Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Methodist Churches Ask Senate for Abortion Funds, & Others

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 2, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A coalition of mainline Protestant churches have authored a letter to members of Congress asking them to make certain the health care bills they are considering contain taxpayer funding for abortions. The letter comes from a group of churches that have long advocated the pro-abortion position.

Under the umbrella of the Religious Institute, the church denominations and more than 1,100 pastors and church staff from the denominations endorsed the letter.

The letter calls abortion a “morally justifiable decision” and opposed any amendments to the House and Senate bills, which current contain massive abortion funding, to strike that taxpayer-financing.

“Already, federal policy unfairly prevents low-income women and federal employees from receiving subsidized [abortions],” Rev. Debra W. Haffner, executive director of the Religious Institute complained.

The letter added that she doesn’t want more abortion funding bans in place and complained that additional “restrictions” on abortion funding constitute a “serious moral injustice.”

The denominations endorsing the letter include the American Baptist Churches, Church of the Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church, and others.
“We affirm women as moral agents who have the capacity, right and responsibility to make the decision as to whether or not abortion is justified in their specific circumstances,” the letter says.

The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Unitarian Universalist Association, and United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism also endorsed the pro-abortion letter.

The Religious Institute claims to represent 4,800 clergy and 40 Christian denominations.

Some of the signers to the letter include : Fr. Dr. Luis Barrios, Chair of Latin American and Latina/o Studies, John Jay College of Criminal Justice – CUNY; Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, Bishop, The Fellowship; The Rev. Dr. Paula Gravelle, Chair, Clergy Action Board; and Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago.

They also include Rabbi Peter Knobel, Former President, Central Conference of American Rabbis; Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Dean, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary; Rev. Michael Livingston, Executive Director, International Council of Community Churches; Rev. Dr. Deborah Mullen, Director, Center for African American Ministry and Black Church Studies, McCormick Theological Seminary; Dr. Sylvia Rhue, Interim Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition; and Rev. Dr. William Stayton, Professor of Sexuality and Religion, Morehouse School of Medicine

The Bible Regards Abortion as Murder

What the Bible says are the responsibilities of civil authorities in upholding justice is a point being missed by some people in the pro-life movement in particular and by the public in general. The Bible commands the civil authorities to administer justice “upon him that doeth evil” (Rom.13:4).

If Christians do not report very clearly about what the Bible says is sin, then the people will never know how to repent. “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom.3:20).

The Bible has always regarded abortion – killing the child in the womb as murder, a crime punishable by the death penalty. The grounds for this judgment are “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex.20:13); Child Sacrifice, “he shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:1-5); and Exodus 21:22-23, where an example of abortion is found:

“If men strive, and hurt a women with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life” (Ex.21:22-23).

In Exodus 21: 22-23, the Bible sets forth a minimal case with larger implications for justice to be served by the civil authorities:

  1. ( “If men strive… .”The plural “men” is employed for the purpose of speaking indefinitely, because there might possibly be more than one person involved in causing injury.
  2. “So that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow… .”An example of a premature birth. Even if no injury results to either mother or child, the man who causes the “premature birth” is liable to be fined and, in fact, must be fined. The Bible strongly protects the pregnant mother and her child, so that every pregnant mother has a strong hedge of legal protection around her.
  3. “And if mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life… .”An example of accidental abortion. If the penalty for an “accidental abortion” is so severe, it’s obvious that a deliberately induced abortion is strongly forbidden. It is not necessary to have a separate ban on any form of deliberate abortion since the maximum penalty is served by this statute. If man through his own reckless actions, unintentionally hurts a pregnant mother and causes her to abort a child, he must suffer the death penalty. How much more so for any person who intentionally induces an abortion?
  4. “if any mischief follow… give life for life.”The Bible strongly protects human life from the moment of conception. With the phrase “if any mischief follow,” the child has equal protection under the law from the moment of conception “life for life.”

God does not make exceptions that tolerate injury to any pregnant mother, or any child in the womb. In fact CURSES “come upon” and “overtake” nations that refuse to administer justice (Deut. 28:15).

If God does not tolerate exceptions to the administration of justice concerning murder by abortion, then neither should His people.

Jim Rudd
Director, Christian Street Preachers Alliance
[email protected]

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