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.