Chapter 2 of Genesis describes two special trees that stood in the Garden of Eden: The tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Before they sinned, Adam and Eve had permission to eat of the tree of life: God explicitly said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.”
You know the rest: Chapter 3 shows how they ate the fruit from the one banned tree. God then expelled Adam, and Eve with him, “lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” God’s desire to keep them from living forever was so strong that at the garden’s entrance “He placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
So God is not pro-life in the sense of letting us eat from the tree of life and live forever in our current bodies. He is pro-life in the sense of wanting us to give life to babies. Immediately following that sentence about the flaming sword, Chapter 4 of Genesis introduces the first child: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived.”
The “Hail, Satan” cries offered up by five pro-abortion demonstrators in Austin early last month do not indicate that most abortion advocates are subjectively Satanists—but objectively, they are fighting God. When Bible authors want to show how sick a culture is, they write about Egyptians, Rome-imposed monarchs like Herod, and sometimes Israelites themselves killing babies (Exodus 1, Matthew 2, 2 Kings 17 and 21). That’s why crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) will not refer abortion-seekers to abortionists: They do not want to be complicit in sin so grievous.
Abortionists would prefer that CPCs not exist—but they do, so the pro-abortion desire is to make them a part of the abortion web. They want CPCs to put signs on their doors announcing: No physicians here. No abortions here. In essence, go elsewhere. But CPCs know that a woman looking for an abortion does not need, first and foremost, an abortionist. She needs counseling to help her see bearing a child as a gift from God, not a curse. She may pass that gift on to others. It’s never right to toss that gift into a trashcan.
So CPCs lay out welcome mats, not “go elsewhere” placards. Several years ago city councils in Austin, Baltimore, and other municipalities mandated such signs. They tried to force pro-lifers to post words contrary to their beliefs. That obviously violates First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Judges saw that and said “No.”
That’s what U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis saw and said two years ago when he awarded summary judgment to a Baltimore CPC. Summary judgment essentially means that one side obviously has the Constitution on its side, and last year a panel of three appeals court justices said Garbis was right. Sadly, the entire U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in July saw it differently, and commanded the district court to have a full trial.
You can read the court’s 60-page decision, but the dissents that follow it are better. Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, the lone remaining Reagan appointee to the 4th Circuit, noted that “the majority fails to respect the Center’s right not to utter a state-sponsored message that offends its core moral and religious principles … it should be axiomatic that the First Amendment prohibits the government from dictating the terms of private expression.”
“Should be axiomatic.” Axioms, you may remember from math or logic class, are premises so evident as to be accepted as true without duking it out: The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence could have started out, “We hold these truths to be axioms.” But our culture now holds nothing—not creation as described in chapter 1 of Genesis, not marriage as defined in chapter 2, not sin as shown in chapter 3—to be axiomatic.
That’s our problem. Yes, we need changes in courts, colleges, and media. But nothing works when we ignore biblical axioms.