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A 2002 Bryan Times Editorial by Pro-Life Pastor Bruce Gerencser

thou shalt not kill

Published on January 13, 2002. At the time, I was pastor of Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio. This is a good example of how I used to think about life, God, the Bible, sin,  and culture. This was not a Letter to the Editor. I wrote it for the Community Voice editorial column on the editorial page of The Bryan Times.

The anniversary of the famed Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wade has just passed. Almost 30 years ago the Supreme Court ruled that abortion on demand was legal in the United States. Since that time, a battle between the forces called pro-life and pro-choice has raged without abatement in our country. We truly are a nation divided when it comes to abortion. Both sides have taken to the legal and political arena in an attempt to stifle or crush their opposition. In the case of the pro-life movement, some on the far extreme of the movement have taken to murdering clinic workers and the doctors who perform the abortions.  Several men with such beliefs are on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

How are we, as Christians, to respond to the continued murder of babies in abortion clinics, private doctors’ offices, and hospitals? Some may suggest that I am asserting that the word Christian and pro-life are synonymous. Such observation is correct. Christianity and pro-choice are not compatible one with the other. I have written a number of times over the years on this issue, and each time I receive letters from supposed pro-choice Christians. Perhaps such folks are well-intentioned, but it is theologically impossible to square being a Christian with also being pro-choice. To be a Christian is to walk in the steps of, and follow after, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was pro-life and the Law of God states very clearly “Thou shalt not kill.”

The command “Thou shalt not kill” has a positive precept attached to it. That precept is “thou shalt preserve life.” If we are not to kill, then we are to preserve life instead. This preserving of life extends to not only the abortion clinic, but also the prison and countries where we are engaged in war. The Bible teaches and permits capital punishment, but it also prescribes when and who it is to be carried out. The Bible permits just war, but it also prescribes when and how such war is to be carried out. We must always remember that the killing of other human beings shows the baseness of human society, not its superiority.  As Christians, we have a duty to preserve life at every opportunity. We must stand against abortion. We must work to outlaw the practice in the United States and the rest of the world. We should also be actively working to promote justice for those in prison and to insist that God’s law be followed in the execution of those guilty of first-degree murder. We must hold our government and military accountable for its actions in Afghanistan. Find the terrorists. Punish the evildoer, but in doing so do no harm to innocent men, women, and children.

We must continue to wage the war of words with the pro-choice crowd. They speak of the “woman’s right to choose” and yet they are rarely challenged to the assertions they make in regard to this statement. I too, support a “woman’s right to choose.” She makes a choice to have sexual relations with a man, and she must live with the consequences of such an action. The pro-choice movement is at the forefront of the “right to have sex whenever with whomever movement” and then with the quickness of a magician they deny any accountability for the choice that is made. There are many choices a pregnant woman can make, but far too often abortion is the only option given because it is the easy way out. Adoption is an option. Extended family assistance in raising the child is an option. Our government needs to streamline the adoption process making it easy for families to adopt these unwanted babies

We must do more than just object to abortion. We must also put our words into action. We must help support women in their pregnancy and provide the means for their care. Every unwanted baby needs a home. My wife and I are the parents of six children, yet if needed, we would take on the responsibility of another child. It would not be easy, but our words must be backed up with action.

We must continue to oppose the fringes of the pro-life movement that advocates violence and murder in the name of God.  Murdering a baby via abortion is a sin but so is murdering an abortion clinic doctor.  We must not bear the sword. God gives government the responsibility of bearing the sword to punish evildoers. As we stand against abortion we must work to change the laws of the land. Abortion must once again be illegal. We must work to enact laws that make it criminal to participate in any part of the abortion process. We need to stop the tax flow to organizations that promote abortion. Let Planned Parenthood get its money from its liberal constituents, but not from the American taxpayer. There is much work to do and killing an abortion doctor will not stop the abortion mills. There will always be another to take their place. Instead, we must make abortion illegal thus removing the financial incentives that continue to fuel the abortion mills.

