Tag Archives: abortion

What is Becoming of our Culture?

In Psalm 10, the writer describes evil and the way it works in a culture. We all know that human beings are born with sinful human nature, and this passage describes a fully matured sinful nature that works destructively in the culture. Read it slowly and attentively.

    He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
       His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
        he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
       he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10    The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
11    He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Psalm 10:8-11

This text sounds so primitive and vulgar that it is hard to believe this is biblical text. It is ugly. It is vicious. It is simply impossible to believe that any human being could be so vile. Yet if you consider this description to be without precedent in reality, just discover how Planned Parenthood is selling the body parts of aborted babies. I’m not going to use the euphemisms. I’m going to use the word: baby. Planned Parenthood treats the body parts of aborted babies as the elements of a crass marketing plan.

In ancient times an ancient god named Moloch came to be the name we all associate with child sacrifice. People sacrificed children to Moloch in order that things might be better for themselves. The point of the sacrifice was to feed the god so he would provide well for the villagers. It sounds a lot like the logic that a woman has a “right to choose” if the death of the baby is advantageous to her. Women who have exercised their “right to choose” are encouraged to salve their consciences suffering (surely they suffer) pangs for condemning a baby to death by asking them to consent to the “harvest” of “tissue” for “life-saving” scientific research. So, just like babies sacrificed to Moloch, those babies sacrificed to personal convenience save the village by becoming research projects.

For all the public rhetoric on the subject of abortion in today’s culture, the rhetoric always carefully avoids talking about babies. Even the language used by the so-called doctor on the video linked above avoids words that might evoke thoughts of an actual baby. She calls the head a calverium. Not a baby’s head. A calverium. She speaks of harvesting an intact calverium as if she were harvesting a tomato, yet the process is no less a beheading than the gruesome executions of Egyptian Christians by ISIS in Libya. When a human being’s head is removed, it is a beheading, decapitation, not the act of harvesting fruits for human blessing and benefit.

The Psalmist reminds us that the vile behavior of Planned Parenthood is not a product of human evolution into beings far more intelligent and inclusively moral than those ancient, primitive scribes that wrote the Bible. As you read the words of the psalm, you see that humans have not apparently changed at all. Yet we are told that humans no longer need God, because we know science. We no longer need our morality to be imposed by ancient, dusty books, because we have evolved into creatures with superior intellect who can evaluate issues and reach logical conclusions that are more fulfilling and desirable than the restrictive hatefulness of ancient primitive people who listened to voices in their heads. According to Planned Parenthood, humans have come a long way from the ancient Levant.

In fact, humans have apparently evolved so thoroughly that Planned Parenthood is not even the only place where babies are treated like trash. Read an excerpt from Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery  by Richard Selzer. In this excerpt, babies ripped untimely from their mother’s protective wombs are treated like trash bagged up and thrown into rows of trash cans behind a hospital, ready for disposal in a local landfill.

When Christians contemplate such things, they feel defeated. They wonder what to do to turn things around. If you feel this way, then you will understand the distress expressed by Leon Wolf whose post “Our Broken Country” gives words to the grief we all feel about these problems.

There certainly are things we can do in this world to resist and reject wickedness. We can speak. We can act. We can vote. But, unless we act out of a deep and intimate relationship with Christ that motivates and shapes our acts, we risk becoming more like our adversaries than like Christ.

The Psalmist knew about that problem. He wrote:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
    How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
    Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
    lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
    But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
    I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13

Pray this prayer. Put your own name in the prayer, and pray it all the way through. Put “the USA” in the prayer and pray it all the way through. “How long, O Lord? Will you forget the USA forever?” Pray intensely. Pray repeatedly. Keep praying. This is the way we prepare ourselves to be part of God’s solution to what is becoming of our culture.

Abortion is Murder by Another Name

Jessica Valenti classifies abortion as “a safe, legal and necessary medical procedure” in her recent post complaining that North Carolina does not want state funded facilities to perform abortions or teach how to perform abortions. Her argument completely leapfrogs the real point of the law and the discussion surrounding it—the immorality of abortion on demand.

