What’s Next for Christians in America?


A fantastic contrast is displayed in Isaiah 46: the difference between carrying around man-made gods or realizing that God Himself carries mankind through history.  God’s people realize that God alone is Lord and that we are dependent wholly upon Him. He cares for us, and He carries us. He bears our burdens. He begins the good work in us, and He brings it to its eternal completion in Christ.

Create idol keep idol Christians in America

Idol in Tahiti (Creative Commons)

Conversely, those who refuse or reject God end up making gods for themselves. Expedient as this idolatry is in the beginning, it becomes quite burdensome over time. It’s one thing to make an idol; it’s quite another to keep it. As reality bears down, the idol becomes harder and harder to keep alive. In the end, one must either admit that we are created and sustained by God, or we must believe against mounting evidence that truth is what we demand it to be —a god of our own making.

The pressure is mounting in America. There was once room for the Bible’s God in civil discourse and common morality. Since the sexual revolution, however, the god of sexual freedom has demanded no boundaries. Even the common sense notion that marriage includes a husband and a wife is an unbearable burden. The God of the Bible seems too demanding now for most Americans. Consider a few recent examples.

A couple of years ago, I noted how the Democratic National Convention separated itself from Christianity preceding their election-year rally in Charlotte.  For some reason, the DNC shunned welcome baskets from a group of Christian churches welcoming them to town (the Charlotte 714 project).  Have Republicans now rejected biblical morality, too?  One must wonder whether the recent non-vote by the U.S. House of Representatives wasn’t a similar signal being broadcast by the Republican party—that Christian views of life and marriage really are now out of bounds in a sexually boundless America.

In his visceral rejection of the Republican-led House of Representatives’ inaction, Russell Moore hurled,

“I am disgusted by this act of moral cowardice. If the House Republicans cannot pass something as basic as restricting the abortion of five-month, pain-capable unborn children, what can they get done?”

Beyond the question of what the Republicans might get done, my question is what does this inaction mean for Christianity in America? It’s painfully obvious that one ought not hurt a helpless baby in the womb. If we can no longer appeal to Congress for moral action on behalf of innocent babies, then for what can we as Christians appeal?

Will we dare speak up for marriage? Family?  Chastity?  Recently, a fire chief in Atlanta was suspended without pay simply for believing that some forms of sexual expression are “perversions” of the heterosexual (and biblical) norm.  Even more ominously, judges in my home state of California have decided—as a code of ethics—that it would be improper for a sitting judge to be affiliated with an organization that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. From the Los Angeles Times,

California’s judicial code of ethics bars judges from holding “membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

Presently, this new code of ethics reaches to private organizations like the Boy Scouts—but not yet to churches.  Churches are the only exemption left, but for how long will churches be exempt? Denny Burk offers this sober assessment:

In other words, the Court knows that it has a standard that churches and other religious organizations violate. That is why they grant them an exception. But on what basis would they continue such an exception? If they really view churches as discriminatory without rational basis, there would be no reason for the exception to stand. That would effectively preclude Christians and other people of faith from serving as state judges in California.

So Christians may not be able to be judges in California, big deal! Why does that matter? It matters because such an Free speech lost two stories christianexclusion would mean no Christian interpretation of the law—thus no biblical morality—in California. Despite what folks say, all legislation is ultimately moral legislation. Morality is the only thing laws can legislate. And the direction of California is toward legislating a morality without a Christian component. (See Romans 3:10-18 for a picture of such a “morality”).

Two recent, excellent articles point in this same direction and attempt to wrestle with the consequences of godless morality for Christians in America.  Rod Dreher has an insightful piece recently published in The American Conservative titled “The End of American Civic Christianity.”

In this piece, Dreher contends that the division within the Roman Catholic Church has reached a crisis point. It is no longer clear whether one can be both Christian and American. Here is the article’s conclusion:

He found that the older people around the table — those 50 and older, say …  still seemed to believe that the public order could be saved, despite the direness of the moment. Those younger people — including Catholic scholars — had a more radical view of what could be saved, and what could not. To put it more bluntly than it probably should be, if the question is, “Can you be both a good Christian, and a good American?”, the answer is increasingly looking like no, you cannot.

The unified view, as I recall, was that we are no longer living in normal times for American Christians, and they (we) had better wake up and understand which way the wind is blowing, and adjust.

The wind is obviously blowing against the Biblical view of morality. A similar article was recently posted by Dr. Mark Coppenger in the Canon and Culture series from the ERLC. In this article, Dr. Coppenger argues that “Therapeutic Nihilism” rules the day. Feelings in general (and sexual feelings in particular) rule the day rather than the more open Judeo-Christian philosophy of days gone by. Coppenger argues for an unashamed return to the “discursive” Judeo-Christian philosophy of American history. His case is compelling.

Nevertheless, I fear the first article gets it exactly right. The sexual revolution is more radical than any of us realize, and the appetite of foreign gods is never satisfied. Pagan gods must be fed continually and propped up incessantly. Because they are not real, they must coerce complete adherence. No dissension is allowed—especially if those dissenting voices echo the one, true God of days gone by.

Christian Church China PersecutionWhat does this mean for Christians? It means we ought to accept the reality that we are no longer a “moral majority.” We are the minority sub-culture of American morality.  Thus, we must first get our own houses in order. The first priority of American Christianity ought to be ecclesiology. We must have healthy churches. Our culture desperately needs a viable alternative to offer those over-burdened by propping up the foreign god of the sexual libertines. The family of God has to be a refreshing alternative to the dysfunctional families decimated by the god of this age.

Second, Christians must genuinely live mundane lives as salt and light. Our king is still on His throne. We need not fear the future—even if it means we shall suffer the wrath of those devoted to a false god. Our Christ will never be unseated from His throne. We must lovingly point others to His majesty. We must speak of the true freedom found in Christ. We must always shine the light of our good works and good words into the darkness of a lost people so they may continue to have hope.

Finally, we must realize that neither the gospel nor our Lord Jesus has failed. Christ will build his church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.  One person at a time, Christ will build His church. One brick at a time, the new temple in Christ’s kingdom is still being built through sinners believing in Jesus. One letter at a time, a new history is being written as Christ brings today and tomorrow toward its ultimate goal of a new heaven and a new earth converging around Him.

So what are Christians to do? Obey Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Or, to use the phrase of a famous hymn: Be Still My Soul,

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

In the end, if the Bible is true (and it is), and if Isaiah 46 is right (as it most certainly is), then the false gods of sexual liberation will prove to be too much of a burden to bear. When that happens, Christians and their God—and their God-glorifying communities—will be a remedy of welcomed relief for those who are weary and heavy-laden, for those who wish to find rest for their souls and learn from Jesus the way to abundant life.

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Don’t Mess with Marriage (Lesson in Tyranny)

Christians Should Be Politically Active


English: Portrait of a Gentleman (Mr. Wilberforce)

English: Portrait of a Gentleman (Mr. Wilberforce) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In the wake of the Kermit Gosnell “Slaughter-gate” trial (and the appalling disinterest of many), there is a need for Christians to be reminded of our function as a pillar and support of the truth–a reminder of our calling to be salt and light in an otherwise dead and listless world.  The post below is a little lengthy for a typical blog post, but it is of vital importance for Christians seeking to answer the question of whether we ought to be “politically” active. Issues of human life transcend political parties.

 

The following principles are derived from Romans 13. The debt of love the Christian owes to others necessitates a level of involvement with the government.  There are at least four ways this obligation to love directs the Christian toward some involvement with government.

 

First, above all else, the Christian is obligated (and delighted) to love God (Matt 22:38).  If our hearts are given to love God, will we not wish for His goodness to be on display?  Will we not long to see men give him the honor due him?  If we are instructed to pay honor to those ordained by God to serve in authority, how much more do we pay honor to Him from whom their authority is derived?  The Christian longs to see God honored by all men, including men and women in positions of governance instituted by, bound to, and established ultimately for the glory of God.  Our love for God will include a longing to see Him exalted in all aspects of civil life: art, music, education, science, and government.  He is worthy of such exaltation by all men.  Though the pagan unbelievers will refuse to exalt Him, the church will surely so purely love Him that she will not fail to seek His glory in all the earth (including in the practice of government).

 

Second, the Christian is obligated to express his debt of love to governing authorities.  Love for God and love for neighbors means that the Christian loves those in positions of authority over him.  This love may take different forms in varying contexts, but it will always mean loving in the biblical sense of the word.  Biblical love is a love that honors God above all else and seeks the good of others.  It seems to me, in relation to governing authorities, that this love for God and for others will mean confronting governing authorities in areas which they are rebelling against God.  Governing authorities are put in place by God.  God has a certain standard by which all men (even kings) will be judged.

 

Christians, in their on-going devotion to God, ought to remind leaders of such things—seeking to see God glorified by all men (remember this is why John the Baptist lost his head).  In so doing, Christians are loving those in authority.  How loving would it be to remain silent while men set themselves on the destructive path of opposing God’s purposes?  Rulers in authority are not final authorities.  They will answer to God.  Pure love will not shrink back from declaring this reality, even as Christ did not shrink from declaring it to his earthly judge, Pilate: You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above, Jn 19:11.

 

Proper love expressed to those in authority may take either of two forms: humble service or humble disobedience.  The former example can be found in Paul’s admonition to Timothy, 1 Tim 2:1-2,

 

First of all then I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

The latter finds expression in the actions of Peter and John as recorded by Luke in Acts 4.  In this chapter, Peter and John obey the laws of the land and seek to live a godly life.  A part of living that godly life meant to them that they had to share the good news with others.  When this sharing of the good news was ordered out of bounds by the powers that be, Peter and John had to resolve a dilemma: Should they do what the legitimate authorities demanded, or should they do what God has called them to do?  The resolution was no small matter.  Two proper authorities were calling for their allegiance.  Given such a reality, the two men—for the sake of conscience and in a thorough form of love—determined they could not stop speaking the good news they had seen and heard:

 

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you     rather than to God, you be the judge.”  For their part, Peter and John (just as for Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego before them) chose to pay homage to God rather than to man when pushed to choose between the two.  Love for God must always come first.  In expressing such a devotion to the Living God, the men were, to be sure, loving those in authority as well.

