Christians in politics need to learn not to be political.
Federal Judge James C. Fox has ruled that the state of North Carolina can’t sell “Choose Life” license plates, saying that the legislature’s refusal to allow a “pro-choice” plate is “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”
Some Christians are up in arms. After all, North Carolina offers more than 100 specialty license plates for a cornucopia of causes, interests, and products, including NASCAR drivers, civic associations, colleges, square dancers, a surfing foundation, tobacco, and watermelons.
Most of the extra $25 that a “Choose Life” plate would cost would go to an exceptionally good cause, the 80-plus pregnancy resource centers in North Carolina that last year offered more than 46,000 women the information and support that helped most of them make an informed choice against abortion.
That’s all good, but North Carolina’s Republican-majority legislature made a mistake by rejecting six efforts to allow plates from the pro-abortion side that say, “Respect Choice,” or similar things. I say that even though I’ve chaired a pro-life center and can honestly say that no social issue agitates me as strongly as abortion does.
Yes, the “pro-choice” label is a lie because in the United States it’s taken away from more than 50 million unborn children the opportunity ever to choose. Yes, abortion is legal and should not be. But as long as it is legal, Christians should study history, trust God, and refrain from using governmental power to keep defenders of abortion from expressing their viewpoint.
Study history: Given our sinful natures, power almost always corrupts, and when it doesn’t corrupt it lures. It lures us to use an often-temporary majority status to clamp down on the minority—and what happens when Christians become the minority, as we are now in American society?
The history of American education provides a telling example. Late 19th-century Protestants, for anti-Catholic reasons, passed laws in most states that funneled taxpayer money into government-run schools and kept it from following the child into schools chosen by parents. Now, those laws prop up government schools that pretend God doesn’t exist.
Trust God: The pro-life cause is surging not because of governmental power but through His common grace. Millions of Americans, one by one, are seeing ultrasound pictures or other evidence, saying “That’s a baby,” and choosing life.
That surge supports John Milton’s realization in the 1640s: “[T]hough all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”
For history-based and faith-based reasons, North Carolina should allow both “Choose Life” and “Respect Choice” plates. The pro-abort side uses that latter slogan to promote evil, but God can use it for good.