Editors Note: The next few articles will be shorter than usual due to my being a camp pastor for two weeks.
While not being wrong on a good majority of Evangelical pastors revealing their squishiness over the past Sunday, I did guess the manifestation of that sponge like spine incorrectly. By way of review I had said posited my expectation that many churches would do the bare minimum to draw attention to the overturning of Roe and that it would be a travesty in light of the general blow out the week before over Juneteenth. Slightly more than the bare minimum was done, and for that, praise God. It does appear that the evil of abortion was acknowledged in plain terms, it was called out as murder, and and rightly so. And then came the shift.
It was made clear that in no uncertain terms should the pro life movement celebrate this victory. There was a strong word on charity and compassion because there were people in those congregations who were taking the defeat rather hard. Ultimately that this was not an issue to divide over. The word empathy was throughout like MSG in Orange Sesame Chicken. This I should have predicted. It is the modus operandi since, at least, 2020. If you think back the standard response was to remind republicans that they needed to calm down because a lot of people were upset over the loss of one Mrs. Clinton. Fast forward four years, not a peep about how democrats should not revel in the defeat of one bad orange man out of compassion for people who lost.
*There is a trickle down effect, with TGC leading the way with a banner article on pro choice people not being triumphalist. And while what-about-ism is denounced because it often makes the left look bad I will point out agin this is an evil worse than chattel slavery, and if we are expected to celebrate Juneteenth then we should also be giddy over the end of baby murder. I don’t think there is any one who would have preached a sermon after the emancipation proclamation reminding their congregations not to be too triumphal because there were a lot of people who were hurt by that decision. So what gives now?
And so it goes. Christians who hold to the clear but angular texts of Scripture are told to pipe down because those who don’t like them will feel bad. Even on the Instagram attached to this blog, after I posted a celebratory picture toasting the defeat of Roe, I was contacted by an unnamed pastor at a large church who expressed that he wished he could do the same even anonymously, but his church would frown on his “Talking politics.” I offered a bottle of Lagavulin 16 to my own pastor to salute the end of Roe and he expressed initial interest, and then fell in line with the empathy crowd. I know he feels like he is sitting on a powder keg, I would suggest, again, that Roe being overturned was a perfect opportunity to call people to repent and be converted. They are divisive because they are not in Christ, they are of the flesh. Their lust for baby murder makes that plain, the justifications are just that a smoke screen to cover the fires of hell. Therefore they must either repent, or they should go out from among us because they are not of us.
I get that the phrase, “sin of empathy” is debatable at best. However, it is proving more and more to be true simply due to empathy having become a junk drawer term to cover whatever is needed to make truth tellers shut up. It is the perfect theological jargon to cow and push censorship. It shuts down all debate because no one in the church wants to be seen as cruel. Again Screwtape:
“Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary”, “conventional” or “ruthless”. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally.” – Screwtape Letter I
At a bare minimum I think the phrase, “sin of empathy” should be used regularly to call out this behavior. The details can be sorted out later, as of right now the ink spilled over it has been mostly unhelpful. Right now empathy is killing us, and the overturning of Roe proved that while the cancer is not quite as far as I thought it was it is still very much in the system and is eating it’s way right along.
Addendum: In the intervening days since the original publication of this post things have continued to spiral. Kevin DeYoung, over at World Magazine, posted an incredible take on why Christians should celebrate. And I had an interesting conversation with a pastor friend from Washington D.C. The thing that he shared was the very real danger his church is in simply by existing. Over the past two years he has had a front row seat to riots and has had police show up at his church to enforce COVID policy. And this guy is not exactly a Doug Wilson fan much less disciple. And yet here he and his congregation are with a target on their backs by merely showing up on Sunday. This is a powerful witness, in that the people around his church are very aware of what happens when these people worship, and what can happen because of how they worship. What this means is that he is sitting on a very real powder keg. He told me that he acknowledged the overturn of Roe in his pastoral prayer, but did not devote his sermon to it, because there was a very real risk of a riot from the community outside of the church. He saw his restraint as not pouring gasoline on an already out of control fire. And I think I can agree with him. But what this also means is that those pastors, in my notch of the Bible Belt really need to grow a spine. There is a world of difference between a riot burning down your church, and a few liberal nursery workers leaving in a snit. Just something to consider…
*This paragraph is an update to the original after the TGC article was brought to my attention. Again, at camp, can’t quite keep up with everything at the moment.