One purpose of a dam is to hold back destructive flood waters from a nearby settlement, city, or town. They serve as barriers against the annihilation of a people group, protection against forces that would render their way of live uninhabitable. In largely secular Europe, this is the role Ireland played in the battle against abortion. Abortion has been prohibited in Ireland since the Offences against the Person Act 1861, but this was later “upgraded” in 1983 when the Eighth Amendment was added to Ireland’s constitution, which legally secured the right to life to the unborn fetus.
May 25th marked a day of mourning, loss, weeping, and confusion. On that day, the flood waters broke loose. Ireland, through means of a referendum, has officially repealed its ban on abortion. “The final official count recorded 66.4% in favor” of repealing the ban. Ireland was one of the last remaining countries in Europe to legally see abortion for what it truly is and what it is not. It is not a woman’s medical service. It is not health care. It is the intentional destruction and elimination of what we know to be unique, distinct, and precious biological life from what should be the safest place in the world for a child, the very womb of their mother. As far back as the sixteenth century, this logic was clear to Reformer John Calvin:
The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.
The dark forces standing against God have always been on a mission to stamp out God from his creation. This is the plan of Oneist spirituality. They have many strategies, but only one goal: eradicate God. This can be done by eliminating the foundational distinction between Creator and creature, doing away with the graciously-given distinctions God has embedded into our world which ultimately point to him (such as the one-flesh union in marriage between one man and one woman), and it can be done by eradicating divine image-bearers with no means of defending themselves.
A Bible-shaped conscience is sensitive to note that demonic forces have murderous intent since their leader has been a murder from the beginning (Jn. 8:44). In the days of Moses, their plan was to destroy infant life (Ex. 1:15-22). Later in Israel’s history, the demon Molech required child sacrifice (Lev. 20:2-5, 2 Kings 21:6, 2 Chron. 28:1-4). But perhaps the most vivid biblical rebuke of this practice is found in the words of Jeremiah. The prophet speaks on behalf of God when he writes,
They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin” (Jer. 32:35).
Here God, in his utter repudiation of such detestable acts, says that the sacrifice of children is so horrible, so counter to his intentions for the relationship between parents and children, and so utterly contrary to the nature of true and undefiled worship, that it never even crossed his mind! Jeremiah stretches anthropomorphic language (language of God in human-like terms) for the purpose of conveying his divine outrage. Finally in the days of Christ’s childhood children were the targets of systematic, government-sponsored elimination (Matt. 2:13-18).
Today, Molech is back. But whereas in the past he promised national security of prosperity, today he offers individual peace of mind, financial stability, freedom of sexual expression, and convenience- all for the “mere” price of a human sacrifice. Today his priesthood is garbed not in ritualistic garments, but in hospital scrubs and white lab coats. The altar may appear more sanitary, but make no mistake; the presence of sinister spiritual forces has never been more present.
Ireland has made peace with Molech.
Where do we go from here? Is the battle lost? The biblical vision remains where it has always been, on the triune God and his written revelation in the Bible. In the days of Elijah, God used the prophets to speak truth to power. He called Israel’s people to repentance — prince and pauper alike— from foreign idols and back to God. In his confrontation with the death-obsessed prophets of Baal, he called out to God who answered by fire (1 Kings 18). Like the prophets, we must speak the truth to those who trade the life of their children for the sake of their own freedom and convenience. And when we do that, we too will be seen as cultural instigators and troublemakers, those who simply cannot keep the peace.
The hope of life is not rooted in mere activism. But we too must turn to God as the only source of power, the only One who can pour out the fire of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit wills, he can send not just a change of conscience to embrace an ethic of life, but he can turn hearts to embrace “the Lord and Giver of Life” (Nicene Creed).
 Paul Hannon, “Ireland’s Vote to Legalize Abortion Reflects a Nation in Transition,” found at https://www.wsj.com/articles/irelands-vote-to-legalize-abortion-reflects-a-nation-in-transition-1527337110
 John Calvin, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony, Vol. 3, translated by C. W. Bingham (Grand Rapids: Baker, reprinted 1979), 41-42.