Hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters were in Washington, D.C. today for the historic 2020 March for Life.  This annual march is held at our nation’s capital to protest the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in America. For the first time in its 47 year history a sitting US President attended the March for Life rally. 
While pro-life supporters, activists, conservatives and Republicans marched for faith, life and family, Democratic candidates marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by promising to appoint pro-abortion judges and protect abortion rights if elected President:
The right to an abortion is a fundamental right.
Our administration will codify abortion rights into federal law, pass Medicare for All which repeals the Hyde Amendment, and only appoint judges who will defend #RoevWade.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 22, 2020
47 years ago today, #RoevWade recognized a woman’s constitutional right to choose — but that right is under attack across the country. We must codify Roe into law and fight back against any state laws that violate it.
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) January 22, 2020
47 years after Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to reproductive freedom—the access to a safe and legal abortion—is still under systemic attack. As president, I will never let a state or a jury or any politician in Washington take that right away.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 22, 2020
Absent from any participation or even any discussions on the issue of ending abortion in America are Seventh-day Adventists. They were nowhere to be found. It is disappointing and shocking to see both the General Conference  and the North American Division  actively involved in supporting and strengthening LGBT+ rights by federal law.
Not only are Adventists involved in defending LGBT+ rights during the ongoing national debate in America, they even publicize their support for the world to see. But when it comes to supporting laws that would save the lives of the unborn, not one word is published or spoken by the church. It’s time to reevaluate this major inconsistency.
A Narrow View About Ending Abortion
It is unfortunate that the discussion within Adventism about ending abortion in America is being dominated by only one, singular narrow position that claims that any effort to end abortion is politically motivated and we need to keep away from politics. The popular view in Adventism argues that it is only the Evangelicals and Catholics who are trying to end abortion, and their support for this is based on a desire to gain political power. 
Therefore, to end abortion in America would be a premise for the Mark of the Beast, and if Seventh-day Adventists somehow support any of these efforts to end abortion we would be helping to set up an image to the beast. This is the prominent position that is shared by many “conservative” Seventh-day Adventists. 
I will show the fallacy of maintaining this one, narrow position on the important subject of ending abortion in America. We desperately need a more balanced position within Adventism that says that most “Christians” if not the overwhelming majority SIMPLY HAVE A GENUINE CONCERN TO SEE ABORTION ENDED. Is every Christian who supports an abortion ban drunk with political power?
Do Christian farmers, factory workers, doctors, grandmas, mechanics, military personnel and regular believers support limiting the practice of abortion because of political ambitions? Should we paint everyone’s motive with one broad brush?
Seventh-day Adventists need a new public dialog and public witness on the subject of ending abortion in America that doesn’t just accuse everyone of being drunk on political power. There are millions of sincere Christians who have a genuine concern on this subject and who are not motivated by partisan politics.
Are there some misguided religionists who are using abortion for political gain? Yes, it’s possible and that certainly is one view, but that shouldn’t be the loudest and the most prevailing view in Adventism because the silent majority, who are not the most vocal, don’t fall into that camp and we shouldn’t hold people hostage to just one, singular view on the question of ending abortion in America.
What Should Our Position Be – Lessons from 1888
Towards the end of the 19th Century there was a religious movement that felt compelled to establish “moral” Christian laws. A bill was proposed to establish a National Sunday Rest Bill, Senate Bill 2983, on May 21, 1888. By the grace of God and encouraging counsel from the Spirit of Prophecy (Review and Herald, December 11, 1888) Alonzo T. Jones, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, professor, editor and administrator lodged the strongest protest against this Sunday measure on December 13, 1888 before the United States Senate Committee on Education and Labor and was able to help defeat this Sunday Rest Bill.
Alonzo T. Jones’ words left a lasting impression upon the Senate and upon God’s people. This was a great victory for religious liberty. He paved the way for establishing the religious liberty work in Adventism. But what we as a people have forgotten is that Jones did not just address the Sunday issue in his testimony before the U.S. Senate. He also clearly addressed issues of murder and the protection of life. His arguments against murder and his defense for life is something that has been omitted in our discussion on abortion today.
Below is a part A. T. Jones’ testimony on “murder” which he gave in 1888 before the Senate Committee. Jones basically says that it doesn’t matter what the churches are saying, planning, conspiring or doing when it comes to murder. Murder is a “civil” action that must be addressed regardless of what the churches’ predispositions or motives are on the issue. Whatever the churches may or may not do should not paralyze us into inaction on the subject of murder (abortion):
“It is every man’s right in this country, or anywhere else, to worship an idol if he chooses. That idol embodies his conviction of what God is … But suppose that in the worship of that god he attempts to take the life of one of his fellow-men, and offer it as a human sacrifice. The civil government exists for the protection of life, liberty, property, etc., and it must punish that man for his attempt upon the life of his fellow-man. The civil law protects man’s life from such exercise of any one’s religion, but in punishing the offender, the State does not consider the question of his religion at all. It would punish him just the same if he made no pretensions to worship or to religion.