 

This brings us to the third obligation of love bearing upon participation in government.  Namely, Christians owe their fellow man a debt of love.  This, I believe, is incredibly important.  Primarily, this obligation concerns the right handling of the word of God.  The Christian must be serious about proclaiming the gospel to the uttermost regions of the earth, including to the neighbor next door as occasions permit.  Gospel penetration is the means by which God is glorified and His laws are kept.  This obligation of preaching the gospel is primary and fundamental for the faithful Christian; this fact, however, is no final proof that the matter ought to end there for the Christian.  Christians love their fellow men and must not wish harm to come to them.  Christians—as the pillar and support of truth—must seek good for all men.  The best good, of course, is Christ Himself (hence our preaching).  But are there not other legitimate goods for which Christians ought to work very hard?

 

In a former generation of English Christians, William Wilberforce gave his life to see slavery end in England.  With a firm conviction that the glory of God was at stake in the practice of enslaving humans as chattel property, Wilberforce with John Newton and others devoted their energy to ending such an evil practice, a practice that denied slaves their status as being created in the image of God and insisted, instead, that they were more nearly related to the beasts of the jungle than to the Living God.  Should Wilberforce have sought election to parliament?  Ought he—under the debt of love—to have been so politically active?  In seeking to see slaves free, did Wilberforce and Newton subject the gospel to enslavement by a political movement?  No, they did not.  Rather, because of the gospel, they began a political movement and stayed with it to the end that men were set free to the glory of God.  Slavery was ended in England, and the movement was fueled for its fight in America.

 

And what about William Carey?  Should William Carey have simply stuck to his task of   preaching the gospel in India while the evils of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia abounded to the destruction of countless souls?  It was Carey’s sincere Christian conviction that the debt of love he owed had something to say to these things.  As Timothy George records it,

 

“Carey admonished would-be missionaries that they should ‘take every opportunity of doing…good’ to the people among whom they intended to serve.  As we have seen, Carey never forgot that his primary mission was to proclaim God’s redemptive message of salvation to lost sinners.  This did not mean, however, that he lived out his ministry in a ‘gospel ghetto’ sequestered from the real hurts of humanity or the structural evils of Indian society.  Quite to the contrary. [sic] Carey and the Serampore missionaries threw themselves into social reform activities precisely because their commitment to Jesus Christ compelled them to do so,” (George, Faithful Witness, 149).

 

Carey found that his conscience would not allow him to remain silent while human beings were being slaughtered needlessly.  God’s image bearers were cast out, destroyed, and discarded with little regard.  This disregard for humanity was particularly acute in India in the practice of sati, a ritual in which a new widow would be burned alive with the body of her deceased husband in an effort to assure the blessings of the gods over the family.  Rather than shrinking back from this gruesome culture, Carey investigated the Hindu scriptures and showed the governing authorities that such practices were not mandated.  He publicized and spoke out against all of the cruel practices because of his debt of love.  What ought he to have done?

 

What about us?  Like Carey, we must maintain the priority of the preaching of the gospel.  About that, there can be no doubt.  Did Jesus Himself not do more than preach the gospel?  Did He not also live it?  Did he not challenge authority where it was putting burdens on people too hard for them to bear, as in Matthew 23:4?  Biblically speaking, love—along with the biblical imperative to do good before the government—calls the Christian to speak the truth, challenging authorities when they oppose the will of God and taking up the cause of the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, the elderly, the unborn.  We might wish to think it more sanitary and acceptable to God not to intermingle the gospel with government, but government is God’s idea.  And I wonder what our silence might say?  When, as the people of God, we say nothing to the world as they slaughter infants and quietly murder the elderly, what are we saying?  It is often said that silence is golden.  Might it not also be deadly?

 

Finally, the fourth debt of love taken from Romans 16 is the love we owe to ourselves.  Love, by its nature, is given over to another.  Yet, as when Jesus gives the greatest commandments to love (Matthew 22:37-39), the commandment to love is predicated upon the reality of self love.  Self love does not have to be nurtured as does love for God and love for others. Self-love simply needs to be transformed and enlarged.  We have love for ourselves from the beginning of our lives.  What we need to learn is how our love for ourselves involves others and, more importantly, God.

 

Can we understand the joy of love if we fail to express it to the watching world?  The practical rewards of loving others are not to be overlooked.  Showing love to women seeking abortions makes a better life for us.  When we exercise the above mentioned “loves” properly, we are properly loving ourselves and gaining a better life for ourselves (and for our neighbors).

 

As John Jefferson Davis puts it, “Civil laws that are consistent with the teachings of Scripture point society to a higher standard of righteousness, which is fulfilled only in Jesus Christ.  Such laws remain a worthy object of Christian concern and social action,” (Evangelical Ethics, 26).

 

For these reasons, which I believe are biblical, I cannot imagine that we can withdraw from the political process entirely.  I do not think that would pay proper honor to God’s established authorities over us, and I do not think that it would at all honor God.  Rather, I think the work before us is to determine what shape our involvement with those in authority will take.  What are the best ways for us to be involved?

 

We are in a position in which we must help our people think through these issues and understand them biblically.  Silence is not an option.  Neither is withdrawal.  I understand that we must be careful to preserve the primacy and supremacy of the gospel.  Indeed, I believe the message of Jesus Christ—the gospel—has everything to say to culture in disarray. In all things, I know that we must exalt Christ and glorify the living God.  So, my prayer is that we will work together to do just that—to do good and to fulfill our debt of love.

 

 

Abortion and the Death Penalty: Is There Any Consistency to a Pro-Life Position?


English: Total number of executions carried ou...

Number of death penalty executions in the USA since 1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The charge is often leveled that Pro-life Christians are inconsistent in their position on protecting the sanctity of human life. On the one hand, Pro-lifers are quick to pronounce a “fetus” a human life worthy of protection, while, on the other hand, they will pronounce a murderer worthy of death and say that the state should kill him. Is there any consistency to this Pro-life argument? How can one be opposed to killing and for killing at the same time? Is this not a contradiction?

 

Matters of human life (whether the human is in a womb or in a prison cell) are grave matters indeed. Those who are Pro-life should respect all human life. This respect for life, however, does not mean that there is never a time when another human being should be put to death. The Pro-life position is not a position that denies the right to kill. Rather, it denies the right to kill unjustly. Or, to put the matter another way, it denies the right to kill an innocent human being.

 

This statement is no cop out or contradiction. It reflects what used to be common sense wisdom applied to matters of utmost importance. No human being has the right to take an innocent life. Our legal system still reflects this common sense wisdom in two distinct ways. First, there is the presumption of innocence. One can be accused of a crime, but he is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. This is an important presumption because it protects us from hasty revenge. If, for instance, you believe that a person ran over your girlfriend, you are not free to go out on the basis of your belief and kill that person–that would be taking an innocent life. There must first be a trial in which the person is proved guilty of his crime. Then, justice may well demand the death penalty–carried out by appropriate, governing authorities.

 

The second reflection of common sense in our legal structure is the notion of punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. We have crimes against kidnapping, for example. And we enforce codes in maternity wards and daycare facilities to protect babies from being kidnapped.  These measures reflect the common sense reality that laws and authorities ought to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.

 

With these common sense realities in place, we ought to be able to see that it is not the Pro-life position which lives in a make-believe world of gross contradiction. Rather, it is the Pro-choice position which turns common sense on its head and, literally, asks that we kill the innocent and protect the guilty. The death penalty is reserved for those who have killed and have been proven guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.  They are not innocent. They are guilty.

 

Abortion, on the other hand, targets the most innocent and most helpless form of human life.  What has the child in the womb done to deserve such an early death? How could one possibly argue against the death penalty and for abortion? Before the dreadful Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, courts had consistently held that babies in the womb had inheritance rights of their fathers (if, for instance, the father died before the child was born).  That makes sense.

 

In addition, courts ruled in Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford that women must be examined for pregnancy before being executed  “in order to guard against the taking of the life of an unborn child for the crime of the mother.”  As this post from American Right to Life notes, this ruling makes perfectly good sense. A child should not be punished (by death) for the crimes committed by his mother.

 

Indeed, all of this common sense legal reality has foundation in Scripture.  Moses long ago established this form of justice for the people of Israel. As he wr0te in Deuteronomy 24:16,

 

Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.”

 

So, in my opinion, the Pro-life position is the consistent position. Whoever is proved to have shed man’s blood, then by man his blood shall be shed because he (or she) is no longer innocent, but guilty of murder. Punish the guilty. On the flip side, whoever has done nothing wrong is innocent. Protect the innocent. And who has a better claim to innocence than a baby in the womb?

 

 

Royal Babies, Abortion, and Birth Defects: Why Are We So Confused?


Royal Wedding of William and Catherine Duke & ...

Royal Wedding of William and Catherine Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (Photo credit: Defence Images)

 

My friend Denny Burk asked an incredibly insightful question: Why don’t we call it the royal fetus?  The remark, of course, was in reference to Prince William and his lovely bride Kate Middleton, who are—as we used to say—“with child.”  They are expecting. But what are they expecting?

 

Well, they are not expecting a fetus. They are not expecting a pony, a kitten, an alligator, or a gorilla.  They aren’t expecting a collective mass of biological matter.  They are expecting a baby, and everyone knows it. No one wonders about their fetus.  Folks wonder about the child. They wonder about a prince or a princess, but not a fetus.  Denny supposes the only difference between the baby developing in the womb of the Duchess of Cambridge and a baby abiding in the womb of a mother seeking an abortion is that one baby is wanted, and the other is not:

 

What is the difference between this “royal baby” and the unborn child in the womb of a mother in the waiting room of an abortion clinic? There’s no intrinsic difference in terms of their humanity. The only difference is that one is wanted and the other is not. Thus, the one gets the status of “baby” and the other is euphemized as a fetus, blastocyst, or blob of cells.

 

Denny is so helpful in this observation. He helps us to see again that there is an impalpable hypocrisy in our social psyche when it comes to abortion.  We all know it’s a baby, but we allow euphemisms like “fetus” to persist so we don’t have to admit the obvious (to ourselves).  By and large, Americans still are not at ease with abortions. Thus, we live in a contradictory world of human hypocrisy.

 

We say that women should have access to a “full range of reproductive services,” but we also say abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.”  Just to be clear, abortions are never safe for the baby. But still we say things like this to mask the “yuck” factor of facing what abortion really is.

 

Alcohol abortion hypocrisy pregnancyIf you were to imbibe tonight in your favorite bottle of Belgian ale, you would be subjected to the government’s warning label, cautioning pregnant women to think twice before partaking of a potentially toxic cocktail. Alcohol may cause birth defects—meaning, alcohol affects your baby. It’s probably best not to drink this product while your baby is developing in your womb.  The glaring hypocrisy of such a warning is this: The same women who are warned not to drink this beer because it could damage their developing child are also told by the same laws that it is fine to dismember the child and remove it altogether through abortion. Why care about a baby’s defect if we’re not supposed to worry about its death by abortion?

