A Lesson Learned from ISIS

Last week we included in our commentary an alarming email we had received calling for prayer because ISIS was beheading children in Iraq who would not recant their Christian beliefs. As I responded to a reader who had sent some information about the authenticity of those reports, I had to stop typing in mid-sentence as I realized what I was writing.

I was writing to our reader because I had come to find out that I had incorrectly assumed my good source had good information. Turns out that a missionary leader had received reports from some Iraqi pastors that some children had been beheaded, but it does not appear that those reports had been confirmed or that there was some systematic, ongoing beheading of children. What is true is that the situation in some places in Iraq is grave and prayer is indeed needed for Christians who live there.

But in communicating this information back to our reader, I started typing, “However, if even one child is beheaded, that is a tragedy and cause for us to pray for God’s intervention,” and that is when I stopped.

I stopped because I realized that probably every day somewhere in Tennessee a child is effectively beheaded. That child in Tennessee is every bit as much a human being as that child in Iraq on whose behalf I was so moved, but it just happens not to have grown large enough to live outside the womb. That child loses his or her life because we call its “disposition” a “choice.” And that “choice” is part of something we call “reproductive health,” as if a pregnancy is a disease needing “treatment.”

Why, I had to ask myself, was I not as appalled and moved to pray every day for the children killed in Tennessee by abortion as I was the child in Iraq? And I wondered how many others were as guilty as I in the disparity of their reaction to these two situations.

I didn’t have to think about that too long, because yesterday I got an email from a church forwarding along the same type of prayer request for the same situation. And I wondered how many churches would urge their people to pray for the situation and children in Iraq yet not tell their congregations about abortion in Tennessee.

Is the dismemberment of a child by means of abortion not a cause for a call to prayer simply because we denominate it a “political issue”?

I know some will say that the situations aren’t the same; the child in Iraq is already born. But seriously, is our dignity as a human being simply the product of a short trip down the birth canal, followed by some combination of an increase in our size and ability to forage for ourselves? I hope not.

So, if you were one of those moved to pray for the children in Iraq and you live in Middle Tennessee, then consider coming to the Sacred Assembly down at the Legislative Plaza next to the state Capitol at 5 p.m. on October 5th. There’s much about our state and nation for which to pray. And maybe, just maybe, this call to prayer will go as viral in Tennessee as this missionary’s email did among our churches.


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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