As I write these words, the Supreme Court is poised to strike down Roe. One rumor has it that this may be done as early as today and, if true, would be cause for great rejoicing. If we had our church built already, and if the bells were installed, those bells would be ringing all day.
But as I write these words, it is not done yet. The preliminary draft of the majority opinion striking down Roe was leaked beforehand, in a last ditch attempt to have public pressure applied to the conservative justices on the Court. Their home addresses were doxxed, protesters appeared at their houses, Justice Alito was taken to a secure location, and the White House declined to condemn the pressure being applied.
Why would they condemn it? They don’t believe in the rule of law. They believe in a higher law, one that they call “getting their way.”
The Lay of the Land
What a reversal of Roe does is this—it returns the issue to the states. A state may continue to allow abortion, as New York, and California, and Massachusetts, and Illinois will do. Sixteen states have laws in place that will continue to protect access to abortion. But multiple states already have laws in place that will restrict abortion as soon as a Roe reversal happens. What this decision will do is turn a large war into fifty different battles. And that in turn means that the average Christian should be preparing himself to remember certain related things. Seven, in fact.
Review the Pro-Life Apologetic
The progressive left is going nuts over the prospect of losing Roe, and if Roe in fact does go down, they are going to lose it completely. In their anger, they are going to lash out and blame evangelicals. While I would prefer to use the term responsibility over blame, I think their central point is a fair one. Evangelicals made a deal with Donald Trump. They would rally behind him, tawdry background and all, if he in turn would commit to appointing the kind of judges who would see Roe for what it was. Because of this deal, three such judges were appointed to the Supreme Court, and here we are.
But because the progressive left will blame evangelicals, and because they are very angry, the chances are pretty good that many evangelicals will find themselves in situations where they will be called upon to give an explanation for their egregious support of “this eradication of women’s rights.” So even if you have not been a pro-life activist, I would encourage you to review all the arguments. Review the biblical arguments, the political arguments, and the medical arguments. The chances are good that your church has someone connected to it that would be in a position to give a presentation to your people. It is going to be very relevant to a lot more people, and this will happen very soon.
Some angry questions are likely to be thrown at you. Be prepared for it.
Remember the Principle of Pursuit
One of the principles of war is pursuit. When a general wins a great victory, there is often a temptation to settle for that glorious victory while neglecting to pursue a disheartened foe. Because Meade was unable to pursue Lee and the Confederate forces after Gettysburg, the war dragged on for two more years. The great biblical general Gideon did not fail to observe this principle.
“And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.“
Judges 8:4 (KJV)
So if Roe goes down, do not be one of the voices asking, “can we be done now?” No, we cannot be done. This development will mean that one big war can been cut up into fifty small battles—and each of these battles must be won. They will not be won unless believers stay mobilized.
Ask your elders if your congregation is going to support a state-level pro-life organization. Ask if they are going to be written into the budget.
Call This A Smashmouth Success
I believe that this is a golden opportunity for responsible pro-lifers and responsible abolitionists to make a peace treaty. But it must begin by recognizing that this opportunity we now have is an actual and real-live incrementalist success.
In the past, I have argued in favor of a strategy I call smashmouth incrementalism. Here are some resources on that—here, here, here, and then there is this and that, and don’t forget here and here. This is a strategy that does not make the best the enemy of the good, and is willing to take any pro-life legislation as a win, so long as it is remembered that we must come back immediately in the next round looking for more. We do this until we reach the final goal which is the outlawing of all human abortion. This set of arguments I advanced was in response to the rise of the abortion abolitionists who regarded this as a compromised temporizing.
So as just mentioned, what I would like to do here is propose a peace treaty between pro-lifers of good will and abolitionists of good will.
I want principled abolitionists and principled pro-lifers to be able to come to an agreement. I want unprincipled “abolitionists” and unprincipled “pro-lifers” to be excluded from it.As I said five years ago
Please note that I acknowledge that there are pro-lifers who are actually not pro-lifers, and that there are abolitionists who would rather fight fellow Christians than fight abortionists.
So the peace treaty I am proposing would exclude the politician who says he is pro-life, but who would refuse to vote for any legislation that did not have rape and incest carve-outs. Such a politician can be useful, remembering our incrementalism, but by no definition is he an ally. Someone who says that abortion must be allowed if the father of the child begat that child through a criminal act is someone who doesn’t understand the pro-life worldview at all.
And the abolitionist who would rather spend his time calling upon responsible incrementalists to repent rather than using this incrementalist victory as a staging area for legislation that would protect all human life is someone who doesn’t understand the basics of strategy, let alone his own heart.
So as we pursue fifty strategies in fifty states, I would call upon everyone on our side of this battle to be extremely reluctant to engage in public controversy with abolitionists (or pro-lifers, as the case may be). Avoid it if you can. And if it happens, it should be after you have exhausted all your other options. Save your ammo for the real battles.
Brace for Round Two
One of the points that abolitionists make, and it is a good point, is that when Roe was first decided, the states should simply have refused to comply. They should have said that they were not going to go along with the summary execution of any of their citizens. To put it in a nutshell, no.
