Simply because something is legal does not mean that it is good. One only needs to look at history—at slavery or segregation, for example—to discover the truth of this argument. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself noted that not all laws are just when he penned his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail:
“A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”
In America today, there are still such laws that degrade human personality—none more devaluing of personhood than those which legalize abortion. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the case Roe v. Wade, sanctioning abortion in the United States. Since that day, over 60 million babies have been murdered in the womb. This senseless destruction of human life is the result of an unjust law–a law which is incapable of “uplift[ing] human personality.”
Scripture states that man is made in the image of God. Abortion itself is, therefore, an attack on God. Christ’s treatment of the poor, the sick, the very old, and the little children exemplify the way we ought to protect and honor even the most vulnerable. Who is more vulnerable than the unborn child? Who is more called upon to share the Biblical message of the sanctity of all human life than the church? It is easy to feel powerless when faced with unjust laws, yet we have examples of others who have gone before us to fight against many such dehumanizing and corrupt practices. For instance, Basil of Caesarea, an early church leader, was appalled at the legalized infanticide and abortion in Roman cities, yet he educated others about the value of human life and used his political influence to change the laws. As a church, we are called to action–through prayer and petition—to stand up against legal practices that devalue human life. Likewise, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, theologian, and Nazi-dissident, knew that action was the only proper response when faced with the legalized atrocities of Hitler’s government. In the book of Matthew, Scripture warns that the generations who ignore the teachings of Christ will be condemned even by the very wicked city of Nineveh. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it succinctly when he wrote,
“But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”
Simply because something is legal does not mean that it is good. One only needs to look at history to discover this truth. But we can change the course of history. We can join the ranks of so many others who have fought against injustice or demanded an end to unjust laws. We can demand that our nation’s laws are ones that uplift human personality and that honor human life, even at its most vulnerable. Will you join us in this endeavor? Be a part of the 1:22 Campaign: pray for an end to abortion, write a letter to state and local representatives calling for an end to unjust abortion laws. Make a bold declaration about the value of human life–life made in the image of our Creator.