A pastor inquired of me recently, “Why is CompassCare so much more effective now than it was 10 years ago?” I gave him an answer which, after further reflection, I realized did not adequately capture the reason for the success.
I realized that CompassCare’s marketing and service process, while found to be one of the most effective life-saving service operations in the U.S., was not effective because of sound research and process development but rather because of the belief driving everything we do. If belief dictates behavior then the better question is, “What does CompassCare believe that has made it so effective at reaching and serving women at-risk for abortions?” Answer: Personhood.
I recently signed the following public personhood declaration with other local, state, and national leaders: “A person is an organism with unique human DNA governing his or her own maturation from conception to natural death. Every person bears the image of God. Any person, therefore, demands our utmost dignity, respect, and protection—man, woman, boy and girl—from the womb to the tomb” (see reverse). What we believe about personhood has major implications for how we educate our children, treat our patients, elect our legislators, etc. We need look no further than recent history to see what nations do when they redefine personhood for entire categories of people such as Jews, blacks, the mentally handicapped and most recently pre-born boys and girls.
The black community understands well what follows when one segment of society decides to use their own definition of personhood—slavery and death. Similarly abortion represents one small group of people—7 out of 9 Supreme Court Justices in 1973—deciding that boys and girls in the womb are not persons (see Roe v Wade). Even more insidious is the manipulative language created by abortion advocates disguising this modern slavery as “women’s rights.” To be sure abortion IS about rights, the rights of every person to be free from the oppression of another man’s idea of personhood. If the definition of personhood is in any way narrowed from the ancient boundaries of conception to natural death, then all are debased and no one is safe.
A high view of humanity is needed, derived from both natural law and God’s law. Natural law reveals that a child yet in the womb possesses separate and distinct DNA that governs his own personal maturation receiving only nourishment from his environment. This exactly describes our circumstances except that our voice can be heard. Moreover, God’s law places ultimate value on a human being. The creation account describes humanity in Genesis 1:27 stating, “God created man in His own image . . . .” The Psalmist clarifies further stating, “Yet You have made him a little lower than God . . . .” (Psalm 8:5).
We must wield our resources on behalf of pre-born babies, America’s dehumanized outcasts. Jesus says, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me” (Mark 9:37).
To respect and protect the personhood of pre-born babies honors both the image of God and the inherent dignity of all humanity. A litmus test for our connectedness with God is our openness to bless and protect all humanity, especially voiceless dehumanized babies. Is it possible that to ignore the plight of this person reveals a soul-sick complacency? We were unholy sinners without rights, voice, or influence before a holy and righteous God. We needed someone else’s voice, power, and wealth to redeem our hopeless condition. By emptying Himself on the cross and defeating death Jesus gave us our life back. Now He asks us to use our newfound wealth for the most vulnerable. In America today to truly believe the gospel message is to be radically pro-personhood. Belief drives behavior.
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