Summary: We have waved the banner of pro-life for years now, but I want to ask you, "Are We Really Pro-Life?" What is the Church doing to reach a world suffering from starvation and HIV/AIDS?
Are We Really Pro-Life?
Isaiah 58:10-12 says:
(ESV) 10if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
On April 24 and 25, 2007, I sat down in front of my television to watch the show “American Idol.” With great interest I watched not because I was going to vote for the next teen sensation, but because of the theme of the show, “American Idol Gives Back.” Both nights were dedicated to world hunger and the fight against HIV/AIDS, and many of today’s actors and music artist were involved in helping to raise money to help eradicate hunger and HIV/AIDS. Amazingly, by the time the two nights were over they had raised over $70 million. Many of the heart wrenching video clips showed the plight of children in Sub-Saharan Africa because of malnutrition and/or HIV/AIDS. Even though I have ministered many times on the Dark Continent, the troubles of these people always prick at my heart, and after going to bed I began to ponder what I had just witnessed. The next morning I had to make a trip about an hour and a half from my home, but the whole drive I just couldn’t stop thinking about the condition of the world and the desperate help that is needed.
Being active in humanitarian causes, I began to try and digest the statistics on the social ills of our society and the world. Just the week before, I had attended the International Food Aid Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, and heard some startling statistics. Consider these alarming statistics:
852 million people tonight will go to bed hungry
Every day almost 16,000 children die of hunger-related causes. That is 1 child every 5
More than 1 billion people in the world live below the international poverty level which is less that $1 per day.
820 million people world wide are malnourished.
10.1 million Children will die before their fifth birthday.
In America there are 36 million people that are suffering from hunger. 12% of all Americans will go to bed suffering from hunger.
(2006 world health organization statistics)
There are an estimated 39.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS. This year there will be an estimated 4.3 million people infected with HIV.
There were 2.9 million deaths in 2006 because of AIDS. 380 thousand children died last year of AIDS.
Africa has nearly 12 million AIDS orphans. 48% of all of those living with HIV are woman.
(2006 world health organization statistics)
Over and over in my mind I thought, “My goodness how do we break this cycle?” I then began to think about the Church, and what her responsibility to these issues should be.
We in the Evangelical world have waved the banner for Right to Life for the last 20 plus years. Many of us even use this one issue as a litmus test on how we vote for our elected officials. I, like many of you, am pro-life. I know that over 40 million unborn babies have been murdered since Roe v. Wade. I have even preached against the sin of abortion, and how we are to support the sanctity of life. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, “If we are going to be ‘pro life’, then we must be completely Pro Life.” As Evangelicals, we have spent a lot of time focusing of this issue, and revving up our emotions in our fight over the right of the unborn against a woman’s right to choose that child’s fate. Do not misunderstand me; I firmly believe that The Right to Life should be something that all Christians are passionate about. However, I do not believe that our fight should stop there, but continue to all people God has created all over the world.
Unfortunately, it seems that malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, and other social ills have not resonated within the Church. We claim to be the protectors of life, but it seems like the church has totally ignored those that are suffering from malnutrition and HIV/AIDS at home and abroad. Now before you assume that I am talking about a particular church or association, I am not. What I mean by “church”, is all of us who hold the true teaching of the Gospel in our hearts. How can we call ourselves pro-life yet allow 2.9 million people to die of HIV/AIDS this year without ever hearing of the great salvation of Jesus Christ. Today, 16,000 children died of hunger, and even more tragically, most of them left this world without knowing the true Bread of Life.