The currently prevailing conception of social justice is convoluted. It seems that what it means to be just conveniently lines up with current cultural leanings or one’s political allegiances. Our culture is intoxicated with a sense of moral superiority and the notion of one’s opponents being “on the wrong side of history,” and this reinforces ingrained political views in a way that can dangerously undermine biblical truth. While there is much to be said about a Scriptural defense of justice and how that plays out in society, this article seeks not to redefine social justice but to show how even while using current culturally defined concepts of social justice, abortion (not race, gender, climate, or the LGBTQ issue) is actually the preeminent social justice issue. And the moral standing of those advocating for it is critically undermined because of their support for (or ambivalence toward) an abominable widespread practice.
Any current definition of social justice carries with it some concept of equality. Whether the context is wealth, opportunities, or privilege, social justice advocates argue that a lack of equality can have severe societal consequences. This definition is not in question here, but what is in question is the absurd suggestion that while social justice fights for the equality of all people, it denies the opportunity of life to those who are the most helpless and have no voice of their own. Even the bastion of social justice that is the United Nations contains no mention of “abortion” or “the unborn” on its list of Human Rights Issues. This absurdity brings us to the fundamental difference between the view of social justice advocates and the view that is supported by logic and the whole of biblical studies. That difference is in the answer to the question, “What is the unborn?” Our country has been corrupted and steeped in the wrong answer to this question. The government has been given the power to define what it is to be human. And in so doing, we have neglected the opinion of the creator of human life.
To define the unborn as anything other than a distinct human individual defies reason. Author Scott Klusendorf developed an acronym that succinctly refutes the faulty logic behind denying the human personhood of the unborn. The acronym is SLED, and it stands for size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. These are the only qualities differentiating a fetus from an adult human, and none of them justify the ending of that life. Would we be okay with killing someone because their heart cannot beat without assistance, because they depend on someone else for sustenance, or because a disease prevents them from feeling pain? We should respond with an emphatic “no” and argue against those who justify killing an unborn child because, through no fault of its own, it is in the same situation as the adults described above.
For Christians the defense of the unborn is more than just a logical imperative. The gospels reveal our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the joyous host of children and the fount of living water. Humans live with the imago Dei and also to know and commune with our creator through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Abortion destroys the life of a human being imbued with the imago Dei and deprives that life of the possibility of experiencing the incredible and mysterious unifying and sanctifying experiences of unimaginable eternal importance available to us in this world through Christ. Because the stakes are so high and the consequences so severe, the question of what is the unborn is one every Christian must be able to answer confidently and definitively. This is the most important political question of our day and age, and preparing students to engage with it is largely ignored in the media and even in the activism encouraged on this campus. Christians must love the unborn and their mothers enough to argue for the end of this atrocity. It is not loving to offer abortion as an option. We must also be fervent to share the redemptive love and hope of life that God made available to all through the work of Christ in spite of our sin and depravity. Christianity must always be a religion of hope and light even in the midst of topics as dark and disturbing as abortion.