I don’t know Jen Hatmaker, the blogger, HGTV host, adoptive mom and pastor’s wife with 10 Christian books on the market and a huge audience on her website. So I’m not going to tell everyone else what to think after her comments regarding several social issues popped up in Religion News this week.
Mrs. Hatmaker is getting a lot of backlash from the Christian community, that’s for certain.
Her views on various issues other than the matter of life, are going to get a lot of press. Left-wing activists, such as those in the LGBT community, will trumpet her words, without a doubt.
My focus however, is on her thoughts regarding abortion and the sanctity of life. Here they are, quoted directly from the interview with Religion News:
I’ve always had a pro-life ethic and still do. But my pro-life ethic has infinitely expanded from just simply being anti-abortion. For me, pro-life includes the life of the struggling single mom who decides to have that kid and they’re poor. It means being pro-refugee. It means being pro-Muslim. My pro-life ethic, while still not in favor of abortion and certainly not in favor of late-term abortions, has expanded.
There’s something incredibly disingenuous about a Christian community that screams about abortion, but then refuses to support the very programs that are going to stabilize vulnerable, economically fragile families that decide to keep their kids. Some Christians want the baby born, but then don’t want to help the mama raise that baby. We don’t want to provide the scaffolding for them to thrive and be successful. That, to me, makes no sense at all.
Let’s start with the positive. I’m thrilled Mrs. Hatmaker is pro-life.
From there, I’m befuddled. What is she implying when she says her “pro-life ethic has infinitely expanded from just simply being anti-abortion?”
Is there somehow a higher ground for those who advance from “anti-abortion” to a more advanced “pro-life ethic?”
How many pro-lifers are saying, “I’m anti-abortion, but I don’t care at all after the baby is born?”
If these people exist, in my 36 years in the pro-life arena, I’ve yet to run into any of them.
And, I can’t seem to find a pro-life friend who is somehow disregarding the poor single mother.
For that matter, I can’t find a Christian who is “anti-refugee.” There is a reasonable debate on how to assist refugees, to be sure. Do we bring them to the United States or other developed nations, or do we help to establish safe, thriving communities closer the home of refugees? This is a worthy discussion.
But again, in all of my travels and communications with the life-affirming community, nobody is telling me they are not interested in helping those from war-torn nations.
And then there is her concern regarding the overall pro-life Christian community, so I’ll quote it again:
There’s something incredibly disingenuous about a Christian community that screams about abortion, but then refuses to support the very programs that are going to stabilize vulnerable, economically fragile families that decide to keep their kids.
“Screaming” does not characterize the pro-life, Christian community I know.
Perhaps Mrs. Hatmaker thinks the Christian community should support government initiatives to realize the goals she espouses. This is implied in her comments.
And yes, we need honest, civil debate on how to assist the economically fragile among us. But please, let’s not ruin this worthy debate by demeaning those who do not agree that more government programs are the answer.
In the Christian, pro-life community I know, we’re not waiting on Washington to hand down some edict on how we are to best stabilize vulnerable families. Instead, we do it ourselves.
We went out and created 2,500 pregnancy help organizations (and counting) to serve those who are well-off, and those who are economically challenged. We created adoption agencies and maternity homes. We built initiatives to assist and empower single moms and new dads.
Tweet This: #Prolife, Christian communities aren't about screaming, but doing. @KirkWalden #JenHatmaker.
We are re-introducing marriage to young women and men who can go back generations without seeing a living example of what marriage can truly be, and what a happily married, two-parent family can mean to a child born into this world.
We love those who come in our doors without judgment, just as Jesus called us to do. This is the Christian community I know.
Government has its place, but government can never love as Jesus did. This is why we—the Christian Community I know—are doing so much.
Mrs. Hatmaker has a tremendous platform and in all fairness to her, she’s likely earned it. One can tell by her blog and through her books that she has a tremendous heart for so many good things, and a heart for God. This column is not meant to disparage her by any stretch.
Yet, I disagree with her assessment of the Christian community.
The Christian community I know is not perfect. But the pro-life, Christian community I know isn’t screaming, it is doing. The community I know is hardly anti-anything. It is pro-love, pro-servanthood and yes, pro-life.
Perhaps, instead of disparaging the Christian community I know, Mrs. Hatmaker could embrace this community. Then, we could all continue a conversation about solutions to the many challenges we—including the poorest among us—face.
Though we may not see eye-to-eye on some issues, I’ve no doubt, Mrs. Hatmaker is doing a lot to try and change the world around her. But, the Christian community I know is doing, too. I wish she could see that.