Sacred Ground

When the history of this era is written, July 1 may well be remembered as Black Friday. That was the day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling requiring abortion protesters to remain at least 36 feet away from the entrance to abortion clinics. In essence, the Court has ruled that abortion clinics are sacred ground, not to be desecrated by public protest. I can hardly overstate the gravity of what the Supreme Court has done. For the first time in American history, a building has been declared sacrosanct from any political activity. In the 1960s civil-rights protesters blocked the entrance to buildings that discriminated against black people—and no laws were passed against them. During the Vietnam War, protesters blocked the White House itself—and they were not thrown out. Protesters have blocked the entrance to the South African embassy—and yet their right of protest was honored. Gay-rights groups have harassed churches without suffering any legal penalty. Labor unions form picket lines to block other employees from getting to work—and far from being outlawed it is a time-honored tradition. But now, in a stunning decision, the Supreme Court has granted abortion clinics a form of legal protection never granted to factories, churches, embassies, or even the White House. In essence, the Supreme Court has carved out the space around abortion clinics and announced, "This place is hallowed ground." Abortion clinics have become the most sacred places in America. What does this tell us about American culture? Are we really so obsessed with death that we want to make shrines out of the places where babies are killed? This decision alone would be enough to outline July 1 in black on our calendars. But there's more: On the same day, President Clinton announced his decision to put the power of the United States behind the aggressive promotion of abortion around the world. When the United Nations holds its international conference on population in Cairo this September, Clinton said, the administration will push for greater abortion accessibility in every country of the world. Apparently it's not enough that we are enshrining death here in America; the president also wants to export death around the globe. How ironic that all this happened just before the Fourth of July weekend, a time when we celebrate our nation's independence. The spiritual and moral commitments that have made America strong and independent have now all but eroded. Christians need to wake up and realize that, as we read in 1 Peter 2:16, America's freedom can quickly become a cover for evil. Clearly, we are embroiled in the spiritual warfare the apostle Paul warned about in Ephesians: We are wrestling not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces in high places. Abortion has become the locus of an intensely spiritual battle over the value and meaning of human life. The Bible pronounces human life sacred, but on Black Friday the Supreme Court pronounced sacred the places where human lives are slaughtered.


Chuck Colson


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