 

O, that God would finally rid us of this demonic curse we are under that diminishes the value of human beings created in His image!  We are hypocrites. We protect the eaglet so it develops in its nest, and we protect babies from mothers who drink beer, but we will not protect babies from abortions. How twisted and confused we have become!

 

 

Does the Bible Condemn Abortion?


I hear a common refrain from those who favor abortion. It usually goes something like, “The Bible is silent on abortion,” or “the Bible never condemns abortion.” Is this true? Is it true that the Bible does not speak to abortion?

On the surface it appears true that the bible does not condemn abortion. There is no text which says, “Thou shalt not commit

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

abortion.” However, on those literal terms, there is no text which says, “Thou shalt not initiate a nuclear holocaust.” Yet, we somehow think that would be a bad thing and probably not something God wants us to do. Must we have a verse which explicitly says, “Do not put Jewish people in a gas chamber” in order to know that it’s wrong to do it?  It’s a bit simplistic to say the Bible does not condemn abortion. It certainly does.

In the 10 Commandments, we read, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).  The word murder (in the original Hebrew) refers not to killing in general, but to the specific, determined effort to end a human life.  Often, it is translated “manslayer.”  This command does not forbid all human killing. It does not forbid killing in war or conducting executions for the sake of justice.  But the question is whether or not it forbids killing a life in the womb. I think it does, and I will share with you the two reasons why.

First, Moses (who wrote Exodus) does speak to the issue of abortion in the very next chapter after writing the “You shall not murder” commandment. In Exodus 21:22-25, Moses writes the famous “eye for an eye” passage (called the Lex Talionis, or the law of retaliation). The point of that passage is not to encourage blood-thirsty people to seek vengeance. Rather, the point is to keep the punishment in proper relation to the crime. If a foot is injured, you cannot gouge out a person’s eyeballs in return.

What is almost always missed when this passage is read or quoted is the fact that it is spoken in the context of a pregnant woman being accidentally struck by men who are in a fight. “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth… yet there is no further injury… “(Exodus 21:22)–then the result is to pay a  fine in accordance with the demands of the woman’s husband. But if there is further injury (to the woman or the child?) then the law of retaliation holds: life for life.

While it is not certain what further injury is in view in this passage, the principle holds either way: Do not fight near a woman who is pregnant because you may do harm, and, if you do, you will bear the full weight of guilt in accordance with the injury you cause. In modern legal jargon, the fitting term here is negligent homicide–a form of murder which took place because you acted recklessly and caused another person to die.

The Exodus 21 passage stringently forbids reckless behavior when men are around an expectant mother in order to prevent injury. This principle is something we still recognize with animals, but we exempt ourselves from its reasonableness when it comes to human life.  According to Title 16, Chapter 5A, Subchapter II, Paragraph 668 (a), of the United States Code, if one disturbs an eagle’s nest and, thus, causes an eagle’s egg to crack, then he can be fined $5,000 and sentenced to prison. The reason is clear. An eagle’s nest incubates an eagle’s egg which is the home of an eaglet struggling to be born alive. Along the same reasonable lines of thought, the Bible protects the nest of babies struggling to be born alive.  The hypocrisy of our laws is inexcusable.

On the second reason I think the Bible does condemn abortion: God is pro-life in the most exceptional sense of that term. Jesus on two occasions in John’s gospel called himself “Life” (see John 11:25 and John 14:6).  Practically every verse in the Bible after Genesis 1:26-27 affirms the value of every human life and, thus, negates abortion–which inherently devalues human life.  Genesis 9:6–the passage of Scripture which demands execution for murderers–does so on the premise that human life images forth God and, thus, is the property of God. No person has the right to determine in accordance with his whims or desires that one of God’s image-bearers should be killed.

We must not destroy the image of God. Indeed, Genesis 9:7–the very next verse–reaffirms the God-given command to be fruitful and multiply human beings upon the earth–that is the opposite of the spirit of abortion. So, it appears to me that the Bible is not silent after all on the issue of abortion.

Saying there is no commandment in the Bible against abortion is almost like saying there’s nothing in a grocery store that says you have to eat.  While it may be technically true, it is ridiculously off the mark.  Everything about a grocery store says, “Food, Eat.”  And everything in the Bible says, “Life.”

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Women Are Dying from “Safe, Legal” Abortions


Soviet poster circa 1925. Title translation: &...

Soviet poster circa 1925. Title translation: “Abortions performed by either trained or self-taught midwives not only maim the woman, they also often lead to death.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who hasn’t heard the horror stories of coat hangers, toilets, and back-alley butchers? One of the major arguments in favor of passing Roe in 1973 was the promise that women would no longer be butchered or mutilated in the process of ridding their bodies of unwanted babies. Now, after Roe, all abortions would supposedly be done in the safe, sterile environment of women’s clinics or hospitals. Today, that promise rings more hollow than ever.

More than 400 women have died from supposedly “safe, legal” abortions, and yet there is not a feminist group extant who seems to care. Indeed, the big concern for women now seems to be to make sure 11 year-olds can get abortifacient drugs over the counter without parental consent. Is the pro-choice position really just an attempt to divorce sexuality from child-bearing–no matter the cost? It honestly appears that way to this pro-life outsider.

More than 400 women have died because they wanted a safe, legal abortion. Does anyone care that women are dying? There are real problems in abortion clinics all over this country (think Kermit Gosnell), and, yet, no one seems to care. To address the unsafe and inhumane conditions of abortion clinics would be viewed as an attempt to over-burden clinics in order to prevent or, at least, discourage abortions. So, feminists say nothing. Femicide is occurring throughout the land, and feminists do not care.

The 400 number is lower than the real number because, unlike your local pharmacy or animal clinic, abortion clinics are shrouded in privacy and cloaked in anonymity when it comes to accountability. With all the government regulations out there on EVERYTHING from windmills to treehouses and Lemonade stands–with all of this over-regulation of our lives–you would think we might want one or two regulations on abortion in order to prevent women from dying. But the courts say, “No!” And pro-abortion women say no.

Maybe all that talk against back-alleys and coat hangers was nothing more than a quirky aversion to dim-lit alleys and wire coat hangers. Maybe it had nothing to do with women after all. Are we really better off because women are dying on Main Street rather than in a back alley?

Election 2012: A Sad Nightmare but Steady Hope


Obama Obamacare AbortionI went to bed late but arose early, hoping against all hope that my waking would prove the nightmare of President Obama’s reelection to have been just a bad dream.  But it was not a bad dream; it was a bad reality, a sad statement about the soul of our once great nation. I am wide awake now to the reality that I live among a godless and gutless people who have traded real freedom for the illusory freedom of sexual promiscuity.

Worse, I live among a people who apparently count it a privilege—a right—to kill their own children in the womb in order to keep their sexual promiscuity free of the “burden” of children. And now, thanks to Obamacare, I live in a nation which not only condones this awful practice, but one that also expects me and others of good conscience to pay for baby-killing drugs so college co-eds need not even “suffer” the financial costs of their killings.

I cannot wake up from this bad dream. I cannot believe that my neighbors and fellow countrymen have become such callous condoners of innocent slaughter.  I must find a way to sober up from this sickening stupor which has robbed me of my sleep.

Indeed, I must awaken to the sad reality that the light of which Reagan spoke has died. Though I understand that America has never been a Christian nation in the sense of all or even most of her residents actually being Christian, still, there was the Judeo-Christian mindset, a heritage of “light” which brought freedom to all. Now, that light and that freedom is lost.

This election will be spoken of in many ways. The athletes of politics will sit with their analyst coaches and talk strategy, as though this election loss were merely a matter of turnovers, political fumbles, or lack of execution. But this election—like the Democrat National Convention which preceded it—sent a chorus of boos up to God and snubbed the concerns of the Almighty.

Thus, I cannot think of this election in any terms but theological. It was an awful night for America, and the nightmare has really just begun. I think from this point forward, America will spill more and more of its historically Judeo-Christian blood. It was once our lifeblood. It means we are dying. As Mark Steyn so deftly tweeted, this election was a Thelma and Louise moment for our nation. We’ve decided to go full speed ahead toward our demise.

I am sad for all the greatness which now seems lost in our history. More important, I am very sad for all the babies which will now be killed and whose killing will be paid for by conscientious objectors. I can only think of how Scripture explains such people:

as it is written:

                “None is righteous, no, not one;

                                no one understands;

                                no one seeks for God.

                All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

                                no one does good,

                                not even one.”

                “Their throat is an open grave;

                                they use their tongues to deceive.”

                “The venom of asps is under their lips.”

                                “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

                “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

                                in their paths are ruin and misery,

                and the way of peace they have not known.”

                                “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18 ESV)

This would be a time of bitterness and despair for me, except that my citizenship is not first and foremost in America. My citizenship is first in heaven, where the hope of my soul is anchored, where Christ is—seated at the right hand of God, having completed all the work necessary for my salvation. My soul rests in the care of the Good Shepherd. In Christ, I shall renew my strength and preach the gospel that others would turn from wickedness into the eternal rest of Christ.

I am awake now to the furious reality of peace in Christ. Take courage, all believers, “You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly” (Hebrews 12:22).

Yes, America, There Are Pro-life Democrats


Are there any pro-life Democrats left in America? After the Democrat cave-in which came during the passage of Obamacare, and after the concomitant HHS mandate requiring contraception and abortifacient drugs be covered by all health insurance programs, the answer would seem to be an emphatic, “No!” The national platform of the Democrat party calls more or less for abortion on demand.

Still, there are some pro-life Democrats. I follow the blog of one such person, Rebecca Hamilton, a state representative from Oklahoma. From all I can see, she is a devout

Democrats For Life politics pro life

(Public Domain)

Roman Catholic who seeks to live out her faith in every aspect of life (not just during the Mass).  Her blog is tagged, “Public Catholic.”  I have a great deal of respect for her because she seeks to have her political ideals answer to her eternal faith. We all benefit from having such examples.

I encourage you to read through one of her latest blogs, as it will likely offend you whether you are Democrat or Republican. Such offense is good in the sense that it calls for a subjugation of your political party to your Christian identity.  Her concluding comment sums up the thrust of her plea,

I can’t emphasize enough that we need to stand and fight within our parties to change things. You cannot build a culture of life with half the people. It cannot be done.

