Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ashley Madison, Planned Parenthood, & the Culture of ‘Victimization.’

Ashley Madison, the adultery website recently hacked by “The Impact Group” leaving 25 gigabytes of user information released to the public is offering a reward to anyone who can track down these hackers. They clearly are hoping to head off, “further victimization,” of their clients.

Planned Parenthood continues to paint themselves as the victims of radical extremist's videos likes of whom are responsible for shooting abortion providers in their churches, clinic bombings and more. Stating, “The group behind these videos has close ties with organizations and individuals who have firebombed abortion clinics and threatened the physical safety of doctors who provide abortion.”

Interestingly both these groups maintain that they, or their clients, are the victims of these undercover exposés.

This reveals something about our cultural understanding of victimization. Victimization is now understood by the feeling of shame and guilt, not innocence and injustice.

In one instance we see babies either being torn apart so that their organs can be harvested and sold, or moving in a metal bowl awaiting this fate. In the another we have 33 million user accounts, presumably all of whom are looking to have an affair with someone.

The true victims in these exposés are the spouses of the 33 million and the babies crushed.

While the ethics of undercover videos and hacked websites can be debated, what has been discovered is uncovering the true meaning of who is actually a victim and who is actually a perpetrator.

To use another recent example, Vester Lee Flanagan (AKA Bryce Williams) shot and killed reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward during an on-air interview. A few hours after killing the pair Williams committed suicide.

Now, if the reasoning of Planned Parenthood and Ashley Madison were applied to this case, Williams would be the victim driven by guilt and shame to suicide because of the deaths of Ward and Parker.

Of course, thinking this way about Williams seems ludicrous. But this is the danger: many in the public will believe the rhetoric of Planned Parenthood and Ashley Madison.

The Church stands up for the innocent and seeks to see repentance, reconciliation, and redemption in the life of the perpetrator.

Shame and guilt do not equal a victim, innocence and injustice do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Open By the Permission of the Church?

“We’ll stand before God one day and be held accountable for allowing abortion to continue,” a small group member said to me.

He’s right we will be.

Yesterday another video was released. This one was of a lunch with Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress an organization which recently filed a restraining order against the Center for Medical Progress to keep any videos of its employees from coming to light. That restraining order was lifted last week and this week we see not just an employee, but the CEO.

In this latest video we hear of the researchers who, upon receiving the aborted children’s parts, are horrified and the table jokes about making sure the severed head of a baby has its eyes closed (minute 7 of the embed video), before shipping it.

“Every abortion clinic should have a sign in front of it saying, ‘Open by the permission of the church.’” Francis Schaeffer said.*

That's a spine chilling statment. And we must ask ourselves, is it true? Are we, the church, allowing this holocaust to continue? If we are, then the current American Church has little difference than that of the German Christians of 1930's Germany who, as Barth said, existed in the abysmal gap that was between, "The inherent godlessness of National Socialism (Nazi)," and Christianity.

I pray that when we stand before God at the final judgement of all things many of us will be innocent of the blood of the innocent because we stood up for the murdered masses.

Roughly 58 million abortions have been carried out since Roe V. Wade, nearly the population of Italy.

* This quote has been attributed to Schaeffer on various places on the internet, I am researching this to make sure it was indeed Schaeffer that said it, and if so in this form. 

UPDATE: As I have been looking through Schaeffer's works I have not yet found this quote, however he does say, "That even the church is being used by the proponents of infanticide is particularly alarming. Those who have propagated these ideas or simply not bothered to think them through have had ample warning in history - if they would care to look. Doctors and nurses should be aware of how fallible these decisions are and how disastrous have been simplistic pop-science theories about human worth in the past. Lawyers should be frightened to let down the bars on the killing of any human being, when the decisions is made on the arbitrary basis of the equality of life. And finally, these theologians have obviously forgotten God's view of the work of every human being as made in the image of God. If these same theologians no longer believe in such a God, they should not use the church as a platform form which to propagate their discriminatory ideas." p. 327, Volume 5 The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Crushing Vengeance of God

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'” Romans 12:19

“We forget that man stands alone before an ultimate authority and that anyone who lays violent hands on man here is infringing eternal law and taking upon himself superhuman authority which will eventually crush him.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

History is not on the side of Planned Parenthood, just as history was not on the side of the Third Reich, and the Gulag, and the Armenian genocide. Tyrants will fall. History has proven this. Justice will prevail. 

