“This is going to be the most important thing you will ever read,” my Classics and World Religions professor told us in reference to another long scholarly essay we were assigned to read for next class.
The essay, written by Steve Hays, is titled, De Legibus Christianorum, or, “On the Laws of Christians.” The 26-page document was presented to an ad hoc group called Christians Engaged In Justice shortly before the 1992 presidential election. To sum the text up, Hays explains why politics should remain strictly secular and how the “kingdom of God” is quite irrelevant to the presidency.
This idea seems less bold and more obvious. Separation of church and state, right? But now comes time for the toughy: abortion.
Although many Christian churches practice forgiveness, compassion, and inclusion for women who have had abortions and doctors who perform them, the Christian doctrine still holds true: abortion is murder, and in the face of any sort of injustice, the church cannot stay silent.
That is a core Christian value. Shall we discuss another? Abundant life.
“Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise. Without having any chief or officer or ruler, it prepares its food in summer, and gathers its sustenance in harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).
Much like the little worker ant, hard work and good decisions will lead to a prosperous life. Raised in a practicing Catholic family, I cannot possibly identify with a Christian ideology more.
Looking back, I pretty much modeled my waking life after this future-minded principle. Get good grades, attend a prestigious university, obtain a prominent job, make bank, support my family and live a financially stable, good Christian life. Any disruption in this process was devastating. A failed class or a college rejection letter was enough to puncture seemingly permanent holes in my life plan.
Now, imagine if that “hole” were a bit more momentous and wasn’t so “seemingly permanent,” but rather 18+ years permanent. This is a disruption that deserves our attention. How does a good Christian woman handle an unexpected/accidental pregnancy while she’s still striving to achieve that abundant life?
There is a clear discrepancy here in the Christian values of pro-life and abundant life, and it doesn’t seem right that one should be sacrificed for the other. Hays presents a good point that any presidential candidate campaigning a Christian nation is subjecting the country to conflicting principles.
Secularizing the presidency is a direction that I stand behind, just as I stand behind a woman’s right to feel comfortable in choosing what’s the best decision for her life.