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First Thoughts

Life on the Line: The Republican Party and the Protection of the Unborn

In 2016, I did not vote for Donald Trump. I didn’t vote for him because I knew he was lying. Listening to candidate Trump promise protections against the unborn and pledging to appoint originalist justices to the Supreme Court, I was convinced conservatives were being played. I didn’t believe for a minute that he would make good on his promises.

I could not have been more wrong.

In the years that followed the election, I watched Donald J. Trump be the most aggressively pro-life president in my lifetime. He stood for life and appointed the justices that overturned Roe. I was invited to the White House with other pastors to receive a briefing from senior officials about what the Trump Administration was doing to defend life. I was amazed. Over the years of Trump’s presidency, I wept tears of joy and thanked God for the faithful action of Donald Trump.

But this week, we are seeing the kind of political calculation from the Trump Campaign that I feared in 2016. There have been signs this was coming for a while, but this week, the Republican National Committee is following the lead of former President Trump and has removed the pro-life language of the official Republican Party Platform that has been in place for decades.

President Trump is engaging in a risky electoral gamble. He is banking that Christians and other social conservatives will not abandon him in the face of the Democrat alternative. At the very least, he is calculating that he will gain enough support from political moderates to compensate for any loss in social conservatives.

I don’t know if Donald Trump is correct in this calculation. I suspect he is not. But, as Christians, our job is not to calculate but to stand on the conviction that every human being is created by God, made in his image, and has a soul that will last forever. Christians cannot equivocate on the principle of human life.  That means something much greater is at stake in these days than the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that is the occupant of the womb.

Christians must stand loudly, clearly, and in unison for the protection of human life. Republicans will have to vote to approve the party platform at the convention next week. That means there is still time to make our voices heard online and with our elected representatives. We should all be working to do this.

More than that, there is time to pray. All Christians must pray for life to be honored in our nation and in the Republican party. We need to pray for President Trump. This man whom God has used to accomplish so much for the cause of human life can still be used to accomplish more. Let’s pray for him. Let’s pray for our nation. And let’s pray for the countless unborn lives at stake.

This Sunday at First Baptist, Jacksonville, we will have a special time of prayer for these very things. I hope you will join us in person or online or that you will meet with your congregation to pray and ask God to change the hearts of the Republican leaders, to change the language of the Republican platform, and to lead us to be a nation that protects all human life from conception to natural death.

Dr. Heath Lambert is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. He is the author of several books, including The Great Love of God: Encountering God’s Heart for a Hostile World. 

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