Rejoice, and Continue The Work
by Dr. Clif Johnson, President BMA of America
On Friday morning, June 24, the people of the United States woke up to a country that no longer held abortion as a federal, constitutional right. And the people of God rejoiced.
The Baptist Missionary Association of America Doctrinal Statement declares in III.C. Man — “As the crowning work of His creation, God created humankind (male and female) in His own image (Psalm 8; Gen. 1:27, 2:7). Consequently, every person from conception is of inherent dignity and worth and merits the respect of all other persons (Psa. 51:5; 139:13-16; Gen. 9:6; Matt. 10:28-31; James 3:9).”
Furthermore, the Moral Action Agency of the BMA states, in its Ten Summary Statements (point 2) that, “We believe in the sanctity of human life, and thus support a Human Life Amendment to protect the lives of the innocent unborn.”
As churches of the BMA, we must be clear in our thinking and subsequent ministries. This ruling did not make abortion illegal. The ruling simply returned to the states the authority to make decisions regarding abortion. This means our work is not finished in regard to fighting for the lives of the unborn. Our work continues in making sure our elected officials know that the abolition of abortion is what we seek. Additionally, churches must continue to be on the front lines in caring for foster children and supporting foster and adoptive parents.
So, rejoice? Yes! And continue the kingdom work.
The US Supreme Court, Dobbs and Roe
by Michael Battenfield, President BMA of Arkansas
The week of June 20-24, 2022 will go down as one of the most significant weeks of Supreme Court rulings in our lifetime, with none more significant than the Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization et al. (Read that decision at supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf).
This single decision of the US Supreme Court to actually apply the US Constitution answered the prayers of millions of professed believers. As an association of churches, we ought to celebrate and give thanks to Almighty God for this somewhat surprising turn that strikes down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that has lead to nearly 65 million unborn babies being destroyed in the womb, joining another landmark overturning of the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford case (that had ruled the US Constitution was not meant to include citizenship for people of African descent, whether free or slave). The BMA of Arkansas, along with the BMA of America, has made the ending of abortion a consistent resolution at our annual meetings and, indeed, this is an issue that has been one of the most important.
At the same time, we must understand that, contrary to the protests and even credible threats of serious violence, this decision in no way abolishes the practice, but simply returns the matter to the states (under the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution). Yes, for states that had passed laws to slow or stop most abortions, with a “trigger” for implementation being the overturning of the Roe v. Wade, significant protections are now in place, but we must understand that this is only the beginning. Even in the most restrictive states, there remain loopholes. The other very real threat is that those seeking to terminate the life of their unborn baby will simply travel to other states where abortion is still legal.
So, yes, believers ought to celebrate this won battle, but be prepared for an even more diﬃcult next step — ministering to women and families that are caught in-between. The media doesn’t regularly acknowledge the eﬀorts of churches and church families to help mothers. While the pregnancies are sometimes the result of sin, will we use the means of conception as an obstacle to shut out women who might then seek to end that pregnancy? I pray it wouldn’t be so.
It is also time to work with your elected oﬃcials to streamline the adoption process, so that more children can find loving homes. And may we never forget, “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).