How Early Christians Resisted Infanticide in Ancient Rome

Recent news events—particularly New York’s passage of a sweeping abortion law which clearly embraces infanticide—are leading many in the Christian community to wonder whether we will ever see the end of abortion.

After all, if we can’t hold back infanticide, how can things do anything but get worse?

New York’s law, however, takes me back to early Christianity. Because it is in the hearts of those early Christians where we find solutions to today’s issues, solutions which could actually end abortion itself in this country.

Infanticide, as we know, is nothing new. In fact, the early Christians saw it every day. In those days, “exposure” was a common practice. If a new baby caused any emotional or economic issues for a family, there was an easy solution. The couple took the baby out into the elements, dropped him or her off (usually, a her—as females weren’t deemed as economically advantageous back then) and went back home.

You and I know what happened to the baby. Without any support, a child had no chance. Welcome to Ancient Rome.

Unlike us, the early Christians didn’t have the opportunity to write their legislators, blow up Twitter and Facebook, or organize and “vote ‘em out.” Thankfully, we do. But this isn’t my point. Not today.

The practice of exposure was so common (and legal, by the way), there were “drop off” locations to dump little infants. In his book, Irresistible author Andy Stanley quotes a letter from those days, from a soldier to his wife. This letter gives us a clear picture of the Roman culture of that day:

I am still in Alexandria…I beg and plead with you to take care of our little child, and as soon as we receive wages, I will send them to you. In the meantime, if (good fortune to you!), you give birth, if it’s a boy, let it live. If it is a girl, expose it.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Kirk Walden