A Tale of Two Videos: We Must Protect the Defenseless

January 22, 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. People on both sides of the abortion debate have been writing articles and discussing what has happened in the last 40 years and where we go from here. There has been some encouraging news for the pro-life movement and a good deal of advancement in science and technology that illustrates that the unborn are babies and not simply a mass of tissue. On the other hand, Planned Parenthood, one of the largest abortion providers in the U.S., announced a record year in number of abortions last year. In just the past three years, Planned Parenthood has performed nearly 1 million abortions.

This last week two pro-life videos have been making the rounds. Both are very powerful. The first video by March for Life incorporates a speech made by President Obama with images of children and pro-life rallies. The speech, on the importance of protecting our children, was made in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The point of the video is to underscore the importance of protecting ALL of our children, even the smallest and most unprotected ones.

Here is a transcript of President Obama’s speech used in the video:

They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, children of their own.

This is our first task: caring for our children. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how as a society we will be judged. By that measure, can we honestly say we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is “No.”

These tragedies must end. You will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.

If there’s even one step that we can take to save another child, then surely we have an obligation to try.

Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year, is somehow the price of our freedom?

It is clear that the speech was given for an entirely different purpose than the protection of the unborn. And that is a shame. May his words serve as a stark reminder of the irony of a nation that would restrict some freedoms in order to protect children from potential tragedy, while continuing to destroy the weakest and most defenseless children so as not to infringe on the “freedom to choose.”

The second video, written and directed by David Altrogge, is a documentary about the horrors that took place at the Women’s Medical Society, an abortion clinic, in West Philadelphia.

*Warning: The video is extremely difficult to watch. Children and sensitive people should not watch. However, a transcript from the Grand Jury case is available on the website and will serve to inform any who would prefer not to watch the video.*

Dr. Kermit Gosnell opened the clinic in West Philadelphia in 1979. In the 30 years since, his clinic performed illegal, late-term abortions in dirty and unsafe conditions. Many women were injured and some died because of the untrained staff and the substandard care. Despite many complaints, it wasn’t until the clinic was raided because of Dr. Gosnell’s illegal practice of selling prescription drugs like Oxycontin that the horrors of the abortion side of the clinic could no longer be ignored. Dr. Gosnell is currently in prison and awaiting trial.

What follows are small excerpts from Grand Jury report as summarized on the 3801 Lancaster website:

This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.

And,

The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.

The people who ran this sham medical practice included no doctors other than Gosnell himself, and not even a single nurse. Two of his employees had been to medical school, but neither of them were licensed physicians. They just pretended to be. Everyone called them “Doctor,” even though they, and Gosnell, knew they weren’t. Among the rest of the staff, there was no one with any medical licensing or relevant certification at all. But that didn’t stop them from making diagnoses, performing procedures, administering drugs.

And,

When you perform late-term “abortions” by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it “ensuring fetal demise.” The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that “snipping.”

Over the years, there were hundreds of “snippings.” Sometimes, if Gosnell was unavailable, the “snipping” was done by one of his fake doctors, or even by one of the administrative staff. But all the employees of the Women’s Medical Society knew.

The full report is available here.

It is my hope that these videos will encourage us all to work to protect the unborn. I believe that President Obama is right when he says that we will be judged by the way we care for our children, all of them.

No crisis of faith necessary, simply exchange conservative beliefs for liberal ones

One of the goals that organizations like the BioLogos foundation have is to reconcile evolutionary creation and biblical faith. Of their great concern is the number of people who have had a “crisis of faith” because of the apparent conflict between science and faith and have left the church. The goal is to show Christians that they don’t have to give up their faith to accept the scientific consensus on evolution. All they have to do is adjust their understanding of Scripture and what it teaches.

Many critics of this approach have argued that this kind of accommodation leads to further accommodation and the loss of more and more tenets of biblical faith. Slippery slope arguments, as they are often called, generally are sneered at and ridiculed. However, the truth of this danger is fairly easy to demonstrate.

