As the 40 Days for Life campaign began last week in over sixty countries worldwide, it’s necessary for us to consider the question: Should God’s people publicly protest abortion through prayer vigils? Not all Christians agree on this. I have personally heard Christians protest the very idea of protests, and some have even left the church because they don’t think it’s right to speak about such matters publicly.
Arguments AGAINST Protests:
- It’s not effective. False. Whole abortion clinics have closed after extended protests, and mothers have chosen life over death. History is littered with atrocities that ended when virtuous people spoke up. Sometimes it takes decades to end an injustice, but it’s still the right thing to do.
- It’s better to just talk to people one-on-one about it. That’s a good idea too, but it’s not an either/or. Effective change occurs through both private and public conversations.
- It’s disrespectful to the government. God’s law always trumps civil law, and when the two conflict, God’s law must be held in higher regard (Acts 5:29).
- The church shouldn’t get political. This is a false dichotomy that fails to acknowledge how many political decisions are actually moral decisions. When a political issue has a moral consequence, Christians should address it.
- It’s too gruesome to discuss or protest. Truly, abortion is gruesome, but so is slavery, genocide, human trafficking, and child pornography. But these injustices will only end if virtuous people confront them.
- It fails to show love to women. Sadly, the opposite is true. Women who are not told the truth about abortion and its consequences not only carry emotional scars but must give an account to God for their choice. If you love women and their babies, you will tell them the truth about abortion.
Further to these refutations, protesting injustice is grounded in the ethics of Scripture.
Arguments FOR Protests:
- It’s our duty to speak up against systemic injustice. We do so by being a voice for the voiceless (Prov. 31:8-10).
- It’s a means of bringing light into darkness (Matt. 5:16). Private faith is not a biblical concept. Your faith is intended to be publicly obvious.
- It reflects the Lord’s Prayer. Have we not all prayed, “Lord let your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven?” If we really mean this, we will advocate for the things of God to be evident on earth.
- The apostles sought to influence and convince governments to change. Knowing that his opponents were plotting his death, Paul didn’t just throw up his hands and allow evil to prevail against his life; he appealed to Caesar to rescue him from death (Acts 25:1-27).
- History will applaud those that acted righteously. If the history of genocide, infanticide, or slavery are any indicators, pro-abortionists may celebrate their successes under the false premise of women’s rights; but given time their wickedness will be exposed and doers of righteousness will prevail.
- Since protests are primarily prayer vigils, we pray because prayer works. Time and again, God responds to the prayers of his people (Lk. 18:1).
To this end, we speak the truth in love, in the hopes that ignorance will be replaced with truth, lies will be exposed, and justice for the the unborn will prevail in our lifetimes.
“Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Prov. 31:9)