A potential guest stated confidently, “I’m an abolitionist.” I had phoned her in response to her request for lodging at our missionary guest house. The missionary’s ministry sounded very interesting so I wanted to talk with her instead of responding via my usual email.

I replied. “Really? I’m not sure what you mean.” My first thought was, “Slavery was abolished over a hundred years ago?!”

My mind was on a book about the great American Civil War I had just finished. The Civil War was a grievous period in our nation’s history, one of the bloodiest conflicts ever fought on U.S. soil. Political passions ran deep. Brothers literally fought one another to the death. Each, righteous in their own eyes, stood their ground zealously. The new nation was on the brink of disaster.

The missionary I spoke with was not talking about the “battle to save America’s soul” as one writer described the Civil War. But then, maybe she was. Obviously passionate about her stand, she further explained that for the past 20 years she has stood outside abortion clinics throughout her state to protest the wholesale slaughter of unborn Americans. Her goal was to entreat women who were about to enter those clinic doors to consider alternative measures to save the life of the real person in her womb.

Today, passions run deep about ideals and ideologies, much like during the days leading up to Civil War of the 1860s. Brothers and sisters, parents and children are standing against one another. Is there a way through this turmoil?

In my high school American History class, Mrs. Sams explained that the Civil War was not about abolishing slavery, but about “state’s rights.” That sounds so much like the arguments we hear today regarding abortion: a woman’s right to choose what she wants to do with her life versus the unborn child’s right to survive and thrive!

There were many in the 1860s who wanted equal rights for slaves, arguing that they were human beings just like any other man, woman, or child on earth. But there were those who had other ideas about slavery – mainly the economics that required the use of enslaved people to power their lucrative agricultural industries.

Although many want to make it a broad and general fight (1860s, “states’ rights” and 2022, “women’s rights”), the real fight is much more personal (“Is the enslaved person a human being?” “Is the baby in the womb a human being?”) Much like today’s legislation that only restricts abortion, those who argued for a gradual end to slavery by various means didn’t get very far.

The battle lines are drawn. Our nation has slipped further and further away from the moral roots on which it was founded. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” have become selfish goals rather than the moral fiber of which our country was woven.

As a Christian, a Christ-follower, a lover of the things of the Lord (God values every life – read Psalm 139!), you need a firm and pre-determined stance. As Owen Strachan so eloquently wrote, “We are pro-life because the Bible is pro-life. That is the animating conviction of the evangelical pro-life movement. We are not pro-life because it is a winning issue. We are not pro-life because we like the issue. We are not pro-life because we like the reputation it gives us. We are pro-life because the timeless and perfect Word of God compels us to be pro-life.”1

On which side do you stand? As a life-or-death concern, there really is no middle ground.

1 Owen Strachan, God is Pro-Life: Why We Must Be as Well, published October 24, 2022 in The Washington Stand.