A car in front of me had scrawled across its rear window: "No Life Matters Until Black Lives Matter." True, in the sense of King's, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." But it's ultimately true that unless babies lives matter, especially in the womb, no life from then on does.
Look at world history. Hippocrates, the 400 B.C. Greek physician "was opposed to abortion, and there is, or was until quite recently, a line in the Hippocratic Oath pledging not to perform an abortion" (We Look for a Kingdom, 41). We 21st century people are on level or worse than the likes of the pagan Medes, Corinthians, and Spartans. Isaiah says of the Medes: "They will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, nor will their eye pity children" (13:18).The Corinthians were better. Fifth century B.C. historian Herodotus relates how an oracle predicted a certain baby to be born would ruin their city. 10 men agreed that the first with hands on the baby would kill it. "As soon as Labda [the mother] put it into the man's arms, it smiled at him, and he seeing it smile, was touched, and could not bring himself to kill it, but passed it to his neighbor who, in his turn, passed it on again until all ten had had it in their arms, and not one could bring himself to kill it" (v, 92, c, 312). The Spartans too were better than the Medes and us too. Greek philosopher Plutarch wrote that when the Queen of Sparta offered to Lycurgus that she would abort her infant who would take the crown from him if he agreed to marry her. The pagan Lycurgus reacted by "abhorring the woman's wickedness" (Lives, Greeks, 31).
Americans enjoy feeling superior to Nazi German and Communist Russia, but are we? Hear a German woman's remarks about conscripting young boys at the WW II's end. "'Wasting these boys before they reach maturity obviously runs against some fundamental law of nature, against our instinct, against every drive to preserve the species. Like certain fish or insects that eat their own offspring. People aren't supposed to do that. The fact that this is exactly what we are doing is a sure sign of madness'" (Hastings, Inferno: The World at War, 602-03). And consider this Russian woman's account from WW II. Russian partisans were discovered by Germans and were cordoned off in the forest. They hid in the swamps for days. Their radio operator was a woman who had recently given birth. "'It had to be nursed...But the mother herself was hungry and had no milk. The baby cried... If the dogs heard it, we'd all be killed. The whole group - thirty of us...The commander makes a decision... Nobody can bring himself to give the mother his order, but she figures it out herself. She lowers the swaddled baby into the water and holds it there for a long time ...The baby doesn't cry anymore.. And we can't raise our eyes. Neither to the mother nor to each other...'" (The Unwomanly Face of War, xxxiv).
Not in the U. S. of A. or the other so-called advanced societies. We live in a dystopian society and either don't know or don't care. In Anthony Burgess' 1985, you'll recognize the 2 things that mark his bleak society "the disposability of the foetus and the availability of sex" (Burgess, 1985, 234). And whose baby's lives are most disposable today? Black babies. Did you take the time to read the brief letter in the last newsletter where 120 black leaders blasted the systemic racism of Planned Parenthood? How many times have you been to the CDC website in the last year? Did you take a glance at the abortion statistics? About 36 % of abortion deaths are black babies though blacks represent only 12.8% of the population. Those who march for Black Lives but don't for the unborn are either ignorant or hypocrites.
World history testifies BLM, Babies Lives Matter. So does Biblical history. Sara, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah all pine away for children in the womb. They pray about; they agonize about it. Children in the womb are a blessing, something to be prayed for, and protected. Read Genesis 20. Even a pagan Philistine valued the ability to bear children. Our society values the ability to control when and if we have them from bedroom all the way into the delivery room. It's all a man-thing not a God-thing. In the time of Moses, it sure seemed liked having babies had to be a man-thing. Read Exodus 1 and 2. The Hebrew midwives were commanded to kill male babies. But they feared God more than men, it says, and let them live. Then Pharaoh command all his people to throw the Hebrew boy babies into the Nile. If ever there was a time it didn't make sense to be having babies, it was then. But what do we read? Moses' mom and dad had him. Babies lives matter to God's people even when to the powers that be they don't.
We find the same in the NT. Unbelief thinks nothing of killing babies. Do you realize how many people had to be complicit for Herod's order to kill all the boy babies 2 and younger in the area of Bethlehem to be carried out? Did any moms or dads willingly hand over their baby? Was it just another day at the office for the baby-killing soldiers? And what about the Lord in all this? He's on His way to Egypt. The Lord knows murder is on the way to Bethlehem. He tells Joseph that Herod will search for the child to kill Him. The holy family leaves for Egypt that night. There is no record of them warning anyone. So what gives? Don't babies lives matter to Him?
