Prophets for God
A contemporary prophet for God must deal with many modern issues, some unheard of in the times of the first prophets. I choose to speak about the unborn, specifically, the abortion of the unborn, which is the center of a raging debate within our society. This year alone, an estimated 50 million abortions will be performed worldwide. A significant percentage will be performed illegally, many of those causing not only the death of the fetus but also that of the mother. About one in every five pregnancy-related deaths are caused by unskilled people attempting to perform an abortion.
Abortion was legalized in the United Sates in 1973 as a result of the cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. It was determined that the word "person" in the U.S. Constitution "does not include the unborn". The Supreme Court's decisions in these cases legalized elective abortion for any reason before the fetus becomes viable and left it up to the states to regulate abortions after the fetus becomes viable, allowing them to restrict it except in cases where the woman's life or health is threatened.
Abortion, according to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, is "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus". The two general classes of abortions are spontaneous abortions, or miscarriages, and elective abortions. It is elective abortions, when the mother freely chooses to terminate her pregnancy, that have caused social and ethical controversy in our society. The argument mainly focuses on when a fetus should be considered a human being. The pro-choice argument is that until the fetus can survive outside the womb, it has no legal rights and is therefore still considered a part of the woman, to be treated as she pleases. The pro-life view is that an embryo is a human being from the moment of conception, and therefore has a legal right to life.
The Roman Catholic Church is strongly opposed to abortion and Western laws legalizing elective abortions. The Church opposes all forms of "artificial" birth control or family planning. It believes in abstinence from sex before marriage and natural family planning after marriage, that way eliminating the need for an abortion.
A modern-day prophet dealing with abortion must be strong. They must be willing to stand up to the various groups that have risen to power in today's world, most with wildly different views. Even in the Catholic Church, all people do not hold the same belief as the institution. Some believe that the Church's stance is to backward. These people think that the Church should conform to contemporary, secular ideas about abortion. Others side with pro-life extremists who believe that bombing an abortion clinic is a great way to make a statement about their feelings on the issue.
true prophet would not be intimidated by others' opinions about her message. She would defend what God says even if it was considered unfashionable to feel that way. Some truths do not change with time. Respect for life is one of them.
A true prophet is someone who does not believe that the end justifies the means. This person would not hurt others to get the message across or to promote herself. Abortion clinic bombings are the wrong way to get a message across. It is not right to make a statement by hurting your opponents. It is illogical to kill to stop the killing. This is just something a true prophet would not do because a true prophet puts others first and promotes peace, not controversy.
It would not be easy for her to uphold her moral standards. She would have to deal with the ridicule of others for being so resolute. People often ostracize those they consider zealots, whose thoughts revolve around the message they feel they need to get out. She would be an outcast from many communities who did not share her convictions.
A true prophet might have doubts about what their purpose is. Is the message really from God? Is this the way she ought to be proclaiming it? Is she doing enough? Is everyone else right? Am I crazy to go against popular opinion? Those doubts could never be truly resolved, but can be overcome to some degree with great faith in God.
Still, despite the trials of being God's prophet today, there are joys. She may feel joy when people accept the message. Overcoming a challenge, to herself or the message, can bring happiness, as can knowing God loves her and has specially chosen her to be His prophet. Finally, there is the joy that comes when she knows that by proclaiming God's message, she has helped to save the lives of many unborn children.
As a prophet, I might respond to a woman who would like to have an abortion by asking her to put the needs of the soon-to-be born child before her own as an act of unselfishness. I would point out that God loves all people, including the baby. Also, I would remind her that a child is a gift from God. If she could not handle the responsibility of raising the child at this time in her life, there are many people in the world who would feel blessed to have the opportunity to care for her baby.
I would encourage women to choose adoption, a method more suitable to God's words concerning the termination of life, over abortion. The Fifth Commandment states that "You shall not kill." Even if an unborn child continues to have no Constitutional rights, we, as followers of God, have a moral obligation to deal in a humane way, as He has taught us, with what He gives us. Jesus said to love you neighbor. Who could be a closer neighbor to a pregnant woman than her own fetus?
The medical community continues to push back the time at which a fetus is viable. At present, a fetus is considered viable at 24 weeks gestation, with a few surviving born at 22 weeks. If medical research can push this back even further, to even the moment of conception, maybe someday this controversy will end. Until then, we should all be like prophets of God, putting His words into our own.
Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002