Protestors or caregivers?
SPRINGFIELD, MO — A prominent political figure recently criticized evangelicals for opposing abortion and ignoring “other life issues such as poverty, education and AIDS.”
Twenty years ago that argument may have had some validity, but not any longer. More and more congregations have gained the right — by their investment of compassion in the community — to be heard in the public square on a wide range of issues, including abortion. Today, for example, homes for unwed mothers, after-school tutoring initiatives, drug rehab programs, and AIDS hospices are church-based.
Abortion rights activists, however, continue to wrongly portray Christians as self-righteous spectators who quote Scripture but seldom lift a hand to help those in need. They call Christians “protesters” and exalt themselves as “caregivers.”
Activists do not fear the church’s collective voice — which, of course, advocates life; they fear the church’s army of compassion — which restores and protects life. They fear congregations that rescue the dying and extend help to the fallen — because such acts of mercy refute their claims that Christians are all talk and no action.
The propaganda war being waged against the church requires believers to go beyond words to good works. As 1 Peter 2:12 says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (NIV).
The struggle for public perceptions will not be won through good deeds alone. Congregations must continue to pray and seek opportunities to show the public their face of compassion. Only then will people discover what abortion advocates didn’t want them to know: that, given a choice, Christ’s followers would rather cradle a child in their arms than carry a picket sign in their hands.
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