> Articles from the Abolitionists of North Idaho > 06/03/2015

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Burning Buildings, Trapped Children, and Heroes: Incrementalism versus Immediatism

It is a seductive narrative. The building is on fire. Innocent children are trapped inside. The noble course of action is to dash into the building, risking one’s well-being, and rescue as many of the victims as possible. This narrative is routinely used to defend support for legislation that limits, restricts, or regulates the killing of preborn children. The argument is that even though the legislation is not perfect, it saves some children and because of this is worthy of support. “I may not be able to rescue all of the children in the burning building, but I’m going to dash in and save some of them. Wouldn’t you?”

To risk one’s well-being for the lives of others is the ultimate manifestation of honor, courage, love, and selflessness.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Who among us does not hope that if we found ourselves in a similar situation, we would rescue others from destruction? But the core problem with the compelling narrative is that it is grossly misapplied to abortion legislation.

First, the burning building narrative is an example of direct action. If children are at risk of dying in the burning building, our attempt to rescue them is direct action: physical action to intervene and save those at risk. The appropriate parallel would be to relate the narrative to the proper physical action that Christians should take when they know someone down the street intends to kill their preborn child. What physical intervention should be taken on behalf of children brought to the abortion clinic (killing center) to be destroyed? This is a very challenging question.

Abortion legislation is not direct action. Rather, it is indirect action that establishes the legislative framework for criminal behavior. If one were to equate abortion legislation to the burning building analogy, the equivalent idea in the narrative would be the extent that laws criminalize the intentional setting of fires at orphanages. If it is presently decriminalized to set fires that knowingly kill children, should we support legislation that partially limits that “freedom” or should we only support legislation that criminalized the setting of all fires that threaten children?

Second, the narrative’s hero risks his physical well-being for victims in danger. But support for compromised legislation that limits, restricts, or regulates child sacrifice does not risk the supporter’s physical well-being. Some legislator may argue that his support for compromised legislation threatens his earning ability as a politician and thereby threatens his physical well-being, but this could not in any way be equated to the person who risks their life by running into a burning building. The vast majority of those who support compromised legislation have not risked anything - nothing physical, nothing financial - no risk at all.

There are numerous passages of God’s Word that educate us on how to approach abortion laws, but the most direct is what God says in Isaiah 10:1,2.

“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!”

Christians are ambassadors and witnesses of God. We represent His standard of righteousness, and we should never support - in any capacity - compromised legislation that allows murder in some circumstances. Incremental abortion legislation leaves some children with zero protection from murderers. It is inherently flawed and unrighteous. Legislation should reflect the righteousness and goodness of God. If we don’t demand and support righteous legislation, who will?

We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, and we should strive to live out the love that Christ had for us when He laid down His life.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

The narrative of the burning building with children trapped inside is a picture of the ultimate sacrifice: a willingness to lay down your life for others. We make a mockery of this genuine love when we equate our support for unrighteous decrees to laying down our lives to protect the innocent.

Christians should reject the seductive narrative that their support for compromised legislation is equivalent to rescuing children from burning buildings. Legislation that falls short of God’s righteous standard - all abortion is murder - is a wicked evil thing. We must publicly, vocally, with one voice, demand righteous legislation that criminalizes the killing of all preborn children.