Do you see the irony here? So many of your Christian leaders lined up behind Trump, telling the story that embracing Trump was showing loyalty to the unborn. But what if your God chose Trump to reveal your betrayal of the unborn as you continued to occupy the minimalist corner?
As we explored the possibility that America’s history may be rhyming, Paula led us to think through this irony by asking another one of those crazy ‘what if’ questions…
If Christianity is the story we are in, and your God is the Active Protagonist who is also the Great Storyteller, what if he chose Donald Trump to play a unique role in revealing that you Christians have been hiding out in the minimalist corner and failing to engage your fellow Americans in the way your God wants you to in relation to the massive change in your story which unleashed abortion?
So, what if, although so many of your previous pro-life Republican presidents failed to deliver on their promises, the bigger issue is you Christians in America?
And because of that possibility, now we are wondering something else about the Donald.
If Christianity is the story we are in, your God may have chosen Donald as a unique character to reveal that as you Christians migrated into the minimalist corner, you did not do what you needed to do in order to try to change the abortion drama in America.
We know that many of you Christians think of Donald Trump as the most pro-life president in America’s story…
“President Trump is governing as the most pro-life president in our nation’s history. He has diligently and successfully gone about fulfilling his promises to the pro-life voters who worked so hard to elect him, and it has been a privilege to stand with him to defend the innocent unborn,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser president of the Susan B. Anthony List, the interest group which organized the 11th annual Campaign for Life Gala.Trump to deliver keynote address at pro-life group’s annual fundraising gala, By Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times, May 22, 2018
And we understand why. It has to do with the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal…
The anti-abortion movement thinks of itself as perpetually betrayed by past Republican presidents who may have talked a good game, but when the chips were down did not always give the RTLers what they really, really really wanted: a judiciary, and especially a Supreme Court, ready to overturn the great (from their point of view) disaster of Roe v. Wade.
Compared to his predecessors, Trump, so far at least, has a perfect RTL record, regardless of what he actually believes. The Gorsuch nomination, taken directly from a Federalist Society/Heritage Foundation list, was a definite “Promise made, promise kept” moment for the new president and his new friends.
Reagan was an inspirational leader for the RTL movement, and George W. Bush was a true believer. But Trump delivers. As president he has done many things to damage his self-proclaimed reputation as a great deal-maker. But the deal he struck with those who desperately want to deny women reproductive rights is going strong.Trump Is Already the Anti-Abortion Movement’s Best President Ever, By Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine, MAY 23, 2018
Trump has stood up for the humanity of the unborn child like no president in recent memory. And this is why so many Christian conservatives stick with him.Trump is proving to be the most fearlessly pro-life president in history, By MARC A. THIESSEN, The Bradford Era, May 24, 2018
Today marks the 46th year since the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. On this day, National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we mourn the lives cut short, and the tremendous promise lost, as a result of abortion. As a Nation, we must resolve to protect innocent human life at every stage.
As President, I am committed to defending the Right to Life. During my first week in office, I reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which prevents foreign aid from being used to fund or support the global abortion industry. We are also working to end the abhorrent practice of elective late-term abortion, a practice allowed in only seven countries around the world.
My Administration has repeatedly demonstrated its respect for human life and conscience at all stages.
Today, we recommit ourselves to protecting innocent life every day and at every stage. We must continue to be a country that shows respect for the dignity and worth of every person at every stage of life.
Today I call on the Congress to join me in protecting and defending the dignity of every human life, including those not yet born. I call on the American people to continue to care for women in unexpected pregnancies and to support adoption and foster care in a more meaningful way, so every child can have a loving home. And finally, I ask every citizen of this great Nation to listen to the sound of silence caused by a generation lost to us, and then to raise their voices for all those affected by abortion, both seen and unseen.Presidential Proclamation on the National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2019, President Donald Trump, January 18, 2019
But, we have wondered about something else related to the Donald and your claim that he is the greatest pro-life president ever.
What if he was chosen to shine a light on how your migration into the minimalist corner blinded you to a broader way of seeing what it means to be ‘pro-life’?
Consider this, from the Christian philosopher Francis Beckwith…
The pro-life movement, from its very beginning, has seen this moral truth as the one strand in the tapestry of republican government that, if removed, will inevitably lead to an unraveling of the understanding of ourselves and our rights that gave rise to the cluster of beliefs on which the rule of law, constitutional democracy, and human equality depend. The pro-life cause, in a sense, then, is not really about abortion, but rather, about who and what we are. It is a movement that makes the argument that the project that began in the Enlightenment — having its metaphysical roots in the biblical notion of the imago dei (image of God) — that provided the intellectual scaffolding for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, can be, and ought to be, extended to include the true wideness of our human community, that is, to include the unborn.“Reassessing Pro-Life Strategy,” by Francis J. Beckwith, The American Conservative, May 5, 2003
You see, it has to do with Donald, Kim Jong Un, and the animals. And it shines a spotlight on the simple story question…
Who are we, here in the story?
So, we assume you are aware of these difficulties related to Donald…
At the same time, the president has cultivated a studied insensitivity, treating empathy as a sign of weakness or fecklessness. The distinctive rhetoric of Trumpism isn’t merely the use of insult and invective against political opponents; it is also the brutal willingness to degrade and demonize others as “animals” and “rapists” while unsubtly comparing them to the sort of vermin who will “infest” the country.
The embrace of swaggering callousness became a hallmark of Trumpism, with harshness masquerading as toughness and cruelty as a sign of strength.The New Cruelty, By CHARLES J. SYKES, Weekly Standard, June 21, 2018
And our team understands that this Waldman guy is on to something…
Every genocide in history was preceded by the perpetrators telling their supporters that the soon-to-be victims were animals, insects, vermin — in one way or another, not human. That’s what was necessary to get consent for whatever the government was going to do. Because once you deny people’s humanity, there’s almost nothing you won’t do to them, or allow to be done to them in your name.Trump’s ‘animals’, By Paul Waldman, The Week, May 18, 2018
And that sure fits with this…
For Hitler, there is little for the individual personality beyond the experience of here and now. We are animals, and just like animals we face the choice of destroying or being destroyed.Laurence Rees, Hitler’s Charisma
So now, we’re thinking about Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
We know that the leaders of North Korea have treated people as animals…
North Korea is one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world. In his sixth year in power, Kim Jong-un—the third leader of the dynastic Kim family and head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) who exercises almost total political control—intensified repressive measures; tightened domestic restrictions on travel and unauthorized cross-border travel with China; and punished North Koreans for contacting the outside world. The government continued to generate fearful obedience from citizens by means of threatened and actual execution, detention, and forced labor under harsh, sometimes fatal, conditions.
On human rights, the international community continued to press for action on the findings of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) that found the government committed crimes against humanity, including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and forced abortion.North Korea, Human Rights Watch, 2018 Report
Notice in the following video what the former North Korean prison camp guard days, at about the 41 second mark…
Ahn says the guards were given such intense ideological training by the regime, the prisoners were no longer human to them. They were like animals, and he said that is how they were treated.
And Paula shared with us an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal, from the noted Harvard professor Nicholas Eberstadt. Notice how the prisoners are considered to be animals…
Some of the most chilling passages concern the North Korean penal system—especially its dreaded kyohwaso (prison camps) and even more brutal kwanliso (political prison camps). The horrors begin with detention and interrogation centers, where people are initially detained after being accused of crimes against the state by the security services. (North Korea has more than one set of secret police.)
The charges are often of the most trivial or arbitrary variety—one witness said he was arrested for the crime of misspelling Kim Il Sung’s name when typing. The detainees are routinely brutalized, with cruelties large and small. “An old woman who had no shoes and asked for shoes in order to work,” the report says, “was told by the SSD agents that she did not deserve shoes because the detainees were animals and should die soon.” Then she was beaten until bloody.
In the prison camps, conditions are still more sadistic and dehumanizing. Starvation and torture are the norm, sexual abuse of women routine. Most who are sent to these camps can expect to perish there. Concludes the report: “According to the Commission’s findings, hundreds of thousands of inmates have been exterminated in political prison camps and other places over a span of more than five decades.”
Many will wonder how the North Korean regime can treat their countrymen as if they were little more than insects. Readers of the U.N. report will understand: Such disregard of human life is encouraged by the deep logic of the state.
Alone among the world’s governments, Pyongyang oversees a system known assongbun: a practice that assigns a class background to North Koreans with exquisite care, stamping them with one of over 50 gradations. The top groups are considered “core” and are highly favored by the state.
The lowest groups are branded as “hostile” classes (“complex” classes, in more recent security-system taxonomy). These unfortunates—who may bear such hereditary curses as relatives in South Korea or ancestors who were landlords, or Christians—are held in permanent suspicion as would-be “enemies of the people,” a treasonous condition in which one forfeits all humanity.
The songbun system, carefully described in this report, helps to explain the merciless starvation of the state’s enemies within the prison camps as well as in the population at large during the Great Famine of the 1990s: Countless victims from that hunger were members of the “hostile” classes, whose deaths the regime regarded as a matter of no concern.Time for the ‘Never Agains’ on North Korea, by Nicholas Eberstadt, Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2014
And Paula showed us more…
The Wild Boar treated us more like animals than children – which, he never failed to remind us, was already a considerable indulgence on his part: “Since your parents are counterrevolutionaries, they deserve to die, and you, their children, along with them. Fortunately for you, the Party is kind and its Great Leader magnanimous. He has granted you a reprieve and the chance to redeem yourselves. You should be grateful, but instead you commit further offenses! Commit too many and you will not be forgiven!”
We would all lower our eyes, wishing for our torturer’s death. Boys and girls were equal beneficiaries of his undiscriminating brutality and his favorite punishment, which consisted of ordering a student down on all fours and making him or her crawl in front of the class, saying, “I’m a dog…I’m a dog…”The Aquariums of Pyongyang, Kang Chol-Hwan and Pierre Rigoulot
The first thing the lieutenant told me was a brutal glimpse of my new reality. “You are not a human being anymore. If you want to survive here, you’d better give up the idea that you are human.” He assigned me the number 832. That was how my thirteen-year sentence began. The painful months of my interrogation were only a prelude to my misery. I was now considered less than human–a tailless animal.
Officers treated us like animals. They never explained to us what to do, but communicated with the prisoners by whipping, kicking, and cursing. While prisoners were being beaten, they couldn’t stop working or look back at the officers. If a prisoner moaned or tried to avoid getting hit, she was put into solitary confinement, the worst punishment in prison.
Six pregnant women were lying on the cold cement floor, which was not even covered with a mat. I thought, Even animals receive better treatment outside this prison.Eyes of the Tailless Animals: Prison Memoirs of a North Korea Woman, Soon Ok Lee
When he [An] was training to be a guard, he studied the Korean martial art of taekwondo, learned riot-suppression techniques, and was instructed not to worry if his treatment of prisoners caused injury or death. In the camps, he became accustomed to hitting prisoners who did not meet work quotas. He remembers beating up a hunchbacked prisoner.
“It was normal to beat prisoners,” he said, explaining that his instructors taught him never to smile and to think of inmates as “dogs and pigs.”
Blaine Harden, Escape From Camp 14
We were taught not to think of them as human beings,” he said.
“Sometimes Shin sees himself through the eyes of his new self, and sometimes he sees himself through the eyes of the guard in the camp,” said Andy. “He is kind of here and kind of there.”
When I asked Shin if this was true, he nodded yes.
“I am evolving from being an animal,” he said, “But it is going very, very slowly. Sometime I try to cry and laugh like other people, just to see if it feels like anything. Yet tears don’t come. Laughter doesn’t come.”
His behavior was consistent with a pattern that researchers have found among concentration camp survivors the world over. They often move through life with what Harvard psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman calls a “contaminated identity.”Blaine Harden, Escape From Camp 14
And that all sure fits with…
Auschwitz is always a harsh lesson — a slap, a rebuke, an indictment. This is a proof of what humans can do. This is a monument to what humans can be. …. Man’s inhumanity to man may be an old story, but the death camps of the Nazi holocaust streamlined and magnified murder with all the new efficiency and practicality of which modern times was capable. These were not old-fashioned slaughterhouses. They were factories, manufacturing death by the gross lot.
