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I love our Founding Fathers and have a great deal of respect for them. If you look on my bookshelf, you will find John Adams’ letters to his wife Abigail, the letters sent between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, The Federalist Papers, several biographies of the founders, and all kinds of reading from that era. My admiration for them runs very deep, but that does not mean they were perfect men with perfect approaches to defeating evil. The greatest disagreement I have with the Founding Fathers of America is the Three-Fifths Clause or Compromise in the Constitution. It reads as follows:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other Persons.”

This portion of the Constitution is perhaps one of the most misunderstood in all of this great document. Many read it at first and think that it was something that was written out of great animosity towards slaves of the day, but that is not necessarily the case. I believe this portion of the Constitution was written with good intentions towards slaves and the intention of it was to allow slaves to one day be free in America. Basically, this clause was placed in the Constitution to make it so states that had a higher population of slaves would not be more greatly represented in the US Congress based on the population of slaves who were not allowed to vote or have a political voice.

The intention of the clause was very much to promote and perhaps even protect the future idea of freedom for slaves of the time. Often those who defend it appeal to the necessity of pragmatism on the issue, because if this clause did not exist, it is quite possible that the southern colonies would have rejected the plea to become United States and have a unified resistance against England.

My disagreement with the Founding Fathers is twofold: 1. This was an abandonment of self-evident truth that all men are created with inalienable rights that are endowed by God, and this includes slaves, and 2. America’s battle cry was not pragmatism but Providence; it was well established in the Founding Fathers’ minds that they would not win the war because of pragmatism; they would only win because God was on their side.

The abandonment of truth that the Founding Fathers had was, of course, to recognize slaves as only three-fifths human. Many who voted for this horrible premise rejected it in their personal lives, yet because it was the pragmatic thing to do, they went along with it. Perhaps they plugged their noses on the vote and certainly some protested, but the fact remains that this was an unjust clause that had grave consequences on our nation later on. Think of all we could have avoided if our Founding Fathers would have held their morality without compromise on the issue. The wicked injustice of chattel slavery would not have been prolonged, contempt and societal divisions would not have gained nearly as much ground, and we could have avoided a civil war altogether!

Now many would point out that we may have lost the war and would be speaking in funny accents and talking about our queen without this compromise, but I want to remind you America did not win because it made sense for America to win. Pragmatism was not the greatest factor in our victory; it was that God was on our side. There was an appeal to heaven, there was a flame that was lit by the pulpits, there was a godliness in America that found favor in the eyes of God who granted us a victory!

Why do I bring all of this up? Certainly, we are in no danger of going back to the three-fifths compromise, and we have paid a terrible price for it. This is true, but I believe we are making the exact error that our Founding Fathers made today with the pro-life movement and its incremental bills. When we promote and vote for laws that are twenty-week bans on abortion or heartbeat bills, we are saying that a baby in the womb is only partially a baby—three-fifths of a baby, you might say—and is not fully human.

I can hear the screeches from the pro-life leaders already for saying this, “We believe every life in the womb has value, we are just trying to save all the babies we can.” And “We need to have unity on life; stop being so divisive!” The problem is these two justifications are exactly what were used to say that black slaves in the United States were not fully human. It was a call to compromise and unify around a grievously unjust position in order that we could stand up to a greater foe.

There is no doubt today that we as Christians face a great foe in our world in the spirit of the age, but no amount of pragmatism will ever defeat this foe. The spirit of the age that has people convinced that they can change their gender, be a cat, redefine marriage, and yes, murder a baby in the name of healthcare thrives off convenience and pragmatism. The only thing that will defeat this enemy is uncompromising principles that are rooted in reality. We can never defeat a lie by telling a lesser lie, and it is a lie to believe that babies are not humans created in the image of God.

While the pro-life movement and organizations like to parade all of the babies they will save with their incremental bills, what they fail to consider is what consequences will all of these compromises produce. They think they can avoid the law of sowing and reaping, but God will not be mocked. Our Founding Fathers, who were, in my opinion, much greater men, could not avoid the law of sowing and reaping, and it cost our nation dearly. It is pure arrogance on behalf of the pro-life movement that they think their three-fifths compromise would not invoke the judgment of God.

We need to stop with the compromises, learn from our past, and abolish abortion. God is not impressed with our unjust laws, and they are an abomination to Him. We cannot continue to present the partiality of picking and choosing which babies have the Imago Dei and which do not as a viable solution to the slaughter of the innocent. If we are going to defeat the spirit of the age, we must recognize that the pro-life movement has chosen to view our pre-born neighbors as three-fifths of a baby, and we must reject that. We must demand something that truly pleases God—abolish abortion!

Author: Sam Jones

Pastor Sam completed an intense pastoral internship at Hagerman Baptist Church and served as a chaplain at Heritage Care Center in Iowa Falls, Iowa before accepting the call to pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Hudson, Iowa. He loves people and his goal is to make disciples of Christ by personally, prayerfully, and persistently investing the Word of God into others.


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