Over at Patheos, I just blogged on who I’m voting for this presidential election season. This topic afforded me the chance to talk more broadly about how abortion is not simply a position, one among many that we could choose. It is instead a holistic theology. It is, specifically, a theology of death.
Tag Archives: abortion
One of the best ministries I know of is called Speak for the Unborn. It’s based out of Louisville’s Immanuel Baptist Church, a congregation led by powerful preacher Ryan Fullerton that is absolutely on mission for Christ. The ministry opposes Satan by sharing the gospel with women at abortion clinics, praying for them, and generally doing whatever it can to promote life in a gracious and bold way.
Here’s a bit of info on this ministry:
We are a group of Christians from Immanuel Baptist Church who heard a sermon on the sanctity of life by our pastor in January 2009 and made a commitment to no longer let our pro-life beliefs remain theoretical.
Therefore, we started a ministry called Speak for the Unborn in obedience to the passage found in Proverbs 31:8-9:
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
The two main components of our ministry are sidewalk counseling and prayer. We go out to our local abortion clinic twice a week and seek to persuade women not to go through with their abortions and also stand and pray for the Lord to end abortion in our town. We are also seeking to mobilize other churches to do the same.
Visit the site, which is filled with “how-to” resources to get similar efforts off the ground.
Some churches may already be involved in such ways. It is a great thing, I think, for churches to a) engage women who need the gospel and b) promote a culture of life by opposing abortion clinics and strengthening crisis pregnancy centers.
Churches themselves do not have to found such efforts, in my view, but it is truly God-honoring when they foster a culture of gospel-driven concern in which members band together, push away from apathy and a “quietist” faith, and plunge into the world to be salt and light (Matthew 5:17). My own congregation, Kenwood Baptist Church of Louisville, is involved in this ministry, which I love.
How can your church, in whatever community in which it finds itself, go and do likewise in the name of a sinner-welcoming, crisis-conquering, all-children-loving savior?
(Photo of Immanuel/SftU)
The above clip is one of the more horrifying things I’ve seen caught on camera. In the 38-second video, pro-life Christians confront an abortionist. I don’t know the circumstances of this conversation, but it is clearly a visceral encounter.
In the course of the confrontation, the abortionist yells at the pro-lifers “I as a taxpayer do not wish to pay for those babies to be born, and brought, and kill those people in Colorado.” He then identifies the babies, saying “Let me see you adopt one of those ugly black babies.”
This is jaw-dropping on several accounts. First, the abortionist, Ron Virmani, has the race of the Aurora shooter entirely wrong. James Holmes is white. Second, the racism here takes your breath away. Third, you see the logic of abortion–it’s best to kill in order that others will not be killed (there’s a major logic problem here).
It shows how fallen our world is that something like this can’t galvanize a nation and make it realize the terrible evil of abortion. As anything but a life-saving device, it’s pure evil on its own terms. It also is a Trojan Horse for other sins, however, including racism. In other words, because abortion has been sold to–and bought by–upstanding America as a good and a right, racists can use it to exterminate children they hate. That’s not some controversial claim on my part, by the way–that was Margaret Sanger’s stated intention in founding Planned Parenthood, to exterminate black children, or “human weeds,” as she so kindly said.
And don’t think that’s not on the abortionist’s mind as he crushes the skulls of little babies with forceps or administers drugs that leave them gasping and clawing for life before they perish. Racism is the great secret when it comes to abortion. The man in that video, yelling at Christians, thinks he is performing a righteous deed. He and others think that abortion is a noble cause, when it is in reality the scourge of our civilization.
How videos like this–and the confrontations faced by courageous pro-lifers like those in this outstanding Louisville ministry, which my church (Kenwood Baptist) is involved with–make us long for the spread of the gospel. It is the mission of God to welcome all the nations in Christ, not to murder them in the womb. As Christians contend for the gospel and a holistic culture of life–from womb to grave–we remember that we are fighting against principalities and powers that hate children. Keep fighting. And keep adopting, as so many of my friends and evangelical peers have.
We love the little children.
And Lord, come quickly.
(HT: Washington Examiner)
A great piece of careful reporting from Baptist Press:
WASHINGTON (BP) — There’s good news and bad news for Planned Parenthood.
The good news is the Obama administration continues to go out of its way to funnel money to the country’s No. 1 abortion provider.
The bad news is Planned Parenthood can’t stop scandals and negative reports from reaching at least some of the American public. For instance:
– A 24-year-old woman died July 20 after undergoing an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago, according to the CBS television affiliate in that city.
– Sue Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, has charged the abortion giant’s Iowa affiliate with filing nearly 500,000 false Medicaid claims over a seven-year period, according to a federal lawsuit unsealed July 9.
– The North Carolina legislature voted July 2 to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto and defund Planned Parenthood and other private family planning providers.
