Hauerwas on Abortion

As this week is pro-life week at Redeemer and as many of the typical pro-life arguments are circulating—about the point at which life begins, the right of all people to life—I thought it might be good to provide some reflections from Hauerwas that allow us to see the issue differently, and I think, more Christianly:

Morally speaking, the first issue is never what we are to do, but what we should see. Here is the way it works: you can act only in the world that you can see, and you must be taught to see by learning to say. Steadfastly maintaining the language of abortion is one way of training ourselves as Christians to see and to practice its opposite: hospitality, and particularly hospitality to children and the vulnerable. “Abortion” reminds us of how Christians are to envision life: we are a baptizing people ready to welcome new life into our communities. [….]We are able to have children because our hope is in God, who makes it possible to do the absurd thing of having children. In a world of such terrible injustice, in a world of such terrible misery, in a world that may well be about the killing of our children, having children is an extraordinary act of faith and hope. But as Christians we can have hope in the God who urges us to welcome children. When that happens, it is an extraordinary testimony of faith. [….]The crucial question for us as Christians is what kind of people we need to be to be capable of welcoming children into this world, some of whom may be born disabled and even die. (“Abortion, Theologically Understood,” in The Hauerwas Reader, 611, 615, 619.)

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