Consensual Homicide

This is how I view it: a doctor violently killing a child with the mother’s consent.

We’ve all heard the sad and tragic stories. She can’t afford a child. She’s afraid she might abuse the child. She doesn’t want to lose her job. There is no father in the picture to help raise her child. She was raped.

But killing her child does not mean she is no longer a mother. It means she is a mother who has killed her child. How do you suppose she lives with that knowledge?

Abortion kills children and destroys women from the inside out. Before you shake your head or roll your eyes in denial, consider that our prisons and homeless shelters are filled with women who have chosen abortion, or had abortion chosen for them.

I know this because I work with them. I have held women as they spill out their deep shame and self-loathing for this choice they made. I have tried to comfort them as they share their hopelessness and despair; sure that God will punish and condemn them. I have listened and cried with them as they share how their decision to end the life of their child led to such despair and guilt that they have turned to drugs, alcohol, suicide attempts and other destructive behaviors, because nothing mattered anymore.

My understanding of these women and their anguish came to me at the cost of two of my own children through abortion. There was no dignity in their deaths and I have mourned their loss for years and will continue until the day I die. There was a time when I wanted the Lord to take my life because of this choice I made that ended the lives of my children. When I visit women in prison and the homeless shelter, sharing Jesus and encouraging those scarred by abortion, I can weep with them because I feel their sorrows as my own. Their tears are my tears and their heartache is my heartache.

How can it be good for our society to be filled with women who are weighted down with this burden?

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I implore you; do not look the other way while children are being killed in your neighborhood and you do nothing and say nothing because you believe there are other, more pressing issues.  Don’t choose between standing up for and helping people who have been born and the youngest and most vulnerable of people, the pre-born. If being anti-abortion will not be as popular or progressive as being anti-sex-trafficking, have the courage and compassion to be both.

Abortion is much more than an opportunity for prolife Christians to throw fundraisers, have meetings and create programs.  Abortion is the betrayal of women and one baby after another being violently killed. It is the death of millions of inconvenient but precious children. Doesn’t this break your heart? It breaks God’s heart because each human life is created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). Do not dismiss the entire prolife position and only embrace environmental issues, sex trafficking ministries and others that focus on what is trending now. Be supportive of them all. Speak highly of them.  Bring attention to them. Don’t invalidate the prolife stand because you don’t like the politics of some prolifers. Don’t turn away from these children and their mothers. They are just as worthy of justice and protection as any others.

So please. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

I think Mother Teresa said it simply and said it best:

“Many people are concerned with children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is the greatest destroyer of peace today—abortion, which brings people to such blindness.”

—Diane Meyer
http://www.epm.org/blog/2012/Apr/18/dont-throw-preborn-baby-out-bath-water

Stop Patronizing Women, Offer Support and the Truth

Recently a Texas judge upheld a law that requires a woman to be shown an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion. His decision was discussed on The View and Joyce Behar and Barbara Walters made the following stunning statements:

Joyce Behar: “It’s very totalitarian in my opinion. I mean, it smacks of forcing somebody to confront something that they have already decided they don’t want to deal with.”

So if a person doesn’t want to deal with something (in this case, someone), you just avoid it? Can you imagine applying this principle to other situations in your life? “I don’t want to deal with the fact that my daughter has been molested, so I’ll just ignore it.” “I don’t want to deal with my child being bullied at school, so I’ll just ignore it.” Countless people suffer tremendously because they don’t deal with the truth but disregard it.  Ignorance is not bliss. Proverbs 14:8 says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” It is very disrespectful to women to withhold truth from them. They need to know facts and see their unborn baby before they make a decision that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Women need support, not abortion.

Barbara Walters: “I think that in order to even think about having an abortion, to give up a child that is obviously unwanted, that’s why you’re doing it, it is such a tremendous decision, it’s involved with so much fear of what you’re doing, and guilt. 

Then to have to go and be forced to hear, to see the fetus, to hear the heartbeat, to put more guilt on you, I think is heartbreaking.”

