by James A. Wilson
When I wrote about cultural clashes over abortion being primarily religious struggles some months ago, I was writing about a conflict as old as the Old Testament. Back in the eighth century BC the prophet Elijah called out four hundred fifty prophets of the Canaanite deity, Baal, in an epic contest. Baal was a fertility god who expected the sacrifice of human blood along with animal blood as the price of favor. When Hebrew kings and their consorts served this god of death they threw their children alive into the fires of the pagan temples. This practice persisted in Israel – ebbing and flowing – right into the first century. If my perspective was correct it survives today in the violent deaths of forty-two million unborn babies sacrificed in 2018 alone by the cult of which Planned Parenthood is a primary component of its priesthood.
Elijah challenged the pagans to prepare Baal’s bull for sacrifice while he prepped a bull for Yahweh. Prayer would be offered but no fire kindled. The object of worship who answered by fire would be declared the one true God. Unfortunately, both events and rhetoric in the 2020 presidential campaign have proven me all too right; God knows I would dearly love to be wrong.
In the ancient contest, Elijah first upbraided the people for limping back and forth in their loyalties, the bottom line being a cosmic challenge to fish or cut bait as though their faith were the most important dimension of their lives – which it is. Giving the prophets of Baal first chance, he watched as they undertook all manner of silly rituals to induce their master to ignite his bull with a well-placed lightning bolt, even cutting on themselves to give the deity pleasure. They worked on it from dawn until dusk with no result but futility; Elijah even taunted them with scatological suggestions to explain their god’s absence. Then – after thoroughly soaking his own sacrifice with water to make ignition all the more miraculous – the prophet of God prayed simply, asking God to show himself once and for all as the sole occupant of the heavenly throne. His sacrifice was consumed in a lightning stroke and he ordered the people to set upon the Baalist prophets just as decisively.
No one is calling for the execution of modern day presidential candidates who have elevated Baal to center stage once again, but let’s look dispassionately at the realities of this campaign. In recent days every one of Donald Trump’s rivals have declared the right to unrestricted abortion – up to and past the moment of pregnancy – as their first priority. If we understand issues of faith to be issues of ultimate concern then placing any issue beyond dispute or compromise elevates that issue to an article of faith. For every Democratic presidential hopeful – aware or not – this is precisely what has happened. Some have gone so far as to defy the Constitution by pledging they would neither nominate nor confirm a Supreme Court nominee who had not promised never to touch Roe vs Wade.
The pro-abortion dominated House of Representatives has refused to even vote on a measure to ban infanticide some seventy times this year. The rationale is that infanticide is already illegal; this line is pushed despite laws in New York, Illinois, and several other states explicitly authorizing the killing of born-alive infants. The fanaticism attached to these measures coupled with judges who block even efforts to shut down clinics for non-compliance with state health regulations designed to protect mothers sounds like religious fervor to me.
A pro-life orientation is core to the three major religions of the world: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. That some leaders in all three faiths support abortion on demand in defiance of their own faith tenets argues not so much for their apostacy – as I once believed – but for a higher faith-based loyalty to the cult of death embodied by Baal worship – on their part. This is certainly true for those members of congress such as Pelosi, Shumer, Omar, and Tlaib, and for those presidential candidates who claim to be Christians and pro-choice. They have made their come-hell-or-high-water choice and the rest of us must be at least as faithful to our God as they are to theirs.
I am not saying every American who favors abortion rights is a Baal worshipper. I am saying, however, that Baal worship is at the heart of the agenda. I add that leadership has clearly elevated the agenda to the level of a faith-based crusade and that faith base has a known identity; Planned Parenthood is essentially a self-aware cult.
The good news is sixty per cent of Americans now oppose abortion in most or all cases except to protect the life of the mother; the excesses I describe above accelerate the failure of the Baalists. The challenge is for us on the pro-life side to remember to keep dancing with the One who brought us here.
Dancing means it’s not about bashing or suppressing those with whom we disagree; it is about exposing truth and encouraging dispassionate reasoning about the primary right to life of all God’s people, at whatever stage of development. It is about repenting of our own failure to serve the authentic Lord our God, whether through compromise of what we know is true or by silence in the face of bullying. It is at last about blessing and forgiving those who worship death while speaking truth and depending on the one who loves life more than we do to ignite the fire under that bull.
Truth to tell, it was not Elijah asking Whom we serve; it was Yahweh Himself. He is still asking.
James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at firstname.lastname@example.org