 Ms. Valenti’s careful choice of language ignores the fact that an abortion kills a living human being, and humans know that killing a human being is not a trivial matter to be undertaken on a whim or simply for convenience. If killing a human, because the human is an inconvenience, were the right thing to do, the population of the US would be much smaller. In fact, the population is much smaller than it ought to be, because convenience killing of human beings has become common. The humans being killed are so small and vulnerable that the popular language refers to them as “a blob of cells,” or “the products of conception,” but regardless of that language, the fact is that abortion kills humans. In any other setting, if one human kills another, it is murder unless it is a court-ordered execution. Murder. Millions of tiny human beings are murdered in the US every day, and the process by which they are murdered is described as “a safe, legal and necessary medical procedure.”

 As long as one contemplates the procedure in such sterile language, it sounds harmless enough. It is just another medical procedure like removing a wart or sewing up a bad cut. A procedure. Doctors need to know all about all the possible medical procedures, don’t they?

 They do not.

 Students who are studying to become doctors never learn all the possible procedures, all the possible medications or even all the possible diagnoses. They learn the procedures, medications, and diagnoses that they are most likely to encounter a need for. A student doctor may be at the top of his class and know without error everything that has been presented to him during his medical education, but he will not even have been exposed to many esoteric procedures, medications, or diagnoses. A graduate of medical school who has completed his residency and is ready to open his own office still does not know all that there is to know about procedures, medications, or diagnoses.

North Carolina’s proposed law to ban state funded abortions in their entirety does not prevent doctors from learning the procedure for abortions. It simply prevents them from learning such a procedure at taxpayer expense. The taxpayers of North Carolina have spoken, and they say they do not want to pay for a procedure that kills defenseless, innocent, unborn human beings. They don’t want to pay for the removal of the cells of either an embryo or a fetus, because whether it is an embryo or a fetus, it is still a human being.

 North Carolina is within its rights to make this decision. There are very few situations in which a doctor must tell a pregnant woman that continuing a pregnancy is a threat to her own life. It does happen, but it is rare. It is a tragedy when a pregnant woman discovers that she might not even survive long enough into the pregnancy for the baby to be viable outside the womb after the mother dies. In such a situation, an abortion would be a reasonable choice. Death of someone is inevitable. Death of both mother and baby is possible, even likely. To be able to offer a safe abortion to a mother in that circumstance would be a blessing, even though the mother would mourn the death of her child regardless. When North Carolina makes a law that state-funded institutions will not conduct abortions, that law does not prevent a mother from obtaining the abortion elsewhere.

 Likewise, if state institutions do not teach abortion procedures (and by the way, the term should be plural, since there actually are multiple choices over the full term of a pregnancy), it does not mean that abortion procedures will not be taught. It does not even mean that medical students who attend state-funded schools of medicine in North Carolina cannot ever learn that procedure unless they learn it in a state-funded medical school. Private institutions will still do abortions and teach abortions if they choose. The taxpayers will not pay for it; private individuals who want and need the procedure will pay for it.

 Advocates of abortion on demand at all times in all places always act as if the opportunity for a mother to murder her baby will be completely lost if even one option for obtaining abortion is removed. Sadly, this fear is unfounded. If North Carolina’s state government no longer funds abortions, abortion will still be readily available to any woman in North Carolina who wants it.

I consider myself an advocate for the full humanity of every individual from conception to death, and with that in mind, I advocate for the full humanity of every woman who discovers that she is pregnant when she did not want to be. I am an adult woman myself, I know exactly how women become pregnant, and I know that there are many avenues for preventing pregnancy. I also know that we human beings commonly fail to use good judgment and self-control, usually when we need it most. If a woman is pregnant and does not want to be pregnant or rear a child, a solution does not involve murder. There are many married couples who want children and no pregnancy is happening for them. There are women who want very much to get pregnant, but they don’t. There are families who would welcome another child just because that is how they feel about life. A woman who is pregnant when it seems inconvenient or even disastrous need not commit murder in order to be free of it. She can give her baby to a family that will love and cherish the baby and rear that precious, very real human being to adulthood, God willing.

