THE TEXAS ABORTION LAW AND ITS HOLY POLICE
By Akin Ojumu
By refusing to block a Texas law that prohibits almost all abortions in the state, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has handed the evangelical conservative movement a long sought after win in their protracted war against a woman’s choice over her own reproductive health. The SCOTUS, with its ruling, has pushed the religious right one step closer to achieving one of their primary missions and reasons for existence, which is to end all abortions in the United States.
The same people who would not hesitate to let the world know that nobody can tell them what to do with their bodies are the very same people who now insist they have the right to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her own body. The same people who call public health measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 tyranny and government overreach are the same ones who have passed a law that bans virtually all abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy. This is a law that doesn’t even make any exception for cases involving rape or incest. It is a law that will force a woman who is a rape victim to carry the baby to term and give birth to their rapist’s child.
In addition, the Texas restrictive abortion law empowers vigilante groups of private individuals to enforce the provisions of the law. It deputizes private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who aids a woman to obtain an abortion — including the hapless Uber driver who gives a woman a ride to a clinic or anyone who provides any sort of financial assistance to obtain an abortion. Under the new law, private citizens who bring these suits don't even need to show any connection to those they are suing.
This is reminiscent of the type of thing you find in Islamic countries and societies run by Ayatollahs and Mullahs and where the Sharia is the law of the land, and where vigilante groups of private citizens who, serving as enforcers of the Sharia law, go about harassing and beating up innocent citizens on the streets. The State of Texas has passed a law that essentially establishes an Abortion Religious Police aka the Vice Squad aka Holy Police, modeled after the Islamic Doctrine of Hisbah.
Furthermore, anyone who successfully sues an abortion provider under the Texas law could be awarded, at a minimum, $10,000 as damages – regardless of whether they sustain any damage at all. In preparation for this, anti-abortion activists have established a “whistleblower" website where people can submit anonymous tips about anyone they believe to be violating the law.
This is eerily similar to what happened in Nazi Germany and the common practice in communist dictatorships where citizens are encouraged and incentivized to spy and snitch on their fellow citizens whom they suspect of being against the government.
Now, I know some of you will read this and think, “Na wa o. Brother Akin is pro-abortion. When did he backslide? We must pray for him o.”
Yes, I most definitely covet your prayers and it is a cherry on the top if you combine it with fasting. So please, go ahead, climb the mountain, fast and pray for me. But don’t do it because you think I have backslidden. You’d be wasting your time and praying amiss if that is your prayer point. I remain unapologetically and uncompromisingly a born-again Believer. I do not support abortion. I do believe that a woman should endeavor to bring to birth the child conceived in her womb to the extent possible and having taken all things into consideration. If that makes me pro-abortion, then so be it.
However, I have never, for the life of me, understood this endless war being waged by my fellow Christians on the religious right of the political spectrum against abortion. These folks claim they are pro-life fighting to establish the righteousness of God and promote Biblical morality in a nation overrun by Satan and overtaken by the forces of darkness. To stop abortion, they are of the opinion, it must be criminalized at all costs by passing secular laws and enacting temporal legislations. And in order to pass these laws and legislations, they fervently believe they must elect politicians who present themselves as being against abortion and who will, in turn, appoint judges to the lower courts and justices to the supreme court who share the same view and who then will carry out their objectives of abolishing abortion through their court rulings.
As a Bible believing Christian, I find this line of reasoning rather perplexing and fascinatingly twisted. It’s as though these people read their Bible upside down or worst case, never read their Bible at all. Since when has the righteousness of God been established in any land by political means? Which country has ever passed any law that is able to turn those lost in sin into the light of God’s saving grace? How many nations have been able to win the hearts and minds of their sinful citizens to Christ by issuing secular decrees that criminalize iniquities? Is there any place in this world where morality has been successfully legislated? Are there ordinances of men able to rid wickedness from the heart of men? Can somebody tell me when they find one? Because I’m yet to find a country where the righteousness of Christ has been brought down through earthly mandates.
Those who think a law that criminalizes abortion will end abortions are deluding themselves. The folks of the conservative evangelical movement who are engaged in the anti-abortion war know very well that passing anti-abortion laws will not stop women from seeking to abort their pregnancies. In fact, the goal of these abortion warriors is not really about stopping abortion in the first place. Their motive is chiefly political. What they are about is to create a cultural war by fanning into flame prejudices and hatred in the hearts of those who follow them against their political opponents with the hope that their preferred political candidates will win elections.
For these anti-abortion guerrilla fighters, abortion is nothing but a political wedge issue weaponized for political gains. These folks never really cared abortion before now. In fact, they once saw nothing wrong in a woman seeking abortion. They used to hold the view that it was the right of the woman to make decisions about her reproductive well-being and even praised the very same law they now seek to abolish.
In a May 2014 Politico Magazine article, Randall Balmer took us down the memory lane of the road the evangelical movement took to reach this their current anti-abortion stance. Before abortion became their cause celebre, Balmer painted a picture of a religious right who couldn’t care less about women’s reproductive health.
“Today, evangelicals make up the backbone of the pro-life movement, but it hasn’t always been so. Both before and for several years after Roe, evangelicals were overwhelmingly indifferent to the subject, which they considered a “Catholic issue.” In 1968, for instance, a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing “individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility” as justifications for ending a pregnancy. In 1971, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” The convention, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976.”
“When the Roe decision was handed down, W. A. Criswell, the Southern Baptist Convention’s former president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas – also one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century – was pleased: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” he said, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.””
Apostle Paul once wrote to the Christians at Ephesus, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” He reminded them on how to fight the good fight of faith and how to win hearts and minds to God’s kingdom. To the Christians at Corinth he wrote, “The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” This was Paul hitting home the truth that spiritual battles are never successfully fought with carnal weapons. Those who try are like runners who run aimlessly and are akin to a boxer who beats the air; it is fraught with frustrations.
Those who engage in carnal fight against abortion are fighting a losing cause. While they may win a few battles here and there, eventually, they’ll lose the war. Rather than winning hearts, what they’ll succeed in doing is stir up strife and in the process drive sinners away from God. The Texas abortion law will not save a single soul because it cannot save any soul. It’ll only drive those who need saving to dig in their heels and resist the true Gospel that is able to save. If the goal of the evangelical conservative movement is to bring about Biblical morality and establish God’s righteousness in this nation, they are going about it the Biblically wrong way.
Those involved in this anti-abortion fight need to seriously rethink their strategy. But they must first pick up their Bibles and study God’s word to know what He has to say about winning souls and changing hearts.