Her heart is obviously in shining the pro-life light into an abortion-minded darkness within the Democrat political system. While I may not be as optimistic about her potential of success in the endeavor, I am quite impressed and encouraged by her effort.

She must feel alone much of the time. Her presence in the political arena as a pro-life Democrat is a reminder to all Christians that our faith ought never to be captive to any political animal, be it donkey or elephant.

 

Christians Should Fight Obamacare (and the HHS Mandate)


The Family Research Council is calling on Christians to pray for those who are filing lawsuits against the Health and Human Services mandate. The mandate—which is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)–states that all employers must provide “preventative” care to all women.  The word “preventative” must be put in quotes because the Obamacare definition of the word is misleading.

When it comes to providing contraceptives in healthcare, the word preventative is a reference to preventing pregnancy, right?  In Obamacare, the meaning of preventative Obama approve hhs mandate against religious libertyis twisted like a Chinese acrobat to mean preventing children from being born. The HHS mandate in Obamacare calls on all employers (Christian, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Jewish) to provide both contraceptive drugs and abortifacient drugs. Contraceptive drugs prevent babies from being conceived (preventing pregnancy), while abortifacient drugs prevent babies (who have been conceived) from being born. That is an enormous difference and an unbearable burden for the conscientious believer who believes in the sanctity of human life.

Obamacare mandates that all employers fund abortion-inducing drugs.  President Obama’s view on abortion is extremely liberal, even to the point of allowing infanticide (which is killing or “allowing” babies born to die). Sadly, such views are now enshrined in our law and are imposed upon Christians who run businesses.

Thankfully, about thirty Christian employers have filed lawsuits against this injustice. One case (the O’Brien case) has been thrown out by a federal judge who does not believe that providing baby-killing drugs is a substantial burden on the employer.  Hopefully, the other cases (like Hobby Lobby and Tyndale Publishing) will fare better in the courts.

Some Christians would prefer to stay above the fray, as though there is a pristine approach to living Christianity without becoming embroiled in politics. I think such an approach is un-loving and too aloof to be considered gospel-worthy.  We are called to be salt and light. Failing to challenge injustice takes the sting out of our salt and the brightness out of our light. There are three reasons Christians must fight the injustice of Obamacare.

First, this injustice defies God. If anything, God is the God of life. He is the consummate life-giver. Every living thing is God’s personal creation (Genesis 1; John 1).  Every living creature gets his breath from God (Acts 17:28; Hebrews 1:3).  Jesus repeatedly referred to Himself as the life (John 11:25; John 14:6). God is decidedly pro-life. Death is a curse which entered because of sin (Genesis 3); and murder is the work of the evil one himself (John 8:44).  Abortion does not prevent pregnancy; it prevents a conceived human baby from being born. It kills a baby. That is not from God.  Abiding quietly by the practice for the sake of not “being political” is cowardice in the face of innocent children being slaughtered.

Second, Christians must fight this ungodly mandate for the sake of the 3,000 souls which enter eternity every single day through abortion.  Phil Keaggy wrote an apropos song which simply asks, “Who will speak up for the little ones?”  If not Christians, then who?  Those who know the author of life must speak for the little ones who do not yet have a voice.

Third, the view that Christians should not engage in political issues fails to understand the significance of being a Christian in America. Religious liberty is a fundamental (First Amendment) right for Americans, including Christian Americans.  Though Christians are to be first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom, we are also—at the same time—citizens of the USA.  As a result, we serve as standard bearers for freedom in the world. When freedoms are lost in the USA, they are also lost also in Pakistan, Nigeria, Libya, China, and North Korea.  We have a responsibility to the world. If freedom falls here, it will fall everywhere. It is the United States of America which tells the world that people should be free to worship and serve according to dictates of their own consciences. If we stop telling the world that people should be free, then who else will? The U.N? China?

In my opinion, we should be in prayer for those filing lawsuits against Obamacare and its ungodly mandate to fund abortion. We should pray that justice would prevail and that babies would be saved and that Christians around the world would be free to live out the gospel for the sake of humankind.

Islam and Abortion: Are Muslims Pro-life?


Although in Islam there are debates about the nature of Jihad and legitimacy of carrying out attacks in the name of Allah, there is not that much of a debate about whether Muslims ought to practice abortion.  The general consensus is that abortion is haram, forbidden.

The reason offered for the prohibition against abortions is that the child is already “ensouled” in the womb and has not yet done wrong.  There is disagreement about when “ensoulment” happens in the womb.  Some schoolsof Islamic thought place the date at 7 weeks into the pregnancy, while others would say that ensoulment occurs at the moment the child begins to move inside the womb (around 12 weeks or so).  Probably the majority of Muslims accept the 120-day mark because it is established in the Hadith literature (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 549).

In that Hadith, there is a revelation concerning what we might call predestination.  According to this Hadith, an angel of Allah will enter the womb and write down up

English: A map showing laws about abortion arr...

Abortion Laws Around the World (Wikipedia)

on the child all of his destiny—including how long he will live and whether he will end up in Paradise or in Hell.  Thus, Muslims conclude that after this point, the life is fixed and must not be ended.

Prior to the 120 day mark, Muslims argue that there are a couple of extreme cases which may require an abortion.  On the one hand, if the mother’s life is in serious danger, then the child must be aborted because the mother is already functioning and fulfilling duties for the family.  Thus, if one or the other must die, then the child must die, not the mother.  Note that this provision is not the same as that which has prevailed in the U.S. since Doe v. Bolton enshrined a very broad definition of abortion with regard to the health of the mother.  Under Doe, a mother can procure an abortion based on the stress that pregnancy causes.  This is not the case with the Islamic exception for the safety of the mother.

The other extreme case in which abortion may be allowed is the case of severe fetal deformity.  Muslims are not unanimous in considering fetal deformity a justifiable cause of abortion.  However, many Muslim scholars argue for the legitimacy of abortion if the child in the womb is severely deformed.  In this case, again, the 120 day rule remains in effect.  And, the fetal defect must be diagnosed by two Muslim doctors before proceeding with the abortion.

Again, few will quote the Quran in favor of abortion because abortion deals with human beings who have not yet committed any injustice against Allah.  Surah 5:32—though it does not directly speak to abortion—does guide Muslim thinking in the matter.  In that Surah of the Quran, Muslims are taught “that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people.”  In other words, killing an innocent in the womb would be to the Muslim mind the equivalent of killing off a part of humankind.

Though Surah 5:25-35 is about justifiable killing for those guilty of murder or “horrendous crimes,” it speaks to the nature of the entity in the womb—namely, that it is human.  Indeed, it is considered a form of innocent human life and, thus, deserves to be protected.  Some Muslims will quote Surah 17:31 as a further—and stronger—argument against abortion:

Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.

Granted, this verse appears to speak of children already born, but it is often recited in defense of forbidding abortions. Clearly, the text is teaching the mother (or parents) not to be anxious about providing for their children. Whatever temptation they might feel toward getting rid of their children as a result of poverty, they must put that temptation out of mind.  Killing children is a great sin because children have not yet resisted Allah or committed murder or any other horrendous crime.

This verse, then, along with the Hadith quoted above and Surah 5:25-35, make it plain that the general disposition of Islam is to oppose abortion.  As Muslim scholar Abul Fadl Mohsin Ebrahim concludes regarding Surah 5:32,[1]

“From this verse it is evident that every human being has the right to be born, the right to be, and the right to live as long as Allah… permits. No one may be deprived of life except for a legitimate crime…. The fetus is regarded by all schools of Islamic law has having the right to life, as indicated by the fact that the death sentence on a pregnant woman can be carried out only after she has given birth.”

[1] Abul Fadl Mohsin Ebrahim. Abortion, Birth Control and Surrogate Parenting: An Islamic Perspective. n.p.: American Trust Publications, 1989.

Democrats Shunning Christians and Christianity in Charlotte


There was a much-hyped Muslim prayer rally sanctioned and embraced by the Democrat National Convention in Democrats shun christians anti christian pro muslimCharlotte. (Pre-rally hype estimated participants exceeding 20,000. Apparently, only 200 or so showed up). Muslims were invited and welcomed by the DNC. Christians were shunned.

Much has been made of the difficulty the DNC has had believing in God (and in Jerusalem) this week, but few have bothered to mention that Democrats officially distanced themselves from evangelical Christians.  While Democrats fully supported a Muslim prayer rally, they totally rejected a Christian one.

According to this report, Christians of all denominations and backgrounds joined together from all over the Charlotte region to pray for the nation.  The group of 9,000 hoped to “adopt a delegate” at the DNC, which meant sending a welcome basket to each delegate and giving them information about Charlotte and her churches.

The DNC officially denied the request of Charlotte 714. The reason?

According to David Benham, the organizer of Charlotte 714, “The mayor’s office texted me and said, ‘We regret to inform but we ask that you not send those letters, and not engage in ‘Adopt a Delegation,’ because your views on women are contrary to the convention.’”

Democrats obama pro muslim anti christianIt seems to me this move is more anti-Christian than anti-abortion.  (Both positions are deplorable).  Here is why the move seems more anti-Christian: The Muslim disposition is probably as anti-abortion as is that of evangelical Christians (see here).  While the move by the DNC indicates just how completely they have succumbed to the cause of abortion, it also appears to be signaling a future in which the DNC is progressively moving to separate from traditional Christianity.

What Are Savior Siblings? 3 Concerns We Must Address


(The following blog first appeared under the title Savior Siblings and Septic Sons.) 

“Unto Us, a Savior Is Born in France,” such is the triumphant tone of the science headlinesfrom across the pond in Savior Siblings WrongFrance, where the latest “savior sibling” has arrived.  He is a healthy baby boy, weighing in at just over 8 lbs.

The first “savior sibling” was born in the U.S. back in 2000.  His name is Adam Nash.  Blood from his umbilical cord was used to save his sister’s life and caused no physical harm to him. Success!

Nevertheless, the concept of a “savior sibling” should trouble us in at least 3 significant ways:

(1) It devalues all human life by making one human being the instrument by which another human being prospers. Just as slavery devalued all human life by acting as though some people were not “really persons,” so, too, savior siblings have the same effect of saying that one person’s life is valued only insofar as it serves someone else, someone prior, someone superior.

(2) It leads to a kind of enslavement.  Consider, for example, the movie My Sister’s Keeper.  In that film, the savior sibling was expected to donate a kidney for her dying sister because this is what a savior sibling does.  Such scenarios are not potentialities; they are necessities of this way of thinking about human beings. The concept of kidney donation is lost to the concept of coercion.  Coercion is not donation.

