Taking Down the Giant

ppIf you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I have been singing a song with essentially one verse of late: Stop abortion!  Now, you may reasonably ask, “Are you just jumping on the anti-abortion bandwagon since that’s the popular issue of the day?”  My response to such a question would be, “No…and yes.”

I have actually been on this particular bandwagon for many, many years, writing several articles published on my previous blog on the subject.  I have long been repulsed and broken over the reality that up to 57 million babies have been killed in the most barbaric and inhumane ways before they have ever taken their first breath.  I have written on the absurdity that a fetus is considered a child, protected by law, only if the mother wants it.  In such a case, a person can be charged with 1st degree murder for killing an unborn child, if the mother wants it, thus arbitrarily declaring that it is a human being with rights.  Otherwise, it is nothing more than the “product of conception,” legally exterminated with little more concern than killing a cockroach.

At the same time, as many other Americans, I have grown complacent in my fervor against abortion.  I have been lulled into the false-notion that long-standing laws cannot or will not be changed, especially over those that have been in place for over 40 years.  That being said, I have, indeed, jumped on the recent bandwagon.  If there is one thing the LGBT community has taught me, it’s that public opinion can change.  Laws can be reversed and public opinion can shift…if enough people let their voices be heard and do not let up.

I gladly jump on that bandwagon and pray I never fall off until the day when, like the slave trade in England fell as a result of the lifelong effort of William Wilberforce, abortion is no more.  If this battle for the unborn is to be won, we must commit to the fight.  We must determine that ALL life is valuable, regardless of the stage of development it happens to be in.  It is illogical and foolish to believe that a trip down a birth canal can transform non-human into human.  We must trumpet these false assertions.  How do we do it?

First, we commit ourselves to the battle for life.  Determine to be a part of the solution, prayerfully considering how God wants you to be involved in a way that will glorify Christ.

Secondly, we make our voices heard in standing against the funding of abortion using our tax dollars.  Think about that: you and I are indirectly paying for abortions right now!  This must stop!  Contact your representative and demand they stand…really stand against continuing funding Planned Parenthood.  Use the avenues you have been given such as Twitter and Facebook to give voice to the millions of children who have been killed throughout the years along with the hundreds, if not thousands, worldwide that have been killed since you began reading this short article.<

Thirdly, we make certain that our spending habits don’t inadvertently fund abortions through the companies we do business with.  Will this be inconvenient and take sacrifice on your part?  Yes, in that you may have to look for alternate cellular companies or home improvement stores, but the impact we can have on our nation can be profound if we refuse to do business with those who support the business of legalized murder.  Let these companies know why you are taking your business elsewhere.  To date, several companies who were staunch supporters of Planned Parenthood have withdrawn their funding because of the public backlash.

Fourthly, we actively support those organizations that work directly and tirelessly to truly care for women in difficult positions by providing other options besides abortion.  In the Chattanooga area (a city I am proud to say has no abortion facilities), Choices Pregnancy Center is a great resource for women who are concerned about an unplanned pregnancy and are considering abortion.  Volunteer and/or contribute financially to an organization like Choices that offers alternatives to abortion such as adoption, along with extensive counseling to help those moving towards abortion as well as young women who have already gone through with it and are suffering from the results.  Along with this, be the Church: reach out to those around you who need the love and support of godly people before they ever get into these situations. Prevention is always the best remedy.

Finally, pray! This is never a last resort. It’s the first (I just saved the best for last!).  Our efforts can go a long way to change a mind; to alter public opinion, but only God can change a heart…something He’s been in the business of doing since He created time.  Pray for the names of those you have seen on some of the horrible videos that have come out.  Pray for women everywhere who are considering or are in process of having abortions right now and the activists, men and women, who benefit by keeping the abortion machine running under the guise of “guarding a woman’s right to choose.”  Pray for our leadership in Washington and in our state that God will change their hearts and give those who are already opposed to abortion the courage and will to engage in the fight for as long as it takes.

William Wilberforce is famously quoted as saying to those first exposed to the horrors of the slave trade, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”  Watch the videos. Become informed. Stand together. Refuse to bury your head in the sand.  This is not a political issue.  It never was.