 It is painful to see a term that means “the murder of a defenseless, innocent, unborn human being, created and loved by God himself,” sterilized and sanitized into the definition that it is “a safe, legal and necessary medical procedure.” You would think it was a tetanus shot. Abortion kills a baby. There are no two ways about it. It is almost never “necessary” because it is extremely rare that the pregnancy itself is a threat to the life of the mother or that it requires a choice between the life of the mother and the life of the baby. Rare. Extremely rare. Only in those rare cases is it reasonable.

 There is no reason for abortion to be a common procedure, easier to obtain than an aspirin from the school nurse. A human being’s life is lost every time an abortion is successful. I applaud North Carolina for responding to the expectation of the citizens of that state that they will not be the ones to make it easy to murder defenseless, innocent, unborn human beings.

 

Reproductive Rights–Very Important

Fetus at 8 weeks

The political discussion surrounding an issue labeled “reproductive rights” carefully avoids what most political discussions avoid: truth.

The discussion labeled “reproductive rights” is not about reproduction at all. This discussion is about not reproducing. The USA is full of people who do not want to reproduce, and we have the statistics to prove it. The political discussion labeled “reproductive rights” is about the fact that many, many people in the USA do not want children.

The lengths to which they will go to avoid having children appears to have no limit.

  • They will take drugs to prevent ovulation.
  • They will take drugs to prevent implantation.
  • They will take drugs to kill the embryo that managed to come to life despite all the other drugs.
  • They will abort fetuses that cannot survive outside the womb.
  • They will abort fetuses that can survive outside the womb using methods that assure the fetus will not survive.
  • They are beginning to advocate that parents have the right to do away with post-born children that displease them.

Activists for “reproductive rights” ask why anybody objects to any of this behavior. They ask, doesn’t a woman have the right to control her own body?

The answer to that question is “yes.” Emphatically “yes.” A woman does have the right to control her own body. A woman can refuse to engage in sexual activity that might lead to the fertilization of an egg in her body. There are certainly situations where that control is wrested from a woman by men whose drive toward sexual climax leads them to assault a woman, but those situations are statistically very rare and can be dealt with as abnormal exceptions to the affirmation that every woman can say “no.”

The one contraceptive that works without exception, every time it is used, is abstinence. This contraceptive is available at no charge to any adult human being by saying the word “no.” With that word, a woman can assert and confirm that she is in control of her body, or a man can do the same. Men also have the right to choose to abstain. Adult humans of either gender can say “no” and abstain from actions that might lead to the conception of a new human being.

The use of drugs and devices and abortions are all statements that an adult human’s body is controlling the human being; the human being is not controlling his or her body. The point of drugs and devices and abortion is that adults, both men and women, have sexual desires, needs, urges, even demands, that they do not want to resist. The subject of “reproductive rights” is about evading reproduction while continuing to engage in sexual activity that is likely to end in reproduction.

There is nothing inherently wrong with sexual activity, just as there is nothing wrong with choosing not to reproduce. There is a lot wrong with doing anything at the expense of the human being one has reproduced. Babies, even babies without faces, babies who have not matured to a point where they could speak, or even think a thought to be expressed as speech, babies at every developmental level, are human beings.

Sometimes discussions of rape or incest or marriage or divorce become entangled in the discussions of “reproductive rights.” . Those issues are related, but not central. The central issue best stated in two questions:

Does an adult human being have the right to control his or her own body?
Will an adult human being exercise the right to control his or her own body?

An adult human being certainly does have the right, indeed, he or she has the obligation, to control his or her own body. An adult is in control of his or her body when that adult makes a choice about sexual activity consistent with that adult’s intent to reproduce or not to reproduce. An adult is controlled by his or her body when the decision about bearing children is deferred until after that adult’s sexual activity has resulted in the conception of a human being.

Related but peripheral questions are:

  • May an adult human being delay pregnancy and childbirth for a time in order to pursue a career? YES. (It is not necessary to murder unborn children in order to achieve this goal.)
  • Does society have the right to impose on an adult human being the obligation to conceive, bear and rear children? NO (Society may not require any adult human being to conceive children. However, after an adult has engaged in activity that results in the conception of a human being, society has a right to expect that the responsible adult will take responsibility for the well-being of the child that was conceived.)
  • Does society have the right to impose on an adult human being a prohibition against conceiving, bearing and rearing children? NO (Society may not forbid an adult human being from conceiving children. What society does have a right to expect is that adult human beings will control their bodies and take responsibility for rearing the children they do conceive.)
  • Doesn’t an adult human being have the right never to be saddled with children if he or she does not want any? YES (It is not necessary to murder unborn children in order to achieve this goal. It is necessary for the adult human being to control his or her body.)
  • Does an adult human being have the right to kill an unborn human being that is the result of the voluntary choice by the adult to engage in sexual activity that could lead to the conception of that unborn human being? NO (To kill a human being who exists because an adult made a mistake is to commit murder.)
  • Does an adult human being have the right to kill a post-born human being under the age of 0 days? 1 day? 1 year? 3years? whose existence is a problem for that adult human being? NO (To kill a human being of any age is to commit murder.)

The Founders of the USA knew that life is God’s most precious gift to human beings. They wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Life is an unalienable right, and the right to life is one of the reasons that murder is a crime not subject to a statute of limitations. The right to life is so important that protecting it is one reason for the existence of human government. The person who murders another human being knows that he is guilty and subject to arrest and prosecution no matter how much time has passed since the murder. No matter the age or skin color or ethnicity or political persuasion of the victim. Murder is a crime.

Only legal subterfuge by playing with language permits the murder of an unborn baby to be treated any differently than the murder of a twenty-year-old college student. Legal language says that murder is a crime against a person, and the legal term person has a definition not equivalent to the definition of human being. Because our founding documents assert that life is an unalienable right, endowed by the Creator, every law based on a definition of the word person as something different from a human being is actually in error. It is illegitimate, based on the Declaration of Independence, to treat any human being as something less than human, because every human being has the right to life.

The Declaration calls on a still higher power, the Creator, by which the authors of the Declaration of Independence meant God, the God who created the universe. Yet, even if they could be accused of making up God, they could not be accused of making up a right to life. God writes certain truths in the human heart at the moment of creation. Human beings know that certain things are right and others are wrong. This is a fact observed by anthropologists worldwide. Whether one believes that this knowledge originated with God or is simply part of the evolved nature of human beings, it is still the case that human beings all recognize the unique value of human life. Slave-holding societies don’t thrive on a belief that human slaves are worth less than other humans; they shut down their consciences that tell them slavery is wrong by declaring the slaves to be less than human. This subterfuge is the legal equivalent to declaring a fetus not to be a person, and therefore not entitled to human rights.

Secular thinkers proudly declare themselves to be protectors of human rights, even though they deny any divine origin for their values. It is not necessary to acknowledge the existence of God in order to observe that humans inherently recognize the right to life. It is the foundation of human society. The vast amounts of time, energy, and treasure devoted to the protection of life would not exist. The family itself crosses all tribal and ethnic boundaries, as a core protection for human life. If not for the inborn human value for life, nobody would try to find cures for diseases. There would be no Band-Aids or aspirin or heart transplants. Human beings inherently know that the value of a human life is beyond measure. Humans regard it as the ultimate dehumanization to put a price on a life—as in cases of slavery or hired assassins. It is this inborn understanding that makes it necessary in a secular mind to distinguish between a human being and a person.

Every human being has a right to life, just as every man and woman has a right to control his or her own body and sexual activity. Every adult human being has the right to say NO to sexual activity, but no human being has the right to say NO to human life. The unborn baby is a human life, from the moment of conception. The human egg produced in the body of a human woman can only be fertilized by a human sperm produced in the body of a human man, and the consequence of that fertilization is a human being.

Christians believe that God himself creates each human being, which means that, for Christians, there is another dimension in which the issues of life and reproduction are discussed. Christians read the story of God’s creation of human beings and discern his activity in the conception of each human being. Christians treasure the biblical image where God “breathed into [man’s] nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7 ESV). For Christians the issue of the sanctity of life transcends anybody’s personal rights, because a human being is created not only with the God-given right to life, but also with a God-given purpose in God’s created order of things. God has plans for this person. When we argue the right to life with secular thinkers in the public forum, we must speak the language they understand, but in our hearts and minds, we see the whole issue in a much larger perspective. The right to life in time and space has standing in an eternal and infinite context.

To assert a human being’s right to life in a political discussion is to engage in a conversation with people from all points of view. It is a godly work to stand for God’s gift of life and to speak from a godly worldview. It is equally godly to recognize that God created all the participants in that conversation. The person who speaks most vehemently in favor of murdering unwanted children is, nevertheless, created by God. God breathed his breath into that person and loved that person into being. Our discourse on behalf of the right of every human being to life itself must include respectful recognition that God created the opponent in the argument also.

Christians must engage in this discussion remembering that the real enemy is Satan, not the person enslaved by Satan’s lies. Our testimony to the love of God for all people must include his love for those who adamantly reject everything we say. We must copy the model Jesus gave us on the cross when he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Image: courtesy of Phototgraphy by Shaeree :
License: CC BY-NC
Source: http://foter.com

Who Are the Most Vulnerable Among Us?

HumanNewborn 1000

American culture is troubled and stirred by discussion of values under the cover of arguments about politics. Christians are accused of injecting their values into political discussions that, some allege, should be secular only. Secular thinkers believe that only secular values have a place in political discourse. It is more than a battle about laws, because laws are cold, sterile things. These discussions are heated, even violent. In the course of determining what is best for the country, all parties express themselves with vehemence, while many observers and even some participants cry out for more restraint. All pretend not to recognize that political decisions are always the hardening of worldviews into law, and values are ultimately shaped by worldviews.

Political battles are conflicts over worldviews.

While it is possible to distill from the rhetoric a semblance of “the Christian worldview” and “the secular worldview,” every individual is such a mix of influences and commitments, that it is not easy to determine what “every Christian believes” or what “every secularist believes.” There are even people who say that people’s “beliefs” are irrelevant to the discussion, because it should always be about what is best for the country. However, people decide what is best for the country by comparing the outcomes of various decisions with their beliefs about what is good. People consider something good when it is consistent with their beliefs. To choose what is good is action based on beliefs.

The latest battle over a bill to limit abortion in the US is an example of worldviews in conflict. The bill would have restricted abortion of unborn babies at or beyond 20 weeks gestation. The basis for this threshold is the medical finding that unborn babies at or beyond 20 weeks gestation are capable of experiencing pain. The bill included an exception for pregnancy resulting from rape, along with a requirement that the rape be reported to the police. Interestingly, this reporting requirement became the center of the controversy rather than the abortion restriction itself, yet, like so many political decisions, everybody knew that it was abortion, not crime reporting, that was the issue. The bill as proposed, and the decision to withdraw it, grow out of very different worldviews.

One worldview holds that human life itself has inherent value, and that value demands protection. This worldview is expressed in the pre-eminent founding document of this country—the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.

This statement from the Declaration asserts that human life is a right, an unalienable right, a right granted by God himself, a right that is so precious that it is one of the reasons human beings have government. The first reason to have government is to protect human life.

Another worldview holds that it is possible to classify the value of a human life. This view rejects the principle that life is a right endowed by the Creator, but rather, assesses the value of one human life relative to its value to some other human. This worldview surfaces in the notion that people approaching the “end of life” need to decide what their life is worth to others, including their insurance companies. It figures in arguments about how unfair it might be to someone’s career objectives to be saddled with childcare, a concept that leads to a view that childcare might be a right, because a parent’s availability for work has a value and should not be reduced by necessity of caring for a child. Relative to the value of a career path, the child’s value diminishes. The view that human life has only relative value leads to a view that it is an imposition on someone to leave a career path and embark on a caring path.