All these inscriptions speak of human grief, they give us a glimpse of the cynicism of that regime which treated men and women as material objects, and failed to see them as persons embodying the image of God.Auschwitz is always… By Joseph Bottum, First Things, May 29, 2006
Under the influence of a world which no longer recognized the value of human life and human dignity, which had robbed man of his will and had made him an object to be exterminated (having planned, however, to make full use of him first — to the last ounce of his physical resources) — under this influence the personal ego finally suffered a loss of values. If the man in the concentration camp did not struggle against this in a last effort to save his self-respect, he lost the feeling of being an individual, a being with a mind, with inner freedom and personal value. He thought of himself then as only a part of an enormous mass of people; his existence descended to the level of animal life.Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning
And consider the following from Armando Valladares’ address to the United Nations Human Rights’ Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 23, 1988…
The arbitrariness of tyrants reduces their victims to the condition of mere beasts… dehumanizes them. In the same manner that animals are tied down, locked up or beaten without explanation, totalitarian regimes treat their adversaries as beasts. And there are times, when one is being treated like a beast, that the only thing that saves us from the most degrading humiliation, the only thing that keeps us firm, is to know that somewhere else there is another soul that loves us, that respect us and that is fighting for the return of the dignity that has been snatched from us.Armando Valladares, Castro’s Gulag
And look at this, from the Novak guy…
Communism aimed to objectify everything and everybody. Its fundamental premise was materialism. Human beings are-meat. Animated for a time, perhaps, but essentially no more than a sachetto of chemicals. Instruments. Means. The “dialectical” part of “dialectical materialism” belonged to a dynamic class position of “the proletariat.” The “materialist” part belonged to the people. The individual should expect to be expended, sacrificed, used up, like a thing.The Godlessness that Failed, by Michael Novak, First Things (June/July 2000)
And look how this connects with America’s story…
This process is not limited to foreign genocidal maniacs. Dehumanization and deindividuation are the sources of bigotry, discrimination, and the culture of contempt in our own society. That is the story of slavery in the United States, as well as the treatment of Native Americans. On a much smaller scale today, dehumanization characterizes the rhetoric of leaders who treat with contempt immigrants, poor people, or simply those on the other political side.Arthur Brooks, Love Your Enemies
And look how historian Niall Ferguson takes a look at the 20th century in the first segment of his book turned BBC documentary, The War of the World …
It was a century in which countless families were driven from their homes. It was a century in which city after city was laid waste, not just in the World War, but year after year, in what seemed like a global hundred years war. The difference with Well’s nightmare vision was simply that those responsible were not Martians. They were human beings, who in order to justify the killings, defined other human beings as aliens.
And notice how these killers in Sudan assigned sub-human value to their victims…
Traditionally the people of South Kordofan co-existed, however, and Yusuf still had good relations with his neighbour from the Baggara Arab ethnic group.
But his neighbour was also a member of the Popular Defence Force, a feared militia now part of the Sudanese army.
“We talked and he helped in business, but I know he is also a member of the PDF,” he said.
“He’s a supporter of Ahmed Harun,” he added, referring to the newly elected state governor, a man wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges in Darfur.
“He told me that the PDF had new guns and had been given lots ammunition.
“He said that they had clear instructions: just sweep away the rubbish. If you see a Nuba, just clean it up.
“He told me he saw two trucks of people with their hands tied and blindfolded, driving out to where diggers were making holes for graves on the edge of town.”Sudan eyewitness recalls South Kordofan horror – Region – World – Ahram Online, June 17, 2011
And notice the question and answer beginning at about the 1:30 mark in the following video…
“What does being a slave do to someone’s identity?”
“Well, it changes their identity. If you are a slave, you are, you feel that you are not human, really.”
And Paula showed us this…
We had both clever and stupid, kind and cruel camp bosses. Tarasiuk was something quite different. He resembled in some ways the slave owners of classical times. The idea that his slaves were human beings never worried or concerned him.
The Roman matrons, as we know, stripped naked in front of male slaves not because they were shameless, but because they did not consider those slaves to be human beings. Tarasuik, like those figures from antiquity, lacked any similar inhibitions.Gulag Voices: An Anthology, By Anne Applebaum, Jane Ann Miller
So, we’re curious whether you will seriously consider this guy’s warnings…
I am very concerned that too many of us complacently believe that the reigning societal value under which we were raised–the sanctity/equality of human life–continues to control society. But that is no longer true. We are in the midst of an attempted coup de culture that seeks to supplant human exceptionalism with a toxic mix of utilitarianism/hedonism/radical environmentalism-scientism as the sources of our personal values and public policies. Thus, I take every chance offered to issue the warning. …. I assert that rejecting human exceptionalism is to reject human freedom.
These, and other, attacks on human exceptionalism are profoundly dangerous to human life and liberty. It is our unique moral status in the known universe that gives rise to both universal (human) rights. It is the sanctity of life ethic that compels us to care for the weak, vulnerable, and elderly among us.
Either we all matter equally, simply and merely because we are human—or our value becomes relative, our rights, and indeed, our continued existence—determined by the reigning power structure of the day. After all, if we are merely another animal in the forest—or worse, the planet’s enemies—why should any of us be treated as if we have any special meaning at all?
I’m tellin’ y’all, I know what I am talking about here. Let us hope that forewarned is forearmed.Discard Human Exceptionalism and You Discard Universal Human Rights, by Wesley J. Smith, First Things, October 31, 2009
The idea that we are just part of nature and nothing to celebrate is gaining traction in these nihilistic times. …. If we are nothing special, Jefferson’s assertion that all men are created equal — by which he means we have equal moral worth — becomes essentially untenable. Indeed, if we are nothing special, we are thrust back into a purely materialistic Darwinian world of tooth and claw, where might makes right. And that opens the door to all the evils that have plagued human history. Indeed, understanding that there is such a thing as evil action proves we are special in the known universe.Derbyshire and Darwin, by Wesley J. Smith, First Things, October 9, 2007
And we think how you handle your conflict over abortion will tells us a lot about whether the United States will continue coming apart.
You see, we were amazed at what Donald Trump had to say about North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un…
President Donald Trump said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “fell in love” over the course of their on-again off-again detente, hours after Pyongyang’s top diplomat said there was “ no way” the country would disarm under current conditions.
“He wrote me beautiful letters,” Trump said of Kim Saturday during a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia. “And they’re great letters. We fell in love.”President Trump Says He and Kim Jong-Un ‘Fell in Love’, By JENNIFER JACOBS, Time, September 30, 2018
While Trump did say human rights came up during the summit, despite talking “denuclearization 90% of the time,” his comments to VOA’s Greta Van Susteren were more approving than condemning.
“Really, [Kim’s] got a great personality. He’s a funny guy, he’s very smart, he’s a great negotiator,” Trump said.
And that was just the start. For five minutes, Trump showered Kim in praises. He repeated four times that Kim loves his people and his country.
To end the VOA segment, Van Susteren asked, “What do you want to say directly to the citizens of North Korea?”
Trump replied: “Well, I think you have someone who has great feelings for them and he wants to do right by them.”Trump is spreading North Korean propaganda, By Adam Hardy, Asia Times, JUNE 14, 2018
Now, with the North Koreans having done nothing other than make a promise they’ve broken repeatedly, the president is declaring the problem solved. So, in four months, with the North Koreans having taken no credible, verifiable, or concrete steps, the Trump administration has moved from “no talks without denuclearization” to “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
A subsequent Trump tweet makes clear the origins of Trump’s thinking: Kim Jong-un’s good faith.
There is no way to know whether the North Koreans, after three decades of duplicity, are negotiating in good faith. And there are many reasons, hard lessons learned over many years, to assume the opposite. But Trump, in his eagerness to declare victory, has chosen to set them aside in favor of a naïve assumption that everything has changed. “He trusts me and I trust him,” Trump said after his meeting.Premature Congratulations, by Stephen F. Hayes, Weekly Standard, June 13, 2018
While Trump has shown surprising deference and affection for autocratic rulers in the past, including effusive praise for Kim after the summit earlier this week, Friday’s comments were still unusual.
“He is the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Trump said. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
I want my people to do the same. It ought to go without saying that the reason that North Koreans react that way to Kim is that he is a brutal dictator who runs enormous prison camps and a repressive state. Lest anyone believe that Trump is simply naive and unaware of this, the president made clear that he understands how Kim maintains power, smirking through a reference to North Korean executions of top aides.Trump’s Remarkable Admission About Dishonesty, By DAVID A. GRAHAM, The Atlantic, June 15, 2018
Donald Trump has a soft spot for strongmen.
The president praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a Wednesday interview, calling the head of the totalitarian regime a “smart guy” and a “great negotiator.”
“He’s a tough guy. Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have, if you could do that at 27 years old, I mean, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that,” Trump told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “So he’s a very smart guy, he’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.”Trump heaps praise on ‘tough guy’ Kim Jong Un, By David Knowles, Yahoo News, June 13, 2018
After North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il died in 2011, his son, Jong Un, was named the head of the nation and went on to purge other family members from the party. Jong Un is widely suspected of killing of his half-brother.
When Baier pointed out some of the unsavory things Jong Un is accused of doing in North Korea, Trump demurred.
“Yeah, but so have a lot of other people have done some really bad things,” Trump said. “I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”Trump heaps praise on ‘tough guy’ Kim Jong Un, By David Knowles, Yahoo News, June 13, 2018
Van Susteren asked Trump what he wanted to say to North Korea’s people, and he again heaped praise upon Kim.
“I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them,” he said. “He wants to do right by them and we got along really well. We had a great chemistry—you understand how I feel about chemistry. It’s very important. I mean, I know people where there is no chemistry. No matter what you, do you just don’t have it. We had it right from the beginning, I talked about that, and I think great things are going to happen for North Korea.”Trump Showers Praise on Kim Jong Un: ‘He’s Smart, Loves His People’ … ‘I Think He Liked Me and I Like Him’, By David Rutz, Washington Free Beacon, June 12, 2018
So… even though Kim Jong Un is our puppet ally, if Christianity is the story we are in, your God doesn’t think of him the way Donald Trump does.
And as you fight over abortion in America, the conflict over abortion is the same simple story question which has faced America from the beginning…
Who are we, here in the story?
Here are some quotes from your brilliant philosopher, Francis Beckwith…
The pro-life cause, in a sense, then, is not really about abortion, but rather, about who and what we are. It is a movement that makes the argument that the project that began in the Enlightenment — having its metaphysical roots in the biblical notion of the imago dei (image of God) — that provided the intellectual scaffolding for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, can be, and ought to be, extended to include the true wideness of our human community, that is, to include the unborn.Reassessing Pro-Life Strategy, by Francis J. Beckwith, The American Conservative, May 5, 2003
However, there is a sense in which every argument on abortion — whether pro-abortion, pro-life or somewhere in-between — tries to answer a question that is fundamentally religious: who and what are we and can we know it?The Case Against Abortion: An Interview with Dr. Francis Beckwith, author of Defending Life, Carl E. Olson, Ignatius Insight, January 21, 2008
In the same way, pro-lifers oppose abortion because they have reasons to believe that the unborn are full-fledged members of the human community, no different in nature than you or me. And for that reason, the unborn has a right to life that ought to be enshrined in our laws. Thus, in order to defeat the pro-lifer’s point of view, the abortion advocate must show that the unborn is not a full-fledged member of the human community. At the end of the day, the abortion debate is not about likes or dislikes. It is about who and what we are, and whether the unborn is one of us.What’s the Debate About?, by Francis J. Beckwith, 2009 Sanctity of Human Life Guide
Gregory P. Koukl … often tells the fictional story of a father who, while his back is turned, hears his teenage daughter ask the question, “Daddy, can I kill it?” Koukl then asks his audience, “How should the father respond to his daughter’s query?” The audience, in every venue at which Greg has told this story, answers, “He should ask her, ‘What is it?‘”
The pro-life movement, from its very beginning, has seen this moral truth as the one strand in the tapestry of republican government that, if removed, will inevitably lead to an unraveling of the understanding of ourselves and our rights that gave rise to the cluster of beliefs on which the rule of law, constitutional democracy, and human equality depend. The pro-life cause, in a sense, then, is not really about abortion, but rather, about who and what we are. It is a movement that makes the argument that the project that began in the Enlightenment — having its metaphysical roots in the biblical notion of the imago dei (image of God) — that provided the intellectual scaffolding for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, can be, and ought to be, extended to include the true wideness of our human community, that is, to include the unborn.Reassessing Pro-Life Strategy, by Francis J. Beckwith, The American Conservative, May 5, 2003
Thus, the abortion controversy hinges on a question of philosophical anthropology, whether one believes that the unborn child is or is not one of us. If it is not, then it is entitled to no greater protections than we afford an appendix or a kidney. But if he or she is one of us, then it possesses an intrinsic dignity that all human beings have by nature, that just governments ought to recognize.The Question Behind Our Political Divisions, by Francis J. Beckwith, The Catholic Thing, November 11, 2011
And if that is what the conflict over abortion is really about, then it’s the same issue with North Korea.
So why do so many of you call Donald Trump the “greatest pro-life president ever”?
Is that some kind of ‘mulligan’ you are giving him? And does it reveal something else about you?
Paula wonders if it might help you see through the fog of the minimalist corner by beginning to consider how the issue of abortion shines a spotlight on the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal in the story in the Bible.
Consider what the great Catholic scholar George Weigel urges you to do…
A culture war has been declared on us. And while there may be a choice of weapons with which to fight that war, not fighting is not an option. For to surrender, supinely, before the aggressors in the culture wars — including the eugenicists — is a betrayal of the Gospel and a betrayal of the Church’s evangelical mission.
It’s a betrayal because the Lord has taught us that care for the least of his brethren is care for him. The least among us are now being described, and treated, as the disposable among us. To defend their human dignity is a Gospel imperative.To Defend the Disposable, by George Weigel, First Things, December 31, 2014
But our team has come to see that you have not done all that you could. Instead, it looks as though you have betrayed…
Abortion is the greatest moral crisis of our generation, yet far too many churches have remained silent.Dr. Tony Evans, Quoted in Brian Fisher, Deliver Us From Abortion
And to give you a better sense for it, let’s look again at a book which Paula Wong introduced us to. It’s that book written by Brian Fisher, titled Deliver Us From Abortion.
The book is endorsed by a number of prominent Christians in America, including Josh McDowell, Dr. Tony Evans, Fr. Frank Pavone, Dr. Alveda King, and Bishop Wellington Boone.
And it looks like Fisher’s book gives us clear evidence that most American Christians occupy the Minimalist Corner of the Story Triangle.
Because the focus of the book is on the failure of the American church to fully engage the horror of abortion in America and how they might help the church wake up.
This focus is clear from both the endorsements and the content.
Here are some excerpts from the endorsements which help you see the focus:
Brian Fisher’s book Deliver Us from Abortion challenges the church to end abortion in America.Josh McDowell Best-selling author of 138 books including More Than a Carpenter
Abortion is the greatest moral crisis of our generation, yet far too many churches have remained silent.Dr. Tony Evans
President, The Urban Alternative; senior pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
To end abortion, the Church must awaken, and that’s why this book is so important.”Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life; president, National Pro-life Religious Council
May it challenge and equip the church to end the abortion holocaust in America.Dr. Alveda King
Director of African-American Outreach, Priests for Life
And he’s right: it will only happen when the church addresses abortion with all the fervor, clarity, love, and compassion it can muster by God’s grace and power.John Stonestreet
The Colson Center for Christian Worldview, The Point Radio
The church in America has snoozed for too long. It’s time to wake up.Clint Patronella
Groups pastor, The Village Church, Dallas Northway Campus
And in both the beginning and end of the book, Brian Fisher is very clear about the focus. The book begins with “A Personal Note to Parents or Relatives of Aborted Children.”
I believe the American church is significantly responsible for abortion’s perpetuation, and we deserve the severest of indictments. Professing Christians are supposed to be the protectors of life, but we have abdicated our role.
I am a sinner saved by grace and, like you, need the gospel every day. Let’s link arms, experience anew the matchless forgiveness of Jesus, and prayerfully seek the Lord’s will as we work to awaken the passive American church—this “sleeping giant”—together.Brian Fisher, Deliver Us From Abortion
The book ends with a chapter titled “Let the Church Arise: Seven Steps to Ending Abortion.”
Here is the end of the last chapter:
Some think the answer to ending abortion is to overturn Roe v. Wade, defund Planned Parenthood, win abortion debates, or shut down local abortion clinics. Those are all very worthy and appropriate goals, and I would love to see each one happen in the next few years.
Yet those goals will not be accomplished without the church. Abortion will not be ended without the church. Babies will continue to perish, parents will continue to suffer, and the moral fabric of our nation will continue to decay unless the church takes the compassionate lead to defend the unborn and their families.
If abortion is primarily a spiritual concern, then the church is primarily responsible for addressing it. The church, commissioned by Christ to be His hands and feet, is the frontline means by which the grace, compassion, tangible help, truth, and protection of the gospel permeate our culture.
I’m frequently asked if abortion really can be ended in America. My answer is always this statement: “Of course, yes.”
The follow-up question is almost always the same. “How?”
The answer is simple. “When the church of Jesus Christ refuses to remain silent any longer and commits to following His commands.”
May we as Christians follow His commands. Millions of lives depend on us.Brian Fisher, Deliver Us From Abortion
And, if you ever read that book, you see that it is filled to the max with the recognition that Christians in America occupy the minimalist corner.
Fisher shines a spotlight on your love crisis. And look at this in relation to that…
It is easy to become indignant over the sin of abortion, but it is very difficult to become sufficiently indignant over our own sin. Some years back, I heard John MacArthur publicly identify the “greatest” sin in the world. Guess what. It isn’t abortion. The greatest sin in the world is nothing less than the violation of the greatest commandment in the world — which means that every second that we fail to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourself, we are guilty of the greatest sin!A Biblical Mandate to Do Something About Abortion, By Michael Spielman, Abort73.com
So, will you ignore the Greatest Commandment? Because, as this description from a Christian college president indicates, you really have migrated into the minimalist corner…
The second problem is the church — again, us. Politicians may not be prophets, but believers are (or at least should be). Our principles, our virtue, our character, our testimony, and our faith are to be the base on which we build our lives, families, relationships, careers, and messages. But the evidence indicates that we have collectively drifted or wandered from that powerful position to one so anemic that we find ourselves scrambling to remain relevant.Don’t Blame the Supreme Court for Our Abortion Laws; Blame Yourself, By Barry Creamer, Christian Post, August 1, 2016
And this fits with that…
Modern Christianity in a nutshell: All talk, no action. Big hat, no cattle.Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock, The Way Back
But what if this had happened previously in America’s story? …
For the century between Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and the Civil Rights Act of 1965, pragmatic Americans turned our backs on black freedmen. We let the plantation class of the South return to power and fostered the self-consoling myth of southern gallantry in a Lost Cause. We crafted a popular culture that coddled the sensibilities of the defeated South, from D.W. Griffith’s 1915 epic Birth of Nation to Gone With the Wind. We eschewed the Puritan exceptionalism that sought to make America different from the rest of the world and instead sought to make the rest of the world like us. We turned away from the biblical God who held us accountable for our actions and envisioned in his place a remote God who withheld his wrath while we set about to make the world amenable to our own requirements.WILL ISRAEL SAVE AMERICA?, By David P. Goldman, Tablet Magazine, July 2, 2015
So, will you make an exodus out of that minimalist corner?
Your Proverbs 24 Problem
And now we want to show you something very relevant to your unfolding drama, because we want to know how you will respond.
Paula Wong showed us something she came across from one of your more famous pastors…
One biblical principle of justice is that the more knowledge we have that our action is wrong, the more guilty we are, and the more deserving of punishment (Luke 12:47–48). The point of this article is that, when it comes to abortion, we know what we are doing — all America knows. We are killing children. Pro-choice and Pro-life people both know this.
It is astonishing how relevant Proverbs 24:11–12 is to our present situation of abortion:
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?We Know They Are Killing Children — All of Us Know, by John Piper, Desiring God
And then Paula explained that there is a well-known biblical scholar named Bruce Waltke, who has also written something very eye-catching — and eye-opening — about that passage.
“Waltke’s work is astonishingly relevant, Comrade Chow,” she said. “If Christianity is the story we are in, how can the Christians in America ignore what he has written?”
First she showed us this from Waltke…
Without God, ‘adam knows neither his or her identity nor his or her rightful place in the scheme of things.
Unaided by revelation, the depraved human mind creates understandings of the identity of humankind that kill society as surely as diseases kill the body.Bruce Waltke, An Old Testament Theology
If Christianity is the story we are in, that’s a pretty good description of the unfolding drama in America.
Then Paula explained that Waltke wrote a commentary on the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
And she told us how Waltke devoted a considerable amount of attention to that Proverbs 24 passage which Pastor Piper had quoted. Paula also pointed out that if you back up to include verse 10, it appears to be a description of the Active Protagonist engaging those who occupy the minimalist corner of the story triangle…
“If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited. Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back!
If you say, ‘See, we did not know this,’ does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?”
And to help you see this more clearly, here is Waltke’s translation of the passage…
If you show yourself lax in time of crisis,
your strength is meager.
Deliver those being taken to death,
even hold back those swaying and being led to slaughter.
If you say, “We knew nothing about this,”
does not even he who weighs motives discern [the truth]?
As for him who protects your life, does he not know,
and will he not repay a person according to his conduct.Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs
There it is. The Active Protagonist keeping his eyes upon you in the unfolding drama.
And by the way, as we considered Waltke’s insights, Paula also showed us this, from our enemy, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn…
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.Alexander Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart
Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?
Then we looked at some of what Waltke has to say about this passage…
If fortified strength is a sign of a person’s wisdom (v. 5), then meager strength in crisis signifies a person’s lack or loss of wisdom (vv. 10-12). According to Ploger, “The day of distress” finds a concrete situation in people being led away to their slaughter (v. 11), and “if you show yourself lax” (v. 11) becomes concretized in the son’s self-talk that excuses him from helping (v. 12).
10 This verse implicitly calls for wisdom’s competence in conflict by censuring reduced strength. The chiastic parallels of v. 10 pit in their outer frame the son’s spiritual energies, “you show lack of courage” and “your strength,” and in their inner core the failed help in need, “in time of distress” and “meager”, a deliberate paronomasia. If represents the hypothetical condition of being discouraged. You show yourself lax means “to grow slack” (e.g. , the loss of daylight toward evening; Judg. 19:9), entailing cowardice, fear, indolence, and/or carelessness, a lack of resolute strength.Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs
And Paula pointed out Waltke’s explanation of the “time of crisis”…
In the time of crisis (see 11:8) refers to the son’s own distress or to another’s, the focus of the next saying. In Prov. 25:19 the phrase “in time of crisis” is again used with reference to disappointed confidence. Verset B represents the consequences. Your strength is meager (lit. “restricted”; see 23:27). The notion may be quantitative as well as qualitative. A person reveals the degree and extent of his strength by his conduct in crisis. “It is when a man is hemmed in and trapped by adverse circumstances that his powers of endurance are stretched and an estimate of his toughness and stamina can be made.” (McKane, Proverbs, p. 400)Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs
And that so fits with McKee’s description of the role of crisis as a revealer in story…
This scene reveals the story’s most important value. If there’s been any doubt about which value is central, as the protagonist makes the Crisis Decision, the primary value comes to the fore.Robert McKee, Story
Paula also pointed out how the following observations fit with the Risk Assessment warnings from your God, which run throughout the story in the Bible…
11-12 If the son meets his moral obligation toward a person who is threatened by death, he will show that his mental toughness, his moral courage, and his physical strength are great and large enough to reach out to those in need. Moreover, the admonition escalates his motive for laying hold of wisdom that will fortify him against faltering from shaming him to threatening him. God will not excuse him for his lack of gritty determination, mental toughness, and moral courage to do the right thing.
The admonition is a sober and threatening warning to the son to show courage and to deliver innocent victims from murderers (v. 11), for if he does not, God, who knows this, will repay him in kind (i.e., not deliver him when he is oppressed; v. 12). In terms of determining the destiny of others, the son must over power the criminals who over power their victims. The father fortifies him for the task by asserting that the LORD in turn holds power over him to reward or punish him according to his conduct in crisis (cf. Isa. 40:29; 2 Cor. 12:9).Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs
Stunning. Waltke’s insights are so relevant to the situation you Christians are facing in America. He is essentially challenging you to make a migration out of the minimalist corner.
But will you make that migration?
We really want to know.
And Paula pointed to even more from Waltke, which makes it clear that your elephant in the room is part of the range of horrors being discussed in that passage…
11 …. The admonitions do not want to narrow down the identity of the victims or the crisis situation (disease, hunger, war, etc.; cf. 14:25) or the means of deliverance (law, force, ransom, etc.). By the a fortiori argument, however, the greater crisis includes the lesser. If the disciple should deliver the wronged from death, how much more in lesser crises. In whatever way or in whatever place the lawless pervert justice, the disciple must show his mettle and intervene and not act cowardly, nor ignore or pass by the wrongdoing.Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs
And then Paula explained how Waltke’s observations highlight your God as the Active Protagonist in the story, who will call into account those who wish to mask and hide the reality – even to the point of lying – of their failure to intervene…
12 …. You say represents a hypothetical lie in which a defendant justifies his action to a jury. “Look” dramatically represents the defendant inviting the jury to join him in his situation that is represented in his words that follows. By the plural we knew nothing (see 23:35; cf. 4:19) he locates himself within a whole community that is claiming ignorance to escape their culpability. Also, it obviates the potential question that if he felt incapable of effecting the rescue by himself, why did he not call on others to help him. …. In sum, to the injustice of not helping the defendant (v. 11), v. 12a adds the injustice of lying. …. Its first half, v. 12ba, presents God’s sublime attributes of omniscience and omnipotence that inform his retributive justice. …. He who weighs motives (lit. “who weighs hearts”) refers to the LORD (see 16:2). The tautological even he focuses on him and emotionally heightens the LORD’s involvement. …. The description of the LORD as him who protects your life, does he not know, prepares the way for his just retribution for all. And signifies the logical consequence of his knowledge of motives. He will repay a person according to his conduct. In sum, the omniscient and omnipotent Sovereign will act justly, unlike the passive coward. If the son turns a blind eye to helping victims and does nothing to help them, the Protector of Life will turn a blind eye to him in his crisis. Count on it!Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs
Are you counting on it?
Because, if Christianity is the story we are in, wow, those last two sentences caught our attention.
And look at this…
Let us ask ourselves then, are there people among us, right here in America, who are stumbling towards the slaughter? Are there injustices in our day that God would have us raise our voices against? Yes, and yes. Abortions occur thousands of times a day, affecting nearly every community in the nation, yet most Christians barely give it a thought. We know it’s happening; we know it’s bad; but we seem content to remain as uninformed as possible, as if a general ignorance on the subject will somehow clear us of moral responsibility. According to Proverbs 24, this is a very dangerous line of reasoning to take.
God knows our hearts, and he will repay each of us according to the work we’re doing (or not doing) to rescue those who would otherwise be slaughtered. And just in case you feel the word “slaughter” is too severe to apply to abortion, think again. “Slaughter” is defined as either “the brutal or violent killing of a person,” or “the killing of great numbers of people.”5 Abortion fits both definitions. It’s hard to imagine a death more brutal or violent than having your body literally torn to pieces. And if the more than 50 million American children who have already lost their lives to legal abortion don’t qualify as “great numbers of people,” then the term is meaningless. Can any of us point to another injustice, happening in America today, for which Proverbs 24 would be more applicable?A Biblical Mandate to Do Something About Abortion, By Michael Spielman, Abort73.com
So, if Christianity is the story we are in, and you choose to continue to stay in that minimalist corner, perhaps the day will come when you will experience this…
“I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because, what could anyone do to stop it? A railroad track ran behind our small church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance and then the wheels coming over the tracks.
“We became disturbed when we heard the cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars! Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew that we could hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us.
“We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it anymore. But I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. God forgive me; forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians yet did nothing to intervene.”Erwin Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God
And keep this in mind…
The Nazis designed and built Auschwitz and its sister camps not only to destroy the Jews of Europe, but to do so in a way that denied their very existence and the moral significance of their murder. The sad truth is that the Nazis came very close to achieving the first of these goals. Two-thirds of the continent’s Jews were murdered during the war, and in the lands the Nazis conquered, fewer than 1 million remain today from a prewar population of nearly 9 million. Such horror can never be undone. But the Nazis’ second aim—to erase their victims from the world’s memory—was thwarted. It was thwarted by those who survived, by those who bore witness, by those who uncovered, preserved, and presented the evidence. And so too it must continue to be thwarted by the vigilant efforts of every future generation. This is why we remember.The Challenge of Scale, By DANIEL KRAUTHAMMER, Weekly Standard, January 26, 2018
So, what if you have to think seriously about skin in the game?
Speaking the truth about the Nazi danger to civilization cost many – such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer – their lives. So speaking up has a price.Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock, The Way Back
But as missionary Nik Ripken asks, “Is Jesus worth it?”
And then Paula Wong raised another crazy what if question.
“This is hard to even consider, Comrade Chow, but what if the famous evangelist Charles Finney warned the Christians in America a century before Roe v Wade?”
Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.The Decay of Conscience, by Charles G. Finney, The Independent, New York, December 4, 1873
I had never connected those dots. But if Christianity is the story we are in, and your God is the Great Storyteller, what if Paula is on to something mysterious?
Because if Roe v. Wade gets overturned and your conflict over abortion gets back on the table, our team is very curious as to how you will engage your opponents or enemies.
So, what if your God has now put another Black Swan into play by choosing Donald Trump and putting your conflict over abortion back on the table?
What if Donald was sent to test you and reveal how you would respond?
You see, we recognize that if you pay attention to this way of seeing…
Ever since Roe v. Wade, and especially in recent years, pro-lifers are making dramatic legislative gains in restricting abortion. Thank God for that. But we should never lose sight of the fact that the goal is to change hearts and minds, not just laws.
So the battle to protect unborn human life will not be won, at least primarily, in the courts or legislatures. It will be won, as Chuck Colson used to say, over the backyard fence and at barbecues. Through pregnancy care centers, pro-life student groups, trained conversationalists, good books, and raising our own children to respect life.
That is, it will be won when Christians all join in to persuade others that each and every human life, from conception to natural death, is worthy of our protection. Persuade them of this and we’re well on the way to making abortion unthinkable, and whatever you can purchase online irrelevant.
While the trend in abortion procedures is moving away from surgery and toward prescription drugs, our goal as believers remains the same: persuading our culture that the taking of innocent human life is wrong, no matter how it is done.BreakPoint: Making Abortion Unthinkable: Even More Important than Making It Illegal, By John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera, Breakpoint, June 11, 2018
Samuel Lee, an abortion opponent in St. Louis, who helped push Missouri lawmakers to pass a sweeping abortion restriction bill this spring, said he thought the anti-abortion movement was too focused on physical clinics at a time when a rising share of abortions are done through medication, with some women ordering pills online.
“Between the increased use of medication abortion and of self-managed abortion, should focusing on the clinic itself really be our primary goal?” he said. “We need a progression in our thinking. It’s not enough to make abortion unlawful. We need to make it unthinkable. We need to reverse Roe v. Wade in our hearts.”New Illinois Abortion Clinic Anticipates Post-Roe World, By Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, October 22, 2019
… then you will recognize that you will have to learn how to persuade your opponents. And like Robert McKee says…
There are two ways to persuade people. The first is by using conventional rhetoric, which is what most executives are trained in. It’s an intellectual process, and in the business world it usually consists of a PowerPoint slide presentation in which you say, “Here is our company’s biggest challenge, and here is what we need to do to prosper.” And you build your case by giving statistics and facts and quotes from authorities. But there are two problems with rhetoric. First, the people you’re talking to have their own set of authorities, statistics, and experiences. While you’re trying to persuade them, they are arguing with you in their heads. Second, if you do succeed in persuading them, you’ve done so only on an intellectual basis. That’s not good enough, because people are not inspired to act by reason alone.
The other way to persuade people—and ultimately a much more powerful way—is by uniting an idea with an emotion. The best way to do that is by telling a compelling story. In a story, you not only weave a lot of information into the telling but you also arouse your listener’s emotions and energy.Storytelling That Moves People: A Conversation with Screenwriting Coach Robert McKee by Bronwyn Fryer, Harvard Business Review, June 2003
And our team now believes that you will not make that effort unless you also come to recognize that, if Christianity is the story we are in, your God is the Great Storyteller and he has designed story to be powerful with human beings.
But if, in the fog of the minimalist corner, you keep pushing that away, then get ready for a time of great conflict.