The reason I mention this is because abortion is the blood sacrament of the American Left, and they are not going to allow it to be taken away from them without a truly vicious fight. I do believe that their attempts to pack the Court, or impeach Alito, or assassinate Thomas, whatever it is they come up with, will fail. But suppose for a moment that it doesn’t fail.
What should the states do if Roe Round Two comes down the pike? The answer is that the states should do what they should have done the first time. Even if the Roe reversal is struck down within a year, whether that majority opinion is written by Hook or by Crook, the states must simply refuse to go back again.
And you should want state legislators who would in fact refuse to go back again.
Remember What “A House Divided” Means
In my novel, Ride, Sally, Ride, I anticipated the crack-up of the United States, and with that crack-up being the result of the repeal of Roe, Having now mentioned Ride, Sally, Ride, I cannot fail to mention also that it is now available in audio, as read by the author, at mycanonplus.com. Come for the exciting tale, and stay for the discovery of words I know how to write but don’t know how to pronounce.
Jesus is the one who first framed the phrase “house divided,” referring to the fact that Satan couldn’t really be in the exorcism business (Mark 3:25). Abraham Lincoln applied the logic of this, aptly enough, to the slim chances of a republic remaining intact if it were half slave and half free. A slam dunk a fortiori argument can be made from this—how much more will a country blow apart if a third of their states encourage and applaud abortion on demand, and the rest of them restrict it as murderous manslaughter. Can two walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3)?
So if Roe returns this issue to the states, and the states eventually come to one generally coherent approach to abortion, then the United States as we know it can be saved. If they remain two Americas, then the eventual result will actually be two Americas. We cannot rejoice in the overturning of Roe without also recognizing this as a very real possibility. And we need to be good with it. But I would rather live in a piece of America that loved life than in an intact America that was in the process of turning into Charn.
Prepare to Wreak Havoc in the Midterms
I referred earlier to the deal that evangelicals made with Trump. He promised them judges, and he kept his word. They promised their support, and they kept their word. There was great lamentation in the halls of cooler-than-thou evangelicals, and there were many think pieces written about how evangelicals had lost their way, sold their soul, bought into mission drift, and so on. Now I did not support Trump in 2016 because I flat did not believe him. I did not think that we would get those judges. But we did, and as I said above, here we are. We should stop being so astonished. God draws straight with crooked lines.
Now some of the scenarios I sketch above could go in a pretty grim direction. We are in a battle with the entire Democratic party, and are fighting a flanking action with half of the Republican party. So vote accordingly. In the coming mid-terms, vote accordingly.
Idaho’s primary is tomorrow. In that primary, vote against anyone who is a RINO, or who might be a RINO, or who is friends with someone who used to be a RINO. In the general election, vote for the candidate most likely to displace a Democrat—even if that candidate is a RINO.
We should want the mid-term elections of 2022 to be the end of the Democratic party. We should want the word devastation to be a gross understatement. Catalog in your mind all the outrages of the last five years, identify the party responsible, and drop the hammer.
And returning to an earlier point, this is not discrediting the gospel with “right-wing politics.” This is thinking like adults instead of wanting like children.
Remember That Blood Guilt Needs a Blood Gospel
However much we rejoice at the overturning of Roe, we still have to settle accounts with God. While we rejoice that we will not be incurring blood guilt at the same furious pace that we have been doing, the stark fact of the millions already slaughtered still requires a reckoning. Couple that with the fact that significant portions of our country will carry on with the bloodshed, just like before. So the fact that have successfully slowed down the murder rate is not sufficient. We could repeal Roe, and impose pro-life legislation in all fifty states, and hold that stance for fifty years, and that would still not atone for what we have already done.
One of the reasons God established cities of refuge in Israel is that God cared about the shedding of innocent blood.
“That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.”
Deuteronomy 19:10 (KJV)
God detests those who wantonly shed innocent blood, as we have been doing. In fact, we have been guilty of everything on that entire list.
“A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood . . .”
Proverbs 6:17 (KJV)
It certainly looks as though Roe is going to be “walked back,” and for that I do rejoice. But when all of Judea went down to the Jordan to see John the Baptist, they were not “walking anything back.” They were repenting. They were not coming to John with mouths full of mealy excuses. They were repenting of the things they have done.
America still requires cleansing. We still need forgiveness. We are still in desperate need of a Savior—and there is only one Savior. We are still carrying around a massive amount of blood guilt, and nothing that we could ever do or say can even touch it. A nation as guilty of blood as we are is a nation in dire need of a blood gospel.
Fortunately, there is one. God has provided us with a blood gospel. However, there is a catch. You cannot appropriate the benefits of this blood gospel without applying this blood gospel—and applying it means naming the one who was sacrificed—His name is Jesus—and naming the sins we are repenting of. There are many such sins, but the atoning blood is sufficient.
As the old gospel song has it, “What can wash away [our] sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”