So it’s all about how the woman feels, not about bringing harm to someone else? Notice her reference to “a child.” That’s no longer in question like it used to be. Now people admit it’s a child. They have to because it’s so clearly proven by the in utero technology we now have. But that doesn’t seem to matter. The message given on The View is that what really matters is what the woman wants. What selfishness! As a woman, I take great offense at these statements because they imply that what’s most important to a woman is how she feels, not what is true. “She shouldn’t be given all the facts, because that might make her feel guilty. After all, we must avoid guilt at all cost!” This undermines the strength of a woman and her ability to deal with what is true and to make wise choices in light of that truth.

And why is this such a “tremendous decision”? Why does it involve fear and guilt? Because this isn’t just another medical procedure like having your gall bladder removed. It involves another human being, a life that God ordained from the beginning of time. “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13).

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). It is always in the best interest of the woman to give life and to love another human being. That love might be expressed in the form of relinquishing her baby for adoption into a loving home or choosing to parent. But it will never be expressed by taking the life of her unborn child.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Prov. 3:7).

 -Kathy Norquist, Executive Assistant to Randy Alcorn
http://www.epm.org/blog/2012/Mar/28/women-need-support-and-truth-not-abortion

Is It Ever Right to Disobey the Government?

Excellent post from the Gospel Coalition by Mark Coppenger:

“Recently, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) heaped contempt upon five ministers called to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The men were there to raise religious liberty concerns over the Health and Human Services Department’s policy of forcing institutions to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to their employees, even when the institutions found these options morally objectionable. Though Romans Catholics were particularly stung by this policy, four other members of the clergy—two Baptists, a Lutheran, and a Jew—came as co-belligerents for the cause of freedom of conscience.

Connolly’s fulminations included the charge that they were being used for “shameful” acts of political demagoguery. He mocked their speaking “as if people are going to jail over this. Shame! Everybody knows that’s not true.”

Actually, a lot of people know that it may well be true, and American Christians are preparing for the day when the state will no longer tolerate their “obstructionism,” their “phobias,” and their “offensive utterances.” Thus a half million believers have already signed the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, which says, in part,

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

If this means jail time over refusal to pay fines, so be it. Of course, the specter of thousands of esteemed ministers in holding cells, getting rap sheets, may cause the commissars to go wobbly and back off for fear of the political repercussions.

Fuss Over Nothing?

Could Connolly be right about this being an overheated tempest in a teapot? After all,Americais noIranorSaudi Arabia, where Christian conversion and gospel preaching land you in prison, and even the grave. We’re a liberal democracy, a pillar of Western civilization, with its constitutive freedom of conscience.

But that status is tenuous. Classic liberalism (following Adam Smith and Edmund Burke, not Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) is dying in the mainline Western nations as paternalists, cultural relativists, sensitivity police, and decadence-normalizers move in with their speech and tax codes to cow the faithful.

Åke Green and Daniel Scot are two cases in point. Green, a Swedish Pentecostal pastor on the littleislandofOland, was sentenced to a month in jail for “hate speech” and “agitation against an ethnic group” for preaching a sermon against homosexuality. Fortunately, the Swedish Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling.

Scot, a math professor and Assembly of God minister, had fled Pakistan for the safety of Australia, only to be convicted of “vilifying” Islam when he spoke in churches, explaining the roots of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was ordered to purchase tens of thousands of dollars in ads inMelbournepapers, apologizing to Muslims. He refused, at great legal expense, and the case went to the Australian Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor. And Americans of biblical conviction are also beginning to feel the heat. For instance, a Methodist retreat center inNew Jerseylost its tax-exempt status for excluding same-sex marriage ceremonies from its grounds.

When Should We Take a Stand?

Of course, this raises the question of when it is appropriate to take a stand, and when it is better to simply retire from the field, as did Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, when it stopped its adoption ministry because the law said it could not discriminate against same-sex households. After all, obedience to the law is the default position for Christians. That’s the teaching of Romans 13:1-7, which Paul wrote when the government was in many ways unsavory. But this is not an absolute duty, for we rightly celebrate the stand of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 and Peter and John’s defiance in Acts 4:1-21, where they ignored an order to stop preaching and teaching in Jesus’ name.

