Recently somebody posed the following question:
[Why] this incessant interest in abortion? Inviting speakers to preach in church and on the IU campus about "abortion holocaust" and using words like "murder," "killing," "infanticide," "slaughter" routinely in its teaching? ...this kind of constant inflammatory rhetoric is going to take a toll on members and encourage anti-social behavior and criminal acts.
It's a worthwhile question to answer regardless of who is asking it, and the description of the outcome certainly resonates right now. As I answer the question, I'm writing to Christians. In other words, I'm going to assume that we are in agreement about a lot of important things.
First, let's clarify and intensify the question by replacing "anti-social behavior and criminal acts" with the word 'sin.' "Anti-social behavior" in this context means "behavior I don't like," and we aren't worried about that as Christians. "Criminal acts" are more problematic because we know from 1 Peter 2:13-17 that the civil authority has been given to us by God and that we are to obey him. Still, we also know in the post-60's United States that there is a time and a place for civil disobedience. Since most Christians agree there is a time for civil disobedience, let's not muddy the waters with an ambiguous term like "criminal acts" right now.
So here's the question I want us to focus on: are we actually encouraging people to sin by our use of inflammatory rhetoric?
Now we could argue that describing the rhetoric as inflammatory is begging the question, but let's accept that calling abortion "murder" is inflammatory. You can't say anything true about abortion without being inflammatory and this isn't because it's a politically charged issue; it's because it's a morally charged issue. Abortion is one of the most evil practices man has ever devised, and the vast majority of us have been directly involved in this evil. The rest of us...