Read the whole thing. And pray hard for the utter demise, the complete and total absence from the world, of Planned Parenthood. The picture, by the way, is of media-savvy Lila Rose, who has recorded numerous sting videos showing PP staff illegally advising self-professed underage girls on how to skirt the rules and have an abortion.
Christianity Today just published a point-counterpoint between Judd Birdsall and me. We were asked to answer, essentially, the question of whether Obama is a Christian or not. Judd made a good case in arguing that he is; I, sadly, concluded that he does not seem to be. I’ll leave you to read both and form your own judgment.
Here’s a snatch from Judd’s piece:
Conversionism: Barack Obama has a conversion story, if not an entirely traditional one. In his bestseller, The Audacity of Hope, Obama recounts how he warmed to Christianity, and the black church tradition in particular, while attending Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. One Sunday, Obama writes, “I felt God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.” Obama’s eventual decision to be baptized “came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear.”
The culture, not Scripture, is the primary driver of President Obama’s views. With abortion, his own values matter, not Psalm 139; with homosexuality and marriage, his daughters’ opinions matter, not Genesis 2 and Romans 1. But it is not merely President Obama’s isolated policies, troubling as they may be, that give many Christians like me pause. It is the whole worldview. As seen above, there are deeply unbiblical ideas running beneath the surface of the President’s orthodox declarations. The President’s oratory sometimes smacks of Billy Graham, but those who listen carefully will also hear the dulcet tones of Harry Emerson Fosdick. His is a no-injury Protestantism, liberal Christianity enrobed in a revivalist shell.
The percentage of Americans who identify themselves as “pro-choice” is at the lowest point ever measured by Gallup, according to a new survey released Wednesday.
A record-low 41 percent now identify themselves as “pro-choice,” down from 47 percent last July and 1 percentage point down from the previous record low of 42 percent, set in May 2009. As recently as 2006, 51 percent of Americans described themselves as “pro-choice.
Meanwhile, 50 percent of Americans now consider themselves “pro-life,” one point below Gallup’s record high on the measure.
This is just a poll. Public opinion could and will shift in different directions in coming days. Polls, furthermore, are inexact. I don’t ask polls to do a lot of heavy lifting in my intellectual life. With that said, this is a surprising development, a significant one.
This means that the “culture war” has not been for naught. Granted, some have fought for the cause of life in less than ideal ways. Championing a pro-life position from a God-and-country stance–linking the kingdom of Christ with the nation of America–is a mistake. Some who have fought for the pro-life cause and other conservative (biblical!) social positions have made personal compromises and used the church as a platform. With all these qualifications stated, though, the “culture war” is a worthy one to fight.
The media, of course, loves this language of a war. Conservatives are read as a crusading, domineering force; to contend for the rights of the unborn is to become some sort of vigilante, to shirk thoughtful, respectful dialogue and become a spittle-flecked warrior. Again, some may deserve this reputation, but many do not. Many Christians have fought for the unborn on staunchly biblical and intellectual grounds. These people take a great deal of heat from the secular press. But in reality they deserve a great deal of praise. Their efforts have not been in vain.
All the campus pro-life groups and silent protests and counseling at abortion clinics and legislative action and making of films like Bella and careful appointment of pro-life justices and, most importantly, prayer, has all been worth it. This is not to say that abortion is now illegal. It is not. But it seems that gains are being made.
This is a pretty strong counter to the rhetoric making its way around evangelicalism that politics don’t really matter, that evangelicals should be neither blue nor red when it comes to social policy, that earthly causes aren’t really worth fighting, that the pro-life cause is really about power and domination and winning the “war.” For most Christians, fighting abortion is not about power. It is not about personally inaugurating Christ’s kingdom. It is about speaking up for the least of these in a profoundly Christocentric way. Psalm 139 matters; the fight for righteousness mapped out in the Beatitudes matters (Matthew 5).
I am glad to contend for the pro-life cause in a reasoned, rational way. But I am not willing to lay down this fight because someone brands me a “warrior” because of it. God’s glory is in this fight. We may never win it, or we may. But it is worth our time and effort. If we abandoned abortion as a first-order issue to focus on other issues of less import, we would not be seeing the gains we are currently witnessing.
So, young evangelicals: do not believe the “fetus fatigue” language. Do not pass on an issue because it’s controversial and people won’t like you because of it. Do not cease to contend for the unborn, whether through calm conversation in the lunchroom or advocacy in the nation’s capitol. Never make the mistake of thinking that this cause is the kingdom, or that the state is the church. Don’t make the further mistake of writing everyone off who came before you simply because the media branded them with the “culture warrior” tag.
With a proper perspective of this issue, keep fighting and praying for the day when Roe v. Wade is struck from the books.
