A Florida pastor criticized pro-life lawmakers this week for advancing legislation to protect unborn babies from abortion, asserting that the choice to kill an unborn baby is ok because “God gave us free will.”
In a guest column at the Orlando Sentinel, the Rev. Terri Steed Pierce claimed the Florida heartbeat bill is “unacceptable” and “not of God.” She is the lead pastor of Joy Metropolitan Community Church, which was “created for and by the LGBTQ+ community.”
“God gave us free will, so how did elected officials become the moral authority over how we live our lives; especially those who aren’t living up to the same standards they demand of us?” Pierce wrote.
But the concept of free will in Christianity does not allow people to engage in evil simply because they decide to. And politicians pass legislation all the time that reflects morality: Laws prohibit murder, rape, abuse, theft and numerous other immoral acts.
Elective abortions killed more than 80,000 unborn babies in Florida alone last year, and state lawmakers are trying to protect their lives. A March poll by Ragnar Research found 62 percent of Florida voters support legislation to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeat is detectable.
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On Monday, the state Senate passed a bill that could protect tens of thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year. Along with banning most elective abortions after the baby’s heartbeat is detectable, the bill also provides funds to help pregnant and parenting mothers.
Pierce, however, portrayed the pro-life legislation as harmful and hateful.
“In times of complex decisions, I turn to God for guidance,” she wrote. “I am able to weigh my options and take all factors into consideration, and I trust that when you are faced with making decisions about your life that you also look at the big picture. Politicians who make harmful decisions and laws will never be in a position to know what we need for our lives better than we do.”
Then, she made an incoherent argument that attempted to link God’s love to the “choice” to kill an unborn baby for any elective reason.
“God is love and love brings choice,” Pierce continued. “Love does not coerce, decide for or demand. Love empowers us to make our own choices. Lawmakers say they’re removing our ability to make choices for ourselves because of their belief in God, but even God gives us the freedom to decide. How can faith be the excuse used to strip us of the agency that our Creator has given to all of us?”
Pierce’s argument is nonsense. In Christianity, God does not give people the “freedom” to do anything they want; they cannot abuse, deceive or kill innocent human beings. Throughout the Bible, God confirms children’s value — including while they are still in the womb, and condemns those who kill innocent human beings. Christianity also teaches that every human being is unique and valuable, from the moment of conception to natural death, because each is made in the image of God.
Abortion destroys God’s unique creations: innocent children, and pro-life advocates of all faiths and no faith are working together to end the immoral practice and protect their lives.