Archives for posts with tag: adoption

I’ve seen some disturbing things in my life. For a while in the early 90’s my route to the university where I taught took me through one of the most dangerous areas of my city. I saw the remains of people killed execution style — a shot between the eyes, followed by torching. A “file burning,” they called it, to refer to the act of eliminating one who knew too much.

As disturbing as that was, it was not the most devastating thing I saw lying on the road. What got me more than anything were the tiny bodies of recently born babies, either abandoned or smothered by their moms. Sometimes they were carefully wrapped in a blanket, but other times they could simply be found on top of a grey trash bag. Unfortunately I had to encounter this more than once, and even after these many years I cannot erase the images from my mind.

While some no doubt use this stark reality to argue for abortion on demand, that thought would never occur to me. What grieved me the most was that whoever the mother was, in that moment of desperation she could not find someone who could provide her with a life-giving alternative to keep her baby.

It is easy for us as the church to speak out against abortion, and we must do that, but the reality is that in the U.S. alone there are 250,000 churches and yet 100,000 children in the foster care system are waiting to be adopted. You do the math. The Church of Jesus Christ could put a big dent in the orphan crisis in the U.S. in one day, between the hours of 9 am to noon. Why are we so timid in taking action?

I have some thoughts as to why this doesn’t seem to be important for the church:

  1. We don’t know the Scriptures that well.

Adoption is a major theme of the Bible, and especially in the New Testament, where it is a favorite metaphor for our redemption in Christ Jesus. There are also countless references in the Old Testament to what I call “the triad of the dispossessed,” namely the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows. The more we study Scriptures, the more we learn of God’s passion for vulnerable children, which He is careful to tell us needs to become our passion.

  1. We are focused on fighting other “wars.”

Many Christians are more preoccupied with keeping the 10 Commandments displayed in public places than with the despicable acts perpetrated against innocent children behind closed doors. We get more energized about keeping “In God We Trust” on our currency than about exposing the use of our currency to traffic women and children. It is time that we reassess the importance of the battles we choose to fight and reallocate our resources toward the battles God wants us to fight. The battle cry to protect at-risk children is sounded high and unmistakably clear in Scriptures.

  1. We think this is a “third world” problem.

First of all, the expression “third world country” doesn’t even make sense anymore in a realigned geopolitical world post the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the Soviet years, the world was divided into three clusters — the “first world,” composed of the few rich nations, “the second world,” meaning the countries under the Soviet/communist bloc, the so-called “Iron Curtain,” and “the third world,” a reference to the poorest one third of the world. It stands to reason that with the fall of communism and the rise of China’s economic power, this distinction has become meaningless.

Of course people still continue to use the expression “third world countries,” either because they don’t know about the genesis of the expression or because they intend to use it pejoratively to refer to a country that, in their way of thinking, is not up to the standards of developed nations.

But I’m digressing. The point here is that though the orphan crisis is indeed a worldwide phenomenon — there are an estimated 153 million orphans around the world — there is still a huge number of children in the foster care system in the United States — 400,000 to be exact — and about half of them are waiting to be adopted. Yes, the problem is much bigger overseas but it is not negligible in one of the richest nations of the world, namely ours. Let’s educate ourselves about the plight of the orphans in our own backyard and let’s become a force for good in this crisis.

I am so proud of our people from Grace Church who are personally involved, have championed, and are contributing financially and in other ways to help at-risk children both here and abroad. Yes, we can do a lot more, but your sacrifice and work of faith are not going unnoticed, especially by God, who loves these precious children more than we can ever imagine.

Join us this Sunday in both services as we learn more about how we can get involved in serving the orphans.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17).

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

Who Speaks for LIFE homepageThose who know me know that I love a vigorous debate. On any subject, except, maybe, whether there will be snow in heaven or not, simply because that issue has been settled since creation – when the perfect world was created, there was no precipitation of any sort.

We, evangelicals, can be so passionate about some issues. Abortion is one of them. But I am afraid that our passions sometimes get the better of us. Words have at times thrown the world into turmoil. They are powerful to heal, but hate can also ride on the backs of verbs and adjectives.

To be perfectly clear: I am viscerally opposed to this culture of death that fell upon us since the United States Supreme Court, by a 7 to 2 majority vote, struck down a law in Texas which prohibited abortion. That famous Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 would forever change the landscape on this debate, making it legal to abort babies within the first trimester of pregnancy.