Kirsten Powers: “Crush Planned Parenthood” Article

  Kudos to Kirsten Powers, an evangelical, independent-minded Democrat, for having the courage and conviction to stand against the political pressure of conformity and speak the truth about a glaring, yet legal, atrocity in our world today.  For so long, we have turned a blind eye to the systematic, legal and profitable killing of unborn children now exceeds 57 million in “the land of the free and the home of the brave” where “every life matters.”  Now, Planned Parenthood has been forced to remove the mask, allowing everyone to see just how horrible this culture of killing really is.

In her recent article in USA Today, Ms. Powers pulls no punches in her indictments against Planned Parenthood, clearly defining how ihuman these practices are and how out-of-touch with reality this organization is as master’s of missing the point, focusing on tone rather than substance:

This is stomach-turning stuff. But the problem here is not one of tone. It’s the crushing. It’s the organ harvesting of fetuses that abortion-rights activists want us to believe have no more moral value than a fingernail. It’s the lie that these are not human beings worthy of protection. There is no nice way to talk about this. As my friend and former Obama White House staffer Michael Wear tweeted, “It should bother us as a society that we have use for aborted human organs, but not the baby that provides them.”

Powers goes on to point out how even the most ardent supporters of Planned Parenthood have suddenly gone quiet, though, of course, there are some so blind to their own ideology, they continue to punch the air with empty excuses and straw man arguments or outright denial.  One of the most common cries of foul has been that these videos were secretly taped, thus nullifying their relevance.  Ms Powers rightly responds with a resounding, “Big deal.”

Richards intoned menacingly that the video was “secretly recorded.” So what? When Mitt Romney was caught by “secret video” making his 47% remarks, the means of attaining the information was not the focus of the story.

Put simply, there is no way to effectively spin this to come out looking noble.  No matter how a pig wallows in the pen, he still comes out muddy.

The most jaw-dropping part of Ms. Power’s article was the revelation of an abortion doctor from my home state of Mississippi, who has been guided by a profoundly MIS-understanding of Christianity that has informed his position and led him to what is later in the article referred to by one as a “Christ-like” persecution:

Mississippi abortion doctor Willie Parker — who was lauded by Esquire for his “abortion ministry” — ran with the trope that direct quotes from a Planned Parenthood doctor constitute a vicious attack, but went a step further: He compared Nucatola to Jesus. “It’s no secret that my frame of reference for the work that I do and in terms of generating compassion is related to my religious understanding and, in particular, my Christian religious understanding,” Parker told Cosmopolitan magazine.

Planned Parenthood has, thankfully, been exposed. The masks are off. The truth is evident.  My question is whether or not we will finally do something about this.  We are so good at compartmentalizing atrosities and quickly forgetting the unforgetable, that I wonder if we have the collective resolve to demand the changes that this kind of evil requires.  As Ms. Powers rightly concludes, “When abortion doctors are elevated to gods who may not be questioned or held accountable, society has officially gone off the rails.”  Sadly, that train wrecked a long time ago.

I encourage you to read the full article here.

A Deal-Breaker

As a pastor, I don’t officially endorse candidates. I am a registered Independent who makes every attempt to take a biblical approach to issues related to politics.  Though I try to refrain from talking about specific candidates and believe it is wrong to turn a church pulpit into a political “stump”, it is my responsibility to speak truth wherever I see it.

The following is an excerpt of an article I read this morning on the platform being adopted by the Democratic Party at this years convention.  Fiscal issues I may disagree with aside, as a Christ-following political Independent, I can never support a candidate who takes this position:

The 2012 Democratic party will officially adopt an extreme position on the issue of abortion on Tuesday. According to a copy of the party platform, which was released online just before midnight on Monday, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”

That last part—“regardless of ability to pay”—is an endorsement of taxpayer-funded abortions, a policy that President Obama has personally endorsed. (WS)

Clearly, there are thousands who agree with this position. That is beside the point.  It is beyond reprehensible to try and force people to pay who do NOT and who consider this practice to be nothing short of the legalized murder of a human being who has done nothing wrong but simply come into existence. I wrote more on the subject here.  

If there really is a desire to cut down on the number of abortions, how about government assistance for adoption instead?  THAT I could support.

