St. James Episcopal Church in Wichita, Kan., has drawn nationwide ire for hosting a "Chili for Choice" Planned Parenthood fundraiser this Thursday, Jan. 22, the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America.
According to EAGNews.org, the church says that the Wichita Planned Parenthood clinic doesn't perform abortions, so the fundraiser is justified. And in response to the outcry, a church official stated, "The Episcopal church says you can form your own opinion about reproductive justice and you can be against it or for it. There's room for everybody in the Episcopal church to come together and worship God," reported The Wichita Eagle.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood announced that in its last fiscal year (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014), it performed 327,653 abortions, and the organization remains the largest abortion provider in the nation.
Religion and culture expert Dr. Alex McFarland who addresses abortion in his most recent book, "10 Issue that Divide Christians," says the fact that churches and entire denominations across the nation are embracing abortion and claiming personal opinions may be used to guide Scriptural interpretation is disturbing at best, alarming at worst.
"The blood of 56 million unborn lives is not simply a dark stain on our nation, it is also a glaring indictment against the modern church," McFarland said. "The very first chapter of Scripture clearly expresses the image of God in human beings—in other words, there is something very unique about how we are created that is different from any other living being. Scripture also clearly teaches that God is actively and personally involved in the formation and development of an unborn baby 'in utero'. For the church to represent to the culture that taking an unborn life is simply a matter of 'reproductive choice' is a blatant affront to the Word of God."
According to a 2010 study by Barna Research, abortion remains a divisive issue within the church. The study revealed: "Non-evangelical born again Christians favor making abortion illegal (55% illegal versus 39% legal), as did active churchgoers (60% versus 33%) and non-mainline Protestants (58% versus 34%). Those faith segments that prefer keeping abortion legal were self-identified Christians who are not born again (54% legal versus 31% illegal), Catholics (53% versus 36%), mainline Protestants (53% versus 40%), and faiths other than Christianity (54% versus 42%)."
"One argument often used by Christians to support abortion is that the practice is legal in America," McFarland continued. "To some, this fact is enough for them to justify their pro-choice position. But just because something is legal does not make it morally right, and it's important to note that even in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court did not attempt to decide the core issue of abortion: the personhood of the unborn baby.
"Tragically, too many in the church today have taken the easy road of neutrality, attempting to avoid conflict over the issue either by claiming it's too 'complicated' to settle once-and-for-all or by arguing it's a matter of personal choice. But neutrality, by default, always sides with the status quo, and by remaining silent, avoiding the issue—or, worse, endorsing abortion—the church in America today has become complicit in the greatest genocide ever carried out in our nation's history."
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