They compel people to vote “pro-life” but their hearts are far from me.
In Mark 7:1-23 Jesus confronts the religious leaders for their hypocrisy regarding making additions to the Mosaic law.
At the heart of the issue was an attempt to create new litmus tests for holiness. In this case, the religious leaders were attempting to add a ceremonial washing that was never required in the law. Jesus condemns this as producing rules that were then used to either bolster or condemn people’s sense of spirituality.
Many American evangelicals have fallen into the same trap over many issues. One of the foremost being their stance on abortion. Although abortion is not mentioned in the New Testament, many teachers and lay people use abortion as a litmus test for other Christian’s spirituality. They condemn, distrust, and reject as unspiritual those that do not share their position.
The problem is that their position is often neither consistent or biblical. It is not biblical since there are no clear teachings on the subject. The Mosaic law not only permits an abortion, but has God as the author at the hands of a priest (Numbers 5:11-31). Thus evangelicals often attempt to redefine abortion as murder. Unfortunately, they are not consistent with this. Very rarely do they desire to prosecute women for murder should they have an abortion.
I also take issue with their movement using “pro-life” when they do not focus on all the necessary life issues of people, often advocate for the death penalty, refuse to address gun violence, and support excessive military buildup. None of these are demonstrative of a pro-life position.
The anti abortion position also ignores scientific facts regarding natural miscarriage rates and of the significant failure rate of fertilization to produce anything viable.
Of course I think people should live by sacrificial love for the benefit of others. But this is not something that can be forced upon people and still be called a sacrifice. Sacrificial love requires a willing heart that is not coerced. Similarly, Christians opposed to abortion need to step up with adoption and support of progressive programs that offer prenatal and postnatal care.
Now the saddest part of this story is that Jesus does list the kind of things that defile a person.
Mark 7:20-23 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.
Some evangelical leaders have also made it a litmus test to vote for Donald Trump who exhibits many of the defilements Jesus lists.
How can Christians make a litmus test out of something that is not in Christ’s teaching (abortion) and a litmus test of something clearly condemned by Christ (voting for Donald Trump)?
The answer is simple. They have chosen a path to honor God with their lips while their hearts are far from him.