Difficulty Facing A World of Contradictions

In my recent blog post related to the contradictory stand on the value of human life in American culture, I claimed that, according to the law of the land, a fetus is deemed human according to the desire of the mother. If the mother wanted to give birth to the child and the child is somehow killed in the womb, the perpetrator could be (and has been) charged with murder. If, on the other hand, the mother does not want the child, a professional can do the same thing and receive both legal protection and compensation for doing so. This second person has “constitutional protection.” Illogical, I know.
As a result of that, I was asked to give a “non-religious” argument to why abortion should be illegal (the absurdity of the above-mentioned contradiction notwithstanding). So, I offered the following:

1. Abortion kills innocent life.

2. Killing innocent life is, by definition, murder.

3. Murder is illegal.

4. Therefore, abortion should be illegal.

That’s not religious.

I was challenged on the point of calling abortion “murder”, the questioner claiming that I had misdefined the word because everybody knows that murder is “by definition,” a malicious act and I was just trying to twist the definition to suit my usage.
I got to thinking about that because I don’t want to do that. I seek truth where it can be found and am not interested in manipulation. On the other hand, I don’t want to deny reality just to satisfy a technicality, either.
So, the scope or limits of this post is to offer a reason for using that terminology and hope you’ll thoughtfully read this all the way through before you tune me out or jump to a quick conclusion.
It is true that at least some dictionary definitions include the word “malice” in the definition, but we know by experience that isn’t a full picture of the word. As a matter of fact, there arises, from time to time, serial killers who don’t exhibit any signs of malicious behavior. They feel no guilt or remorse and, frankly, feel no malice towards their victims at all. They often don’t know anything about them as individuals, including their names. There are entire fields of study dedicated to trying to understand these ruthless killers.
Michael Welner, MD, forensic psychiatrist, claims, “people who are true psychopaths really are cold and callous and lack empathy and have a detached way of feeling emotion.” In other words, they are not necessarily malicious. They’re just killers.
Do we call them “murderers”? You bet we do. ALL of us do, regardless of how the dictionary limits the definition. We know by experience and there is none among us who would argue otherwise (except fellow ruthless, maniacal, sociopathic killers…but they aren’t saying).
We know that murder doesn’t always involve malice. In fact, we reserve the most detestable names for these type people who kill without malice like sociopaths, psychopaths, cold-blooded serial killers, and animals. People like this who come to mind are the so-called BTK killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson and Dennis Rader. All very much murderers and all very much acting without personal malice towards their victims.
Is my point, then, to paint young women who choose abortion as cold-blooded maniacal killers? Of course not! By in large, these young ladies are often scared to death and unsure of what to do about a situation they knew was possible but never imagined would really happen. They’re looking for a way out and I understand that.
Though these young ladies (and the young men, too) bear responsibility for their own actions, they are too often not given great counsel on other very valid options like adoption, nor are they made aware that the child they are carrying is more than just tissue with the potential to become a human being. The only counsel they receive is often by those professionally trained to carry out abortions without malice, guilt or feeling (but don’t have the excuse of being mentally unhinged). They simply know that the more abortions they can encourage young ladies to have, the more money they get. It’s not usually that they get their jollies through torture, like mentally deranged killers. It’s worse than that…it’s just business.
That is simply the abortion culture in which we live and demonstrates why my explanation not only works but, I believe, is 100% accurate in labeling abortion as murder.
This is not some religious rant. It is a view of reality in which we live where a large segment of the population refuses to look at things as they really are because it infringes upon their rights. To see abortion as murder introduces guilt and we’d much prefer to continue our legal killing spree without that messy inconvenience.
Though this was not a “religious” formulation of the wrongness of abortion and the reason for which it should be illegal, my faith in Scripture as the Word of God tells me why it is objectively wrong, regardless of it’s legal standing. We do not have a right to play God and determine who lives and who dies when His Word does not give us judiciary instruction (which it often does related to criminal activity). We are not at liberty to take innocent life because it is convenient or because we simply choose to. I absolutely believe we should and will be held accountable for that unrepentant stand.
However, just as I believe that abortion is a sin against a Holy God and a devaluation of human life, in general, I know that same God is a God who restores. Through Christ, there is forgiveness and healing that comes to anyone who seeks it. I know that regardless of past actions, He has already dealt with the penalty of them through the death and resurrection of Christ that satisfies the just wrath of God towards sin. The removal of guilt, loneliness and hurt follows, but it only comes when we face reality, call it what it is and cry out for mercy to a loving, holy Savior.
In short, we have to decide we’re going to stop living a world of contradictions.

