Half the Truth

Export to PDF | Export to DOC

Carolyn Custis James is riding the Half the Sky movement for all its worth.  In the wake of this week’s showing on PBS’s Independent Lens of the movie based on the book, James has a piece in the Huffington Post this weekend.  See here.

One thing Mrs James forgets.  One thing Kristof and WuDunn deny.  One thing World Vision ignores in their partnership with Half the Sky.

Without the right to life, no other right matters.  It means nothing to have any other right if we do not first have the right to our own lives.

Nothing. Else. Matters.

James is “cut to the bone” by the accusation that Christians don’t care as much about African women as we do about “the lives of unborn fetuses.  The first problem with that is that they are not merely “unborn fetuses”.  They are human beings made in the image of God, same as the African women we Christians are accused of not caring enough about. 

I’m beginning to wonder where Mrs. James has really been for the past 40 years. In the 1970s I know I heard little, if anything, about sidewalk counseling and the horrors of abortion in my suburban, mostly white, Evangelical church. But I did hear about missionaries in Africa and I did wear a bracelet which helped me remember to pray for a woman who was imprisoned in the Soviet Union because she was a Christian. Since then, I’ve heard as much about child brides, female genital mutilation, acid attacks and a sort of enforced sati as I have about abortion.

I’ve been privileged to hear women (and men) who have risked their lives for the sake of others around the world. Women like Baroness Caroline Cox who has risked her life multiple times to redeem slaves — a woman who continued the practice even when her own government (she was Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords) told her, “If you get caught, we’ve never heard of you”.  And read about young women like Grace Akallo, a former child soldier from Uganda ( you will learn more about Grace in a week or two when I post a review of the book she wrote with my friend, Faith McDonnell).

So, if Mrs. James wants to say we haven’t done enough, she’ll get no argument from me.  But that’s not what she says.  She uncritically uses the language of pro-abortion “family planners” to deny the humanity, the image-bearing status, of the child before birth. And then agrees with them that we have turned a “blind eye” towards other atrocities happening around the world.

And that’s a lie.  It only looks that way to some because they  have turned a blind eye to the humanity and vulnerability of the child in the womb.  The have turned what should be the safest place on earth into a place of unspeakable violence, of tearing the most vulnerable members of the human family limb from limb and discarding them in the trash like so much offal (in fact, one abortionist is now facing charges for feeding the human remains of abortion to dogs).

We care about abortion, about children even before they are born, and we care about their moms because we know this comes first.  We act because we know that if we don’t do this work, we won’t do that work in a way that helps rather than hurts.

And hurting is precisely what Half the Sky and their partners and promoters do when they promote the myth of overpopulation and the necessity of “family planning” which harms women physically, emotionally and spiritually.

We know that the only way to really help women, instead of imposing an agenda that harms rather than helps, is to be unashamedly prolife in word and deed.

And to those who are not unashamedly prolife?  Well, I guess it probably does look like we care a whole lot more about “unborn fetuses” than we do women in Africa.  When the truth is, they are one and the same.  They are both victims of evil in this fallen world.

I wish to God they weren’t.