A hundred years ago, social justice was in short supply for unmarried, pregnant girls. They were often sent to a private house or facility until their babies were born. Once they gave birth, the facility pressured them to give up their child for adoption.
These women were also unfairly labeled as “fallen” or “unfortunate” – while they were hidden away from the rest of society. 
The stigma of shame for unwed mothers is slowly melting away, but there is still much work to be done. Yet, how does the collective acceptance of pregnancy for a single mother align with our faith-based beliefs? How can we ensure this group of women gets the social justice they deserve?
These questions warrant deeper consideration. Christian faith and social justice are worthy guides to assist our response to this special situation.
Let’s explore further.
Does Christian faith play a part in social justice for unwed mothers?
To answer this question, we need to review a few of the lessons we’ve learned from scripture.
- Exodus 22:22-23 – “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.”
- Psalms 127:3 – “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”
- Isaiah 10:1-2 – “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey.”
- Psalms 68:5 – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
The message we find throughout our religious teachings shows that God adores all His children. There’s no Bible verse stating that children must come from two-parent households to reap the rewards of God’s love. Furthermore, the scriptures give specific social justice instructions to protect widows and the fatherless.
What can we do to ensure social justice for unwed mothers?
Social justice for unwed mothers may not be obvious to everyone. Thankfully, we have a better understanding for single moms today than we did 100 years ago.
Today, we understand that single motherhood may come as the result of a few different scenarios such as:
- Death of husband
- Sexual abuse
- In vitro fertilization or artificial insemination
- Premarital sex
- Foster services
Regardless of the background, the following passages give us principles to inform how we treat them:
- Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
- Luke 6:37 – “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
- Romans 14:13 – “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, do not put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
The short version of these scriptures is simple: Do not judge others.
It really doesn’t matter how a woman became a single mother. That’s their business. Our business is to love our neighbor. Below are a sprinkling of ways we can honor our faith through actively pursuing social justice for these women.
Guide single mothers to beneficial resources
There are both state-specific and national services available for assisting single mothers. Listed below are some examples of the available resources.
- Local churches
- Public and private schools
- County domestic and sexual assault teams
- Local libraries
- Local government offices
- Free online skills training courses
- The Life of a Single Mom
- Red Cross
- Salvation Army
Create a community of care and compassion
Faith is a powerful motivator for social justice. Our convictions don’t allow us to turn a blind eye – nor do we want to. Work together to build a safe haven for single moms. Provide community outreach through prayer and mutual aid services.
If you’re unsure of ways to help, don’t be afraid to ask them. From there, you can see what resources may exist to help them. If you can’t find any good resources out there for them, that could be an opportunity for your community to create them.
Be kind and compassionate
Single motherhood still carries a stigma in many communities. They may experience judgment and othering by their friends, families, and even church communities. They may even be treating beating themselves up because of critical voices in their lives. That can be detrimental to their health. A kind word, or gesture of genuine warmth can go far.
We are called by God to lead and to serve.  We can do this by using faith and compassion in our social justice efforts. The famous poet Edgar A. Guest sums it up best by saying, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”
Set the wheels in motion for social justice now
There’s no better time to show compassion for single mothers than right now. What can you do today to offer kindness to someone in your community?
Parenting is hard work. It’s even harder when you’re trying to maneuver parenthood alone.
As a person of faith, you already have the blueprint to show God’s love to moms in the Bible throughout the Bible. Focus on the futures of the mother and her children. Open your door and your heart to wrap them in God’s love. Share the tools they can use to build success.
Your efforts of infusing social justice doesn’t end with one mother or one child. Your actions will touch the lives of many generations to come. Your examples of faith and compassion will be seen and felt in ways you may not even understand.
For now, set the wheels in motion for social justice and watch God take care of the rest.
CJ Sullivan of Midwest Copywriting specializes in agricultural copywriting but welcomes all realms including outdoors, real estate, hunting/fishing, social/cultural, faith-based, history/military, and more. CJ is also the author of Joining the Army: A Guide for Mothers of Soon-to-Be Soldiers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, wrangling critters on her farm, exploring the world from behind a camera, telling stories around a campfire, or foraging in the woods and prairies of Iowa.