All morning at Silicon Valley's fast growing Grace Covenant Community Church, members of this mostly Chinese American congregation were aflutter about the christening of "Grace's triplets." Chinese Americans revere healthy children, and this event last year was to be a celebration. The three infants had been born to Gary and Joanne, two beloved members.
But the smiles quickly faded: one of the babies had a complication. "Our son was born with Down syndrome," Joanne told the congregation in Los Altos. "We were quite deflated. There are some families that would not divulge this, one of the worst things [that can happen] in an Asian family."
Many Chinese American churches have often avoided prolife activities as too political, worldly, or culturally embarrassing.
But decisions by people such as Gary and Joanne, who asked that their last names not be used, are beginning to change that perspective slowly.
Through his work as director of San Francisco's Asian American Psychological Services, Melvin Wong sees the beginnings of a changing cultural attitude. "Asian Americans are experiencing pain and tragic outcomes of certain cultural values," he told Christianity Today. "Only recently have we been willing to talk about it."
Says Sophie Wong, the most prominent Chinese American prolife politician in southern California, "Churches do talk about abortion here and there, but they certainly don't dwell on it."
Deanna Go, who leads Focus on the Family's Chinese family ministry, has seen the struggles up close. "I remember talking with the wife of a deacon at one of our Chinese churches in southern California," Go says. "She was pressured to abort her abnormal child. Now she is having post-abortion trauma, hallucinating."
Go remembers her own ...