he has enjoyed the things he really wants, he will continue to leave his child on the back burner while pursuing other pleasures.
Granted, it is a big leap from pursuing comfort before children to abortion. And certainly not all who take this popular approach even view their children this way. There are plenty loving husbands and wives, moms and dads that waited for marriage and children in order to “build their lives.” But see the subtle connection between the waiting mindset and the abortion mindset. We wait to marry and have children because we want to be comfortable before having children; we want it to be convenient and easy on us emotionally and financially. Abortion exists because men and women value comfort and convenience above children.
If the one ideology does not directly fuel the other, it at least allows it to exist and thrive, even if unintentionally. Until we begin to value our children more than our own comfort and convenience after they are born, those who want to kill their children before they are born for these same reasons will continue to flourish.
So, when will this culture of death end? When will murder in a doctor’s office become as appalling as murder resulting from domestic violence? When will scales be removed from our eyes so we can see that life supersedes choice? Only when children outside the womb are valued above comfort and convenience. Only when we stop sacrificing our children for our own glory at the ballpark will we help create a culture that will not stand for sacrificing our children for our own glory in the womb.
Mathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.