Should pro-life pregnancy centers be forced to advertise abortion services?
Dr. Jim Denison |March 20, 2018
The Supreme Court will hear arguments today on a California law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers to display a public notice informing clients about free or low-cost abortion services. Advocates of the law argue that all women deserve to know all their options regarding pregnancy. Critics say that the law violates pro-life providers’ freedom of speech.
One attorney summarizes the issue: “Can the government impose and compel a faith-based ministry to proclaim a message that they are fundamentally opposed to with the risk of being fined or shut down?”
In other news, Time magazine asked sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, “Is Porn Healthy for Me and My Relationship?”
Dr. Ruth replied that some pornographic material “can be helpful to a sexual relationship and some harmful.” She concluded: “If it’s just the occasional use of erotica, then maybe it’s not worth examining too closely. Just chalk it up to one more way to add some variety to your sex life so that it doesn’t become boring.”
Of course, her opinion violates the clear teaching of Scripture.
Jesus was blunt: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). We are warned to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Scripture calls us to “let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4).
Given Dr. Ruth’s moral worldview, her opinions are not surprising. But it is a sign of the times that Time, one of America’s most respected news magazines, would include such immoral material. I can remember a day when such a topic would not be dignified or endorsed by any non-pornographic media.
Will God judge America?
I am sometimes asked if I believe that God will judge America for our sins. My response is always the same: How could he not judge us?
Measure our culture just by the last five of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13–17). What does God think of us with regard to murder, especially in the context of abortion and euthanasia? Adultery, especially in the context of pornography and same-sex marriage? Stealing, lying, and coveting, especially in the context of our social media-driven, consumeristic society?
It’s not that Americans have no access to God’s word on these issues. I cannot think of a culture with greater access to Christian worship and witness than ours. Anyone with an internet connection, television, or radio can receive biblical teaching.
Anne Graham Lotz points to Jesus’ statement when questioned by Annas the high priest: “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said” (John 18:20–21).
Anne responds: “Jesus confronted Annas with the awesome principle that God holds people accountable, not just for what they have heard or know, but for what they have had opportunity to hear and know.” If the Lord would judge Israel for her sins (Psalm 78:59), he will judge any nation for theirs.
A movie and a nun
The good news is that whenever and wherever God’s light shines in the darkness, “the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). When was the last time you saw dark conquer light?
I Can Only Imagine, a movie based on the origins of the Christian song by the same title, was released last weekend. According to Forbes, it “pulled off a whopper of a surprise,” earning “a superb $17.064 million” and “an A+ CinemaScore grade to boot.”
The movie did much better at the box office than Love, Simon, a “romance” about a gay teenage boy. It also made more money than A Wrinkle in Time, a movie adaptation whose screenwriter removed the novel’s clear references to Jesus and Christianity.
Meanwhile, a ninety-eight-year-old nun is making headlines in the midst of March Madness.
Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt is the longtime chaplain of Loyola University’s men’s basketball team. When they upset Miami to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, the team’s coach was quick to credit her: “Sister Jean is our team chaplain and she’s our comfort blanket. She just has so much spirit. She’s got an unbelievable energy level to her that I connect with.”
The coach added: “You know how much she’s praying for you. You know how much she’s doing for you and she means the world to this university and our team.”
The smallest candle in the darkest room
It’s always too soon to give up on the power of God’s Spirit to use God’s word and God’s people to advance God’s kingdom. The smallest candle can illuminate the darkest room.
If you and I will love our Lord and love our neighbor today, the light we shine will make an eternal difference in someone’s soul. Erasmus was right: “Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.”
Jim Denison, Ph.D., speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He produces a daily column which is distributed to more than 113,000 subscribers in 203 countries. He also writes for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Post, Common Call, and other publications.