Tag Archives: God

Bristol Palin announces pregnancy

palinby Carder

I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.

But please respect Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.

My little family always has, and always will come first.

Tripp, this new baby, and I will all be fine, because God is merciful.

~ Bristol Palin announcing her second pregnancy, Patheos via Breitbart, June 25

[Photo via US 4 Palin]

Stanek weekend Q: How to respond to assertion abortion isn’t in the Bible?

Pray-In

Rev. Harry Knox, CEO of The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, recently posted an op ed at Talking Points Memo, using the Bible to support abortion as an act of compassion.

Ironically, the photo accompanying his piece included me, from a day earlier this year when pro-life activists conducted a prayerful sit-in at Speaker Boehner’s office, which resulted in arrest.

From Knox’s piece:

With the myriad ways that God was invoked on the House floor, one might reasonably assume that the Almighty had sent a gilded memorandum, replete with red letters to the Speaker of the House.

Let’s be very clear: The Bible says nothing about abortion. Anyone who tells you otherwise is offering you their inaccurate interpretation of scripture. But let me tell you what is in the Bible: compassion. Indeed, compassion and love of neighbor are common to many faith traditions.

We read in Zechariah that God proclaims: “Make just and faithful decisions; show kindness and compassion to each other.” Paul writes in Colossians that we ought to, “Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” And in the Quran, compassion is the most frequently used word.

It’s simple: Our faith traditions call us to acts of justice and compassion. Yet that isn’t what anti-choice legislators are offering….

Women seek abortions for many different reasons. God trusts and empowers us to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. It’s not our place to judge a woman’s personal decisions. God calls us to offer compassion, respect, and support so she can be at peace with whatever decision she makes. We believe this not in spite of our faith, but because of it.

How do you respond to Knox and others like him who say that since abortion isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible as a sin, it is not only not a sin but a deed to be supported as an act of faith?

Stanek Sunday Word: “Love your neighbor as yourself”

touching-baby-bumpJesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’

The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

No other commandment is greater than these.”

~ Mark 12:29-31, New Living Translation

New language in 20-week abortion ban virtually ensures an end to late-term abortions

admin-ajaxYesterday, the U.S. House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act by a vote of 242-184-1.

In the gallery for the debates and vote, I was as horrified by pro-abortion opposition as I was elated by pro-life support.

Most egregious was Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who evoked faith, God, and even the song “Glory” from the movie Selma to defend the right to dismember 5-mo-old children (beginning at 33:32).

Both Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards hid behind tweets to express support for stabbing and decapitating little babies. Richards went too far, however, even for her…

I can’t even begin to fathom such an openly depraved mind as that.

Now the bill moves to the Senate, where the lift will be heavier than it was (but should not have been) in the House. Required will be 60 votes to surmount a Democrat filibuster.

Then, of course, there is our pro-abortion/pro-infanticide president to contend with.

But do not forget how the arduous progression of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban only served to heighten awareness of both the savagery of abortion and the humanity of the preborn child and with it heighten support for the sanctity of life.

Good riddance to late-term abortions

The other day I directed you to new verbiage in the Pain-Capable Act, but I want to explain how the added language will virtually end late-term abortions in the U.S, exceptions notwithstanding.

Those exceptions are: 1) rape/incest, 2) life of the mother.

Backing up, the Pain-Capable Act protects children from the “post-fertilization age [of] 20 weeks.”

But, as Wikipedia explains, “In human obstetrics, gestational age refers to the embryonic or fetal age plus two weeks. This is approximately the duration since the woman’s last menstrual period began.”

So, the New York Times article two weeks ago, entitled, “Premature Babies May Survive at 22 Weeks if Treated, Study Finds,” was speaking of gestational age, which is the same as 20 weeks post-fertilization.

hqdefaultIn other words, the Pain Capable Ban protects potentially viable babies.

The added bill language specifies that pregnancy terminations must be committed in a way that “provides the best opportunity” for the preborn baby to survive.

This means the abortionist cannot kill the baby ahead of time by injecting him or her with a medication to stop the heart.

It also requires that a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation be present to care for the baby, and that babies born alive be transported to a hospital.

Additionally, there is the “call the cops or wear the cuffs” provision, making it a federal offense if employees/doctors witnessing an abortionist’s failure to provide medical care do not report this to police.

There is also a required informed consent form that includes the age of the child, a description of the law an explanation that if the baby is born alive, s/he will be given medical assistance and transported to a hospital, and information about the woman’s right to sue if these protections are not followed.

Finally, the aborting mother is empowered with the right to sue her abortionist if s/he fails to comply with the law. Parents of minors may also sue.

Given these confines, I cannot imagine any abortionist daring to commit late-term abortions. And what second physician would agree to help?

If a mother’s life is truly endangered, and her obviously wanted baby (otherwise she would have aborted much earlier) is potentially viable, it would be abnormal to say the least for her to want her baby killed rather than saved.

The end result, if and when this bill is enacted into law, will be an end to abortions past 20 weeks in the U.S.