This ruling still revolts me but you will not hear me calling abortionists “murderers.” The seven Justices who voted for the majority still make me angry, but there will never be any hate in my life directed toward them. You will, however, hear me speak kindly of Justices Byron White and William Rehnquist, the only justices who dared to dissent on that landmark decision.

We may hate the fact that this is so, but the fact remains: there is such a thing as “legal” abortion in the land. This is a matter of settled jurisprudence, so no amount of name calling will change the fact that people can have abortions and not be outside the realm of the law. You could say that they are legally within their rights, which doesn’t make their rights ‘right.’ You can, after all, be legal and immoral at the same time.

Now let’s be clear here. Some of the things that people on the other side of this debate did this past Wednesday is lamentable, including the statement by the President, which said, in part, that his administration will “recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.” He also reaffirmed “our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom…” Of course, he goes on about protecting children but not a word about abortion.

Yes, I am enraged that the Governor of New York says that pro-life conservatives have “no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are,” but contrary to Sean Hannity, I can’t afford to live there so I can’t grant the Governor his wishes. I am beside myself with the tweet from a DNC chairwoman in Florida who posted a “Happy Birthday” type of comment, saluting a decision which has ultimately sent to their death an estimated 56 million innocent babies.

Still you will not hear me using hateful words toward these folks. I figured they will each have to give an account to God on judgment day. I have a hard enough time just dealing with my own inconsistencies and foibles; I am not about to start keeping tracking of those of others.

But following somewhat in Jesus’ footsteps, who reserved his harshest criticisms for religious leaders of his time, I would like to turn the blade toward us for just a second. I say the Church has also contributed to the monumental events that led to Roe v. Wade.

We are the ones who have from time immemorial treated all sexual matters as taboos. In the past we shunned young women who found themselves with the unfortunate burden of carrying a child they didn’t want. I saw this among people in my own milieu, growing up in an evangelical church. Families didn’t hesitate to throw their daughter on the street and have nothing to do with her once they found she was pregnant. Young girls were forced to resort to abortions in the highways and byways of this world, with no protection in place whatsoever.

Not too long ago I was involved with a ministry that provided teenage girls in a country in Africa a way to learn a trade to help themselves and their families. One of the projects had to do with sewing. I noticed one 13 year old girl who seemed to be so mature and was so far ahead of the rest in the kind of clothes she was making. The next year I went back and saw that she was missing. The coordinator of the project told me that she got pregnant and was kicked out of the program. When I met with the pastors of that district who oversaw the entire project, I tried to broach the subject and was warned by the coordinator not to even try to go there. And that is how many of these girls end up in the alleyways of this world, shunned at the time when they needed help the most.

We are the ones who have been sleeping when it comes to providing alternatives for abortion. Pregnancy Care Services across the country struggle to survive with little or no support from local churches. Adoption providers have to beg to get inside our churches. These people are the unsung heroes of the abortion debate and they deserve respect.

We are the ones who “sub-contracted” this issue to the Catholic Church. Anti-abortion activism is seen as a “Catholic issue” and we should have never allowed this. Even during the events leading up to the most recent March for Life in D.C., which outstanding voices in the evangelical world are lending their support? How many churches take the time to remember the tragedies that these 41 years have wrought? Pope Francis issued his statement denouncing what he calls “the culture of waste;” what about us, what are we saying?

Finally, we are still engaging people on the other side of this debate with hateful words. In the name of God and being “pro-life,” some fringe groups have stepped outside the bounds of legality. We have made things worse with our incendiary language. Sure, it is nice to hear people like Glenn Beck saying now that he regrets that he played a role in helping tear the country apart. He says, “I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language,” but it is a little too late now for apologies, isn’t it?

Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. As far as I know, there are no exception clauses attached to His statement. Yes, we should be outraged at the atrocities committed in the name of “reproductive freedoms,” but we shouldn’t forget that this should never give us an excuse to lash out at people and engage in hateful speech or action directed toward them or even toward the acts they are perpetrating.

My advice to you as we remember the life of the unborn is to find something positive to do that is going to raise awareness and provide support for those who are on the frontline of this battle. Don’t just feel something, DO something!

And no, I don’t hate abortionists. I don’t even hate snow.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade