Many conservatives and Christians viewed last week’s announcement that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy would retire from his position as the window of opportunity for legal righteousness to be restored. All that is needed is for President Trump to appoint a conservative justice to the Supreme Court, overturn Roe v. Wade, and abortions will be a thing of the past.

But perhaps Conservatives, and especially Christians, should view this potential victory in a broader perspective.

Suppose a conservative justice is appointed, and indeed Roe v. Wade is overturned. This, as many speculate, would simply put the matter of abortion into each state’s hands to wrestle with. This would result in some states legalizing and others abolishing abortion. And for those who really want an abortion, driving to the next state over is perhaps worth the effort.

As we see, in a free country, and one in which personal autonomy and individual rights is the de facto law of the land, the grave evil of abortion may never be fully prevented. For this reason, we should have the proper perspective of our legal system and its position relative to the heart of Mankind.

The Heart of the Matter is the Heart

Law professors Marc O. DeGirolami and Kevin C. Walsh, writing an opinion peace in the NY Times, have this reminder and warning against misplaced trust in the legal system:

The Supreme Court cannot save a degraded culture, nor can it degrade a virtuous one

They warn that the highest-level court in the land both molds and is molded by the culture. And lest we abstract the “culture” too much, we must remember that it is comprised of the hearts of individuals.

DeGuiolami and Walsh continue:

Because law, like politics, generally conforms to the culture. The Supreme Court is shaped by the culture that surrounds it; its instinct is to follow, not to lead. Consider the sexual autonomy cases of the 1960s and ’70s, or the cases involving civic displays of religion in the 1980s and ’90s, or the gay rights cases of this century. In each instance, the court channeled the views of a preferred emerging cultural constituency — about the sexual revolution, about secularization, about same-sex relationships — in recognizing the corresponding rights. The Psalmist was right to warn against trust in princes.

Striking down a federal abortion license and preventing attempts to destroy unborn children is certainly a step in the right direction. But the work of God and the citizens of His Kingdom is to shed light on the hearts of men and women so that they no longer desire the destruction of the unborn.

Although the Roe case in 1993 regarded privacy, the Casey case (which codified Roe in 1992) treated more exhaustively the rights of individuals to their own autonomy. In the Casey case, Justice Kennedy had this to say about liberty:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

The abortion debate is a hot-button issue because it speaks to our legal ability to define the nuances of life the way we want to. If the hearts of our culture are continuously looking to shape the universe in such a way that it allows them to do whatever they want, then our hearts are misguided. The original liberals defined liberty as the freedom to pursue what is good. But we are eons away from that definition of liberty.

Shedding the light of Christ on the hearts of men and women should reveal that our culture’s pursuit of liberty for the sake of autonomy is an abuse of liberty and results in disaster. The Church must be the first and strongest to use its liberty to pursue good. When we use our liberty to debase our morals, participate in petty politics, invoke violence, or promote pride, we are just as misguided as the rest.

Re-mystifying Life

Part of shedding light on the destruction of the unborn is re-mystifying life itself. Again, in the Casey case, Justice Kennedy wrote:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Humans have historically defined the mystery of human life as just that; a mystery. Something that should be treated with sanctity and reverence. The purity rituals of the Old Testament and funerals we still celebrate today show a reverence that cultures have for life from its potential beginning to its end.

This mysterious and sacred view of life is sorely missed in our culture. The sexual revolution has undone thousands of years of understanding. By mysterious and sacred I mean that new life is connected with the framework of families, marriage, and sex that it once had. Today, sex is so far removed from the potential to bring forth new life (conception) because of contraception, abortion, and sexual promiscuity. The wedge between sex and new life is so far that both sex and new life are transactional. Pornography is produced in endless quantities, apps used to find sexual partners are a dime a dozen, and many even fight for the rights of those in the “Sex Work” industry.

And then we have surrogacy stories, like these “dads” celebrating their newborn baby who was birthed from a mother they do not know (and child will never know) and with sperm from one of the dads (which dad is also unknown). The family framework is in ruin. A new life is entered into a shattered remnant of the God-ordered family structure.

Even our churches are guilty of failing to present new life as a part of the family framework. Why else would Babylon Bee’s satirical article title “Local Teenager Begs Jesus Not To Return Before Future Wedding Night” be funny? Because the American church has promoted sex as a means to pleasure; not as an intricate part of marriage unity, family building, and bringing forth new life.

These practices make the legalization of abortion possible in the cultural psyche. Sex is not tied to the biblical self-giving union that brings about families, so children are the furthest thing on the minds of casual sexual partners. So when a child is conceived,  the inconvenience must be dealt with.

Without these ties to life, marriage, and family, the modern priority in sexual matters is Me. The individualistic spirit of our culture comes out again. And it becomes obvious that a view of sex dismembered from its familial and live-giving implications has detrimental effects.

Mary Eberstadt writes about consequences of the sexual revolution:

Over the years, a great many people have claimed that sex is merely a private act between individuals. They’ve been wrong. We know now that private acts have cumulative public effects. Individual choices, such as having children out of wedlock, have ended up expanding the modern welfare state, for example, as the government has stepped in to support children who lack fathers. The explosion of sexual activity thanks to contraception has been accompanied by levels of divorce, cohabitation, and abortion never before seen in history


the revolution is having deleterious consequences—and not only on the young—in the form of broken families and the attendant disadvantages conferred by fatherless homes, as has been excruciatingly well-documented by social scientists for many decades. Over half a century into the sexual revolution, the human damages at the end of life’s telescope are now also visible

Re-mystifying human life means tying new life back to its relationship to sex, marriage, and family. It means understanding the sacred order that God has orchestrated for the good of our families and communities. The people of God must recapture this if we expect our culture and ourselves to treat life with the sanctity it deserves.

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz is the founder of Post-Christian Era. He has a Master's Degree in Biblical Studies and more than a decade of church work in teaching, worship, and discipleship across many church settings and denominations. He and his wife and three children live in the Los Angeles area (Covina, CA).