Where is the Church?

This week I have had a number of people asking me about the involvement of the church in pro-life issues. So, let's talk about the Church's involvement in Pro-Life issues.

One of the bigger voices that we hear nothing from is that of the churches. The very back bone of pro life and gender values, hide quietly in their little corners refusing to make a stand for some of their core values on life. – Brian C

I agree with Brian’s comments about Churches not taking the lead on pro-life situations as it is both disappointing and confusing! One can only speculate why that is, maybe they do not want to upset some of their congregation who don’t support a pro-life position. Most Church congregations are understandably very nervous about losing members and hence losing finances, however if Churches are supposed to encourage their congregations to increase their following of Jesus and hence applying it to their daily lives, how can we encourage our Church leadership to be more bold about pro-life issues of abortion, same-sex relationships and gender manipulation, etc.? – Russell G


Answer

As an outspoken pro-life and pro-family advocate, I can only draw on my own experiences with churches which have included the following:

  1. the pastor who openly admitted to me that he supported the decision of a congregational member to abort a child with a disability because he didn’t think it was his place to have an opinion.  Subsequently, prolife discussion is actively discouraged in the church in case the parents of this child ‘feel bad’;
  2. the church board who invited me to speak then phoned the night before to ask me not to speak about gender programs like safe schools or same-sex relationships because they were not sure where they stood on “these issues” yet;
  3. the parish priests who were not aware that late term abortion was legal in Victoria and were just stunned (and admittedly embarrassed) about their lack of awareness after I spoke at their meetings;
  4. the junior pastor who lost his job after speaking in his church service in favour of my Infant Viability Bill in 2016 which attempted to roll back late term abortion in Victoria;
  5. the church leader who told me (at a lunch at Parliament House) that they don’t vote at all because we are approaching the end times anyway, why fight it – who interestingly then went on to complain about the safe schools program without seeing the irony;
  6. the church who had a prophecy over it that it would play a role in upholding life in parliament, then refused to make a time to meet with me (the only politician in Victoria who has ever attempted to legislate for life); and
  7. the women’s group who didn’t invite me back after someone walked out of my message on Esther when I used Esther as an example of standing in the gap for people who were vulnerable and related this to standing in the gap for our children (born and unborn) today.

And I won’t even begin to detail my personal experiences of churches being “uncomfortable” with me simply attending their church after standing up for vulnerable children at the expense of my (ex)husband. 

So, I guess that is a long way of saying, in my experience, many churches are not truly pro-life and pro-family.  This may be because they don’t wish to upset their congregations and destabilised their finances as you astutely pointed out, or it may be that they have simply not thought through their own positions and are completely unaware of what is going on around them.  

What should we do?

The first, and most basic step, we need to take is to raise awareness.  Church leaders who are disengaged from pro-life and pro-family values need to be informed about (ie, confronted by) them.  This is what I call the Wilberforce principle.   (“you may choose to the look the other way, but you can never say again that you do not know” William Wilberforce).  For anyone who wants help with this, I am happy to develop ‘speaking notes’ for people wanting to speak to their church leaders about this directly.  (Thanks Russell – I think you may have started something here).

The second, and more complicated step, is to hold our church leaders (and ourselves) accountable in this area.  To be bold we must remind our leaders that being the salt and light in the world is not restricted to teaching doctrine, but extends to the promotion of the common good – ie, looking for ways to restrain public evil. Put more simply: we have a responsibility to have an opinion on programs taught in schools which may harm our children (eg. Safe Schools), we have a responsibility to resist the transgender movement which is deliberately splitting families, and we have a responsibility to uphold and support life.


Showing 4 comments

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  • robert donker
    followed this page 2019-02-21 20:44:08 +1100
  • Helen Jenkins-Conway
    followed this page 2019-02-21 18:29:55 +1100
  • Russell Gray
    commented 2019-02-07 15:21:18 +1100
    Hi Rachel, yes, I agree with Rob’s comments. Thanks also for your detailed feedback about your experiences and recommendations, very helpful!
    One could say well we are trapped now for another 4 years with this current Victorian Government’s ant-families policies, but we cannot just stop the fight! Similar fights are rearing their heads in the Federal Government’s sphere which I suppose take some priority with Federal elections looming, however I just believe we need to make greater commitments in both areas…
  • Rob Robertson
    commented 2019-02-06 20:26:12 +1100
    Well said Rachel, and thank you for being one of the few public figures speaking up.

    I fear much fo the church will quietly surrender to the culture around it out of fear, while parachurch ministries such as ours will end up in court so as to be silenced (part of our work touches on those leaving the LGBT life) The present attacks by the Vic state government are particularly ominous, and never would have gotten to this level of audacity if the churches had spoken out in a timely manner.

    Many thanks