Those who rephrase the discussion by arguing whether the unborn baby is a human being or a person argue over definitions incorporated into existing law rather than discuss the origin and supreme value of human life. To do so is to use definitions in existing law to frame the discussion rather than use definitions established by the founding documents. Definitions in law are derivative, and even though they should all be consistent with the founding documents, human history clearly shows that the derivatives from the founding language may not actually be consistent with the founding language. Of course, by focusing on laws rightly or wrongly derived from the founding documents, one avoids the argument of the divine origin of the right to life.

Eventually, however, all the political arguments leave the subject that is most important, the value and meaning of human life, and move on to some point that is irrelevant to the moral worldview that needs to become law. Political leaders do not want to be clear about their views about an issue as important as the divine origin of the human right to life. They feel vulnerable when a voter has a clear reason to vote for a different candidate. Christians involved in such discussions need to be attentive to the pressure to abandon the real subject and talk about something else.

During discussions that preceded the withdrawal of a strong anti-abortion bill up for a vote in the House of Representatives, one female representative pushed back on the real subject and introduced a way to talk about her objective without talking about life. She said, “We have a responsibility, as the elected body representing our constituents, to protect the most vulnerable among us.” Representative Walorski tried to move the discussion away from the value of life to some other value, all the while trying to sound compassionate.

There are several ways to find out who is “the most vulnerable among us.”

One way is to ask who is least capable of defending himself (or herself) from attack with deadly intent. It is hard to imagine anyone less capable of defending himself than an unborn baby. (Please do not go ballistic over the generic male pronoun. It is generic, not a statement of male domination. Human beings have gender, and the only genderless pronoun is it. Since it refers to nonhuman objects, and since my mind rejects the use of third person plural for a singular pronoun, I will use the generic third person singular male pronoun.) An unborn baby may or may not be viable outside the womb, but he has absolutely no line of defense against an assault by adult humans determined to end his life. Or her life. That is what abortion is. Abortion is an act by adult human beings that results in the death of an unborn human being, because the person in whose uterus that unborn human being resides has decided that pregnancy is inconvenient.

Representative Walorski’s statement about “the most vulnerable” actually continued beyond the quoted segment above. Her full sentence says, “We have a responsibility, as the elected body representing our constituents, to protect the most vulnerable among us and ensure that women facing unwanted pregnancies do not face judgment or condemnation but have positive support structures and access to health care to help them through their pregnancies.” (As quoted at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/abortion-bill-dropped-amid-concerns-of-female-gop-lawmakers/2015/01/22/56ffafea-a24a-11e4-903f-9f2faf7cd9fe_story.html . Emphasis mine.) Clearly, Representative Walorski views “women facing unwanted pregnancies” as “the most vulnerable among us.” She also clearly believes that abortion is necessary to “help them through their pregnancies.” Since abortion ends pregnancies, to conclude that abortion “help[s] them through their pregnancies” must mean that termination rather than delivery is the way to help women with pregnancy. Expressed this way, pregnancy sounds like a disease that might be as dire as measles, and the language makes abortion sound like a treatment comparable to the administration of an antibiotic. (Check the etymology of antibiotic. The word is formed from two elements: anti—against and biotic—life.)

Another way to ask who is “the most vulnerable among us” is to ask who might lose political power and prestige in someone’s eyes for interfering with the choice of abortion when someone finds pregnancy inconvenient. Who might have that view of vulnerability? It might be a woman elected to the House of Representatives by voters in her state. That woman might be so afraid of losing a vote in the next election that she would betray her commitment to the people who voted for her in the last election. It is hard to imagine that such a woman feels vulnerable to losing votes for any level of opposition to abortion when the same woman actually campaigned on her opposition to abortion. Presumably, if she campaigned in opposition to abortion, the people who voted for her expect her to live up to her campaign rhetoric. Why, then, would she feel vulnerable if she acted on her own stated principles?

Yet exactly such a woman, Representative Jackie Walorski, frantically advocated for the withdrawal of a bill to protect unborn babies from the pain of experiencing an abortion. She was not alone. Other female Republican Representatives joined in her activism to kill the bill, and they succeeded. They killed a bill to prevent the killing of unborn babies. In their commitment to save themselves the pain of living up to their promises, Republicans in Congress concluded that they themselves were “the most vulnerable among us,” and they passed their pain on to millions of unborn babies who will be murdered by dismemberment after twenty or more weeks in utero.

With or without HR36, the discussion of abortion by advocates and opponents will not end in the US, because it truly is a point where worldviews collide violently. The assertion that life originates as a divine gift cannot be accommodated by a view that life only has value relative to its convenience to a human being. That is the ultimate discussion, even if the conversation is clouded by political and social concerns about who likes whom.

Christians who consider their values to be rooted in biblical teaching take the stance that human life is an absolute value, not relative to anyone’s convenience or preferences. The Bible teaches that human life comes into being by the co-creative acts of human beings and God himself, in accord with his ultimate perfect purposes. Two of the documented ancestors of Jesus were born of “unplanned” pregnancies, as was Jesus himself, a fact that reminds Christians and secularists alike that using the term “unplanned” denies the divine agency in the conception of each human being.

Christians cannot expect to prevail in this conflict by being more powerful. God works his greatest miracles in people who are willing to be “the most vulnerable.” Christians must speak, because God calls us to testify to Him everywhere at all times, not because the power of our words will defeat an enemy like Satan. Christians must write, because God asks us to make his message so plain that it is legible from a galloping horse, not because our writing will take a Pulitzer. Christians must vote, because God wants us to be citizens who take our responsibilities seriously, not because we expect God to twist the arms of those who disagree with us.

Most of all, Christians must pray.

Christians must pray that God’s kingdom overtake us and draw us in, and that God’s will be done. Christians must pray to know and do God’s will. Christians must pray to love those so deeply enslaved by Satan that they actually believe they are doing the right thing to abort a baby. Those who choose to abort will suffer, whether or not they expect it. Christians must be ready to share Christ’s message of hope and redemption, because God longs to see every human being through the blood of Christ, not the blood of “the most vulnerable among us” in an abortion clinic.

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Image: Courtesy of Ernest F,
License: CC-BY-SA-3.0,
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File %3AHumanNewborn.JPG

Does Government have a Compelling Interest in Controlling Population Growth?

The creation story in the Bible includes God’s first commandment to human beings: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28 NIV) The implication of the commandment is that babies are blessings. Loving parents and the patter of many little feet in a family is a good thing, according to this rule, God’s first instruction to Adam and Eve.

After God later tries to destroy by flood the humankind that has chosen evil instead of good, he regrets doing so and decides never to do it again. He wants the earth to be full of people, even if they are headstrong and easily lured into bad choices by Satan. After Noah has come out of the ark with his family and a large assortment of animals, God repeats his first commandment, saying “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1 NIV) God, who loves people, wants lots of them to live in the world he has created for their joy.

The psalmist had a similar inspired thought when he wrote, “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” (Psalm 127:3-5 NIV) The Bible is full of stories centered on yearning for children and the joy of filling up a home with them. The most beautiful story in the world is the story of the birth of a child whose arrival was heralded by angels, but a birth story need not be filled with angels, shepherds and wise men in order for it to be filled with joy.

Why, then, the worldwide outcry that the world is overpopulated? The earth is far from being “filled” with people. What is the problem? Why does the UN have annual conferences around the theme of population control by means of contraception and abortion on demand? Why do so many politicians feel that it is politically correct to support abortion on demand? Why are the parents of large families treated as pariahs in some circles simply because they enjoy their children? When did the blessing of children become a curse that needs to be limited if not eliminated?

These questions are important. There is huge social and political pressure to remove any possibility of a woman giving birth to an “unplanned” baby. All this emphasis on “planning” opens the door to planning by someone other than a pregnant woman. It is so important that the US government is prepared to dive even deeper into financial deficits in order to assure that no woman need pay for birth control and that every woman be able to abort an unplanned baby as easily as she might discard last year’s sunglasses. The UN is in complete agreement with this principle. It is busy even now crafting a new statement of human rights that includes the right to avoid having children.