Dr. Peter Enns, formerly a BioLogos senior fellow, wrote in his book, The Evolution of Adam, that maybe we should reconsider our definition of sin and our understanding of death, in consideration of the “truth of evolution”:

Although … sin and death are universal realities, the Christian tradition has generally attributed the cause to Adam. But evolution removes that cause as Paul understood it and thus leaves open the questions of where sin and death have come from. More than that, the very nature of what sin is and why people die is turned on its head. Some characteristics that Christians have thought of as sinful — for example, in an evolutionary scheme the aggression and dominance associated with “survival of the fittest” and sexual promiscuity to perpetuate one’s gene pool — are understood as means of ensuring survival. Likewise, death is not the enemy to be defeated. It may be feared, it may be ritualized, it may be addressed in epic myths and sagas; but death is not the unnatural state introduced by a disobedient couple in a primordial garden. Actually, it is the means that promotes the continued evolution of life on this planet and even ensures workable population numbers. Death may hurt, but it is evolution’s ally (160).

Dr. Karl Giberson, formerly VP of BioLogos, has written a book with Dr. Randall Stephens entitled, The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. In their book, Giberson and Stephens argue that evangelical Christians must learn to accept the scientific consensuses and stop making fools of themselves by going against the tide. They also believe that there is a simple answer to avoiding a crisis of faith:

Not all born-again Christians lose their faith in such crises, of course. Many simply find a new articulation and a new place in the parallel culture of evangelicalism where they are more comfortable and where they can live more faithfully. The spectrum of evangelical belief runs from a rigid, judgmental, sometimes harsh fundamentalism on one end to a more liberal and culturally plural expressions on the other. Often an evangelical ‘crisis of faith’ is resolved with a simple liberalizing, whereby specific beliefs—biblical literalism, young earth creationism, homosexuality as perversion, eternal torment of the damned in a literal hell, the sinfulness of abortion—are abandoned and other beliefs—the Bible as literature, concern for the environment, racial and cultural equality for oppressed groups, universality of salvation, an emphasis on social justice, tolerance of diversity—move to the center as animating ethical and theological concerns. The evangelical spectrum encompasses both of these camps (216).

Notice that evangelicals are urged not only to give up a belief in Young Earth Creationism, but also the inerrancy of Scripture, a literal hell, and homosexuality and abortion as sins. It’s never just about evolution. To accept evolution as the “way God created” requires a type of mental gymnastics with what Scripture teaches. Once you give up the orthodox teachings on Scripture, everything else is open to redefinition. How much longer until Giberson and the rest accept the scientific consensus that no man has ever risen from the dead?

Why abortion is the most important issue this election

Denny Burk posted an article last week about explaining why abortion is the most pressing issue of this election. I really appreciated what he had to say. Caring about a candidate’s stance on abortion does not make you a “single-issue voter.” Some things are just that important:

As of now, it appears there is a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court in favor of Roe. The candidate who wins the presidency will appoint justices who will either bolster the current majority in favor of Roe or will make a new majority against Roe. In effect, this election is a referendum on the legality of abortion.

Neither of the presidential candidates is perfect, but they are nevertheless very different concerning the issue of abortion. On the one hand, Barack Obama has pledged his unqualified support for Roe v. Wade. His unswerving commitment to Roe even led him once to oppose a law that would have protected survivors of botched abortions. On the other hand, Mitt Romney has said that Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned.

Professor Burk goes on to give four reasons for Christians to prayerfully consider how to vote:

First, you are commanded to “rescue” innocent human life from being unjustly snuffed out. This command issues from the same God who said “thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not bear false witness,” and it has the same authority over our consciences. …

Second, at the last judgment you will not be able to claim ignorance about your duty to defend innocent human life. Remember, more than 50 million innocent human lives have been snuffed out legally since 1973. …

Third, the Lord “weighs your heart” and will hold you accountable for the way you think about the unborn. …

Fourth, do not be deceived. God will hold you accountable for how you vote. The Proverb says that God will “repay” each person according to what he has done. There are many “works” that we will have to give an answer for at the last judgment, and our voting will be one of them. Do you think a vote against protecting the unborn will be mitigated at the judgment by arguments like, “Abortion is only one issue among many,” “Single-issue voting is small-minded” and “The pro-abortion candidate agrees with me on other important issues”?

Beware of such arguments. God has said over and over that He is ardently interested in protecting the innocent (e.g., Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29; Psalm 146:9; Isaiah 1:17, 23; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5; James 1:27). At the last judgment, protecting innocent human life will be seen for the transcendent value that it is. Will your vote reflect that?

I highly recommend that you read the whole article, and I strongly hope you will choose life this November.