Link to the live webcast of ProLifeCon. Here is the live-blog of ProLifeCon 2012:
8:30am And we’re off. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has just taken the podium. Perkins says a note of welcome and note that something like 50 million abortions have happened in the last four decades. He goes on to say that the pro-life movement has made gains and stands at a very important point in history in the battle for the sanctity of life.
8:37am Jill Stanek is introduced as the emcee of #ProLifeCon; her blog is described as the “epicenter” of the pro-life blogging community.
8:40am Michael Clancy, the photographer who took the “Hand of Hope” photo, is speaking about the politicization of the picture. He is reiterating that the photo was authentic.
8:45am Clancy initially missed the moment when the baby’s hand reached out and lamented that reality; a nurse nearby said that babies reach out from the womb all the time. Incredible–do you hear that in the media?
8:53am FRC is showing a video of Samuel Armas, the little boy from the “Hand of Hope” photo, who says to the camera that he believes that is supposed to tell people that “abortion is wrong.” Read the story of the photo here.
9:06am Gerald Nadal, a pro-life blogger and a Catholic microbiologist, is now speaking at ProLifeCon on the eugenics movement. The medical community is dominated by an “aggressive eugenics,” according to Nadal.
9:11am Nadal: doctors are now telling women that they need to abort. Doctor at a medical school: “You tell that woman, if she has that baby, her life is over.” Legislatures must write measures that respect autonomy and a woman’s right to choose. If abortion is the law of the land, there is no choice.
9:19am Ryan Bomberger is now speaking. From his bio: “His biological mother was raped yet courageously chose to continue the pregnancy, giving him Life.” Bomberger is a creative professional who created the “Too Many Aborted” campaign. He was adopted into a very large family.
9:32am Bomberger: when we create and design for purposes of promoting life, it should be transformational and excellent. He’s shown a number of his videos at the conference, and I have to say that they are very nicely done. “We are designed to create, and we have to create a way out for millions of people.”
9:37am Lila Grace Rose of the Live Action Network is now speaking. A recent UCLA grad, Rose has attracted national attention through her efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. She has stirred up a great deal of controversy by work like this and especially through sting video like this.
9:48am Rose says that Planned Parenthood is sitting on “a billion dollars” of funding. That’s a stunning amount of money, to state the obvious.
10:07am Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on American ideals: “Abortion is not an American value.” America is promoting the culture of death through NGOs, international branches of Planned Parenthood, and more. Africa is a target of this effort, with Kenya at the top of this list. Kenya now has “abortion for health” written into its constitution through the work of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others.
10:10am Smith: “Obama is an enemy of life!”
10:20am Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) is a new Tea Party congresswoman. She is introduced as a “new pro-life heroine.” She says that “over 60% of the American people don’t want their tax dollars to go toward abortion, according to a CNN poll. That’s what she is working toward.
10:24am Hartzler notes that she is a part of the largest incoming group of pro-life congressmen and women. Knowledge, she says, changes hearts and minds. When the American people have the facts, they make the right decisions. She notes that she was in the sixth grade when Roe v. Wade was handed down and then details the journey she took toward a pro-life position.
10:27am Hartzler suggests that there will be roughly 34 abortions during her speech alone, most of the aborted children less than three months old and able to feel the pain of an abortion. Planned Parenthood, Hartzler says, doesn’t “deserve a dime of our money.” They don’t care about women. In 2010, abortion procedures amounted to 91% of their work.
10:40am Collin Raye, spokesman for Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, is a country-music singer who has sold over 8 million albums and has been nominated five times as Male Vocalist of the Year in country-music circles. He notes that though the mainstream media often ignores the pro-life cause, blogs and social media are giving it a powerful voice. He also points out how many “kids” are energized by the pro-life cause and are in DC for various events.
10:45am Raye says that partial-birth abortion is not “just a procedure,” but is “medieval and barbaric.” There is video out there on the web of the performance of abortions (I’m not linking to it on purpose), and it is perhaps the worst thing imaginable. I don’t know that I’ve ever been as shaken. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, though, but an everyday reality.
10:51am Just saw this post about “Yalies for life.” As a graduate of a liberal New England college, I can say that it takes serious courage to stand up for the pro-life cause while a member of such a school. Bravo, Yalies.
10:55am Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, is now up. Under her leadership, Students for Life has tripled the amount of groups on college campuses. This is one of the choicer fruits of the pro-life surge in recent years, I must say. If Roe v. Wade is ever to be overturned, it will be the next generation that does it.
10:59am Hawkins: “Good morning. The pro-life movement is winning!”
11:03am Hawkins: “Never before has the youth generation been so pro-life…unlike past generations, this one is starting out pro-life.” Why? “Because we have images. We now know what the pre-born baby looks like. Those images are broadcasted in tv shows, commercials, and movies. These images need to be our tool.”
11:04am Hawkins: “Hosting images on our blogs and websites is the greatest work we can do.”
