The Highest Political Priority for 2018

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By Rob Schwarzwalder, a Senior Contributor, The Stream, January 2, 2018

Rob SchwarzwalderThere are many public policy issues, foreign and domestic, that should burden the hearts of Christians.

But here at home, there’s none more important than the ongoing destruction of unborn life.

Nothing is more brutal or final than killing. And the sheer number of abortions in our country makes ending abortion-on-demand the most urgent moral need of our time.

Getting an accurate count of the number of abortions is hard; some states don’t release the numbers. But it’s a safe bet that at least 2,700 abortions take place daily in our country. And we can be sure that since the Supreme Court’s Roe decision in 1973, nearly 60 million unborn children have been aborted in the United States.

The Religion

Too often, we ignore the real reason the abortion movement is so uncompromising. It’s this: Abortion is a deeply religious activity. Its deity is the self, to which allegiance must be pledged no matter the cost. Even if the cost is a human life.

Abortion has a catechism. Sexual liberty is the supreme good, abortion on demand is the ultimate right, and having an abortion is a sacred initiation.

Having an abortion turns a foundational Christian teaching upside-down. Instead of repentance and faith in Christ leading to new life, abortion claims to emancipate women through “choice.” But the choice abortion celebrates is one in which women free themselves from the constraints of human dignity. In making this choice, they pass from the promise of life into the valley of the shadow of death.

Abortion is an affont to the Author of Life. It claims sovereignty over death.

The Industry

Abortion is also an industry, a business, one driven as much by profit as by ideology. And it preys on women, exploiting their fears, encouraging their selfishness, debasing their humanity.

There is a fascistic quality to the abortion-über alles mentality. In Nebraska, Planned Parenthood now offers “pro-choice” license plates bearing the phrase, “My Body, My Choice.” Well, if the “choice” was about a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate gland, who could argue?

But the unborn child is a distinct human being, something anyone with a passing understanding of biology knows. That knowledge goes beyond the indisputably scientific, however. Everyone honest person will admit that the little one in the womb is not a glob of cells but a baby. Whatever her stage of development, she is a human being. She has value independent of her mother. She deserves the right to life.

The Hope Killer

With all other ills in human life, there is hope for healing. But not with death. And there is nothing more Satanic than the promise that man can usurp the place of God (Genesis 3). Yet we seek to seize His throne every time we decide that in our hands, not His, lies the power of life and death.

Jesus spoke of “the weightier issues of the Law,” and said that the high priest, Caiaphas, had committed a “greater sin” in delivering Him to Pilate than the Roman prelate himself. He said that people are of “more value than many sparrows” and talked about “the greatest commandments” (Matthew 23:23, John 19:10-11, Matthew 10:30-31, Mark 12:28-34).

And given that life and death are the two must profound issues of all human existence, the defense of life is the weightiest of all political issues.

The sheer number of abortions in our country make ending abortion-on-demand the most urgent moral need of our time.

Of course, other issues are highly important. All the many assaults on human dignity so prevalent today. Human trafficking. Pornography. Sexual abuse. The fracturing of families. Racism. Substance abuse and addiction, and more. These are evils Christians should fight.

But I’m talking about ultimates. What, in the final analysis, matters most, right now, in our midst?

The Progress

Don’t grow weary in defending life. Yes, abortion remains on the books. But we’ve chipped-away at its legal edifice. Real progress has been made. Many states have enacted laws to prohibit such things as sex-selection abortions and the sale of the body parts of unborn children, ban abortion after 20 weeks, and require parental notification prior to a minor girl having an abortion. As noted by Ave Maria School of Law visiting professor Michael New, “Over the past six years, over 175 abortion facilities have faced investigations, criminal charges, administrative complaints, and civil lawsuits related to the conditions in which abortions were provided.” And the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute reports that “In 2016, 18 states enacted 50 new abortion restrictions, bringing the number of new abortion restrictions enacted since 2010 to 338.”

With a Supreme Court majority more faithful to the Constitution, correcting Roe v. Wade is a real possibility.

“Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream,” cried the ancient prophet Amos as Israel’s moral corruption grew. In 2018, cannot American Christians share the same burden as it applies to the unborn and their mothers, and work to implement it into culture and law with renewed compassion and dedication?


Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.

Rob is focused on the intersection of theology, culture and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy and national security.

Rob has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Ore.) and an undergraduate degree from Biola University. He and his wife of 35 years, Valerie, make their home in Virginia Beach and have three children.

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