The term “litmus test” is used very often in our political culture. One definition of a litmus test is a test that uses a single indicator to prompt a decision. It’s a tool that many politicians and people use to select who or what they will support. Normally, a litmus test involves a matter about which people will have very serious and strong convictions.
So, should people who consider themselves to be believers in Jesus Christ have a litmus test about supporting life and taking a stand against abortion? Should they use such a test to decide whether or not to support and vote for political candidates? The answer is a profound “yes.”
Though litmus tests are usually frowned upon because they tend to be oriented around a single factor, there are reasons for their use that are simple and profound, especially when considering the issue of life in the context of the abortion debate.
For instance, one of the Ten Commandments clearly read, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). This commandment is very clear and straightforward. Bear in mind that the Word of God does not change. Even if you choose to use words or terms like “abortion, a woman’s right to choose, reproductive rights, euthanasia, etc., it still is murder to take innocent life. Changing the name or terms of how you describe what is taking place does not make it anything less than what it is — the murder of an innocent human being — and an act of disobedience to the will of God. No matter what you call it, it is still murder.
If a leader is not willing to stand up to protect and respect the life and civil rights of the most innocent and helpless of his or her own citizens, what does it matter what he or she believes about the economy, job creation, foreign policy, or anything else? If a given person is dead, none of these issues matter at all to her or him.
If a candidate believes that an entire segment of the population can be legally murdered, what does that say about her or his character? Doesn’t it actually say a lot? And if that candidate thinks it’s permissible (even desirable) to slaughter one particular group legally today, what might he or she think tomorrow? How can we know that the candidate who favors murdering the unborn today may decide that it’s acceptable to destroy a segment of our population that includes you tomorrow? Think about it! Sadly, this has happened too many times in history before.
So, if a particular candidate is not willing to stand up and boldly defend the most innocent and helpless citizens or their nation, what does that tell you about his or her character? Should believers have a life litmus test for deciding whether or not to vote for a particular candidate? I would say no question about it, Yes, we should have a litmus test for life!
Joseph Parker serves as the pastor of Greater Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church in Greenwood, Mississippi, and the Director of Outreach and Intercession with the American Family Association. He has been in the ministry for almost 40 years and hosts the radio broadcast, “The Hour of Intercession,” on the Urban Family Communications Radio network.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.