11:12am Jeanne Monahan, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council,quotes the stat that there are over 2000 crisis-pregnancy centers. She suggests going to this site, A Passion to Serve, to get comprehensive data on the “amazing impact” centers are making.
11:19am Karen Snuffer, Executive Director of CareNet Pregnancy Resource Centers in Manassas, Woodbridge, and Warrenton, Virginia, is speaking about how important it is that men be educated on the realities of abortion. Through a Bible study, she got involved with centers and eventually assumed her current position. Despite the good work her centers do, “we receive no government funding,” an incredible fact.
11:25am Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President of FRC Action, is up to close the ProLifeCon. He has showed a video that demonstrates that the pro-life cause is being galvanized across the country. Go here to read more, and he urged folks to sign up for this website.
11:28am Just got an email about a new pro-life movie coming out in October 2012, October Baby, distributed by the same folks who have done Courageous and Fireproof. Check that out–hope it can make a major splash in the culture. 10% of profits will go to crisis-pregnancy centers and other members of the culture of life. The trailer looks powerful.
And with that, the conference is concluded. I’m thankful to have known about this event and to have been able to pass on word to folks, and kudos to Tony Perkins, Jill Stanek, Chris Marlink, and many others who made it happen.
One can only hope and pray that the cause of life is championed with ever-increasing power in coming days. It was remarkable how many different voices made up the conference. As evangelical Christians, until Christ the warrior-king returns to destroy sin and Satan, we work in his name to advance the reign of his righteous kingdom, a reign that brings life where death dominates.
Those who read about the New York Times magazine story on “pregnancy reductions” (a euphemism for the abortion of one or more gestating babies) on this and other blogs might find this graphic from the NYT interesting.
It’s a bit hard to make out (click here for the link to the graphic), but it shows that a majority of commenters on the Times‘s website found the story hard to bear. The commenters are undoubtedly from a wide range of backgrounds, but the range of responses recorded to the left show a profound discomfort with the practice of “reducing” twins from a mother’s womb. This response is heartening. Part of comprehending the world aright is being unsettled by ghastly things.
Also worth noting: 21 people responded by noting that they are twins and “couldn’t imagine life without their twin.” I can scarcely imagine what it would be like to bear the continual memory of a child aborted in the womb, let alone to be visibly reminded of this abortion on a daily basis by the presence of the living twin. In the smile, the childish ebullience, the sleeping face of one’s child, one would always see the frail image of another, departed brother or sister. This sounds like the subject material of a particularly dark work of fiction, but it is not. It is the reality for a growing numbers of dads and moms.
Ghosts are not real, but they can almost be real.
I am reminded of the chilling scene from The Pianist when, awaiting deportation to Treblinka, a mother wails, for hours and hours, “Why did I do it?” She had smothered her baby to avoid being discovered by Nazi guards and was haunted to the point of insanity by her decision. I think modern parents choosing “pregnancy reduction” may face such realities. May Christians be vigilant to peacefully and prayerfully oppose their efforts, and to offer the hope of Christ when the weight of guilt comes crashing down and the ghost of a twin flits through an ordinary morning.
The NYT has just released a heart-rending story about “pregnancy reduction,” a euphemism for selective abortion. Read the whole story here. This is a snatch from the article, which made me sick to my stomach:
As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her. Since making her decision, she had tried hard not to think about them, though she could often think of little else. She was 45 and pregnant after six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, donor eggs and disappointment — and yet here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion. As the doctor inserted the needle into Jenny’s abdomen, aiming at one of the fetuses, Jenny tried not to flinch, caught between intense relief and intense guilt.
Much has been made of the so-called “culture wars” in our day, the fight over social matters that divide America roughly in half. The media decries battles over abortion, gay rights, euthanasia, and other issues, and some evangelicals have joined the chorus, opting to focus primarily on causes that share universal approbation, like fighting sex trafficking. I am all for working to end that heinous practice, but I find the championing of popular cultural causes (and ignoring unpopular ones) a devil’s bargain. Shame on us if we ever turn away from the cause of the unborn. Shame on us if we ever lose the will to stop fighting for the weak and marginalized.
Right now, there are needles “aiming at” helpless, innocent, life-exhibiting fetuses. Shame on us if we turn away from the “shadows floating inside” expectant mothers. In hope borne of trust in a great God, may we work with all our strength in peaceable ways to overturn this great evil. In the process, we seek to extol the glory of Christ, who saves a fallen humanity even as it turns the knife on itself, killing offspring bearing God’s image in order to save money and steward time. Our aims are twofold: to save human lives (the fetus) and to save human souls–the fathers and mothers, lost just like we once were, who opt to kill their children rather than love them.
As powerful as evil seems to be, after all, God’s grace is stronger still.
(Image: Katherine Wolkoff for the NYT)