It is not our place to bomb abortion clinics, to burn them, or, as happened in my hometown of Wichita, KS., murder abortion providers in their churches

Vengeance is God’s.

Bonhoeffer speaks truth when he says the, “Superhuman authority… will eventually crush him.” Under the weight of convincing a population they have the right to choose who can live and who can die, Planned Parenthood will fall under the crushing weight of true justice. 

By no means is this a post to persuade anyone from speaking out against Planned Parenthood. Rather this is a post to both have pity and speak warning while speaking out.

Vengeance is God’s and either real people fall under his eternal just wrath, or real people receive God’s forgiving mercy in Jesus. 

Yes, fight for the abolishment of abortion with all your being. But do not wish God’s vengeance on those murdering and then selling a baby and his/her parts. Never wish damnation on anyone.

Language that speaks of Planned Parenthood workers being below human is precisely the same logic being used to determine what lives matter and what lives don’t. People are people and are made in the image of God whether they’re in the womb or work at Planned Parenthood. 

Our goal is to abolish abortion Christianly.   

The goal to see the institution abolished, and the people within the institution redeemed.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Unjust Law & the Christian's Responsibility

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." (Elie Wiesel) 
“The Law is organized justice.” (Frederic Bastiat)

When something is lawful or legal we tend to think it is right and when something us unlawful or illegal we tend to think it is wrong. We tend to think thus because, as quoted above, we assume the law is organized justice.

For example: The right to property is your lawful right. If one was to steal your property from you then the full weight of the law would be on your side to prosecute the thief.

It’s by this system that all our current laws and country are predicated. Because the law is to seek justice we therefore have a law system that, we assume, upholds justice.

But does the law really uphold justice?

What about when the law is wrong?

If justice is the aim of law and justice is not served by the law, what should we as morally responsible people do with the law?

“We the citizens have the right and responsibility to examine, debate, and protest the decisions made by its President, its legislators, and the SCOTUS nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. Given such a polity, for Christians simply to be quiet or acquiesce is to disrespect the governing authorities.” (Bruce Ashford) 

So if we are to be biblical people, if we are to act like Christians, in this moment we are to speak, because Romans 13:1-7 tells us to respect our governing authorities. And disrespect is to be quiet.

But speaking against wrongful law is not easy.

My mother-in-law was telling me she is looked at as a, “two-headed monster,” when she says she is pro-life. But despite the looks, she continues to have conversations about why abortion is unjust.

It is our responsibility as Christians to respect the government. We have a real opportunity now to continue to speak up and out against the unjust law that allows abortion. So be heard. Continue to fight the modern holocaust of abortion with everyday conversations.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Are Undercover Videos Ethical?

Jonathan Six and I wrote an article over on The Center for Great Commission Studies' blog about the ethical use of undercover videos, and Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle."
Have you ever read Upton Sinclair’s groundbreaking novel “The Jungle?” 
It was one of the first major exposes depicting horrible work conditions, a massive public health risk and an entire work industry with a complete disregard for human life. 
Sinclair’s work forced massive shifts to occur in how Americans understood working conditions and helped pass acts like the Pure Food and Drug Act, which gave rise to what we now know as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the end, the federal legislation was passed in spite of the industry’s attempts to keep it from happening. We see the same type of pushback from the abortion industry in relation to the recent undercover videos.
Head over and read the rest of the post here. 

Week Links

Here are the top five links I shared this week 

1. 10 Quick, Important Developments on the Planned Parenthood Scandal. By Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist. 

Whether or not the story generates major media attention, the Center for Medical Progress’ expose of Planned Parenthood’s participation in the harvesting and sale of fetal organs continues to feature major updates. Here are 10 of them.

“Yesterday, Planned Parenthood took its website down after it claimed to be hacked. Except, their source coding referred to the landing page as a ‘campaign,’ which makes sense since the hackers kindly left their fundraising page up and operational. While a group of hackers did claim to get into the site earlier this week, they said they were unable to do anything to the site because it was so ‘terribly configured.’
Regardless of where this leads from here on out, here are 13 facts to keep in mind during the discussion concerning Planned Parenthood and abortion.”

3. StemExpress wins court order in video flap with anti-abortion group. By Kathy Robertson at the Sacramento Business Journal

StemExpress won a temporary restraining order on Tuesday that prevents a group called Center for Medical Progress from releasing undercover videos the company says activists took of its employees. StemExpress alleges the video was illegally recorded during a meeting at Bistro 33 in El Dorado Hills on May 22.

