By Pastor Timothy Johnson
Jan. 22, 1973; the 1973-74 school year; and April 24, 1975 — keep those dates in mind. They are essential to the rest of the column.
Abortion has been a hot topic in the news, on social media, and in private conversation since the Supreme Court’s recent choice to defer decisions on abortion laws to state lawmakers.
One thing I’ve noticed – the pro-abortion crowd quickly, if not immediately, tilts the argument towards religion.
I say; some of you have read that last sentence and thought, “Wait a minute here, preacher! It’s the anti-abortion mob that brings religion into this.
Let me explain. I’ve seen dozens of posts, both for and against, about abortion. Quite quickly in the comments, someone pro-abortion says something like, “You can’t impose your religion on other people’s rights. As I scroll through the comments, almost every time no one mentions anything close to “God says this” or “The Bible says that” before the acquisition that religion is forced on people.
This implication that the opinion of the anti-abortion mob must come from religion made me think to myself. How and when did I acquire my anti-abortion stance?
To explain why I believe my views on abortion are not based on religion, you will need a little background.
It is undeniable that I am a religious man. I have been a clergyman since 1987. I preached my first sermon on December 21, 1975. Jesus Christ is an important and motivating factor in my life. OK, you get the point.
That said, we come to the dates at the beginning of this column. Many of you have probably noticed that the first date, January 22, 1973, is the day of the original Roe v. Wade. The other two dates have a personal impact on my life.
The last date, April 24, 1975, is the day I was saved, the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour. Some people would say this is the day I “got the religion”. I was saved at a Baptist church revival meeting. The meeting began at 7 p.m. that evening. I don’t know the exact minute of my salvation other than to say it was after 7:00 that night. I dwell too much on the date and time of my conversion to show that at any time that day before 7 p.m. I was not religious at all.
If someone had sat down with me at 6:45 p.m. on April 24, 1975, and asked a few questions, here’s what it would have been like.
Do you believe in God? “There’s probably a God somewhere, but I’m not sure.
Where do you think the human race came from? — I would have answered this question with a long diatribe on the book Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken. I read Chariots of the Gods when I was 12 and bought a hook, line and sinker. The general premise is that the human race was colonized here on earth by aliens from a galaxy far, far away.
Do you believe in abortion? – Nope. I believe it’s murder.
Please note that my opinion on abortion was formed at a time in my life when I was unsure of the existence of God and was sure that the human race was descended from extraterrestrials. In other words, religion had nothing to do with my opinion on abortion.
All of which brings me to the 1973-74 school year—eighth grade social studies class. Periodically, the teacher organized a debate. The debate teams consisted of five students each. When the teacher announced the subject, he allowed the children to volunteer for one camp or another. If there were not enough volunteers, the teacher chose.
I found myself on the pro-abortion side. We had two or three weeks to prepare (I can’t remember the exact time). During this time of preparation, my opinion changed from having no view to being anti-abortion. Looking at science, even in those early years, it was easy to see that a life was ending.
My thoughts turned to me. I was a surprise. My siblings were 11 and 8 years older than me. Mom and dad have finished creating their family, so oops, here I come. What if mom decides…
First came Roe vs. Wade, then my opinion on abortion was formed, then I “got the religion”.
In eighth grade, statistics and quotes from experts and scientists helped me form an opinion. Then a year later, God came into my life. Now I had Bible quotes supporting my belief. Yes, my religion has reinforced my views on abortion. However, it is not my religion that has formed my opinion on the subject.
When either side of an argument slips into name-calling, anger, and vulgarity, it only shows that they have no more constructive thoughts to bring to the discussion.
Instead of yelling that someone shouldn’t bring religion into the argument, use quotes and statistics explaining why their opinion is wrong.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in North Parke County, Indiana. Webpage: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Timothy-Preacher-Johnson-101171088326638E-mail: [email protected]; address: 410 S. Jefferson St. Rockville IN 47872. All KJV Bible references. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these views or the independent activities of the author.