From the St. Nicholas monthly bulletin…
On the Christian Life
On Abortion and Our Vote
The Orthodox Church does not issue political statements, and imposes no political tests on her faithful, but we must remember that we will give account before God at the Dread Judgement for our choices. This includes how we exercise our civic responsibilities in choosing those who govern us. We are responsible as a people and as a nation for the actions of our government.
The people that govern us apply policies that are useful or harmful to us, to our Church, and to our daily lives. As electors we share the responsibility for the fact that abortion is effectively legal throughout pregnancy, even to the day the baby is born, a practice called partial-birth abortion. Not only is abortion legal, but through the recent "Affordable Care Act" it is mandated that it be paid for at public expense and through our own insurance premiums. This aspect has unfortunately stood judicial review, and is now imposed on religious organizations, such as the Roman Catholic Church, its charities and hospitals. If things continue this way, this is only the beginning of the infringement on our religious liberties and freedom of conscience.
While we might reasonably disagree with each other on matters of social justice, and how best to achieve it (whether from a liberal or conservative point of view), what is not negotiable is human life. It is a fact that this country permits the killing of infants on a vast scale. If some are against our country waging war because it kills innocent people, why are many of these same people in favor of abortion on demand? If some do not eat flesh-meat because it kills animals, why do not all of them oppose the killing of human beings? If some stand for the rights of minorities, why do they not object to the fact that the majority of abortions are performed on minority children, namely blacks and Hispanics? The largest provider of legal abortions is an organization founded by a woman, Margaret Sanger, whose stated purpose was to reduce the number of "undesirables" in society, namely minorities, by killing their progeny. There are those who justify abortion as a matter of women's choice. However, this choice involves not only the woman and her partner, but a new human being who ought to be allowed to live.
The Orthodox Church has confessed consistently throughout her history, from the Apostolic times to the present day, that abortion is murder. It is the taking of a human life into which God has breathed a living soul. An unborn child is not a "mass of unviable fetal tissue," it is a human being. By six to eight weeks the fetus is a tiny, but recognizable baby. He or she has a beating heart, eyes, face and a soul. Abortion is a brutal, gruesome and hideous procedure in which a baby, a living human being, is cut up and torn limb-from-limb, or burned by chemicals, and thrown away as garbage. This practice should not be allowed in any civilized country.
Not everything that is legal is moral. Whatever the outcome of the political process, it is our duty to do what we can to make society better, to persuade people not to resort to abortion, and to support those mothers who have the courage to carry their babies to term. We should give to worthy causes such as Birthright (www.birthright.org, tel. 800 550-4900) which help mothers in crisis pregnancies with material assistance and counseling. We should help those of our family and acquaintance who become pregnant out of wedlock by giving our own resources, time and attention.
God is compassionate, and the Church is a place of healing. We should not judge those who out of desperation have obtained abortions. Let such people trust in the mercy of God, for where there is repentance there is forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
None of the candidates for public office are Orthodox Christians, and no candidate is perfect. But if a candidate will not stand for the life of the defenseless, how can any positive qualities balance this?
Before we vote, let us pause and pray for the good of our country, and for the wisdom to choose rightly. If we cannot choose candidates that will do good, at least we can choose those that will do the least harm, and that are least opposed to the Christian Faith.∎
Fr George Lardas, Rector
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Stratford, CT