Right to Life

Letter to Editor by Crystal Kooienga

I am writing to express my disappointment in the article “Is Right to Life Right?” in the December 1990 issue of the Beacon Lights.

I think the most glaring mistake that the writer makes is her belief that Right to Life condones violence and disrespect for those placed in authority over us by God.  On page 21 of the 1989 Right to Life of Michigan’s Conference Book there is a section concerning Civil Disobedience.  I quote:

“Right to Life of Michigan, a non-profit corporation and its affiliates have decided through the years of consensus planning to focus their energies and resources on education, legislative lobbying activities and political action to achieve our goals.  We have always opposed, and continue to oppose actions that are contrary to the law.”  And later on: “Right to Life of Michigan and its affiliates reaffirm their dedication to lawful efforts to protect the unborn and have rejected any Right to Life participation in civil disobedience.”

I also disagree with the writer’s argument that by supporting Right to Life, we are unequally yoking ourselves together with unbelievers.  God uses so many means for His good.  The world is here to serve the church.  If by supporting Right to Life, or giving money to cancer research or donating to the Salvation Army we can help others, Jesus tells us that “inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matt. 25:40.  I know that all the people who support Right to Life are not children of God, I don’t feel I’m yoking myself with them, but if they can be used to fight this sinful practice – fine; the Lord uses sinful means for His purpose.  There are some who break the law in their misguided zeal against what they see as only a civil or moral wrong – not as a sin against God.  This behavior is not what supporters of Right to Life are contributing to.  When I donate to Right to Life, I see it as a means to fight an evil which each of us individually must face.  The author of the article felt that we should fight the evil of abortion through “uniting as the church of Christ to preach the Word…from the pulpit, in the printed page, and over the radio.”  That is the church’s responsibility, but I don’t think that is enough for us as individuals (it’s too easy for us to leave it up to our ministers!).  I don’t think that reaches the young pregnant girl considering aborting her baby.  Right to Life emphasizes educating people against abortion.  They inform the public concerning those in political power who are against abortion.  When election time comes, I am happy to have information they give me on where the candidates stand on the issue of abortion (usually the anti-abortion candidates are the most conservative overall).

In closing, I would like to caution those, such as the writer of this article, who would leave the taking of action on important issues such as abortion only to those who preach and teach in our churches.  Each of us is responsible for the means God has blessed us with.  We will be asked by God to account for how we used what He gave us.  It makes me tremble to think of standing before His throne and seeing all the times I failed to do what I could have or should have done.  Matt. 25:45, 46 “Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:  but the righteous into life eternal.”


Letter to Editor by Dale and Laura Miedema

We would like to respond to the article which the Beacon Lights printed in the December 1990 issue titled “Is Right to Life Right?”  We wish to address not only the author, but this general attitude toward pro-life movements, in particular RTL.  The uninformed opinion expressed in this article seems to prevail among many.

There is no disagreement in regard to the evil of abortion so we will go on from this common ground.  It is the opinion of the author of the aforementioned article and of others that “joining the RTL is not the Christian’s calling in his obligation to condemn the evils of abortion.”  We believe God calls us beyond simply “condemning the evils’ of abortion.”  We read in Proverbs 24:11, 12, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain:  If thou sayest, Behold we knew it not, doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it?  and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it?  and shall not He render to every man according to his works?”  God calls us to action not only in words, but deeds also.  RTL is one of several local agencies which we as active Christians can choose to use as a tool in our attempt to make an impact against the evils of abortion.

Many people are very uninformed concerning RTL policies in regard to violence and force.  We quote directly from RTL of Michigan policy statements.  “It is essential that RTL of Michigan, Its affiliates and members, avoid any involvement whatsoever of the organization in any of the following activities:  1. Use of RTL name or designation of individual participants in civil disobedience activities as members or leaders of RTL.  2. Participation in or support for civil disobedience or other unlawful activities as RTL affiliates or representatives.  3. Raising money as RTL affiliates or representatives or providing RTL funds or assistance to any group involved in civil disobedience.  4. Use of RTL membership or mailing lists for any activity involving groups involved in civil disobedience or other unlawful activities.  Recent bombing and arson in other parts of the nation against abortion facilities concern RTL of Michigan.  To counter violence with violence is against our principles.  Pro-lifers have consistently worked peacefully through the democratic process in order to reach our goal – the end of violence within clinic walls.  We are a peaceful movement.”  The fact that incidences of violence or unlawfulness do occur cannot be attributed to RTL and we must keep in mind the media’s eagerness to expose these incidences and create a bigger scene than it warrants.

