Crisis Pregnancy and the Church

I’ll just get to the point. Truth be told, there really ARE pockets of conservative Christians who believe that females don’t usually get pregnant from legitimate rape. Mr. Akin is not alone in his view (which he has since corrected). I’ve been following a more personal situation for several years, one involving people I know, in which a 16 year old girl was brought in front of a church on church discipline chargers when she became pregnant after being raped by a much older member of the congregation. Years later, the older member was finally convicted of raping the teenager (with the testimony of her former pastor the main thing that led to his conviction), yet for the most part, the many Christians originally involved refuse to apologize to the now grown woman or acknowledge any wrong doing on their part. That situation involves my Christian alma mater and my Facebook friends. The big-C Church has a problem on this issue today because many little-c churches believe exactly what Akin said, and those who knew better looked away as it happened.

I appreciate this clear statement from Covenant Seminary and this article published at Christianity Today. Sometimes, it takes Christians getting their pants handed to them by those with whom they disagree on other things in the media to finally wake up to their own blind spots. For which I say, praise Jesus!

My hope is that Christians accept correction, own their problem, and go forward anew correcting left and right injustices perpetuated in the name of Christ over the years. Mostly, I’m convicted to put my money where my own personal mouth is – advocating for pregnant moms in crisis, because advocacy for THEM is advocacy for the children they carry, caring in whatever tangible ways I can for children in need once they are born, and so forth. By the way, did you know that Microsoft pays the adoption fees for their employees because they believe in the value of adoption?! Almost makes me want to switch back from my MacBook Air to some lesser performing Microsoft product. I truly have a lot of respect for Bill and Melinda Gates.

At the end of the day, I’m most perplexed by those who try to defend the indefensible. The personal need for repentance still seems the hardest thing for believers to grasp for themselves sometimes. Just accept correction. Doesn’t our theology more than anything else equip us to do that very thing—to repent?! And then stand in advocacy for those who can’t stand for themselves, both the unborn child AND their mother who was violated in the worst of ways, because Scripture clearly instructs that very thing (I recommend Generous Justice by Tim Keller as a primer on this topic).

12 Responses to Crisis Pregnancy and the Church

  1. K August 24, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Love this post. I work for a pregnancy resource center and have two sons that came to me through adoption. I didn't know that about Microsoft and it definitely makes me reconsider the MacBook I'm typing on right now.

  2. merry August 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Thanks, Wendy, for this post.

    My mom became pregnant at the age of 14 as a result of rape in 1972. She chose to place the baby for adoption. She was no longer allowed to sing in church with her dad because she was an unwed teenage mother. Over the course of a couple years, several people did change their stance and apologize and some of the people were no longer in leadership. When I was in high school, 20 years after the incident, my mom and I did the program for a women's event at that church, and she and her dad sang together. That was the first time she told me how the church had reacted to her situation years previously.

    Because of my knowledge of my mom's experience, I cringe when I hear people say things out of ignorance. As an infertile woman (14 years and counting), pregnancy as a result of rape makes me cringe in other ways.

    Regardless of the circumstances of the conception, as you have pointed out, compassion for the unborn child AND the woman are necessary for being able to protect the child.

  3. Anonymous August 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Tiny clarification: My husband recently left Microsoft. (2012) It is wonderful to have the adoption support, however it is capped at a certain amount, $5,000. Which sometimes is only a tiny dent in the overall costs. In contrast, the insurance also pays for up to $15,000 per person for fertility treatments. This is a fundamental inequality in the value our culture places on biological children over adopted children. But, that is a whole separate issue. 🙂 Additionally, in our experience these are common benefits for modern companies, at least in technology. (IBM, valve, Microsoft, Amazon)

  4. Wendy August 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Thanks for the clarification, Anonymous!

  5. Rebekah Daphne August 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    I was flabbergasted to read that statement about “real rape” not causing pregnancy. Someone doesn't understand female biology very well! Thanks for this post.

  6. merry August 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    The insurance coverage for fertility treatments is determined by a whole set of factors (state law, current medical research, a lot of lobbying and politics, etc.), and adoption benefits are determined solely by the company offering them. Infertility coverage is a very small, not directly seen, portion of health insurance costs. Adoption benefits are specifically offered as a separate employee benefit item. While there is inequity in the way people in general view biology and adoption, I have to give kudos to any company that offers adoption benefits.

  7. Flyaway August 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    I was shocked and saddened by Akin’s belief that there are “legitimate rapes” and that a woman’s body can take care of such things! How ignorant! His attitude is cavalier! I hope this incident wakes up the “Christian” men to understand that rape is a violent act! It is never the woman’s fault. The attitude that it is the woman’s fault sounds like the Islam religion. I have never known anybody who was raped but I can identify a little bit as when I came down with fibromyalgia I was blamed for my own illness. They tried to convince me it was all in my head. I was brought up in a Presbyterian church in Virginia and when in the 60’s my brother wanted his friend who was black to join the Cub Scouts with him the Scout troop wouldn’t let him join. My father and brother left that troop and joined one that would let my brother’s friend join. I went back to visit the church 40 years later and now there is an even split between black and white members. I think somehow all of these harsh judgments God will cause to work out for good in some way. We may not know what good can come of it but God has said that it would happen.

  8. Wendy August 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Wow. What perseverance in the faith your mom showed through all that! I hope she has healed from the pain of both the rape and the shunning by believers who should have supported her. Thank you for sharing.

  9. The Blog bites better than the Bullet. August 25, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    “Truth be told, there really ARE pockets of conservative Christians who believe that females don't usually get pregnant from legitimate rape.”

    Wow. That just shows how little any of said conservative Christians understand about biology! Maybe they need to have a little more understanding of the world around them… So sad that people would put a victim in such a hideously abusive position after already being violated. So sad- praying much for the church to grow some common sense to balance their so-called Biblical understanding.

  10. E. August 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Thanks for the post, Wendy. If you're looking for a way to especially care for teen moms (and their babies), check out YoungLives:

  11. August 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    “Save the Storks” is a group that seeks to encourage and care for the mother in a difficult pregnancy situation.

    And I just have to tell you that I loved your scholarly post on Genesis 3:16- I read it, then I passed it on to my husband, then on to my daughters, then on to our sons-in-law, then on to our friends… then I linked it on facebook… then commented on it on my blog… Excellent post!

  12. Wendy August 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    Thanks for the resource and for sharing the Gen. 3:16 article. 🙂