In 2015 some members and attenders of First Evangelical Free Church of Racine, Wisconsin stood in the Racine area and protested abortion. This post looks at how some evangelicals treat abortion and how many lack love. What if evangelicals actually helped people who were pregnant long term instead of engaging in short term activism? What if they responded in love and took people into their home like in one situation this author learned about.
“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. “
“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation. “
Henry Wade Beecher
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40 NIV
Home in Virginia in a fresh snow storm.
This post is going to look at one aspect of the evangelical culture wars in the context of what First Evangelical Free Church in Racine did in 2015. Before I get into an abortion protest let’s look at some background at First Evangelical Free Church Racine.
An Overview of First Evangelical Free Church of Racine
The history of First Evangelical Free Racine goes back to September of 1934. It stood behind Horlick’s dam. In 1940 the church moved into its first building where it was called The Union Gospel Center. In 1947 the church affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America and changed its name to First Evangelical Free Church. In 1955 a lot across the street on Olive and Lathrop was purchased at a new church was erected. In 1961 a new parsonage was constructed on 2400 Virginia. But the church was growing and a new building site was donated in 1969 and by 1970 the church was completed. The first service in the new building took place on October 18, 1970. The current pastor of First Evangelical Free of Racine is John Bodnar. This blog in researching John Bodnar really could not find much about him, as it appears he doesn’t have much of an online presence. However, I did sadly learn of his grandson’s battle with a rare form of cancer. You can read this GoFundMe page and two articles about raising money and support at a local football game in Racine in 2016. You can read both articles here and here. This blog wishes the Bodnar family the best and was saddened to read the news about the cancer.
Protesting Abortion in 2015
When I was working through the Forest Lakes District of the EFCA I noticed something on the First Evangelical Free Church of Racine’s webpage. You can see it up above. In 2015 a part of the church participated in a Life Line and protested abortion in the Racine area. They lined up on Highway 31 between 16th street and Highway 20 and protested abortion. This blog does not know how many people turned out. They also did this protest in conjunction with others as well. As a result of limited information I can’t give too much in regards to details about this situation. When I saw it I put it aside to write a post about the topic and raise some questions.
What if Evangelical Christians Practiced Love?
I am not a big fan of abortion but I am also weary and quite sick of the culture wars. When I saw that abortion protest I really saw it as wasted time, energy and resources. What would happen if evangelicals stopped protests like that and diverted their time, energy and effort into acts of charity and love? Instead of protesting what if they actually helped unwed teenagers and single people with the financial resources and medical care they need? What if they also helped beyond birth, but to help raise a child until they are 18 years old? After all its easy to stand on the street corner and protest abortion, its another thing to take in a person give them shelter and help them with their unplanned pregnancy.
The other day this blog learned of something that was stunning and it stands in stark contrast to protesting abortion. Just to be clear I am not going to link to an obituary just in case it goes through. Linking an article like this to an obituary I think would be poor taste. But recently in Fresno, California they had a funeral of someone who was known for doing extraordinary measures to help people who are pregnant and in a crisis. The person’s name is Elizabeth “Betsy” Lucido. In Fresno, California the local Chamber of Commerce made the County Mother of the Year in 1998. What did she do that help get her this award and distinction. She and her husband opened up their own personal home to those who found themselves in an unplanned pregnancy but who wanted to adopt. They took them in, fed, helped and assisted long term. Over the course of time they did this with a large number of people for over 45 years. They did this because they took their Catholic faith quite seriously. Stop and think about that for a second. You can Google and read about this in the obituary, but I do not want to link this article to it in case it goes through.
So what speaks of love more? Standing on a street and protesting abortion or taking in some who is pregnant into your home and helping them long term? What shows sacrifice, and effort? What shows kindness and charity? What shows empathy and a lack of judgement? What shows compassion and makes a bigger impression at the end of the day? Anyone can protest abortion or any topic, but stepping up in love and helping out and withholding judgement and assisting shows something that is rare. What would happen if in Racine and SE Wisconsin if First Evangelical Free Church Racine actually took in those who had a crisis pregnancy and helped them long term. If they gave them shelter, love, compassion, helped feed and educate them and gave them stability until and after the period of adoption. And while I am at it what if they showed those who had abortion love, kindness and compassion. What if the reserved judgement and thought nothing about it? Not long ago I heard a story of an EFCA church on the East Coast that made a pregnant woman stand before her congregation and announce her unplanned pregnancy and was subsequently shamed. The way many evangelicals approach abortion is horrific in my view. Its something that needs to be changed. Will it be able to be changed? That I seriously doubt. However, I want to use this past event in the history of First Evangelical Free in Racine to make my point.