The Goal and Purpose of RTL of Michigan is: “We strive to achieve the passage and ratification of a Human Life Amendment, to educate the people on identified RTL issues, to motivate them to action, to encourage community support for and participation in programs that foster respect for human life and to promote and support pro-life candidates and legislation.  We work on behalf of the defenseless human beings, born and unborn.”

The article in question also stated concern that “RTL is becoming increasingly Humanistic.”  We are of the opinion that because RTL does not affiliate with any particular religious group, this is to our benefit and one more reason this organization can be of use to us.  As we are called to exercise our rights as citizens of the U.S. government; so, we can use organizations such as RTL to assist us in our calling before God to assist the unborn & women in crisis and now increasingly Euthanasia.

Finally, in response to the question “How then should we as Christians fight the evils of abortion?”  we can fully agree with the author’s response that the preaching of God’s word is a powerful weapon.  However, by no means should we stop at preaching alone.  Prayer is an extremely powerful gift to us from our heavenly Father and should not be underestimated or forgotten.  As we see in I John 3:16-18 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us:  and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”  Our actions are equally as important.  Our lack of action speaks louder than words.  Our circumstances today have been compared to, and rightfully so, living near Dachau during World War II and doing nothing.  It is very easy to be complacent and find excuse for inaction, but God’s word calls us to definite action.  In closing we once again turn to God’s Holy word in Matthew 25:34-40 “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer Him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee?  Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, Ye have done it unto me.


Response by Karen Hanko

I was very appreciative of the tone of deep concern that was evident in the replies to my article.  I hear the arguments of the author with understanding and sympathy.  I would like to stress that I, too, (as all of us should) have struggled with how I as a Christian can best condemn the evils of abortion.  I, too, tremble to think of standing before our Lord at the end of time, knowing I stood by and watched the murder of innocent unborn and never said or did anything.  However, I still remain convinced that joining RTL is not the way to combat this great evil.

Let me clarify a few things first.  When I said RTL uses force (that was a bad choice of words), I did not mean violence as such.  What I meant by force was “a show of human might,” i.e. picket lines, demonstrations, lobbying, etc.  I fail to see how a pregnant girl about to abort her baby, or a congressman about to vote “yes” on a law allowing abortion can be truly changed by a mere show of human might.  He or she can only be changed by the message of the gospel.  RTL is ultimately doomed to failure because it fights abortion with a view to mere moral reform, and does so by a mere show of human might and strength.  We as God’s people do not merely seek to make this world a better place in which to live, but seek the higher goal of the salvation of Christ’s church.  And that is why we use different tactics, that is, the preaching of the Word.  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord of Hosts” Zech. 4:6.

This is the basic humanism of RTL – a goal of mere moral reform rather than true salvation, and methods that are based on mere human strength.  I feel that becoming a member of RTL would be an affirmation of this humanistic creed.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we as Christian members of RTL would be strongly opposed from within the organization if we attempted to push a Biblical basis rather than a civil, humanistic one for the fight against abortion.  In reality, this has already been the experience of someone I know.  Certainly, as one of the letters suggests, God uses wicked means to advance the cause of His kingdom, but God used even Dachau to advance the cause of His kingdom.  Does that mean we should have supported and even joined in the horrible murder that went on there, hoping that God would use us to further His Kingdom!?!  I reaffirm my claim that RTL is an unscriptural organization, though I do not deny the presence of God’s people in the organization.  They alone can answer before God for their actions.

Finally, I can understand and appreciate the authors’ concern that the issues of abortion be left to our ministers, and that the rest of us stand by and do nothing.  I firmly reject that idea.  But I think we all need to be reminded that we must not minimize the power of God’s Word.  We ourselves cannot comprehend its power as it reaches every corner of the world.  We must also remember that though the official preaching of the Word may be limited to our ministers, there are countless other ways that each of us can and must bring the Word.  I think of letters to congressmen, letters to the President, letters to the editor of the local press and various magazines, and then of course, the power of our own personal, Christian witness as we come into contact with others.  May God give us grace in this daily battle against the powers of darkness, and may each of us stand before our Lord at the end of time with a clear conscience and hear the blessed words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”