So, how you choose to engage will reveal so much about what you really want, here in the story.
And this caught our attention…
The pro-life movement has the moral vocabulary an unjust world needs, but we must not merely see ourselves as an anti-abortion movement, though we are that. We must see ourselves as a human dignity movement, committed to the idea that every human being has intrinsic value.
Imagine if the end of Roe were not the end of our advocacy, but the beginning? What if we saw ourselves, not merely as conservatives or anti-abortion activists, but as people who are always, everywhere advocating for policies that help the most vulnerable flourish? Imagine a new kind of politics where the ethic of human dignity disrupted our political categories, uniting those who see the humanity of the unborn with those who see the humanity of the immigrant, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly? Imagine a new era of civility where we saw dignity even in our fiercest opponents and worked, with whoever is willing, to end injustices against the innocent?On the brink of a post-Roe world, pro-life movement needs a future beyond abortion, By Daniel Darling, USA Today, August 7, 2018
So, you might want to think more seriously about what may be in play in America’s story. What if your God chose Donald in order to put Roe v. Wade back on the table and put you Christians to a test?
Because, well, if you decide to embrace the Donald’s approach to engaging your opponents, you may also end up playing a unique role in bringing the story of America to its end.
So, perhaps you may be interested in these…
After a powerful conversion experience, William Wilberforce dedicated himself to what he called his two great objectives—the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of society. In pursuing the first, he was challenging a mindset that had existed for centuries. Wilberforce recognized that if he wanted to change the law, he needed to change peoples’ hearts and minds. And he also knew that none of this was possible until his own heart experienced a radical transformation.“Let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage”, By Micheal Flaherty, Imprimis, February 2007
It’s important to note that, faced with the passivity or antagonism of the powerful and influential, Wilberforce and his allies didn’t content themselves with advancing a political agenda. They focused on the cultural, social, and ideological mores that allowed slavery to exist in the first place—indeed, the abolitionists turned themselves passionately and primarily to public awareness, cultural causes, and grassroots campaigns.
Before Wilberforce ever petitioned Parliament for the abolition of the slave trade, his compatriots had begun working on the hearts and minds of the British people. They knew this was where the battle must begin.
If we’re going to compare the pro-life movement to the abolitionist cause, we’re going to need leaders like Wilberforce—leaders whose integrity extends beyond shallow posturing into every facet of their lives. We are going to need more than partisan politicians—we’re going to need tender culture warriors and humanitarians, winsome orators and artists. Because pro-lifers won’t be able to win votes unless and until they win over hearts and minds—until they, too, demonstrate themselves to be the conscience of the nation.The Pro-Life Movement Needs More Wilberforces, By Gracy Olmstead, The Gospel Coalition, JANUARY 19, 2018
So, if you are going to take Wilberforce seriously, you need to persuade. Because even if Roe v. Wade gets overturned, it looks like you will still have a long way to go in order to change America society. Look at this…
While reversing the precedent would be a huge victory for the movement, it would have only a modest impact on the nationwide abortion rate.
Ever since I’ve been part of the pro-life movement, the movement’s Holy Grail has been overturning Roe v. Wade. The nightmare scenario of abortion-rights activists was the same — overturning Roe. But is the focus on Roe proportionate to its actual impact on American abortion rates? In other words, if Roe falls, how close would we be to a culture that protects life from conception until natural death? That’s the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement, after all.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported on the results of research that attempts to answer that question. A study by researchers from Middlebury College, the Guttmacher Institute, and the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health found that in “more than half of states, including the entire West Coast and Northeast,” overturning Roe would have no real effect on abortion access.
The study estimates that post-Roe, the abortion rate would be 32.8 percent lower “for the regions at high risk of banning abortions” and 12.8 percent lower nationwide. In raw numbers that’s more than 100,000 fewer abortions per year, a pro-life triumph. But am I the only pro-lifer who is sobered rather than enthused by the idea that ending Roe would cut nationwide abortions by less than 13 percent?In a Post-Roe World, Pro-Lifers Would Still Have a Lot of Work Left to Do, By DAVID FRENCH, National Review, July 19, 2019
So, will you take your Benedict Option guy seriously?
Put plainly, as long as the will remains unconverted, and unwilling to consider conversion, reason is mostly powerless to change things, except insofar as the claims of reason are consonant with their metaphysical dream — that intuitive feeling about the immanent nature of reality. In our time and place, this metaphysical dream is no longer truly Christian, though it is obviously informed by Christian ideals and sentiments. This will fade, and is fading. This is the problem religious and social conservatives face, or, as it were, fail to face.Why Natural Law Arguments Fail, by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, February 20, 2013
Argument has its place, but story is what truly moves the hearts and minds of men. The power of myth—which is to say, of storytelling—is the power to form and enlighten the moral imagination, which is how we learn right from wrong, the proper ordering of our souls, and what it means to be human. …. Through the stories we tell, we come to understand who we are and what we are to do. This is true for both individuals and communities.Story Lines, Not Party Lines, by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, July 10, 2013
So, we’re curious if you’ll seriously consider the power of story in light of these…
In either case, here’s what’s becoming increasingly clear: The battle over abortion is shifting away from the federal government to the states, and will ultimately shift to the individual conscience.
Even if Roe is completely overturned, most Americans will still live within driving distance of a state where abortion will be legal.
I’m not suggesting that the proposed laws are unimportant—on the contrary, pass more of them! I only wish to remind us that our goal is to make abortion unthinkable as well as illegal. And that means our work has only just begun. In fact, it may very well be the hardest part of our job is still ahead of us: making the pro-life case without the benefit of political tailwinds.BreakPoint: Making Abortion Unthinkable and Illegal: Lots of Work to Do, by John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera, Breakpoint, April 1, 2019
Roe is an abomination, and it needs to be overruled and relegated — along with precedents such as Dred Scott and Korematsu — to the dustbin of American legal history. But ending Roe isn’t the whole fight. As the New York Times report illustrates, it’s not even most of the fight.
Win the culture, and you win the war, saving countless lives even before you can change a single law. Lose the culture, and not even a repealed Roe will end the terrible scourge of abortion in the United States.In a Post-Roe World, Pro-Lifers Would Still Have a Lot of Work Left to Do, By DAVID FRENCH, National Review, July 19, 2019
What will you do? Will you consider the implications? We are watching, because we are wondering if Donald was chosen to help put Roe v. Wade back on the table and reveal that you Christians are not going to do what you need to do in the unfolding drama of America.
Let us know what you really want, here in the story.