Modern ultrasound technology produces a more-detailed image of an unborn baby’s features,” reads the photo caption in the July 17 Wall Street Journal story. The article explores whether too many ultrasound scans during pregnancy could be unhealthy for unborn children, noting that experts have begun advising women that frequent scans for low-risk pregnancies aren’t medically justified. “Routine scans do not seem to be associated with reductions in adverse outcomes for babies,” notes one study. 
Where has our logic gone? 
How can we have reasonable and compassionate concern for healthy “outcomes” for babies in the womb while at the same time, news of the atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood continues to unfold?

5. Nothing to See Here? By Eric Metaxes on the Breakpoint commentaries

If Planned Parenthood is so concerned about being misrepresented, perhaps they should opt for transparency. I'll tell you why they wouldn’t dare.
Bonus: 6. Of Thorns in Roses: The Story of Willa. From The McKellars. 

Of Thorns in Roses: The Story of Willa from The McKellars on Vimeo.

“If we’re hopeful it’s because things will someday be made right, and all things sad will come untrue,
and darkness will be swallowed up in light, and joy will run rampant and all will be well.”

– BJ Brawner

When faced with heartbreaking loss, how do you respond?

I think the answer reveals something about who we are: what we are made of, how we see the world, where we find our strength. In the case of Sara and BJ, who lost their baby before she was born, it is clear that they draw their strength from Someone other than themselves. I, along with many others, watched as they navigated the unknown terrain of grief with honesty, tenderness, and hope. After they became pregnant, the three of us thought it would be special to make a little birth film telling the story about the pregnancy and birth and all the attending excitement and happiness. Having filmed their wedding several years ago and subsequently becoming friends with them, it seemed like a natural next step. So I was especially shocked and saddened to hear that Willa had died at 34 weeks. After the funeral, the three of us decided that we would still make a film, but it would be a different story – still Willa’s story, but we would explore what it means to have hopeful expectation met with stinging disappointment. Fifteen months after her birth Willa’s story, as told through her amazing parents, is here to provide you some inspiration. Again, in the words of BJ:

“We want to be the sorta folks who get their hopes up. We want to feel the weight of this world in its entirety, in its beauty as well as its brokenness. We want to laugh from our bellies and weep from our souls. And we can do that because our hope and our peace and our happiness is not here—not in our babies (nor in each other, nor in our house, nor in good food, nor in travel…). These are all good things that, although marred with brokenness, serve as signposts that point us back to the King and his Kingdom. We live in Advent for all that it’s worth, waiting for the Christmas feast when all will be made right.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What does silence mean on social media?

The recent and continued conversation about what is going on with Planned Parenthood poses an interesting question: what does silence from typically vocal supporters mean on social media? Yes, #StandwithPP is out there, but interestingly enough the initial tweet from PP that read, "Friends who #StandwithPP: stay strong. The anti-abortion minions want to bully us into silence. That's not happening." With an attached gif of a Universal's Minion dropping a mic has been deleted, possibly because of the responses it received.

For Planned Parenthood it should be a terribly awkward thing, and it seems they are trying their best to get past that initial shock, which is happening again with this video released this morning. And yes, Nish Weiseth is right that, “Everyone will internalize information differently on any given day because of their lived experience.”

But when the outcry for justice outweighs the voices of your supporters over time, an institution should take heed of the cries. It should really begin a line of questioning wherein the decisions to be part of such an organization (whether as an employee or as a supporter) are brought to center-stage. It is possible that the effort to save face does not, and should not keep one from admitting one’s mistakes and therefore repent of those mistakes.

Social media provides something that the mainstream media isn’t doing, namely it’s providing the news on how we can work to see Planned Parenthood defunded, and Lord willing, disbanded. As I said in an earlier post, “We can choose to ignore this gore, or look it full in the face and demand that this holocaust of prodigious numbers come to a swift and final end.

My prayer is that we, as Christians believing that every life is valuable, speak out clearly on social media to #DefundPP. Our collective voice cannot be drowned out, and we are offered video upon video upon video of proof that shows the horrific carnage that is Planned Parenthood. 

If history remembers anything of this online conversation let it not be that Christians were silent. Speak up. Be heard.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Gospel for Abortion Providers

We heard about King David at church this weekend. No matter how many times I hear it I’m still shocked that we look up to this guy (or that we even name kids - like my coming son - David). He commits adultery, tries to cover it up, and then murders - in the best mobster fashion - the husband of the woman he impregnated. I mean, this guys is a terrible guy by today’s standards. Our jails are full of folks like him. 