This imperative is having some effect. US population growth is slowing. European population growth is stalled. Apparently the UN wants the same thing to happen in Africa. The Chinese government has been doing its part for decades. Why do citizens permit governments to tell them when they may have children and how many? What makes citizens willing to suppress the birth of babies? How did the choice to have children become entangled with the power and responsibility of government?

These questions are at the root of the case now pending in the Supreme Court. Two companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, will have the opportunity in March to address the Supreme Court on this very subject. It comes to a head over the fact that the owners of both companies live by principles that are rooted in their religious convictions. Those principles proscribe the destruction of human beings, even if the human is only one fertilized cell. Because they believe that human life is God’s gift which human beings must protect at all costs, they cannot comply with the government requirement to pay for health insurance coverage that gives free contraceptives and abortifacient drugs to their employees.

A major point in the arguments will be whether the government has a compelling interest that is served most appropriately by forcing these business owners to act against their own consciences. It all really comes down to the ugly question in the early paragraphs of this post: Why do citizens permit governments to tell them when they may have children and how many? What makes citizens willing to suppress the birth of babies? The only compelling interest the government could have in bulldozing people of faith and their principles over contraceptives and abortion is population control.

The government may have some political idea that limiting the population is in its interest, but neither the goal itself nor the objective of achieving a precedent that puts the interests of government ahead of the convictions of people of faith is consistent with the Constitution’s limitations on the power of the federal government.

There are plenty of political spokespersons who will claim that these employers want to take charge of the lives of their employees. That is a ridiculous charge, because the employers do not now attempt to prevent their employees from obtaining whatever contraceptives or abortifacient drugs they want, and the employers do not intend to attempt to interfere with the private choices of their employees in the future. Contraceptives and abortifacient drugs are readily available today to any woman who wants them, and those who cannot afford them can easily find services to help them. The issue here is whether the government has the right to tell an employer that the employer must act against conscience.

The root argument of this case has nothing to do with abortion or contraceptives. The root argument is whether a government has the right to force anyone to act against conscience. The ancient Roman government had the same mindset as many members of the current federal administration. In the Roman Empire of the first century AD (I still like AD more than CE) the emperor expected people to worship him as an act of citizenship. A good citizen worshiped the emperor. Only a traitor refused. This same attitude is being displayed by the US government. Worship is not the word the present government uses; it simply demands submission.

In the first century AD Christians suffered arrest, imprisonment, torture and execution rather than worship the emperor. The book of Revelation was written for those Christians. That book is replete with reminders of the rewards God has in store for Christians who hold on to their testimony and refuse to disobey God in order to serve the government. Christians who believe that the Bible is their guide for faith and life understand that the message of Revelation applies every time any government tries to stand in the place of God, every time a government asks any citizen to choose whether he will serve God or human government. Christians in Nazi Germany chose to obey God rather than government to protect Jews. Christians in Iran today choose to obey God rather than their government, which says that being a Christian is a threat to Iran’s national security. The same sort of choice is facing some Christians in the USA.

The title of this post asks about a compelling need for government control of population growth, but the real point of this post is that God asks every human being to put him first. The government may have all kinds of agendas, and Christians who want to be good citizens always also want good government. Nevertheless, as the founders of the USA knew very well, it is possible for government to overstep the bounds God has placed on its role in society. When that happens, Christians cannot and will not comply with government mandates.

Do we need the government to control population growth? The answer is no. Some Christians may dispute the theological interpretation which puts other Christians at odds with the government, but every Christian holds dear the principle that God has made him a priest to understand and obey God’s teaching as well as he understands it. Each believer is responsible before God for the choices of his own conscience. Every believer knows that he cannot justify disobeying God on any point by accusing the government of forcing the disobedience. The authors of the US Constitution wanted the US government to respect each person’s conscience before God, and that is why the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The real question: is there any time when the government has a right to demand that someone act against his conscience to serve the government? The Bible and the US Constitution alike say emphatically NO.