Abortion – Where are the Protestants?

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A week and a half ago I did something for the first time in my life. Something I had never expected to do.

I rallied together with over 4000 people who gathered at Martin Place, Sydney. We were brought together, from all over the city and beyond, to express our deep concern over the bill currently before the NSW Parliament that would not only legalise abortion but signal a drastic reduction in controls and barriers to prevent the death of the unborn.

It was a lively group of people who met at the Stand for Life event that evening. Young families, students, adults; many like me at their first such protest. Catholics, Orthodox, Menonites and more, it quickly became clear that large numbers were from Sydney’s vast immigrant community – a healthy expression of the well over 60% of NSW residents who affirmed a religious affiliation at the last census and who now felt that their opinions were, once again, being ignored by a bunch of politicians who knew better.

It was a refreshingly apolitical and non-partisan crowd. My guess is that many of those holding placards and urging Parliament to uphold the dignity, worth and value of the unborn were the same religiously-minded voters who had given the Labor Party a lot to think about at the last Federal Election. Now they were here to tell a Liberal Premier that they weren’t best pleased with her either. Our Armenian head of government got zero preferential treatment from the Armenians in the crowd when an Armenian bishop addressed us. “Listen up Gladys” they shouted, their accents thick with what I can only assume was a Yerevan twang. We all joined in. Some things are far more important than party politics. Every person is far more important than party politics.

When the rally was finished I sat over a burger with a few friends; a Presbyterian minister and some others. Almost in unison we asked ourself the obvious question. Where were the protestants? There were plenty of papal crosses and icons and banners from Catholic schools and we even got told off for inadvertently blocking a placard with the image of the Virgin. But where were the protestants? We could count four of us who shared fries over the table. We had the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney speaking from the platform. I saw a few other faces that I knew. But they were only a few.

But where were the protestants?

So I’ve decided to do something about it.

On the evening of Monday 2 September, St John’s Anglican Cathedral Parramatta (where I serve as Senior Associate Minister) will be hosting an event in our “Cathedral Conversations” series. We’re calling it “Choices: the conversation about abortion that we need to have”.

And we do need to have this conversation because our polite middle-class protestant churches are far too silent on this most important of issues. This is bigger than slavery. The slave traders only imprisoned people. The death rate on the boats that shipped their captives from Africa to the colonies was less than 20%. And each was a loss to the traders. A dead slave meant no money the other end. We gradually woke up to the barbaric inhumanity of it and decided enough was enough. Less than 20% by accident was enough to make us stop it.

In abortion the death rate of victims is designed to be 100%. And every one of them is deliberately killed. No wonder the crowds are shouting about it.

But where are the protestants?

I’m hoping they’ll be with us on Monday evening. We’ll be joined by Archishop Glenn Davies, the MP’s Tanya Davies and Tania Mihailuk (giving us a bipartisan report on all that has happened). We’ll hear from medical professionals and those working with mothers to show them the other options available and support them no matter what.

Come and join us if you’re not sure about this topic but want to hear more.

Come and join us if you’re already convinced that this is serious but don’t know what you can do about it.

Come and join us, Protestants, for a conversation we need to have. Of course, Catholic and Orthodox and everyone else welcome too.

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  1. JM

    Great article! ps. Mennonites or Maronites? (ie. Lebanese devotees of St Maroun)

    1. David Ould

      Thanks JM! Yes, they were all there!

      1. Nadia

        I agree, I was there also as a Protestant, and was thinking the same thing. Where are the Protestants? Wake up Evangelicals!

  2. Eunice Holford

    I have found across the decades that evangelical Anglican ministers rarely speak to questions involving ethics. I have wanted an opinion or insight from them as a parishioner and they offer nothing. I asked a former Evangelical Anglican ethics lecturer some years ago to comment on what I had experienced. He told me theolog students come to college with no ethics concern, awareness, or knowledge. They do the compulsory ethics lectures/assignments early in their course. A rare few pick it up as an elective in their final year with keen interest. He found no interest in students to really inform themselves and educate themselves in this realm of thinking. That to me is why you are asking, “Where are the Protestants?” Our leaders are deficient in interest and leadership in this area. I have been very glad to see Arch Bp Glen Davies stepping into this public arena and having a voice on our behalf. (I am unable to speak re other Protestants.)

    1. Geoff Fletcher

      Thanks Eunice – an interesting observation! I have long pondered that in all the encouragement, hopeful words and alignment in Scripture with the downcast, downtrodden, marginalised and poor in Spirit that there seems to be nothing but scorn for the lazy in ethics, intellect and effort! No words of support for the morally & mentally foolish! I also have observed that two books most rich in Godly wisdom in all these things – Proverbs & Ecclesiastes – don’t seem to get much of a run from the pulpit. They ARE very close to the bone at times, bordering on many of the insights we gain from modern psychology which, I also find, could be embraced better by conservative evangelicals. It’s hard to care about what you don’t know – both a product of choice.

      I hope all the protesters – Protestant or otherwise – in this currently political issue are working to push the buttons of influence that matter. Not placards & soap boxes but swaying the politicians who vote on the floor of Parliament.

      1. scott

        It was more or less the same with the SSM debate. A very high proportion of those dropping leaflets and canvassing were Catholics. A friend of mine requested support from Hillsong and C3 churches and was told they won’t get involved. I wondered if it was related to the fear of alienating people from the secular coolness that some churches showcase.

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