There is some truth to the popular “quote from Dave Barnhart, a traditional Cristian pastor”. But some things in it I’d like to respond to and question
off the bat, its interesting he’s called “A traditional Christian pastor” What does this mean? Sounds “conservative” I guess. I see he’s in the United Methodist Church, which has was created in 1968, and has roots in Wesley’s work in the 1700s. But what does it mean he is “traditional”? The UMC could be considered “liberal” depending on what issue is being considered.
The main point of Barnhart’s quote seems to be to criticize some kind of “you” who advocates for the unborn, but seems to be hypocritical about any other suffering person. To make you feel ashamed, and presumably, discourage your advocacy. I’ve read plenty of other pro-life comments where the writers is saying “don’t forget, in your prolife advocacy to advocate for [immigrants/the poor/orphans/paid vacation] etc. This is not that. This is saying you chose the broad and easy path of virtue signaling, not the narrow way of fighting for justice for prisoners
On the one hand, this can be true. Some may be prolife out of the “ease” of moral superiority the prolife position brings, and not accept the challenge of reasoning carefully about a the parade of moral horrors modern life presents to us. But also, its interesting that Barnhardt says the unborn are “morally uncomplicated”. Yes! they are. Which is one reason its so surprising that the pro-life position is not held more widely. Why, if their need for life is “uncomplicated” does Barnhardt think that supporting them is so “complicated” that he wants to discourage anyone from advocacy.
Barnhart will then compare the unborn with widows, orphans and immigrants. He sees some large body of Christian pro-life advocacy that is completely silent on widows and orphans. This doesn’t match reality. Its fantastic. It also is comparing unlike and like. The unborn are being deliberately killed: someone who is an orphan or a widow has generally faced a tragic unplanned loss. They are vulnerable because of their weakness and needs, not because they face random killing. We would prevent all widowhood and orphanhood if we could, but there is not an active movement to directly create more widows and orphans in the USA today.
DB goes on to say that these alleged prolife advocates who don’t care about widows and orphans (but they do; this is, again, I say, a fantasy) don’t care about widows because then we would “question patriarchy”. But for me, contemplating abortion and its role in the US is one of the first things that ever made me question patriarchy. Do men act irresponsibly because they see abortion as their ticket out of unplanned fatherhood? Their ticket to unbound sexual experience without consequences? Without them having to
I personally know of two women (probably more) who became pregnant and their boyfriends abandoned them expecting them to “of course” abort it. Its a common pattern. Another woman I know who lost her baby in a miscarriage went to a support group. There she met a woman who lost hers in a miscarriage and was definitely distraught because her male partner had made her get abortions multiple times in the past but she’d wanted this one. Abortion is a major “patriarchal” con jobs, and to be pro-lfe means to question that very much!
Barhart’s sneers are really obvious when he discusses the needs of aliens. The unborn are easy to love, but aliens are not because of all their “racial, cultural and religious baggage”. The unborn defender here is immediately and unwarrantedly tarred as a racist and cultural and religious bigot. Are some? Perhaps. Tragically so. But this of course conceeds to much. if DB really meant this, he’d be the racist and bigoted one: Orphans are ignored because of their financial costs: immigrants are ignore because of… the racial cost? Is the “racial cost” a legitimate difficulty in Barnhart’s view? Obviously not, its just a chance to sneer at a group he despises for their being moral simpletons.
I could and might say more, but I’ll leave this quote from the UMCs position on abortion. Its not what I’d like to see but it recognizes that an abortion-on-demand regime is not something to be affirmed and welcomed and viewed as a sacred right.
Additional official statements of The United Methodist Church express the denomination’s life-centered ethics.
The United Methodist Church does NOT affirm abortion as a means of birth control.
We also “unconditionally reject” abortion “as a means of gender selection or eugenics.
And we reject late-term abortions except where the mother’s life is in danger, or in cases of severe fetal abnormalities incompatible with lif