Babies lives matter in pagan world history and in Biblical history until we get to the Festival of the Holy Innocents. The first martyrs for the faith. Here is yet another place fallen reason thinks it has a right to demand God explain Himself. We post-moderns think we have every right to decide when babies in the womb should be permitted and when they should not. This is our right, our freedom, and only tyranny suggests different. But God. Well, He better explain Himself. He has no right to do as He pleases. As if the Book of Job had never been written where in the end we find out who gets to question whom. "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who accuses God answer Him" (40:2)!
Deut. 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever" Focus on what your God does reveal. He chooses to enter the womb, to redeem life from the very roots. God the Son could've taken on flesh as a 30 year-old, 13 year-old, a 3 year-old, a 3 month-old, or a 3-week unborn baby. Whatever point at which He took on flesh and blood everything prior to that would be unredeemed and unredeemable. Since we are sinful, fallen, guilty, from the moment we come into the womb, from that very moment we needed redeeming. And that's what God did. The Lutheran Reformer, Martin Chemnitz said already in the 16th century: "Thus the Son of God in assuming His own flesh, but without sin, also endured those things which commonly befall man in conception, pregnancy, and birth, so that from His very beginning, rise and, as it were root, He might first restore in Himself our depraved nature and so cleanse and sanctify our contaminated conception and birth that we might know that Christ's salvation applies even to man's fetus in conception, gestation, and birth" (Two Natures in Christ, 102).
So Jesus, descended from heaven's mansions to the cramped quarters of the human womb to redeem the unborn there, and then proceeded through gestation, labor, and delivery to cleanse them all the way through. But He continued on to live the life God's Law required for a person to go heaven. He was the perfect toddler, preteen, teen, and adult. Never did He brake God's Law by word, deed, or thought. His enemies testify to the first two. God the Holy Spirit testifies to the last. Yet, all the sins and sinfulness of womb to tomb were heaped on the holy back of Jesus and He was driven to the cross as the most wretched, damned sinner ever known to God or man, and He was not just forsaken their, not just tortured there, but damned their. Read how Bunyan's Christian fared at the hands of the Giant Despair. Never have I read such a physical description of the spiritual despair I've felt (Pilgrim's Progress, Part 1, 7, 103-4)). Read it, and realize that is what Jesus went through to redeem life from womb to tomb. And having offered His holy life as sacrifice to appease God's wrath against all unholy life, the satisfied Father raised Him from the dead proclaiming peace and forgiveness to all.
Unborn life follows the adage out of sight out of mind. Except of course when it's wanted, and that's my point. God Almighty wants all life. He sent His Son to redeem life starting in the womb. He's indignant when His own apostles hinder nursing babies from being brought to Him. He's much more than indignant at those hindering the unborn by killing them in the womb. They are not out of His sight. He points to babies as the type of those to whom he Kingdom of Heaven belongs (Mt. 19:14). And it's out of the mouths of babies and nursing infants that He brings praise (Mt. 21:16). Babies lives matter to God in Christ no matter what. They only matter to the United States once a mother decides the child is wanted. This is the greatest injustice of all time and the fact that race does matter here, in a negative way, should make anyone who really cares for social justice take notice.
But we live in insane times. G. K. Chesterton said, "[W]henever we see things done wildly, but taken tamely, then the state is growing insane" (In Defense of Sanity, 62). Americans have sat, for the most part, tamely by for 48 years, as babies lives were declared to matter only if a mother wanted them. Small wonder that after 40 years of swallowing that lie we took tamely the lie that gender and marriage were also manmade choices. I suggest it's time for public penitence. "[F]or twenty years following the [Salem witch trial's] year of 1692 Massachusetts would do penance and make reparation for their sins" (Hansen, Witchcraft at Salem, 207). This was for the death of 25. Go ahead and multiply times 2 and add 6 zeroes; that's our American abortion debt. And if Jesus hadn't paid this off, we could only gather today in fear and in the brutal hands of the Giant Despair. But having been saved from this, we are given courage, power, and voice to pray, protest, and point out that if the silent majority really is in the majority and they continue to remain silent, God will speak to this issue. He speaks today in mercy toward all life. He will one day speak judgment on those to whom babies lives didn't matter. Amen
Rev. Paul R. Harris
Trinity Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas
Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Life Sunday); 20210124