The Rev. Al Sharpton raised some theological eyebrows last week after he claimed that “the Bible is about choice” when it comes to the killing of pre-born babies.
In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Chris Jansing Reports,” Sharpton was asked how Democrats should engage older black voters who have “deeply held religious beliefs” on the issue after a 2020 survey showed growing acceptance of abortion among African Americans.
Sharpton suggested Democrats must “message it in a way that it is about choice. It’s not about saying, ‘I’m voting that I support abortion or not.’”
The National Action Network president and “MSNBC Politics Nation” opinion host said the issue falls on “whether they’re going to have a safe abortion.”
“We always had abortions, but we had these back alley, very risky abortions and we’re saying that rather than have people in those situations, they should be able to choose whether or not they want to do, even if it is something that I do not believe in,” he added.
Sharpton then veered to an apparent theological argument.
“The Bible, if you’re using this as a religious argument, the Bible is about choice,” he said. “You can go to Heaven or Hell. There’s nowhere in the Bible that says you had to go to Heaven.
“So where do we get this theology of forcing something when the reality is you can’t even biblically base that? It’s a question of choice. If you are a minister, as I am, you can preach to people to convert them; you do not make laws to compel them.”
But David Closson, director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview, told The Christian Post that Sharpton “could not be further from the truth.”
“The Bible affirms the personhood of the unborn from cover to cover. Let’s just start with the Ten Commandments where it says ‘thou shalt not kill,’” said Closson.
“It’s interesting to hear Sharpton’s comments that you can’t compel anybody. Part of the nature of law is telling people what they can and cannot do, and from a Christian perspective, what people ought to do and what people ought not to do.”
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Closson pointed to several Bible passages that he said explicitly teach the value of preborn life, including Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, where Elizabeth and Mary are both pregnant and John the Baptist “leaps for joy when Jesus in utero enters the room.”
“There’s a reason that for 2,000 years, every major Christian theologian leader has affirmed the personhood of the unborn or opposed abortion,” he added.
Closson also pushed back against the notion of having a “safe” abortion.
“There’s no such thing as a safe abortion,” Closson said. “A so-called successful abortion is always going to have two victims, the dead unborn child and it’s going to scar that mother for the rest of her life.”
When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Sharpton called the ruling “a blatant attempt to bring us back to the dark ages.”
Sharpton made other appearances on MSNBC in which he argued that the Bible is silent when it comes to the issue of abortion.
Speaking on MSBNC’s “Morning Joe,” Sharpton said abortion is “also not mentioned, as you know better than anybody, in the Bible. It’s not mentioned in the New Testament; it’s not mentioned in the Gospels, and it’s not mentioned by Jesus. Not one time.”
For Closson, such rhetoric isn’t surprising coming from Sharpton.
“He’s been saying these kinds of things for his entire career, but it’s important for all of us to realize it is out of step, most importantly with Scripture, but it’s also out of step with every major Christian denomination that believes the Bible is the authoritative Word of God,” he said.
If we take the commandment …thou shalt not kill so seriously, why then do Christians take up sanctions and arms to kill the economy of other nations or send money to equip soldiers to kill another nation’s soldiers and innocents our nation and its allies deem the enemy? The choice to kill the unborn Jesus was given to Joseph. He could have divorced Mary and tradition says had Joseph divorced Mary she would have died and with her death “God with us” would not have been born. And yet, no body forced Joseph to accept Mary’s conception and become the Father. He had a choice to make and praise be he listened to the voice of an angel…that told him not to worry he could take Mary for his wife and [by Jove] he would become the Father of Christ. Christians need not worry…simply lift up scripture and show how giving people a choice has brought God with us down through the ages.