Biblical Case for Changing Unjust Laws—Justly
Would you vote for a law where a 20 week fetus is given an anesthetic and then “humanely” aborted? The Montana legislature passed such a bill and is waiting on the governor's signature. This bill is “unjust” and displeases the Lord who will hold accountable a nation who despises His ways.
“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.” Isaiah 59:14-15
The prophet Isaiah speaks with the voice of God to a culture that was facing God’s judgment for its wholesale denial of justice and righteousness.
Justice is an immutable, unchangeable attribute of God that, in the context of law, rights human wrongs, and does so in a manner that comports with God’s character. It involves personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws. “What does God require of you O Man, but to do justly...“ (Micah 6:8). The Bible makes it clear that justice does not originate from fallen human reason and is, instead, what God says it is (Habakkuk 1:7). Judges 21:25 illustrates a nation in apostasy. This is God’s summary judgment: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
If we use God’s definition of justice, then any human law which advocates for the shedding of innocent blood is, by definition, an unjust law (2 Kings 24:4). An unjust law is an evil law (Isa 59:7). For a politician (ie. king) to vote for such a law is to become complicit with evil (2 Kings 21:16). And any who vote for it are “Cursed by God” (Deuteronomy 27:25).
Six years ago I had a conversation with Mary Balch, State Legislative Director for National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). She wanted to discuss a new legislative strategy called, at that time, the “Fetal Pain Bill.” It banned abortions for children who could feel pain. She asked me what I thought. I said to her, “Mary, what is to stop a pro-abort from sponsoring a law to give an anesthetic to the small child and then killing it anyway?” My question as it turns out was prophetic—with one element of inaccuracy.It was not the pro-abortion crowd which sponsored it—it was the pro-life lobby! “It’s the next step in a carefully coordinated strategy being pioneered by pro-life activists...“ said pro-abortion advocate Tara Culp-Ressler, speaking of the Montana bill.
Fast forward to March 11th. Montana pro-lifer, State Rep. Albert Olszewski, offered HB 479, the fetal anesthesia bill. It immediately received backing by the Montana Family Foundation’s Jeff Laszloffy, who boasted that the third effect of the bill is that, “Anesthesia must be administered prior to aborting any fetus after 19 weeks gestation.” Let me get this right...the pro-life/pro-family movement is now OK with giving anesthesia to a 20 week old child and THEN killing it? How could this ever be just?
We see the same thing at a national level. HR 36, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (the Fetal Pain Bill) is reportedly being reconsidered by Congress . All major pro-life groups admit upfront that it discriminates against innocent children based on their manner of conception (abortion for rape and incest exceptions) AND have refused to publicly object to the injustice of killing some that others may live. “It’s all about saving the most babies!” “This is all the Republicans will allow us. Isn’t it expedient that some die that we may save the majority?” I find it disturbing that Caiaphas used this same logic to condemn the Lord Jesus to a painful death on a cross.
“So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, ’What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans [Republicans[i]] will come and take away [our seat at the table[ii]] both our place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ’You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’" John 11:47-50
Nearly all pro-life/pro-family groups support this bill. I predict that we won’t even be given the time by House leadership to lobby for the removal of language that condemns innocent children to death. Have you heard of ANY national group calling for the removal of the injustice in this law? Is this acceptable? The silence is deafening! I was told by prominent pro-life leaders that ALL future “pro-life” bills will have this form of injustice embedded in law. The movement has become apostate.
Is the Montana bill going to be the new norm for the movement? Why not? Think of all the “babies we could save from a painful death? Let’s give them a shot of Novocain and then let’s hack them to death.” (I use the graphic term “hack” because it is a biblical term [1 Samuel 15:33, ESV]). I am NOT advocating violence against pro-aborts, I AM illustrating that our movement has more parallels with an apostate Israelite king (Saul) than with godliness because we refuse to see our actions from God’s perspective, His character and His ways. Colin Harte, in his book Changing Unjust Laws—Justly, says,
“...the protection of each human life is a fundamental requirement of any system of human law, any law obligating, permitting, the deliberate destruction of a human being must be judged to be intrinsically unjust.”[iii]
Isaiah said, “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.” “The polls show that the people are not with us.” Sadly, the pro-life movement has succumbed to a utilitarian philosophy. The good that we seek “cannot enter” because it is thwarted by the supposed “greatest good for the greatest number.” This my friend, IS DOING EVIL THAT GOOD MAY COME!
Fifteen years ago, Georgia Right to Life began educating the public and our legislators that the intentional taking of life based on the manner of conception was NOT God’s way. Today, Georgia can boast, by God’s grace, of being the only state in the nation where the constitutional officers (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State School and Insurance Commissioner, etc.), have stated in writing, that “...regardless of race, age, degree of disability, manner of conception, or circumstances surrounding a terminal illness, that the civil rights of the pre-born at an embryonic or fetal level, the elderly, and those with mental or physical infirmities are protected by law.” They are pro-life without a rape and incest exception.
The Apostle James said, “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). Georgia Right to Life acted on this promise and God has shown that, with His help, political change can be successful. This political change has resulted in just laws. Georgia is one of only two states in the nation (Michigan is the other) which have no “rape and incest” exceptions in the legal code. It is our goal to remove any legislator that violates this clear biblical standard. The movement has been called after all...to be STANDARD-BEARERS NOT KING-MAKERS.
Another of God’s promises to Isaiah states that that those who stand in the gap for truth will “become prey” themselves, or at the very least...called the Westboro Baptists of the pro-life movement.[iv]
Isaiah 59:18-19 concludes the matter by stating His actions toward those in Israel who pervert His justice:
“According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun...“
God, have mercy on our nation, for surely Your judgment can not sleep forever.
By Dan Becker
President, Georgia Right to Life
[i] NOT in the bible, but added by me for contextual illustration
[ii] NOT in the bible, but added by me for contextual illustration
[iii] Changing Unjust Laws Justly: Pro-life Solidarity With “The Last and the Least”, The Catholic University of America Press, Washington D.C., 2005, pg236.