(3) It makes gods out of scientists—and that is never a good thing.  Through IVF, scientists screen and discard many embryos, getting down to the genetically perfect match for the ailing sibling.  Already, human entities have been discarded, and this new savior child has been designed for the purpose of serving as a farm-like feeding trough of anatomical parts for parents to use in saving their favored child.

Consider

Anytime any form of human life becomes “less than human” or “not worthy of life” (as the Nazis would say), then door is opened to killing for a “higher” cause, thus fulfilling Romans 3: “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery.”  The concept of savior siblings is built upon the notion that someone has a right to design and utilize the birth of a human being for the purpose of enhancing the life of another human being.  This is wrong because it devalues one human being in the face of another, defying the reality that each one of us (male and female) is created in the image of God.

We have become a people who are comfortable with such concepts as savior siblings because we, already, believe that mothers (even teen mothers) have the right to decide whether their children should live or die.  If a mother has the right to determine whether her baby lives or dies, then why would she not have the right to determine whether the baby donates cord blood or even a kidney?  The logic is inescapable.

Savior Siblings Related to AbortionBecause of abortion, we have become quite dull in discerning the value of a human life.  Consequently, we find that some women are comfortable with having abortions, while others are ok with flushing their babies down the toilet (or at least trying to).  How do we get to a place in which a woman thinks it is all right to flush her son into a cesspool to die?  By devaluing human life in the womb.  If she could have killed the baby while it was in the womb, then why should she not be able to kill the baby once it comes out?  Again, the logic is sadly unavoidable.

I don’t think we should be bit surprised that parents with the help of doctors and scientists are designing babies to serve the needs of their unhealthy offspring. Parents want healthy children.  And science wants something new–anything new.  Upholding the value of human life has actually never been the strength of a godless science.

The 19th Century seeded the scientific psyche with the eugenics that was quickly employed in Nazi Germany (more slowly in the U.S. through Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood).  The 20th Century saw the Tuskegee

Kevorkian Dr. Death Savior Siblings

Dr. Death

experiments, the perverted Kinsey “science” of sexuality, and the celebration of “Dr. Death.” These examples make clear that Science alone cannot uphold the value of human life because science is, primarily, nothing more than a method of inquiry designed to increase knowledge.

Science is a quest for knowledge; it needs to have philosophy to determine the boundaries of where its inquiries might take place.  With a Judeo-Christian philosophy as its guide, science is able to progress in a positive direction which heals.  Without such a philosophy, science doesn’t care if it kills.

We cannot trust science alone to advance humanity.  The task is too great.  Humanity is a subject to be defined by philosophy and theology.  We must be awakened from our darkened stupor concerning science and its limits or we will see further horrors in the days to come.  It really is bad enough that we have savior siblings and cesspool sons. These are not oddities. These are explainable phenomenon based on our devaluing of human life in the womb.  As long as we are comfortable embracing abortion, we will see more sickening displays of our disregard for humanity.

That, at least, is my opinion. You are free to share yours. What are your thoughts on Savior Siblings? Were you aware of them? Do you agree that they represent a further devaluing of human life?

The Chicken and the (fertilized) Egg: Why Chick-fil-A Is Not the Story of the Day


On a day when cultural crusaders are appreciating Chick-fil-A for the statement made by Dan Cathy in support of traditional marriage, other concerned Americans are heartily bemoaning the implementation of the HHS mandate in Obamacare.  Whereas many see the swelling support for Chick-fil-a as a ray of hope for the future of freedom, a few more are forecasting clouds of doom as the HHS mandate begins. Both Chick-fil-A and the Obamacare mandate are linked with religious liberty (or the loss thereof).

Mark Steyn is on the mark: the Chick-fil-A drama is less about gay rights and more about constitutional ones.  Likewise, as George Weigel points out, the HHS mandate calling for universal contraception is less about reproductive rights and more about the constitutional right to religious liberty.  Weigel’s point is probably the one we ought to pay closest attention to on this day, if for no other reason for the simple fact that it is being overshadowed by the chicken fight.  While more drama surrounds the Chick-fil-A counters, more damage is being done today by those insurance agents counting up the number of abortifacient drugs they are now required to cover thanks to Obamacare.

There are two reasons the Health and Human Services mandate is the more dangerous news event of the day. First, the mandate requires Christian business owners and Christian institutions to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.  Much has been made about this accommodation or that accommodation being made by the White House in order to ameliorate the angst of those whose consciences are pulled between wanting to comply with the law and yet remaining steadfastly committed to protecting human life.  At the end of it all, however, there has been NO accommodation whatsoever.  The mandate remains in full effect.  Christians are being required to pay for sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.

Second, the HHS mandate is a direct assault on religious freedom.  To this point, religious freedom in America has included the freedom of the individual to express his religion personally.  The Obama administration has implemented this mandate with the understanding that religious freedom applies only to the church (not to the individual).  If this interpretation is allowed to stand, then Christians will be free only when they are in their worship buildings (which must have met the standard of the code enforcement unit).  When they are not in their places of worship, they are not free to act on their religious beliefs.

If one thinks this is hyperbolic—or even hysteric—then I would suggest they take another look at the Chick-fil-A fiasco.  Elected government officials in Chicago and Boston promised punitive measures enforced by the full weight of their public office against anyone who believes the basic biblical doctrine on the definition of marriage.

Instead of celebrating chicken while aborting fertilized eggs, Americans ought to be scrutinizing political leaders and holding them to account for sacrificing our first freedom—religious liberty—on the altar of expediency.  Leaders of both parties have allowed interest groups and personal profit to trump religious liberty.  So, I think the lesser-covered news event of the day is the more destructive one. What do you think?

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Blind Unbelief: China and Chen Guangcheng


“Blind unbelief is sure to err…” so penned William Cowper in his final and perhaps most poignant hymn, composed in 1774.  Of course, Cowper wrote from a Christian perspective and, though he suffered terribly from depression, he understood that God’s ordering of and teleological purposes for creation would always prove wise and good in the end.  A nation whose laws adhere to these same basic truths is able to govern itself according to the wise and good end that God has built into creation.  That nation will prosper as it conforms to the actual reality of God’s creation. A nation which forsakes God’s ordering and insists on its own is—in Cowper’s words—sure to err.

Such is the situation presently in China.  As this Guardian story reports, China is presently reeling from its own, self-imposed moral crises. Having rejected God and God’s ordering of reality, the Communist government in China has been forced to implement its own.  As every Communist government eventually learns, enforcing your own reality is a monumentally cumbersome affair.  Have you ever tried to fly a kite when there is no wind? Communism requires intense effort and strict enforcement for its policies to fly through even a short space of human history. Most often, just as with the kite, Communism has face-planted into the ground. China is still struggling to fly without reality’s wind.

Blind unbelief refuses to acknowledge the eternal realities which happen to be imprinted indelibly in the human psyche (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Inevitably, then, Communism clashes not just with its own people, but with reality itself.  Such is the case in China today.  The blind unbelief of the Communist vanguard was usurped by the courage of a self-taught, barefooted, and blind lawyer named Chen Guangchen.

According to Chen’s friend (and Chinese human rights advocate) Bob Fu, Chen escaped from house arrest by climbing over a wall behind his house. He has found refuge now in a location described as 100% safe in Beijing. Chen had to navigate blindly both the back wall of his property and a small army of as many as 90 Communist guards, falling more than 200 times in the process,yet persevering to his victorious escape.  In his triumph, Chen has done more than embarrass the Communist government, he has exposed it.

Truth can be called error for only so long, and then it has a way of creeping back in as persistently as water seeps through a roof or light finds a way through the smallest crack in the door.  Truth persists.  If nothing else, the blind lawyer has forced the world to see the undying nature of truth.  The blind lawyer was able to see the reality of Communist impotence.  For Communism (or any totalitarian regime) to work, a certain view of reality must be imposed and enforced.  Dissent cannot be allowed because by its nature it dispels the reality of the darkness. When light enters a room, darkness disappears. Thus, the light of dissent is, as the Germans would say, verboten in Communist countries.

In China, the State expected to be seen as the benevolent supplier of human aid and the aim of all human effort. That dynamic only works insofar as the people succumb to the notion of the State as god. What happens when a blind man starts to see the inhumanity of the State’s actions?  If the State is god, then how can it err?  Chen believes, of course, not only that the State can err, but—more urgently—that the State grossly erred in forcing women to kill their babies for the good of China.

Chen exposed the barbarity of the forceful imposition of the inhumane idea that human beings are a burden on the resources of the benevolent State–and of the further idea that as the supplier of all resources, the State thus has the right to rid itself of such burdens.  Invading the eternal, God-created wall of human dignity, the Communist government breached the most intimate parts of its women and stole from them babies whose composition had been knit mysteriously together in what ought always to remain a protected place—the mother’s womb.

Ignoring the eternal wall which God enshrined, the State ran roughshod over its weakest people. With its legal and authoritative siege-works, the State breached these intimate, feminine walls. Chen could see the barbaric injustice of such an oppressive abuse against women.  So, he spoke. And, ironically, the Communist government thought it could silence eternal truth with its own man-made walls.  As Cowper said, blind unbelief is sure to err.

Simple Concepts Concerning Life


In memory of the 50 million Americans lost since the dreadful Roe v. Wade decision, I wrote a poem for a competition hosted by the Manhattan Declaration (you can read it here).  The point of the poem is simply this: A little girl in the womb has no guarantee of liberty or the pursuit of happiness in America because she has no guarantee of life.

Two contrary points are typically made by those who favor abortion.  First, it is said that the baby in the womb is something less than human, not quite considered a person.  Maybe it is a fetus or embryo, but not a person.  And because it is philosophically impossible to determine at what point the embryo becomes a baby, we are not at liberty to impose a definition upon the mother. She is free to choose for herself.  Second, the argument is made that because the mother will have the primary burden of caring for the child, then she must decide whether to allow her birth.  Each of these arguments is fundamentally unsound.

On the first point, the question must be answered concerning the child in the womb. If it is not human, then what is it?  If it is human, then it must be protected.  Terms such as fetus and embryo only obscure what ought to be obvious to all.  What kind of embryo is it?  What kind of fetus is it?  Obviously, they are human embryos.  As such, they should be protected under the law.  According to our Declaration of Independence, “They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Still, the argument persists because pro-abortion advocates claim that humanity is not so easily defined.  When do the cells and DNA actually become a full human being?  Our simple response to this inquiry is, “When is it ever not human?”  From the moment of conception, a human being is in process—a process of growth which continues throughout the time in the womb and even for most of the next two decades after the child is born.  There is growth and development (in the strictly physical sense) from conception to the age of 18 or so.  This is undeniable.

