I found myself thinking about lemmings after reading this article by Emma Apkan, “Why Pastors Should Talk About Contraception from the Pulpit”.
We’ve all heard the tale. Lemmings, those cute, fuzzy little animals, are so bound by herd behavior that they actually follow each other off of cliffs, plummeting to their deaths no matter what the circumstances.
In the article she advocates for black clergy to discuss, not just contraception, but more specifically “reproductive justice” from the pulpits of their churches.
She says, “It makes perfect sense that Black churches would speak about this specific reproductive issue, because for Black women, reproductive health disparities are stark.”
The writer goes on to say:
“Women in church regularly pulled me aside and admired the work that I’ve done as a reproductive justice organizer. If you are a pastor of a Black church, women are listening in your congregations waiting to hear your support for their reproductive health. The weeks between Easter and Pentecost as we mourn Jesus’ death and remember his lessons of healing the sick and raising healthy communities, this is the perfect time to elevate the reproductive health needs of the women in our community.
Jesus was defined by his healing ministry, and an oft used story is the woman with the issue of blood. In the story, the woman forces her way through the crowd because she knows that Jesus can heal her. She is met with barriers because many people surround Jesus so she seeks the minimal amount of care that she could reach, just touching Jesus’ clothes, not asking to interact with Jesus, so she could be free from pain. Black women can relate: we suffer from reproductive health problems. . . “ (Emphasis mine)
The article says that the weeks between Easter and Pentecost, as we mourn Jesus’ death and remember his lessons on healing the sick and raising healthy communities, is the perfect time to elevate the reproductive health needs of the women in the black community. The author bases this statement on the grossly incorrect analysis that Jesus’ life and death was for the purpose of healing the sick and raising healthy communities.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
She also says that Jesus was defined by his healing ministry. But that would have made him a dismal failure as he often healed the one and left the many in the same state in which he found them (John 5:2-9). Jesus’ ministry was primarily concerned with the eternal, not the temporal. He came to give us life (first spiritual, then physical) and that in abundance!
The woman with the issue of blood was kept from Jesus because of the uncleanness of her condition, and in that culture it deemed her literally untouchable. And touching Jesus, -- experiencing instantaneous, complete and utter healing of her body and her soul -- was her goal. She was in no way risking a devastating rejection to garner a “minimal amount of care”. She knew Jesus was God in the flesh, she knew Jesus and only Jesus could save her life and heal her, she knew that his power was so profound that in just touching his clothes, she could be made well. “Minimal”? I think not.
Does Emma Apkan know the facts surrounding abortion in the black community, which highlight the real “reproductive health disparities” women of color face? Does she advocate for black clergy to promote family unity, the sanctity of human life, or the power of marriage, which can save children from a life of poverty? How about advocating for black clergy to learn about the legacy of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and her involvement with the Ku Klux Klan?
In simpler terms, does Emma Apkan advocate for black clergy to offer facts, truth, and “choice” to their congregations or does she only advocate for them to give their support of unfettered access to abortion?
Unlike the false legend of the lemmings, the incidence of abortion in the black community is truly the story of black women casting themselves into the abyss of abortion because they are being told again and again that there is no other way. They are told that the father of the baby has no part in their decision and that their baby will ruin their life. They are told that no one will support them. Not the father of their baby, not their family, not their church! They are told that abortion is the best and smartest option.
And that is why Care Net is committed to equipping, resourcing, and training churches to minister life in these situations so that women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families. Women may not be supported by the fathers of their babies, or their families, but the Lord has called Care Net to do everything in our power to make sure these women are supported by His Church.
Emma Apkan’s approach sends more and more black women into the abyss of abortion. She advocates for black clergy to support abortion from the pulpit, to use their position to encourage women to seek and accept abortion -- to do just what Margaret Sanger’s “Negro Project” set out to do in 1939. To send black babies plummeting to their deaths by the hundreds of thousands... like lemmings to the sea.