Still, we have to avoid the temptation to become hypersensitive to every affront to our scruples. I may be incensed over where some of my tax money is going, but I shouldn’t turn my back on the IRS in protest. And I may dislike the order to move my abortion protest across the street from a “clinic,” but I don’t need to provoke a trip in the paddy wagon by ignoring the mandated buffer zone.

So where do we draw the line?

We can certainly follow Peter and Andrew in insisting that our gospel preaching is inviolate. And there are moral outrages that no men of conscience could countenance, such as an order by Nazis to turn in Jews for transport to the death camps. But sometimes, the outrage is more particularly anti-Christian, as when 17th-century Japanese were required to show their disrespect for the faith by stepping on a tile bearing the image of Jesus (fumi-e) or face torture and death.

In contrast, in the modern West, speech codes and their supporting humiliations and fines are the bludgeons of choice. But in either case, believers must not flinch from speaking the truth in love, whatever the cost.

What shall we say, then, of that gray area where we’re not murdered or muzzled but merely mugged? I suggest we consider our witness, whether we might be bringing glory or embarrassment to God. For comparison, we might consider our take on other faiths’ possible complaints of ill treatment. For instance, I think we would rally to the side of Muslims forced to serve pork in their rescue mission. Government pressure at this point would be gratuitously offensive, whatever the rationale—whether a recent study placing pork at the base of the food-guide pyramid or the need to sustain the nation’s pork farmers by broad purchase and distribution of their product.

But when an American Muslim woman (or her husband) insists that she wear a niqab for her driver’s license photo (not an issue inSaudi Arabia), then popular sentiment rightly shifts to the government’s side, which counts an ID showing only the eyes an absurdity. By extension, we should reflect on how reasonable or absurd our own complaint might be.

Should Even Unreasonable Religious Beliefs Be Protected?

Of course, the public may not “get it” the first time through. We may need to strive mightily to make our point that a certain religious conviction or principle is crucial to us and that when the state slights our conscience, it behaves badly. Such was the burden on the Miami-area Santeria, the cult sacrificing chickens in their worship. Defenders did well to note that their killings were humane and that there was already a lot of bird “sacrifice” in the land, whether by KFC or the members of Ducks Unlimited.

Some beliefs, though, are not only curious, but dangerous: a Jehovah’s Witness refusing a C-section meant to save her unborn child because she objects to the accompanying blood transfusion; a Christian Science couple declining treatment for their son’s bowel obstruction that could rupture and cause death from peritonitis; a Christian school proudly declaring itself exempt from the general fire code. But the government can be just as unreasonable in pressing its will upon the faithful.

As we make our case for liberty, we need to show our logic, expose the illogicality of our foes, link arms with co-belligerents, exhibit dignity in the face of indignities, and make it very clear that there are limits to our flexibility.

The five ministers who testified before the House committee—Meir Soloveichik, Matthew Harrison, Craig Mitchell, William Lori, and Ben Mitchell—served us well in this regard. But the public debate continues, and it may well happen that Representative Connolly and his ilk will not grasp the gravity of the situation until the jail doors slam on dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of clergy.”

-Mark Coppenger is professor of Christian apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the seminary’s Nashville extension. He also serves on the editorial team for two online resources, Kairos Journal and BibleMesh. He has a PhD in philosophy from Vanderbilt and an MDiv from Southwestern. His third book, Moral Apologetics, was published in October 2011.
Posted here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/03/14/when-should-christians-engage-in-civil-disobedience/
italics added

Three Deadly Words: “It’s A Girl”

“In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls(1) are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.

Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members.

The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls.

Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl! explores the issue. It asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women.

The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

Currently in post-production, It’s a Girl! is scheduled for a 2012 release.”

http://www.itsagirlmovie.com/synopsis

As believers we know the best way to overcome this centuries-old gendercide is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the greco-roman world the Christian worldview liberated women. The gospel can affect the same change today in China and India.  The Bible is clear that women were created equal with men, and scripture speaks of their value and encourages their education. In Christ there is neither Jew or Greek,  slave or free, male or female, but Christ is Lord of all (Galatians 3:28).