In fact, this line of reasoning is so filled with common sense that it permeates our legal code.  Take, for instance, Title 16, Chapter 5A, Subchapter II, Paragraph 668 (a), of the United States Code:

 “Whoever, within the United States or any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof… shall knowingly…take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or in any manner any bald eagle commonly known as the American eagle or any golden eagle, alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof of the foregoing eagles, or whoever violates any permit or regulation issued pursuant to this subchapter, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both…”

What is particularly illuminating in the U. S. legal code is the threat of criminal sanction for taking not just the egg of the eagle but also the nest.  It is clear enough that the egg of the eagle is protected (for the sake of protecting all eagles); what is even more astounding is that the eagle’s nest is also protected.  Why?  Because the nest is also a necessary part of the life-development of a bald eagle.  In the case of the bald eagle, the law protects a collection of non-living sticks and limbs because those sticks and limbs provide a nesting area for an egg which—if all goes well—will eventually develop into an eaglet, which–if all goes well–will one day fly as an eagle.  The nest of the egg of the eagle is protected in America because Americans value eagles and want to protect them.  The womb of a mother is not protected in America because Americans…

Now, on the second point of debate, again, the law is clear.  Those who advocate for abortion will say that they may be personally opposed to it, but they cannot feel compelled to burden the mother when child-rearing is her responsibility.  (There are many false assumptions built into this argument—child-rearing is a mother and father responsibility; children are not burdens but blessings; and one cannot be opposed to something and advocate for it in the same breath).  On the basic point of whether the child is the mother’s responsibility solely because it is part of her body, I would appeal to common sense and the law.

Common sense makes plain that the child in the womb is not simply a subsidiary part of the mother’s body.  When a couple goes for an ultrasound, they don’t go there to find out what kind of tumor is growing on the mother’s body.  They go there to find out the ___________ of the ___________.  (Could you fill in the blanks? They go to find out the sex of the baby).  It is simply ludicrous to assert that the baby is like a hemorrhoid, and abortion is good in the same sense as Preparation H.  This is not a part of the mother’s body; it is a separate human body.  The ultrasound is able to determine its sex. If it is a little boy, it will have a little boy organ which belongs to him—not to his mother.

In the law, the same common sense provisions can be found.  Even if we were to say that the baby were merely a growth on the mother’s body, and, because it is her body and her burden, it is also her free choice, we still would not think that the mother is free to do whatever she wants with her body.  Women are not free to do anything they want with their bodies; neither are men.  One cannot expose his body to others without facing charges of indecent exposure.  One cannot prostitute his or her body without facing criminal charges.  One cannot fill his or her body with illegal drugs without violating the law.  There are a great many things one cannot do with his or her body.  There simply is no absolute right to your own body when you live in community with others.

So, we conclude with two simple and undeniable truths.  At conception, human life begins.  And, no one should have the right to rob another human of her right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  With these simple facts recognized, we will see the value of human life soaring in America again like the eagle’s.

What the Blind Man Sees


Blind human rights activist Chen has reportedly died from the torture and beatings he has endured at the hands of the Communist Chinese.  However, as this story notes,  no one can be sure of whether Chen is alive or dead, given the fact that the Communist government has sealed off access to Chen and has even shot at those trying to get a closer look at whether he is still alive.

Chen Guangcheng has been very active in the past, calling the world’s attention to the barbaric enforcement of the Chinese one-child policy. Whether he is alive or dead, the truth is certain that this blind man could see so much better than most what the value of human life actually is.  The video below is an excellent (and short) overview of Chen’s life.

 

Life Is the Winner


A Baby in the Womb

The little boy came galloping into his living room with his six-guns a-blazing.  On cue, his dad made a series of agonizing contortions, grabbing his chest and groaning loudly as he fell to the floor in dramatic style, making sure his little gunslinger received full compensation for his cowboy skills.  The little boy loved the scene. Gunfights were always OK in this living room corral—as long as the little guy was allowed to win.

When dad decided to fire back his imaginary pistols, the pint-sized Paladin refused to die in agony.  Instead, his face switched from glee to gloom, and his lip slightly quivered: “No fair. Gunfighters don’t sposed to die.  I don’t want to die, daddy.”  Life and death games are always more fun if you are on the winning side of life.  We never really outgrow this lesson, do we?

I thought of this as I considered how most of us consider ourselves “pro-life,” but we are a little unsure of how far this conviction should take us.  Do we, for instance, refuse treatment for a life-threatening disease on the grounds that the treatment was derived from the stem cells of human babies who were aborted?  It is a dilemma which tests the seriousness of our pro-life convictions.  Like the little boy, we don’t want to die.  Sure, we don’t want to destroy babies in the womb just to harvest their stem cells, but we really don’t want to die.  Should we refuse treatments derived from human embryos?

Thank God, that isn’t a choice we actually have to make.  You may think this is a choice you will have to make, but it isn’t.  Here is the reason you won’t have to make that choice.  There are no treatments being successfully used to cure anything with embryonic stem cells.  None.  Nothing is being helped—much less cured—by embryonic stem cells.

You may not believe this claim, or you may be confused by it.  After all, you might have received stem cell treatments.  One of your loved ones may have been helped by stem cell treatments.  So, you think that stem cells are being used to treat disease, right?  You are partially correct.  Stem cells are being used.  However, the stem cells which are being used to treat diseases are adult stem cells—not from human embryos.

In fact, a group of doctors who form the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics has compiled a list of stem cell success.  So far, according to their count, there are 73 successful treatments for diseases which use non-embryonic stem cells.  And there are 0 successful treatments using embryonic stem cells.  The score is 73-0 against taking stem cells from aborted babies.  In any game, 73-0 is a lopsided blowout.  Even in a staged gunfight, the dad insisted on at least 1 victory.  Embryonic stem cells have none.

Unfortunately, politicians have exploited the success of non-embryonic stem cells to continue aiding the abortion industry by encouraging embryonic stem cell research, but the science is against embryonic stem cells.  Common sense morality is against them, too.  Embryonic stem cell research destroys human life, while non-embryonic research extends it.  The choice is obvious, isn’t it?  The good news for us is that maybe we don’t have to die—thanks to non-embryonic stem cell research.  The sad news, on the other hand, is that some life has to die for embryonic stem cell research to take place.

China One Child Tragedy


I know the story of Xiao (pronounced “Sha-ow”) is not “news” right now, considering that it happened last fall, but, still, the tragedy of China’s one-child policy is brought out in such starkly human terms that it is hard to ignore. It is a sad story.  Xiao Ai Ying and her husband were expecting their second child.  Eight months pregnant, Xiao was already letting her first child feel the baby move and already talking about what it would be like when the new child arrived in their home.  But the new child never did arrive in their home.

The child became yet another victim of China’s one-child policy.  Police held Xiao in custody, and, after questioning her, they injected her womb with a solution to kill the child.  She was then taken to a hospital in order to deliver the dead child.  Xiao’s baby did die.  And now, in accordance with the “Family Planning” controls of the People’s Republic of China, life is supposed to be better for Xiao and her family.  If you watch the couple speak of the ordeal, you get the clear sense that their lives were not made better by the government’s family planning.

Interestingly, the news media who covered the incident seemed to get diverted by geography.  The story became less about the practice of forced abortions in China and more about the surprise that it happened in a metropolitan area.  The news reporters appear surprised, however, because they expect the Chinese government to uphold the value of life.  Forcing a woman to have an abortion while she is 8 months pregnant seems an awful lot like… well, like killing a baby.  This reality obviously made the NPR news crew a little nervous.  So, following the lead of the Al Jazeera reporter who originated the story, they made the story about how surprising it was that this happened in a metro area instead of in a rural area.

But, really, what difference does it make where this horror unfolded?  The reporter’s narrative is supposed to be that only in the “hick” and “backwoods” areas of China would one find these forced abortions, but that is a silly narrative.  All over China, there is a one-child policy for the sake of family planning.  Chinese officials admit that they vigorously promote family planning to lower the growth of their population.  Even in the supposedly more humane metro areas, women who violate this one-child policy are subject to a fine of up to $40,000 and then a forced sterilization after the birth of the child.  Granted, this is “more humane” than a forced abortion, but it is still inhumane.

This horror in China is a direct outgrowth of the policies of Communist government of China.  There is no inconsistency between the official policy and the practice of forced abortion.  The news reports make it sound as though there is this vast inconsistency between the Communist government and some of its overzealous local leaders who go too far.  In other words, the news reports make it sound as though this forced abortion is merely the result of zealous upstarts wanting to make for themselves a name, and that it isn’t connected to official Chinese policy.

But of course it is connected directly to the official Chinese policy, which is why some responsible lawmakers called on President Hu Jintao during his recent visit to the White House to reverse the forced abortion policy in China.  NPR assumes the news angle for this story is a vindication of Communist leaders.  The news agency goes to some lengths to assert that the central Communist commanders must be unaware of the awful realities of forced abortions.  But the argument doesn’t seem to fit.  The argument agrees that the  local government officials are dependent upon meeting their population target goals in order to advance their careers, but then the argument leaves the problem at the level of these local governments. Local officials supposedly get too excited about meeting their population goals, and so they go too far.  Rather than simply encouraging abortions, they actually cause abortions.

But wouldn’t that argument be something like a parent telling his child that he will get an allowance if he steals $10 per week worth of merchandise from Wal-mart and then, when the racket is made public, turning the child in as a thief?  Who is setting these population target goals? Why are they so important at the local level?  Isn’t it because they are deemed important at the higher levels, you know, at the levels of the people who decide who gets promoted and who does not?  Maybe rather than focusing on the supposedly overzealous local leaders, the news reports need to focus on the Communist leaders who insist upon setting population goals as a means of enforcing the one-child policy.

It is astounding how quickly the ugliness of abortion (I mean “family planning”) is colored over so that attention is diverted away from reality.  This news story about Xiao Ai Ying and the baby who had to die in the name of family planning tells us something about ourselves.  We know the awfulness of abortion.  The writers of the NPR story are uncomfortable with the reality of abortion and the reality of China’s forced abortion policy, but their problem is that they cannot face the reality of their own repulsion.  To do so would acknowledge the need to repent of supporting abortion.  To acknowledge the awfulness of this awful reality would be to surrender the “freedom” of after –the-fact birth control.  Though we know how hideous it is to kill babies in the womb, we still want the freedom to do it to escape the responsibility of parenthood and maintain our right to sexual promiscuity.  That seems to be all the abortion debate is really about–at least in America.  In China, women have more than the right to an abortion.  They have a duty.  The government sometimes enforces this duty.