A World of Contradictions: Redux

For several years, I wrote and maintained a worldviews blog called Espresso Roast (toward the end, I invited a few friends to contribute, as well). Though I have long-since stopped writing on that blog, I do keep it online because there were a lot of things I commented on that I feel are still relevant to the world we are living in now (makes it sound like I wrote it fifty years ago).  So, I thought I’d go through some of the more important things I think we need to consider and re-post them here from time-to-time.  

“A World of Contradictions” deals specifically with the topic of abortion, but more broadly about our tendency to disengage our critical thinking in order to more easily adopt logically opposing views that suit our personal agenda or flavor of “truth”.  My hope is that you will consider this example and use it as something of a template in order to evaluate other instances of this in our culture today.  The ability to recognize it leads to the ability to live consistently and rightly in a crazy world of contradictions.

The following was originally posted on November 24, 2004…at 8:45 a.m.  

a world of contradictions

although I know that it is a sign of our current times, i still never cease to be amazed at our culture’s ability to embrace contradictions. we live in what many have labeled a “culture of death” because of our acceptance of abortion. this is an issue that divides our country at every election and practically every day in between. people vehemently defend the woman’s right to choose while others defend the baby’s right to live.

supposedly, the issue has been settled by the courts. the supreme court ruled that life begins at birth. well, then there comes the peterson case in which this guy is charged with murder…two counts. the fetus which isn’t yet a person is now given rights. that’s right, the right to live, and scott peterson is charged with fetal homicide.

the most recent instance of this type of crime came out this morning in louisville, where i live. a man has been charged with killing his unborn child by beating his ex-wife. a 19 year old man was arrested tuesday afternoon for beating his 18-year-old ex-wife who is in stable condition at a local hospital. according to the report, “her 5-month-old unborn fetus died after what police said was the latest of beatings the young woman suffered.”

first, it’s hard not to feel absolutely enraged by the level of brutality and cold-hearted cruelty demonstrated by this man (and i use that term loosely). i suppose this, in part, speaks to one of the prevailing attitudes: either 1. this man truly didn’t care that he could kill this child, 2. wanted to kill the child, or 3. didn’t even view it as a child. either way, we see demonstrated a devaluation of human life.

then there is the whole idea of fetal homicide. exactly how can there co-exist two laws on the books, one that says doctors can kill unborn children but nobody else can? is that not completely irrational? help me here, because i don’t see it. if i’m right here, i assume that it goes all the way back to the woman’s body thing. i think what we have is that a woman who has become pregnant, for whatever reason, has been given the charge of declaring human value. it seems to me that if the woman wants the child, even unborn, the child is a person…a human being. if the woman doesn’t want the child, the unborn child is not a human being. even on this level, there is a terrible contradiction. regardless of the judgment of the woman, the unborn is either a child or it isn’t. there cannot be, in reality (though i often question whether many actually live in that realm), two women standing side-by-side, one carrying a non-human, potential child…a fetus, and the other carrying an unborn human being…a child, determined to be so simply because each of the women have judged them to be so. sounds crazy, but i think that’s really what is going on within our legal system, and our culture at large. i suppose this is what we get when we have a legal system divorced from a transcendent, almighty God who alone is equipped to make those judgments. we have to make decisions like this that we have demonstrated our inability and incompetence to do so intelligently…in short, we were never designed for this.

so, i suppose we will continue to live in our duality, accepting, if not embracing, the contradictions we face in morality, ethics, religion, politics, and i suppose the list could go on and on. actually, i hope that is not the case. i hope those of us who believe in a transcendent, almighty and sovereign God will make our voices heard…not with a graceless condemnation on those caught up in the contradictions, but with compassion and love for a world caught up in the confusion and a message of hope that is found in the Author of life and order. 

This is perhaps the most incredible video I have ever seen.  I cannot encourage you enough to watch it.  It’s well-worth the 33:03 you will invest…and watch it to the end!  You are encouraged to share this with as many people as possible.  There are some scenes that are graphic in nature so be advised.

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