The Bible lays out clear gender roles, but these do not suppress women. Their value to society and the Kingdom of God as individuals and through the raising of godly children is vast. The murder of girls, born and unborn, is very grievous to God. He cares about the needy, and promises retribution for all who oppress the helpless (Psalm 9:12; 94:23; Deuteronomy 32:35; Nahum 1:2-3).

The Gospel in an Abortion Culture

“As the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision approaches, most Christians recognize, and rightly so, the loss of millions of unborn human lives. What we often forget is the second casualty of an abortion culture: the consciences of countless men and women.

Too often, pastors and church leaders assume that, when talking about abortion, their invisible debating partner is the “pro-choice” television commentator or politician. Not so. Many of the people endangered by the abortion culture aren’t even pro-choice.

In your congregation this Sunday, and in the neighborhoods around you right now, there are women vulnerable to abortionist propaganda, not because they reject the church but because they’re afraid they ‘ll lose the church. Pregnant young women are scared they will scandalize church people when they start to show, so they keep it secret. Parents are fearful their pregnant daughter, or their son’s pregnant girlfriend, will prompt the rest of the congregation to see them as bad families.

As they keep all of this secret from the Body of Christ, many of them fall prey to the false gospel of the abortion clinic. “We can take care of this for you,” these people say. “And it will all go away.”

Moreover, there are thousands of men and women in our churches who have aborted their children, or urged the abortion of their grandchildren. Bearing the shame of this, they keep it secret. And in the concealment, the satanic powers accuse them: “We know who you are; you’re a murderer, like us.”

Every time pastors and church leaders speak, they are speaking, at least potentially, to these men and women, the aborting and the abortionists. Many of these people don’t argue that the “fetus” is a “person.” Their consciences testify to that, and they’re either tortured by this or violently trying to sear over that persistent internal message.

The answer, for the church, is to preach the gospel to the conscience.

For many evangelicals, to “preach the gospel” seems to be obvious and ineffective because they think this means to, by rote, prompt people to accept Jesus and go to heaven. But the gospel speaks right where the abortion culture is in slavery, to the conscience.

For one thing, those guilty of this silent atrocity often don’t think we’re talking to them. For some, the demonic structures have helped them to conceal this secret, and to convince them the safest thing to do is to try to forget it altogether. Others are so burdened down by guilt, they really don’t believe they are included in the “whosoever will” of our gospel invitations.

Speak directly to these people. To the woman who has had the abortion. To the man who has paid for an abortion. To the health care worker who has profited off of tearing apart the bodies of the young and the consciences of their parents.

Speak clearly of the horror of judgement to come. Confirm what every accusing conscience already knows: clinic privacy laws cannot keep all this from being exposed at the tribunal of Christ. When the Light shines, there’s not enough darkness in which to hide and cringe.

But don’t stop there.

Proclaim just as openly that judgment has fallen on the quivering body of a crucified Jesus—accused by Satan, indicted by the Law, enveloped by the curse.

An abortion culture knows that hell exists, and they know judgment waits (Rom 2:14-16). Agree with them, but point them to the truth that God is not simply willing to forgive them. Show them how in Christ God is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:26).

The woman who has had the abortion needs to know that, if she is hidden in Christ, God does not see her as “that woman who had the abortion.” He hasn’t been subverted from sending her to hell because she found a gospel “loophole.” In Christ, she’s already been to hell.

And, in the resurrected Christ, God has already told her what he thinks of her: “You are my beloved child and in you I am well-pleased.”

The consciences around us don’t believe what they’re telling themselves. They’re scared and accused. Shine the light in the eyes of their consciences. Prophetically. All for justice, legally and culturally, for the unborn. But don’t stop there.

After all, the spirit of murder doesn’t start or end in the abortion clinic (Matt. 5:21, 15:19; Jn. 8:44; Acts 9:1; Rom. 1:29; Jn. 3:15). And the blood of Christ has cleansed the consciences of rebels like all of us.

Warn of hell, but offer mercy. Offer that mercy not only at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but in the small groups and hallways of your church.”

-Russell D. Moore, January 19, 2012, Complements of:  http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/01/19/the-gospel-in-an-abortion-culture/