 

Savior Siblings and Septic Sons


“Unto Us, a Savior Is Born in France,” such is the triumphant tone of the science headlines from across the pond in France, where the latest “savior sibling” has arrived.  He is a healthy baby boy, weighing in at just over 8 lbs.  The first “savior sibling” was born in the U.S. back in 2000.  His name is Adam Nash.  Blood from his umbilical cord was used to save his sister’s life and caused no physical harm to him.

Nevertheless, the concept of a “savior sibling” is troubling in at least 3 significant ways: (1) It devalues all human life by making one human being the instrument by which another human being prospers. Just as slavery devalued all human life by acting as though some people were not “really persons,” so, too, savior siblings have the same effect of saying that one person’s life is valued only insofar as it serves someone else, someone prior, someone superior.  (2) It leads to a kind of enslavement.  Consider, for example, the movie My Sister’s Keeper.  In that film, the savior sibling was expected to donate a kidney for her dying sister because this is what a savior sibling does.  Such scenarios are not potentialities; they are necessities of this way of thinking about human beings.  (3) It makes gods out of scientists—and that is never a good thing.  Through IVF, scientists screen and discard many embryos, getting down to the genetically perfect match for the ailing sibling.  Already, human entities have been discarded, and this new savior child has been designed for the purpose of serving as a farm-like feeding trough of anatomical parts for parents to use in saving their favored child.

Anytime any form of human life becomes “less than human” or “not worthy of life” (as the Nazis would say), then door is opened to killing for a “higher” cause, thus fulfilling Romans 3: “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery.”  The concept of savior siblings is built upon the notion that someone has a right to design and utilize the birth of a human being for the purpose of enhancing the life of another human being.  This is wrong because it devalues one human being in the face of another, defying the reality that each one of us (male and female) is created in the image of God.

We have become a people who are comfortable with such concepts as savior siblings because we, already, believe that mothers (even teen mothers) have the right to decide whether their children should live or die.  If a mother has the right to determine whether her baby lives or dies, then why would she not have the right to determine whether the baby donates cord blood or even a kidney?  The logic is inescapable.

Because of abortion, we have become quite dull in discerning the value of a human life.  Consequently, we find that some women are comfortable with having abortions, while others are ok with flushing their babies down the toilet (or at least trying to).  How do we get to a place in which a woman thinks it is all right to flush her son into a cesspool to die?  By devaluing human life in the womb.  If she could have killed the baby while it was in the womb, then why should she not be able to kill the baby once it comes out?  Again, the logic is sadly unavoidable.

I don’t think we should be bit surprised that parents with the help of doctors and scientists are designing babies to serve the needs of their unhealthy offspring. Parents want healthy children.  And science wants something new–anything new.  Upholding the value of human life has never been the strength of a godless science.  The 19th Century seeded the scientific psyche with the eugenics that was quickly employed in Nazi Germany (more slowly in the U.S. through Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood).  The 20th Century saw the Tuskegee experiments, the perverted Kinsey “science” of sexuality, and the celebration of “Dr. Death.” These examples make clear that Science alone cannot uphold the value of human life because science is, primarily, nothing more than a method of inquiry designed to increase knowledge.  Science is a quest for knowledge; it needs to have philosophy to determine the boundaries of where its inquiries might take place.  With a Judeo-Christian philosophy as its guide, science is able to progress in a positive direction which heals.  Without such a philosophy, science doesn’t care if it kills.

We cannot trust science alone to advance humanity.  The task is too great.  Humanity is a subject to be defined by philosophy and theology.  We must be awakened from our darkened stupor concerning science and its limits or we will see further horrors in the days to come.  It really is bad enough that we have savior siblings and cesspool sons. These are not oddities. These are explainable phenomenon based on our devaluing of human life in the womb.  As long as we are comfortable embracing abortion, we will see more sickening displays of our disregard for humanity.

Is Abortion a Tea Party Issue?


I know there has been concern in the past about where the Tea Party stands on so-called “social issues.”  I think the Tea Party seeks to stay focused on economic issues, particularly free market principles and smaller government solutions.  However, Kathryn Jean Lopez raises a very interesting question: Is Abortion a Tea Party Issue?

In the wake of the scandal with Planned Parenthood (not to mention Dr. Gosnell), the time may be right for Tea Partiers to demand a clean cut with the abortion industry so that tax dollars aren’t wasted–no, that is much to polite a term–so that tax dollars don’t become blood money.  I, for one, think it is time to enshrine into law the practice we have followed forbidding tax dollars for abortion.  Now that we see what Planned Parenthood is capable of, we should ban all public money from them.  If not, could we at least make clear that we don’t want public money going to fund abortions, infanticide, sex trafficking, or sexual slavery?  Is this for real?

I honestly cannot think of a worse way to spend tax dollars than giving them to Planned Parenthood.

Abortion’s Opposite Effect


When religious zealots pressed down hard on Stephen and the early Christians, they intended to stomp out the nascent movement before it got any traction.  They were unsuccessful.  Chapter 8 of Acts tells the story of how Christianity spread in its early days: It spread through persecution.  Though the leaders of the day intended to stop the movement, they, instead, caused it to spread more rapidly.  As the Christians were persecuted, they fled to other places, where they preached the gospel to more people.  In this way, persecution had the opposite effect of what was intended by the persecutors.

A similar opposite effect phenomenon is found today in the outcome of abortion.  Abortion was touted as a giant step forward in women’s rights.  Its promise was liberty for women, giving them complete control of their bodies and their futures.  President Obama recently marked the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision with comments, again, applauding the decision as a victory for women’s rights.  But I wonder if the foray into full “reproductive health” (as it is euphemistically referenced) isn’t turning out to have the opposite effect for women.

What do I mean?  Two recent studies are building a case against the goodness of abortion for women.  Specifically, Richard Stith, in the article “Her Choice, Her Problem” for First Things, chronicles the oppression which has followed women since the onset of abortion in 1973.  Clearly, this is an opposite effect.  Interestingly, he shows that even feminists could foresee this opposite effect. He traces the arguments from pro-abortion feminist Catherine MacKinnon which were made during the early debates on abortion but were never heeded by abortion advocates.  Stith shows through a review of MacKinnon’s arguments and present statistics on the declining freedom of women how abortion has actually had the opposite effect from that which pro-abortion feminists intended.  In short, his argument boils down to this:

“The presence in the sexual marketplace of women willing to have an abortion reduces an individual woman’s bargaining power.”

Men, it seems, hold the upper hand in sexuality, leaving the woman alone to deal with its consequences.  The man is free to have casual sex with the woman without fear of consequences.  At one time, she might use the fear of conceiving to opt out of sexual favors, but she has lost that bargaining power.  Now, she must yield because abortion “solves” the contraception problem.  If she won’t allow sexual favors, he will find a woman willing to have an abortion who will allow it.  Then, if there is a pregnancy, he is free to leave her all alone to decide what she does “with her body.”  Abortion empowers men and leaves women more vulnerable.  If you don’t believe that, compare the number of unwed mothers before abortion in 1973 and after abortion today.  Look at the number of women living in poverty today contrasted with 40 years ago.  Economists call this “the feminization of poverty.”

And, building on the reality pointed out by Stith, Maggie Gallagher points to a new book which studies sexuality in America: Premarital Sex in America by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker.

Gallagher points out from their study that abortion appears to end with depression in women.  Even further, Gallagher points out that the depression comes at least partially from the drastic increase in low commitment sexual encounters.  Because the abortion culture has produced a freedom for men to use women for sex without commitment, it has further pushed women into the role of being used merely for sex—any sex which the man prefers without any commitment to the woman.

In short, Gallagher says, “…we have created a sexual culture that empowers young males (even as it stunts their incentives to grow to become successful, confident and happy family men) and disempowers women.”

Abortion may have had the opposite effect its original adherents intended.

The Supreme Court’s Back Alley Runs Through Philadelphia | The Weekly Standard


The Supreme Court’s Back Alley Runs Through Philadelphia | The Weekly Standard.

I just read this article, and it opened my eyes to the logical connection between the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and the horrors uncovered in Philadelphia.  Most likely, there are a number of other such clinics out there, but they remain off limits because of the poor decision in 1973 and the court challenges since then which have labeled any regulations on abortion clinics as excessive burdens (and thus unconstitutional).

The supposedly medical procedure of abortion is not regulated, which means the old horror stories of back-alley butcher shops are a legalized reality in America.  In fact, what might be most disturbing about the Gosnell case in Philadelphia is all of the behavior he is NOT being punished for.  The crimes he is being charged with are related to partial birth abortion (which are heinous), but what about the conditions of the clinic? The baby parts all over the place?  The feet in jars?  Storing food and baby pieces in close proximity?  Are any of these (or the other grotesque findings from the clinic) against the law?

At first, I thought some local officials were negligent in not exercising any oversight of this horrific abortion clinic, but I am thinking now that the problem may not be that officials didn’t do anything:  The problem may be that they can’t.

Golden Gateway to Freedom?


I just read this remarkably encouraging pro-life article from where? San Francisco!  A great crowd rallied against abortion in San Francisco of all places.  According to this article, more than 40,000 marchers gathered together for the pro-life parade.   Walk for Life co-chair Dolores Meehan said, “We are here to break the bondage of the culture of death.”

If the movement is thriving in San Francisco, then it can thrive anywhere.  How encouraging to see.  And notice in the pics how young the women are who are holding the signs.  Encouraging indeed.

 

Obama Marks Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – NYTimes.com


Obama Marks Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – NYTimes.com.

Sadly, President Obama still holds to his same position on abortion, believing that a woman’s right to choose trumps the baby’s right to life.

Human Life the Victim of Abortion


As this article by Michelle Malkin makes painfully clear, the real victim of abortion is humanity.  This week is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in many churches, and there will be many sermons concerning abortion and other matters related to human life.  I hope that God will sober us through these sermons.

Although I understand that we should be politically active–especially when it comes to fighting off the horror of abortion, I think we need more than political action.  We need repentance.

Political action can enable pride, thereby setting us up for a fall later.  Repentance brings about sobriety which gives us a deadly serious outlook on life and a determination to stay fixed on what matters most.

