January 22, 1973; the school year of 1973-74; and April 24, 1975 – keep those dates in memory. They are essential to the rest of this column.
Abortion is a hot topic on the news, social media, and private conversation since the recent Supreme Court’s choice to send the decisions on abortion laws back to the State Legislators.
One thing I have noticed – the pro-abortion crowd quickly, if not immediately, swings the argument to religion.
I know; some of you read that last sentence and thought, “Wait a minute here, Preacher! It’s the anti-abortion crowd that brings religion into this.”
Let me explain. I have seen dozens of posts, both pro, and con, about abortion. Relatively soon into the comments, someone pro-abortion says something like, “You can’t impose your religion on other people’s rights.” As I scroll through the comments, nearly every time, no one mentions anything close to “God says this” or “The Bible says that” before the accusation that religion is being forced upon people.
This implication that the anti-abortion crowd’s opinion must have come from religion got me thinking about myself. How and when did I acquire my anti-abortion stance?
To explain why I believe my opinions on abortion are not because of religion, you’ll need some background.
There is no denying I am a religious man. I have been a member of the clergy since 1987. I preached my first sermon on December 21, 1975. Jesus Christ is a significant factor and motivator in my life. Ok, you get the point.
That said, we come to the dates at the start of this column. Many of you probably noticed the first date, January 22, 1973, is the day of the original Roe v Wade decision. The other two dates are of a personal impact on my life.
The last date, April 24, 1975, is the day I was saved, the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Some people would say that is the day I “got religion.” I was saved at a Baptist church revival meeting. The meeting started at 7 pm that evening. I do not know the exact minute of my salvation other than to say it was sometime after 7 pm that evening. I am over-stressing the date and time of my conversion to show that anytime that day before 7 pm, I was not religious at all.
If someone had sat down with me at 6:45 pm, April 24, 1975, and asked some questions, here is how it would have gone.
Do you believe in God? – There is probably a God out there somewhere, but I don’t know for sure.
Where do you think the human race came from? – I would have answered this question with a long diatribe about the book “Chariots of the Gods” by Erich von Daniken. I had read Chariots of the Gods when I was 12 years old and bought it hook, line, and sinker. The general premise is that the human race was settled here on earth by aliens from a galaxy far, far away.
Do you believe in abortion? – No. I believe it is murder.
Please note that my opinion on abortion was formed during a time in my life when I was not sure about the existence of God, and I was sure the human race was a descendant of space aliens. In other words, religion had nothing to do with my opinion on abortion.
All this brings me to the school year of 1973-74 – eighth-grade social studies class. Periodically the teacher would schedule a debate. The debate teams consisted of five students each. When the teacher announced the topic, he would allow kids to volunteer for one side or another. If there were not enough volunteers, the teacher would choose.
I ended up on the pro-abortion side.
We had two or three weeks to prepare (I don’t remember the exact amount of time). During this preparation time, my opinion changed from not having a view to anti-abortion. Looking at the science, even in those early years, it was easy to see a life was being terminated.
My thoughts turned to myself. I was a surprise. My siblings were eleven and eight years older than me. Mom and Dad were finished creating their family, then oops, here I come. What if Mom decided…
First came Roe v Wade, then my opinion on abortion was formed, then I “got religion.”
In the eighth grade, statistics and quotes from experts and scientists helped form my opinion. Then a year later, God entered my life. Now I had Bible quotes supporting my belief. Yes, my religion did reinforce my views on abortion. Still, it was not my religion that formed my opinion on the subject.
When either side of any argument slides into name-calling, anger, and vulgarity, it only shows they have no more constructive thought to bring to the discussion.
Instead of shouting about how someone should not bring religion into the argument, use quotes and statistics on why their opinion is in error.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com