[In late 1983, I founded the New England Christian Action Council (NECAC) when I lived outside Boston, completing my M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The motto of the NECAC was “biblically committed to protecting the unborn” and my initial newsletters were entitled “Contrabortion,” written for grass-roots pro-life Christians. I started my engagement with the subject in a reactive posture, that is, defining and critiquing it. But being committed to the biblical foundations in Genesis 1-3, I grew consistently more proactive across the years. So here are the original unvarnished articles, as my thinking was at the time.]
Contrabortion, Vol. 3, No. 2, November, 1986
Neutralizing the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights
John C. Rankin
In May of this year, I had opportunity to meet with two leaders of the Washington, D.C. based Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR). The occasion was sponsored by a major Protestant denomination that is reviewing its membership with RCAR. After the meeting, I published a critique, and submitted it to all concerned parties. In the critique of RCAR, I diagnosed three aspects of RCAR: 1) they are guilty of idolatry for they set their ethic of “individual choice” as supreme to obedience to God’s order of the sanctify of all human life, thus reversing the boundaries of freedom which God defined for us in Genesis 2:15-17; 2) they operate in hiddenness and refuse to be publicly accountable to defend their position in the face of any pro-life challenge; and 3) they seek to motivate by appeals to fear and hyperbole.
In that uncompromising critique, I nonetheless stated that if I were in substance or nuance, then I would be pleased to be corrected. I invited honest criticism of my position. After four months there was no reply until the chairperson of the denomination’s task force wrote me asking that I do not mention them in my critique. Then there followed a letter from a pro-life minister of that task force dissociating himself from the “embarrassing and insulting” nature of the chairperson’s letter, that he knew nothing of her letter. And in spite of this in-house politicking of the denomination’s task force, I have yet to hear from RCAR [later I learned that the denomination withdrew its membership from RCAR]. Clearly their silence is vindicating my diagnosis.
Twice this fall, I had opportunity to attend some “pro-choice” meetings, where local religious leaders were seeking to oppose Question 1 on the Massachusetts ballot (which happens tomorrow as I write this newsletter). After each session, I had opportunity to talk one on one with a minister [ ] who has been a “pro-choice” activist for 30 years, and a long-standing member of RCAR. Indeed, I have debated him on one prior occasion, as he is the most prominent RCAR spokesperson in New England. Both discussions were most fruitful in many ways, and I am continuing dialogue with him. Whereas he is embittered against certain pro-lifers at whose hands he has received harassment and hatred, I saw him readily open up to the love of Christ. Two statements he made to me are of particular note. First, he said he could find “no fault” in my Christian opposition to abortion, that he only differed with me in terms of church/state balances (that is a subject for future discussion). And second, he remarked off-handedly that my critique of RCAR hit the nail on the head (I had mailed him a copy the week prior). I was astounded! I asked him point blank if there were even any nuance of my critique which was unfair, and he said, “I can’t think of any.”
Do pray for this man. Although I fervently disagree with his position on abortion, he has expressed honest thanks for my willingness to communicate with him, to listen to him. And I see him as a man who is honestly seeking to serve God, and who is moved by a solid appeal to the Bible. We can certainly neutralize the falsehood and idolatry of RCAR, and convert those who truly are seeking God.