What we really need is not focus groups, bipartisanship, less-heated rhetoric, or the freedom to choose.  What we need is the freedom to repent from this enslavement to death which we embraced the day we allowed abortion on demand.  May God grant us repentance so our minds can be set free, thus allowing us to discern good from evil.  (See here for further explanation).

A Mind to Sin


When you read 1 Samuel 22, you can’t help but to think to yourself, “How in the world can Saul be so blind?”  Saul, who was appointed king by popular demand of the people so that they could have a king like the rest of the nations around them, confronts the priest Ahimelech about whether he helped David.  Ahimelech answers that he did in fact help David by giving him the sword which belonged to him (Goliath’s sword) and inquiring to the Lord on behalf of David, something that he had done many times before.  In other words, Ahimelech says that he did for David what any priest would have done for David, particularly in light of how faithful David had always been to Saul.

In response to this confession, Saul ordered that Ahimelech and all of his house, along with all the priests at Nob, be killed.  Saul commanded his leaders to kill the priests of the Lord, but they would not.  They could not.  How could they slaughter the priests of the Lord?  Unfortunately, a slimy Doeg—an Edomite—was in the presence of Saul, and he was all too willing to slaughter the innocent priests on Saul’s behalf.  At Saul’s commands, Doeg, the Edomite, killed 85 priests.  Then, he killed their wives and children and their oxen, their donkeys, and their sheep—all at Saul’s command and with his hearty approval.  How could Saul be so murderously blind?

The answer is simple.  Sin was in the heart of Saul.  From the time that Saul heard ladies singing praises to David, he became consumed with removing David’s fame (along with his name) from the face of the earth.  He more and more became consumed with one thought only: Kill David.  So, he moved his armies and his affections from town to town in pursuit of killing David, although David never betrayed Saul and—on three separate occasions—could have killed Saul but did not.

The wages of sin is death.  Sinful thoughts of wishing David’s fame away (to preserve his own) took root in Saul’s heart and became the driving passion of his life.  Murder was all he wanted.  The 85 priests and their families were merely nuisances to Saul along the path of his murderous way.

We find a life lesson through the life of Saul, mostly by way of antithesis.  Saul teaches us how not to live a blessed life.  He teaches us how to move further and further away from God until we end consumed by a particular sin.  In the beginning of Saul’s service as king, he showed some signs of hope.  He prophesied with the prophets of God.  Yet, before long, he took upon himself the task of slaughtering animals for a sacrifice (1 Samuel 13:8) instead of waiting for Samuel, as he was instructed.  And, not too long after his unauthorized sacrifice, Saul also refused to execute God’s commands concerning Agag and the Amalekites.  Saul was supposed to execute justice over the Amalekites and was told to kill Agag and his animals, but he would not.

Ironically, Saul’s life became a pattern of killing those whom he should not kill and giving life to those who did not deserve it.  Between the priests of the Lord and Doeg the Edomite, Saul chose Doeg—a betrayer.  The reason he aligned himself with betrayers instead of with the priests of the Lord is that his mind was given over to sinful thoughts.

Like Saul, perhaps, we think we can allow sinful thoughts to percolate in our minds with no ill effects, but it simply is not so.  The wages of sin (including sinful thoughts) is death.

Saul’s mind—more and more—became tainted because of the sinful lusts in his heart.  As sin took root, disobedience inevitably followed.  As sin and disobedience became the pattern, Saul’s judgment became less and less astute.  Eventually, not only was Saul unable to discern good from evil, but he actually began exchanging evil for good, thinking that slaughtering priests and their children was a good thing.

It would be so easy to slide into a condemnation of Saul, but let us rather learn from him for our own good.  Disobedience begets dullness of mind.  Sinful thinking leads to ungodly thinking, which leads to a lack of moral discernment.  The pattern is plain in Romans 1: God gave them over to a depraved mind. In his example in Romans 1, Paul concludes with the example of people who can longer distinguish male and female (Gender confusion).  In the example of Saul, we see a man who cannot discern rightly between a betrayer and the priests of God.

In an example from our own culture, we will not be able to execute Major Nidal Hassan (the Ft. Hood shooter) or Jared Loughner (the Tucson shooter) without a major uphill battle against political groups and media elites.  Instead of executing him for murder, we celebrate Jack Kevorkian as Dr. Death.  And yet, we tolerate killing innocent babies—53 million of them—as long as we do it before they get completely out of the womb (although in some cases even that has been acceptable to some prominent Americans).

You wonder how we could ever get to the place in which we can’t see that murderers should be executed but babies should live.

New Ideas Aren’t New


As is often the case, someone comes up with a new idea that is going to alter humanity and forever redirect our course for the good.  The healthcare bill is an example of such a hope-filled new idea.  However, the healthcare bill contains within it some very old ideas, too, such as the idea that abortion is necessary for the health of a nation or a people.  That idea is not new.  Pharaoh thought it was necessary for the midwives to kill all the sons of Hebrew women–3,500 years ago (See Exodus 1).  More recently, Margaret Sanger thought it was necessary to kill black children for the good of America (See here).  Planned Parenthood (which arose from the work of Margaret Sanger) still targets blacks and minorities (See here).  So, these new “progressive” ideas aren’t new.  They aren’t good either.  It is never good or healthy for a people to kill their offspring.  It never will be good.

Principles and Power


I am an optimist.  I know the outcome–that all things will work together for good for those who love the Lord.  So, I am an optimist.  Yet, I am not optimistic about Obamacare ever being overturned.  I hope it is.  I will support the repeal of this terribly invasive healthcare reform.  I don’t think it will be overturned.  Here is why.

Entitlements are never overturned.  Once people begin getting something for “free,” they don’t want to give it up, even if it restricts their freedom and burdens their neighbors.  Everybody likes a free lunch.  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe there is a huge backlash coming for Democrats in November, and I know people are angry right now.  But that will change.  Public opinion always does.  The Democrats know this, too.  Once things calm down, the Democrats will simply bring up all that will be lost by overturning this bill.  We will begin hearing stories of all the terrible suffering which will result from “taking away” these “free” benefits for needy people.  When that happens, public opinion will swing back to the middle.

When public opinion swings back to the middle, then the true mettle of conservatives will be tested, and it will be found lacking, in my opinion.  Why do I say this?  Not simply because I have seen conservatives cower in conversations concerning life, though that is reason enough for saying conservatives often lack mettle, but, rather, because I have been listening to the majority of conservatives express their outrage at the notion of a congress and a president going against the will of the people.  Granted, I am outraged, too, that this congress and this president have ignored the voices of millions–and they really have completely ignored large swaths of the American landscape in this.

However, I find a glimmer of principled conviction in the actions of the Democrats.  Their leadership has accomplished something that conservative leaders have not accomplished much.  They have led on principle–even if it costs at the polls.  Sadly, we once thought it was virtuous to stick to your guns and stick to your principles.  I remember President Bush (I think it was in his debate with Gore?) stating that he would not lead by opinion polls, but by principles.  I thought that was admirable then.  I don’t like it much now because it involves principles against which my mind and body viscerally revolt.  Yet, one cannot claim that the Democrats did what they did by merely sticking their fingers in the wind to see which way it was blowing.

The Democrats acted out of their belief that women should have access to abortions everywhere, and we all ought to pay for it.  They did it out of their firm conviction that the federal government should decide how to pay doctors and nurses.  They did it from their soft, socialistic outlook on life.  Oh, I know they violated protocols in the House and in the Senate, and I know right now people are outraged about that, but they acted out of principled convictions–even if the principles were horrendously wrong-headed.

Outside of Congressman Ryan and a few others, the Republicans responded that the Democrats should have listened to the will of the people.  So, in the course of repealing this repugnant set of rules governing my private colonoscopy, the Republicans must hope that public opinion remains strongly opposed to Obamacare.  Even though I hope it does, I doubt that it will.  I doubt that public opinion will remain strongly opposed because the radical new policies don’t take place until 2014, conveniently after the next presidential election.  In fact, around the time of this election in November, there will be $250 checks going out.  If public opinion were the reason for opposing Obamacare, then public opinion may in the future become the reason for keeping it.

What I wish would happen is that Republicans would become steeled in their resolve repeal Obmacare on principled grounds.  Let conservatives learn to be passionate and unapologetic about ending abortion on demand, taking a principled stand for babies even if public opinion swings against them.  What I wish would happen is that an unwavering regard for liberty would gain a foothold in the minds of conservative leaders.  Real leaders don’t lead by looking at polls.  They are fixed on eternal principles such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I fear that–even though for today we are outraged–in the future we will accommodate (as Europe has) to suckling our existence from the breast of a federal nanny who increasingly kills her unwanted children.

The Little Ones


A song by Phil Keaggy asks, “Who will speak up for the little ones, helpless and half-abandoned?”  It seems that no Democrat in America will any longer.  When Bart Stupak caved in to pressure from the national Democratic Party earlier today, he sent the message loudly and clearly that abortion is at the heart of what it means to be a Democrat.  Apparently, there is no place at the national level for pro-life Democrats.

I understand that I am not an expert on matters of legislation and executive orders, but I think I am alert enough to read such things.  The executive order from President Obama is made to sound nice and pro-life, but it cannot–in my opinion–be taken seriously.  If the healthcare bill does not fund abortion, then why is the executive order needed?  If it does, then the executive order will do no good because an executive order cannot overturn legislation.  Either way, the executive order is a meaningless show, which explains why the pro-abortion Obama could write it and why pro-abortion groups won’t raise even a whisper about it.  If the bill passes, it will ensure that we all pay for abortions through our tax dollars, even though the practice violates our consciences before God.

In addition, this healthcare bill will fundamentally change the way we think of ourselves and our government.  I am no longer free to determine whether I will receive a colonoscopy.  Someone in some bureau somewhere will decide if I really need one and whether I will ever get one.  We one time were accustomed to hearing folks say, “Keep the government out of our bedrooms.”  Well, we shall now have them in places heretofore considered more private than our bedrooms.

Catholic Clarification


I saw a news article yesterday stating that 59,000 nuns joined together to support the Obama health care plan, which had been opposed by U.S. bishops because of its funding of abortions.  Well, today, Kathryn Jean Lopez sets the record straight for Roman Catholics.  According to this blog post from KJL, the number of signatories in opposition was a mere 55, with one of the signatories voting twice.  It appears that a much larger number of nuns is on the other side of this one–on the side of life and thus opposed to federal funding of abortion.