The Bible offers some fascinating insights about how laws should be implemented and enforced in this world. Given the passage of strict abortion laws just passed along in Texas and forgiven by the Supreme Court of the United States, it is helpful to look at how these new laws work, and why they are so ardently anti-biblical by nature.
Suits and vigilante justice
As a starting point to examine these issues, the new Texas anti-abortion laws are typical in that they won’t be enforced in traditional fashion. The police aren’t going to go out and round up abortion providers or medical clinic leaders. Instead, they place the power to report and enforce the law in the hands of everyday citizens. This brand of vigilante justice is unique in many respects because the Texas law opens the door for people to sue anyone who performs abortions or even “abets” the choice of a woman to pursue or receive and abortion.
To examine the verity of this brand of justice, it helps to look at a passage from the Book of John, in which Jesus deals with a street confrontation where a group of citizens drags a woman accused of adultery before him to see how he would handle her punishment.
8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
The prescribed punishment for women accused of adultery in those days was death. Yet Jesus did not view the the woman’s accusers or the “teachers of the law” as the ultimate authority or judge of her sins. He decried their tactics.
In his actions, Jesus also challenged the legitimacy of religious rules as a whole. He was tired of watching the religious authorities of that era control and manipulate people through tradition while refusing to minister to the needy or sick that needed God’s mercy the most. He’d be just as sickened by the way that religious authorities and their political allies operate while imposing theocracy on society today.
It is highly likely that Jesus would tell the people passing laws in Texas that their vigilante laws and actions are wrong. He would admonish them, “If you must depend on the law to implement the kingdom of God, you have already failed.”
Jesus would counsel the people of Texas and the rest of the world that it is compassion they should offer women seeking abortions. The real moral argument is not about why women are seeking abortions services, but how all of us can help prevent unwanted conceptions or pregnancies. It is interesting to consider that the real sinners in the Bible story above are the men walking away without a response about their own sins. For all we know, many of them might have been adulterers themselves. The same goes for abortions. Every seeking to end a pregnancy was placed in that position by a man either willingly or irresponsibly impregnating her. It is highly likely that Jesus would turn the question of pregnancy around to indict men too selfish to take responsibility for their own actions.
Jesus also perhaps recognized the dangers in how men in that era viewed women as their property. The patriarchal society in those days pinned women with all kinds of “unclean” labels, such as being ostractized just for menstruating, a totally normal bodily function. Fear and lack of understanding about women’s bodily functions are still a problem to this day. Until recently, many aspects of medicine including pharmaceuticals were based on men’s anatomy.
The twisted morality of men making laws about women’s bodies has persisted for two thousand years. But it is not godliness that drives their motivations. It is instead acting like God that Jesus most despised. “Let he that is without sin cast the first stone,” should be the operative morality applied to the Texas laws on abortion. The Supreme Court has several members claiming “conservative” values, mostly based on the brand of so-called Christian morality that pre-emptively condemns women seeking an abortion just as vigilantes in the street once condemned the woman “accused” of adultery. Even Chief Justice John Roberts provided a dissent against the six essentially corrupt judges engaging in judicial activism by allowing fifty years of established law (Roe vs. Wade) to be overturned in a single swipe by a batch of moral zealots acting without concern for the lives of women they are impacting.
Jesus would call out their vicious hypocrisy, especially those on the Supreme Court whose past behavior demonstrates a willing sinfulness. Yet even those with seemingly less to hide should be ashamed of hiding behind the veil of “constitutionality” in upholding the Texas abortion “laws” that are nothing more than permission for bands of aggressive snitches to persecute the women who most need compassion and support in this world.