It punishes him for his incivility, for his attempt at murder, not for his irreligion. I repeat, the question of religion is not considered by the State; the sole question is, Did he threaten the life of his fellow-man? Civil government must protect its citizens. This is strictly within Caesar’s jurisdiction; it comes within the line of duties which the Scripture shows to pertain to our neighbor, (last six commandments) and with it Caesar has to do. Therefore it is true that the State can never of right legislate in regard to any man’s religious faith, or in relation to anything in the first four commandments of the Decalogue.
But if in the exercise of his religious convictions under the first four commandments, a man invades the rights of his neighbor, as to life, family, property, or character, then the civil government says that it is unlawful. Why? Because it is irreligious or immoral? Not at all; but because it is uncivil, and for that reason only. It never can be proper for the State to ask any question as to whether any man is religious or not, or whether his actions are religious or not. The sole question must ever be, Is the action civil or uncivil.” (The National Sunday Law, Argument of Alonzo T. Jones, Dec. 13, 1888, pp. 25, 26). 
Jones said we shouldn’t even consider any religious imperatives when discussing the subject of murder because this is a civil issue. It is wrong. Period. Civil government has the duty and must protect life – no questions asked. Why? Because murder falls under the second table of God’s law, not the first. This is what Jones argued before the members of the US Senate! Where are the religious liberty leaders that will stand up for the unborn today?
We will clearly see that dominionism, the mark of the beast, religious persecution and the setting up of an image to the beast has NOTHING to do with the second table of God’s law (the last six commandments). The future tyranny and oppression predicted in prophecy has to do with violations against the first table of God’s law (the first four commandments).
What Will the Future Tyranny be Over?
Please notice when Alonzo T. Jones actually lifted up his voice like a trumpet and cried out against governmental tyranny, dominionism and government abuse. It wasn’t over the government dealing with murder or protecting life. Notice how Alonzo T. Jones’ attitude and language changes completely when addressing the Sunday Law issue.
“Any power that undertakes to punish that man for his failure or refusal to render to God what is God’s, puts itself in the place of God. Any government which attempts it, sets itself against the word of Christ, and is therefore antichristian. This Sunday bill proposes to have this Government do just that thing, and therefore I say, without any reflection upon the author of the bill, this national Sunday bill which is under discussion here today is antichristian. But in saying this I am not singling out this contemplated law as worse than all other Sunday laws in the world. There never was a Sunday law that was not antichristian and there never can be one that will not be antichristian.” (The National Sunday Law, Argument of Alonzo T. Jones, Dec. 13, 1888, pp. 22) 
Now when our nation sets up a national Sunday law this act would be a violation of the limits imposed on them by God. They would have exceeded their authority by passing a law that has to do with worship. This is setting up an image of the beast and would lead people to receive the mark.
But according to Alonzo T. Jones’ statement on murder, when our nation passes laws ending murder (abortion) this is both in harmony with God’s law and civil law. An abortion ban is not anti-Christian. It is fully within the spirit of Christ. This is not setting up a mark of the beast. This is not becoming drunk on political power. It’s fully within civil government’s duty to perform.
Setting up Sunday laws benefit Rome because Sunday is her own invention. Who benefits when abortion laws are eliminated? Rome? No. It’s the unborn who benefit when abortion laws are repealed because this law (Sixth Commandment) was given for the purpose of having civil order within society. It was given to us by God to protect life.
Abortion falls under the second table of God’s law and is under the jurisdiction of civil government. Abortion is wrong, it is murder and for the citizens to end this evil practice is good for society. Ending abortion has nothing to do with dominionism, the image of the beast or the mark. And it never will. Many are confused on this important issue and this is paralyzing God’s people from fulfilling their prophetic role in defending the law of God – publicly and in the market place.
You can pass federal, state, county and local ordinances all day long with regards to the last six commandments of God’s law and you will NEVER establish tyranny, the mark of the beast or dominionism. Why? Because these laws have to do with our civil duties and with our neighbors. Now, whenever any law is passed by man that deals with the first four commandments of God’s law this would pave the way for tyranny and persecution.
The problem today is not that civil government is passing too many laws on the last six commandments; our problem today is that sin and disobedience go unpunished. Our problem is that government leaders are failing to maintain God’s laws on civility – stealing, sexual immorality and murder.
Our public silence and absence in the national debate on the issue of abortion is being recorded in the books of heaven. Had Seventh-day Adventists stood up against abortion and resisted it during the 1970s as passionately as A. T. Jones stood up against Sunday laws in 1888, who knows what could have become of the abortion issue and the 60 million lives that have been lost since its legalization.
“There is a prospect before us of a continued struggle, at the risk of imprisonment, loss of property and even of life itself, to defend the law of God” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 712).
Because Seventh-day Adventists have faltered in our Christian obligation to decry abortion and protect the unborn it seems that we want to hold everyone – including sincere Christians – hostage to one singular position on abortion that attributes the motive of political power as the basis for supporting an abortion ban.
I believe that this one, singular, narrow attitude that associates ending abortion to the mark of the beast exists within Adventism for two reasons:
- We were complicit for far too long on abortion.
- We needed a political excuse to avoid this subject because of our complicity.
When we call abortion a political issue we create an excuse to avoid the abortion debate altogether. The abortion issue, at its core, is a moral issue for God’s people and a “civil” issue for the state because it has everything to do with the value and worth of human life.