Saturday, March 06, 2010

Abortion and the Race Connection

Below is the first portion of a post by Justin Taylor - I recommending clicking through to read the whole thing:

Piper’s Preaching on the Abortion and Race Connection

The NY Times and the LA Times have both run stories recently about a controversial new billboard campaigned (pictured to the right) on how abortion is making black children endangered. For more information, see the website Albert Mohler has a helpful roundup here.

What are the statistics leading to this angle? In her 2006 book The Politics of Abortion sociologist Anne Hendershott writes that “the statistics on race and abortion are indeed a concern for anyone who cares about the African American community.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 43 percent of all African American pregnancies end in abortion. Since 1973, the number of abortions by African American women has totaled nearly twelve million. Every day in the United States, more than 1,500 African American women choose to end their pregnancy through abortion. Although African Americans represent only 12 percent of the American population, they account for more than 35 percent of all abortions. As a result, the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 per year) for African American women is 2.9 times that of white women. Put another way, for every 1,000 African American women, 32 have abortion, as compared with 11 for every 1,000 white women. Comparing the number of abortions per 1,000 live births by race, we find that the abortion/birth ration for white women is 184 abortions per 1,000 live births; for African American women, it is 543 abortions per 1,000 births. (pp. 31-32)
Now some of you may know that I have a longstanding interest in John Piper’s preaching on abortion. Preachers often make two sorts of mistakes, it seems to me, in preaching on abortion: on the right (but not exclusively) there is a tendency to include preaching about abortion at the same level as supporting political positions and the call to recover a “Christian America” (or a “progressive America”); on the left (but not exclusively) there is a tendency never to mention abortion, though other social sins (racism, exploitation, injustice etc.) are spoken about freely and frequently.
In my opinion, Piper achieves a remarkable balance here: prophetic, persuasive, passionate, non-political sermons on abortion.
So I thought it might be helpful to work through some of his sermons to see the connection between abortion and racism. Since 1990 he has preached each year on abortion (on Sanctity of Life Sunday, around the time of the Roe v. Wade anniversary) and since 1998 he has preached each year on racial harmony (around the time of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday). And the two topics have converged at several points throughout the years.

For example, in his 1994 sermon Piper explained the theological link:
These two issues [abortion and racism] are about God and about the nature of man created in the image of God. What we believe about God and his majesty, and what we believe about the meaning of being human in relation to God will make all the difference in the world how we think and act about abortion and racism—if we really believe what we say we believe.
Both abortion and racism treat God’s supreme creation without contempt and most be abhorred by those who seek to magnify the Creator.
Piper knows that to link the two explosive issues is to invite misunderstanding and criticism. Nevertheless, in his 2007 sermon he makes clear that he is not associating the two in a “sly or subtle way,” but rather in an “open and intentional” way. He clarifies that his aim is not to “equate” the two, but rather to “associate them. “It’s not a biblical declaration; it’s a cultural observation.”

No comments: