Reflections on a Planned Parenthood Protest

For the first time I went to a protest of Planned Parenthood this morning with about 20 people from Desert Hills. The announced crowd at the Glendale protest was 1,000 people. Throughout the day, I’ve had some opportunities to reflect on the protest.

The morning was more emotional than I expected. I knew it would be charged, especially with the videos that have been released and the large crowd that was anticipated. I typically only go through the emotions of these events after the fact, feeling a bit numb while I’m in the midst of them. But this morning my eyes welled up with tears a couple times. Standing so close to a building where babies are butchered was sobering, and seeing the passion of so many people to invest their time and money in bringing these atrocities to an end was moving. Seeing a woman hold up a sign that said “I will adopt your baby” caused me to reflect on all the lives that are senselessly slaughtered when people wait so long and desire so deeply to adopt. Rep. Trent Franks’ speech was not a typical political speech in tone. He was visibly shaken as he spoke about the horrors of Planned Parenthood. He did not mince words when he described Pres. Obama, calling him “the greatest enemy to the most helpless” in our society. I often say things like that, and the response is often that I need to be a little less extreme. It was encouraging to hear one of our elected officials be so bold. Recognizing the truth about the evil in the White House is not extreme. Cutting babies’ faces off with scissors so you can extract their brain is. It’s time we get that figured out.

I anticipated that the protest would be ecumenical. It was. There were many Roman Catholics present at the protest. I willingly stand with other human beings made in God’s image to protect the lives of the most helpless and vulnerable in our society. To do so does not affirm their religious beliefs, nor should we pretend we share the same Gospel just because we both value the lives of preborn babies. I think we can go to a protest and affirm the value of human life together while maintaining a distinction from those outside the Gospel, even if we are protesting abortion with them. It does become problematic, however, when a Roman Catholic Priest is chosen to pray, or the opportunity arises to break into small groups and pray but you’re not sure if the people who might be in your group are actually Christians. To resolve that dilemma, we went back to the church and prayed as a group there after the protest was over.

I also was disappointed by the lack of a Protestant presence at the protest. I did see two friends who are pastors at the protest, but I had hoped to see others. Perhaps they were just at different locations (I know of some who were). While I keenly understand the busy schedules pastors keep and the constant demands of the ministry, it seems that something like this should have been a greater priority for pastors and their churches. I was thankful Desert Hills had so many people turn out for the protest. Nevertheless, we who are doctrinally sound should be leading these efforts in our communities, not sitting on the sidelines or simply posting about it on social media.

IMG_1715 (1)This afternoon I was brought nearly to tears again watching my daughter play. Her demographic is the target of Planned Parenthood: an African-American baby, the result of an unplanned pregnancy with a birthfather who walked out and left her birthmother high and dry. Her birthmother could have chosen to murder my daughter. But she didn’t. She chose life. As my daughter hid from me in her tent in the family room, laughing and smiling, I had to fight back the tears. Then again, as she jumped unbelievably high on the trampoline, I fought them back again. That happy, jumping, sweet, fun, vivacious, wonderful little girl is mine because a woman didn’t kill her, because a woman loved enough to give birth and then place her for adoption, because a woman chose our family to be her birth-daughter’s parents, and because God had chosen to give us such a precious gift. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that her birthmother chose life, that Planned Parenthood and their genocidal hordes lost that battle, and that love and life won.

Children are a gift. All children. A precious gift of God. Planned Parenthood exists to murder God’s gifts. They must be stopped. It’s not time to pat ourselves on the back for attending a protest. It’s time to realize a holocaust is happening in our back yards, and we are letting it happen. It’s time to cry out to the Lord, “How long, O Lord?”

Defunding Planned Parenthood and ending legalized abortion is not the Gospel. It can’t supplant the Gospel focus of the Church. But if we love the Gospel, and if we love the Lord of life, we’ll stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. We’ll defend the orphan. We’ll seek justice for the oppressed. Pro-life is not the Gospel, but a gospel that does not invigorate us to stand for the lives of those mercilessly, brutally, and unjustly slaughtered, with no voice of their own, abandoned by their father and mother, is at best a defective gospel and, perhaps, no gospel at all.

Christmas Eve Meditation

One of the realities we face as people living in a fallen world is that tragedy and sadness surround us. This reality seems especially true this Christmas as we all mourn not only the loss of many lives in Newtown, CT, but also what such acts of violence say about our culture and the spiritual condition of our nation. It seems like lately one tragedy has barely ended before another one begins. This morning in Webster, NY, four firemen were shot, two fatally, while two others remain in the hospital. The gunman set a fire to lure the first responders to the scene, and when they arrived, he opened fire. It’s gut-wrenching to think that people have lost loved ones on Christmas Eve of all days because of the wicked acts of a wicked man.

The sad reality, though, is that our world is not any different than the world that Jesus was born into. In Matthew 2, we read about a wicked ruler, Herod, who put to death all male children two and under in and around Bethlehem. He committed this atrocity out of fear of losing power, for the sake of his own ego and pride. The world into which Jesus came was a world far more brutal than our own. It was a world where slavery was legal, and millions of people were treated as no better than cattle. It was a world where women were often treated as property. It was a world where homosexuality was rampant. It was a world filled with idolatrous worship and religious persecution.

In the midst of all the evil and chaos of the surrounding world, God made a promise that He fulfilled at Christmas. Matthew 1:23 says that the birth of Jesus took place to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah, who wrote, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.” Matthew reminds us that Immanuel means God with us. Jesus came into a world filled with evil and violence and hate as Immanuel. He came as God with us.

The promise of Christmas is that, no matter what happens in our world, no matter what befalls us personally, if we have faith in Jesus, then God is with us. He is with us to save, to deliver, to rescue, to comfort, to strengthen, to care for, to give peace, to carry, and to sustain us. In a world filled with darkness, Christmas stands as a burning and shining light that in Christ, God is with us. It might not always feel that way. From a human perspective, it might not always look that way. But the promise of God is sure. If we know Jesus through faith in Him, trusting in His death and resurrection, believing His promise to forgive our sins because of what He has done, God is with us.

Jesus came into our broken world as Immanuel, God with us. Our world has not changed. It is still broken. But neither has our God changed. He is still with us in His Son. May His promise give you comfort, peace, and joy this Christmas, and throughout the year.

How to Respond to “Pro-Choice” Arguments

In a helpful blog article today, Scott Klusendorf discusses how pro-choice advocates try to win the abortion argument by changing the fundamental question from an issue of morality to an issue of personal preference. He also gives some helpful tactics for getting the argument back on track. Klusendorf mentions Greg Koukl in his article. Koukl has written a powerful book on apologetics that every Christian needs to read. Check out Klusendorf’s article, and then get Koukl’s book. Arm yourself to defend the truth in a culture whose foundations are built on the shifting sands of personal preferences.

Why I Voted for Mitt Romney: Judicial Appointments

In his book Politics according to the Bible (just $4.99 on Kindle and highly recommended), Wayne Grudem argues that the most important issue facing the United States today is the appointment of judges, especially judges to the Supreme Court of the United States. While I said in a previous post that abortion is the most important issue facing our nation today, I also agree with Grudem because the only way abortion will become illegal in the United States is if justices are appointed to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade and send the question of abortion back to the states and elected representatives.

When considering the appointment of justices, President Obama’s record is clear. He has appointed two SCOTUS justices during his first term in office: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Fortunately, these two appointees replaced justices with a liberal view of judicial activism, so nothing was gained by way of continuing the undermining of our democracy through activist judges. With the likelihood of one or more SCOTUS justices retiring over the next four years, the stakes are high in this election. The United States simply cannot withstand any more Obama appointees if it is to be recognizable as the historic democracy founded on the original Constitution.

Gov. Mitt Romney takes a more conservative approach and would appoint justices that would favor an originalist approach to the Constitution. The positions of Obama and Romney have been contrasted by Bill Mears. Mr. Mears also reminds Americans of the stakes in this presidential election, noting that it is possible that the next president would appoint three SCOTUS justices. He wisely points out that we will remember the justices long after we have forgotten the president who appointed them. While SCOTUS appointments might not be high on everyone’s list of election priorities, they should be. Whether you vote for Romney or Obama will have far-reaching implications for possibly decades beyond this election cycle. Romney supports judges who interpret the Constitution as it was originally intended. Obama will appoint more judges who will force a liberal agenda on the nation and bypass the Constitutionally appointed means of making laws. The choice couldn’t be more clear, which is why I voted for Mitt Romney.

Let’s really get real about abortions

In his column this morning, David Frum talked about getting “real” about abortions. The goal of his column is to shift the discussion about the legality of abortion to how to minimize abortion by providing support, especially financial support, to pregnant women so that they feel financially secure enough to bring the baby to term. Frum raises a significant issue that too often conservatives overlook and ignore when discussing abortion, and I thank him for raising it. His ideas deserve thoughtful reflection and response. Here are a few thoughts from a pro-life, conservative viewpoint.

I absolutely agree that a major part of the pro-life platform must be providing support, financial and otherwise, to pregnant women who are unable to pay for the medical expenses of having a child. I know firsthand how overwhelming these expenses can be as my last child cost over $4,000 in medical bills for the prenatal care, sonograms, delivery, and hospital use. And that was after insurance covered their portion. Moreover, my child was healthy and we only were in the hospital for 24 hours. I can only begin to wonder how much more expensive it would have been had he had medical problems at birth or during prenatal care.

But here’s the thing: Pro-life groups are leaders in providing financial, spiritual, and moral support for pregnant mothers in distress. Take an adoption agency in Birmingham, AL, as an example. Lifeline Children’s Services includes a “Maternity Village” where pregnant mothers in distress can live and receive support and training during their pregnancy. This is provided to the mothers as a free service. The village is supported by donors and adoptive families. My wife and I adopted a little girl from Lifeline, and a portion of our adoption fees went to support the maternity village. The primary problem is not that pro-life groups are unwilling to provide this support; it’s that the government refuses to provide adequate support for such services, choosing to fund pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood instead. Imagine what a difference it would make in the lives of mothers and their babies if all the federal money given to Planned Parenthood went to pro-life groups that provided prenatal support to pregnant women in distress! Imagine how many more maternity villages could be built and how many fewer babies would be brutally murdered inside their mother’s wombs. While Frum is right, he’s also wrong. If he is serious about what he says, he needs to join the crusade against Planned Parenthood and their radical pro-abortion stance, and begin to write opinion columns urging the government to pour all of that money into maternity villages around the country run by pro-life groups.

Lastly, Mr. Frum is intellectually inconsistent in his position. If he thinks abortion is acceptable, then why bother providing any support at all to pregnant mothers unable to afford a baby? If abortion is not morally wrong, then on what grounds does he argue that anyone’s money should be used to prevent it? The idea that we ought to work and donate to reduce the number of abortions is nonsense unless abortion is morally wrong. If it’s not wrong, if it’s just a “woman’s healthcare decision,” if it’s just related to what “a woman chooses to do with her body,” then we don’t need to have the conversation about reducing abortions. But deep down, Mr. Frum knows that abortion is indefensible and morally egregious. He tries to take the high road by showing concern for pregnant women in distress, but when he does so, he undermines his entire position on abortion.

Let’s really get real about abortions, Mr. Frum. They’re morally wrong and should be illegal. And the government should come alongside pro-life groups to help women make the right choice instead of supporting pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.