This last week I had the opportunity to hang out with about 50 young evangelicals. These young evangelicals qualify to be amongst that group of Millennials that we are supposed to be worried about. If I believe all the news reports and blogs, these young men and women are just itching for the chance to ditch their faith. They are supposed to be post-partisan and desperate to move beyond those divisive issues like abortion and gay marriage. Yet the more time I spend with Millennials the more I realize their passion for the pre-born likely exceeds my own.
Don’t get me wrong, in many cases their support for the sanctity of life does not translate into automatic support for a political party, nor should it.
However, I find as the myth of neutrality gives way to the understanding that support for the pro-life position is fundamentally political (in the classical sense of the word), there is a willingness to accept the consequences that come with any political debate. They have already realized instinctively or through experience what David French noted recently,
“So, “post-partisan” Christians, please ponder this: First, as the price for your new path, are you willing to forego any effective voice at all for unborn children? Are you willing to keep silent when the secular world demands your silence? After all, that is the true price of non-partisanship — silence.”
Strangely, just as we are winning on the issue of Abortion, numerous “post partisan” young evangelicals leaders like Jonathan Merritt and Rachel Held Evans, have been calling for surrender in the culture war. Claiming to be committedly pro-life, but demanding a “more nuanced” view, they are willing to engage as long as they can appease their friends on the Left by tacking on “Creation Care” or some other unrelated cause. When abortion stands alone it is cast as the exclusive domain of the Religious Right. Jonathan and Rachel, have sadly joined the secularist vilification of culture warriors like Pat Robertson and James Dobson, thereby undermining the real success of saving thousands of babies from certain death. Fortunately, many Millennials are ignoring this call to surrender.
While these pro-life Millennials aren’t making it onto CNN or MSNBC, they are being heard. The evidence of this is found in two recent news events. Last week, Gallop released a survey showing the support for abortion in the US is in decline.
“The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.”
Recent high profile pro-choice victories, such as having the Department of Justice sue States that defund Planned Parenthood and having thousands of pro-choice advocates leverage the Media and members of the Senate to force the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reaffirm their support for Planned Parenthood, have not rendered increased support for the pro-choice position.
The failure to turn these victories into pro-choice political support and the inability to stem the tide of laws passed to restrict abortions has led the retirement of Nancy Keenan, President of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Stepping down at the end of the year, Keenan is a self-described member of the “postmenopausal militia” a group of feminist activist whose victory in Roe vs. Wade led to the death of 34 million unborn babies. According to an exclusive report by Ezra Klein earlier this month,
“Keenan said she is leaving out of concern for the future of the pro-choice movement — and thinks she could be holding it back. In recent years, Keenan has worried about an “intensity gap” on abortion rights among millennials, which the group considers to be the generation of Americans born between 1980 and 1991. While most young, antiabortion voters see abortion as a crucial political issue, NARAL’s own internal research does not find similar passion among abortion-rights supporters. If the pro-choice movement is to successfully defend abortion rights, Keenan contends, it needs more young people in leadership roles, including hers.”
NARAL will no doubt find those young people who are willing to “defend abortion rights”, but they will be met with a greater number of young people who are willing to defend the pre-born.
Even though it seems with each new generation there is great fear and trepidation about the future of the Church there are always signs of hope. We know the Lord promised that “the Gates of Hell shall not prevail” against his church. In this one, as with every generation, we find men and women willing to trade the praise of men for the glory of the Lord. These young men and women I met last week have chosen to fight for the unborn, for the sanctity of marriage, for the victims of abuse and oppression, and whatever else the Lord calls them too. Encouragingly, they don’t fight in the vague name of “Social Justice”, but in the name of Jesus and for the sake of His kingdom. It is my pleasure to know them and fight with them.