But the reason we look up to this guy and name our kids David is not because he was great guy, but because his God was a great God. David writes, “Do not forsake me from you presence…” (Ps 51:11) and God does not forsake him. But David killed a man! He committed adultery! He lied! Three of the big ten commandments David doesn’t just break a little, he shatters them and keeps on running. 

And then two faces swam into my mind. Those of Dr. Deborah Nucatola and Mary Gatter. The two women in the Center for Medical Progress’ videos exposing some very dirty secrets of Planned Parenthood (and from what we're hearing there are only more videos to come).

Dr. Nucatola talked about having just done a, “17-weeker,” early in the day of her recorded lunch meeting. Mary Gatter talked about doing things, “less crunchy.” To interpret this means that Dr. Nucatola just finished killing a 17-week-old baby, and now sits sipping her wine and enjoying her salad, and Mary Gatter is discussing how to crush a baby in order to preserve its organs. 

These women are murderers of children. Justice demands a response. Whether it is the law of the land's justice or not doesn’t matter, eternal justice must be served.

Which brings me back to David. 

He was not forsaken because another was forsaken in his place. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46)

An abortion provider is not beyond the reach of this grace.

Never will there come a time when one is too bad to be redeemed and welcomed as a child of God. Never will an abortion provider hear, “Your sin is too great to be forgiven,” from God’s almighty lips. Never will any employee of Planned Parenthood be out of reach of the arms of mercy.

This means that if an abortion provider comes to Christ, Christ died for their sins and they will worship God as part of the Church for all eternity. What then of justice?

Take the thirst you have for justice and look at Jesus’ blood and pus soaked cross. If a murderer of infants can find redemption in the arms of Jesus then imagine how horrific the cross must have been, and then realize that your thirst for justice is infinitely dwarfed by God’s demand for justice. If one who crushes children to preserve organs can be made new by the sacrificed Lamb, imagine what kind of unparalleled crushing Christ bore. 

Now if those last few paragraphs made you uncomfortable as a Christian, your god is too small and looks strangely like you. 

There is a love stronger than death. There is a great I AM who sits enthroned. And there is a great Redeemer welcoming home murderous rebels every day. 

Christian, remember your redemption: you were saved from your sins by the same grace that can save an abortion provider. Abortion provider, see the hope that is in Christ Jesus to be finally forgiven and finally accepted by the mercy of a good God.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How do we respond to the Planned Parenthood videos?

The rumble of thunder was rolling as I read these words this morning: “For 30 months, as part of their ‘Human Capital’ investigation, they followed the trail that led to aborted babies whose parts are earmarked for sale, even while their little hearts are still beating.” This Center for Medical Progress, this David Daleiden, of whom I know so little.

For 30 months, 2 and a half years of Planned Parenthood infiltration has the fruit of 12 disheartening, sickening, and invigorating videos.

They are disheartening because the unborn children are considered more profitable dead than alive. No matter what progress these unborn dead could have possibly offered in the field of medicine, medicine has slaughtered them to have progress now rather than wait for these young ones to make grand discoveries.
Photo is a screenshot from the second CMP video.

They are sickening because terms like “less crunchy" are used to describe methods of child murder, or “I’ll crush above and I’ll crush below….” These are people! Crushed, crunched, as if they were leaves under your feet! Imagine that every-time you step on a leaf this fall: children are crushed in order to obtain their organs.

These videos are invigorating because we have been offered something, multiple somethings, “They have parted the veil of antiseptic tidiness…." For 10 more weeks we will be subjected to the gore of these casual conversations over wine and salad discussing what to do with the proceeds these dead people will provide for their murderers. And we can choose to ignore this gore, or look it full in the face and demand that this holocaust of prodigious numbers come to a swift and final end. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak,” Bonhoeffer said. 

Shall we then not be like those poor German people who went on about their days while the fires of Auschwitz burned the suffocated corpses of the Jewish people? Shall we then not be like those in the parable who walk on the other side of the road when those in need have fallen directly in our path? 

Shall we then serve those women who find themselves in dark places forced to choose between murder and being themselves abandoned? Shall we then seek to adopt those little ones who are unwanted rather than see them “crushed?” Shall we?

Oh, Christian stand up and speak. Stand up and serve. Stand up and save those little ones who will be murdered in a fashion more gruesome than I want to, but must indeed imagine.