It is easy to become complacent in the matter of abortion. As I watched the events of September 11th my heart was grieved. I mourned and wept for days over the tragic loss of life. Yet, keeping it all in perspective, the loss of life at Ground Zero equals one day of work in the abortion clinics of America. Our hands are covered with the blood of millions of babies that have been aborted since that fateful day when Roe vs. Wade became law. We must not rest until justice for all once again prevails in our Land. May God give us the grace and strength necessary to not waver in this battle of battles.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    “She makes a choice to have sexual relations with a man, and she must live with the consequences of such an action.” When I used to debate online pro-lifers, it turned out that they definitely wanted women to go through hell for their choice to have sex. Mentioning birth control turned them to say that women didn’t deserve to escape the consequences of their choices. Usually, I’d be conversing with a man, who could easily walk away from any consequences. And it’s interesting how many pro-lifers prioritize the embryo/zygote/fetus…even over sick women, mentally ill women, and dying women. Not to mention girls and women raped who now had to face a ruined life carrying the rapist’s child. No, pro-lifers consider pregnant women to be mere vessels, not important enough to protect.

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      I resent the way in which anti-choicers (forced birthers) deliberate over the circumstances of conception. They might, very graciously, allow abortion in the case of incest, or maybe rape (oh how kind of them!), but who are they to enquire, then judge, the level of consent in any given situation? There’s no way of knowing and no way of judging.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      For me, at the time, I believed life began at conception, and that once conceived a zygote/fetus had the same rights as its mother. When you believe abortion = murder, your view of “life” becomes distorted.

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    I noticed that, typical with Evangecal thinking, you offered no scolding to men who get women pregnant and then leave, making no attempt to support the children they father. But then again, men are just victims of women’s evil seductions, right? : )

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I never believed “men are just victims of women’s evil seductions.” I held both parties accountable for their actions. I have always believed in personal responsibility and accountability. This blog is, if anything, me accepting responsibility for what I said and did in the past and giving an open, honest accounting of those things. I now understand how certain aspects of my preaching likely resulted in an unfair burden being placed on women for the sexual behavior of men; the rules and regulations about dress certainly fueled such thinking.

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        I meant no offense. It’s just that most conservative ministers never seem to hold men accountable for unwanted pregnancies that may lead to abortions. From reading your Black Collar Crime posts, I believe it may be because many of them are probably responsible for unwanted pregnancies. I admire you for sharing your old views. Most people try to cover them up and pretend they never thought in that way.

        • Avatar
          Bruce Gerencser

          You didn’t offend me. 🙂 You are right, however, about women getting the primary blame for unwanted pregnancies. Post-Jesus, I have had to think a lot harder about these issues. That’s why I am no longer anti-abortion. My theology drove my pro-life beliefs instead of a proper understanding of human sexuality and life in general. My beliefs continue to evolve. My critics love to judge me at certain points of time in my life. The problem is, of course, I am no longer at that point in life. What I believed last year or ten years or 50 years ago, I no longer believe today. One former friend of mine (my best friend, an IFB preacher) thinks I am mentally unstable. His evidence? My ever-changing beliefs. I recently watched several of his sermons on YouTube. He is the exact opposite of me. His beliefs have not changed one bit. He’s more arrogant now than he was thirty-five years ago, certain that he is 100% right. I found his sermons painful to watch.

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            I know what you mean. My beliefs are always in flux. And, I now think it’s healthy. It keeps us from getting stuck in unhealthy situations. And I’ve found, it keeps my mind young by paying attention to the younger generation. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Neil Robinson

    As a now elderly male, I’ve always struggled with the abortion issue. I came to the conclusion that, provided I made no personal contribution to the pregnancy, the decision wasn’t mine to make. It is always women’s choice.
    When, at different points in their lives, my two daughters became pregnant and were faced, for different reasons, with the prospect of abortion, I told them I would support them whatever their decision. They both decided to go full term and went on to give birth (to my wonderful grandchildren). I am so pleased they did but even if they hadn’t I would have been there for them because the right to make that decision was theirs.

  4. Avatar

    The political operatives who landed on demonizing abortion in order to pull right-wingers into the GOP as reliable voters were diabolically brilliant (Weyrich, Viguerie). I despise them, but they created such a strong strategy to lock down voters. Damn them.

  5. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Christian zealots care little for scientific enquiry and yet somehow put together a ‘scientific knowledge’ of when life dances from cell to human. I have no respect for the kind of ignorance that crushes the bodily autonomy of women and I have no respect for evangelical perspectives regarding ‘roles’ for both women and men. What a scourge on humanity is the virus of evangelical fundamentalism. What a crock of shite.

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