 

“Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate analysis, Part VI: Christians and the legislative process

by Clinton Wilcox of Life Training Institute

It is an honor to be able to contribute to Jill’s frankly devastating critique of T. Russell Hunter’s performance in his “Immediatist vs Incrementalist debate against Gregg Cunningham.

churchandstatesignsLate in the debate (timestamps 1:05:10 to 1:07:04), Hunter made the following claim: Christians are not practicing activism at abortion clinics because they don’t trust in the power of God, they trust in incremental legislation.

During cross-examination  (timestamps 1:41:32 to 1:44:56), Hunter made the same accusation, adding pastors and churches, and asked if Cunningham agreed.

Cunningham rebutted that while he agreed churches aren’t doing enough to combat abortion, it is not the fault of incremental legislation. Incremental legislation is a good thing.

Rather, Cunningham observed:

  • Pastors are not being trained properly in pro-life apologetics, and they are not speaking about abortion to their parishioners.
  • Pastors can be afraid of losing members, so they don’t want to engage in any sort of “offensive” speech from the pulpit.
  • Christians, by and large, are not leaving the pews to engage in pro-life activism.

Not to be outdone, Hunter wrote the following as a comment on Jill’s post:

As for specific bills and laws, we do believe that cultural change is necessary to their passage and are focused on doing what we can to “get the votes,” as our anti-abolitionist pro-life opponents always tell us “are not there.” But do look for specific practical actionable bills of abolition to start appearing in 2016.

In other words, legislation is actually fine, as long as it’s AHA’s brand of legislation. And somehow Hunter’s brand will not lull Christians into complacency?

The bigger problem, though, as has been pointed out before, is all bills are necessarily incremental, as would be any bill AHA proposes. If, for instance, you pass a personhood amendment in Texas, all you have to do is go to New Mexico, “…and then you can kill the baby.”

Hunter had an answer for that in another comment on Jill’s blog:

Do I need to explain the difference? Do you see that the statewide abolition bill that bans abortion because it is the murder of human beings is different than a state Not banning abortion and not bringing humans under the protection of law but hexing a certain procedure in which they could be killed?

Of course people would drive to another state to get an abortion but that is because in their state abortion had been abolished as murder.

However, AHA opposes incremental legislation to close abortion clinics because “Shutting down clinics doesn’t halt abortion; it just makes people who choose to sacrifice their children drive further.”

Overt contradictions aside, Hunter is nevertheless playing semantics. If we must oppose all bills that could end with “…and then you can kill the baby,” we must, of necessity, oppose any personhood amendment that doesn’t abolish abortion in the United States as a whole.

morgentalerBut then you run into further problems, because then you could just cross the border to Canada, “…and then you can kill the baby.”

Hunter’s brand of “immediatism” should be rejected because one cannot consistently live as an immediatist as Hunter understands it. All bills we can logically support are incremental in nature; personhood bills are simply the only kind Hunter is happy with.

During the debate Hunter knocked Christian involvement in legislative endeavors as distractive from real work to stop abortion.

So, should Christians be involved in the political process?

Absolutely, if we believe in effecting change for the better. In fact, as brilliant theologian Wayne Grudem pointed out, there have been many times in Jewish history when they gave counsel to ungodly rulers, such as when Daniel counseled King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, and when Joseph advised Pharaoh in Genesis. Please read the linked article for a more in-depth discussion of Christians being involved in the political process.

It’s true many Christians can use the political process as an excuse not to engage in activism, but this isn’t a problem with the legislative process. This is a problem with education in our churches, and apathy among church-goers.

We should continue to support incremental legislation because that’s the only way we’ll affect change in our current political atmosphere.

Pro-life people want the immediate end to abortion. Incremental legislation is our strategic method for getting there. Planned Parenthood knows this. Pro-choice writers like Katha Pollitt know this (it plays a major theme in her recent book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights). The only people who don’t seem to get that are the self-proclaimed “abolitionists.”
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Clinton Wilcox is a staff apologist for Life Training Institute. He specializes in training pro-life people to make the pro-life case more effectively and persuasively. He is also a certified speaker and mentor for Justice for All. He keeps a personal blog, and you can also follow him on Twitter.

Read previous posts:

Prologue
Part I: Let babies die today, we can save the rest later
Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?
Part III: Social justice history vs TR Hunter
Part IV: Straw men and the Bible
Part V: Sacrificing children to the idol of abolitionism
Scott Klusendorf: Debate between Gregg Cunningham and T. Russell Hunter
Jonathan Van Maren: Four observations from the Cunningham vs. Hunter debate

“Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate analysis, Part IV: Straw men and the Bible

1010893_636469939752357_1169770429_nAbolish Human Abortion followers love to use the term “straw man” to dismiss pro-life arguments that point out their inconsistencies.

(For example, during their recent “Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate, AHA’s T. Russell Hunter called it a “very, very silly straw man” when Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Gregg Cunningham challenged Hunter for saying he would let a secularist save the life of his 2-year-old but not let a secularist help him save the lives of children marked for abortion [beginning at 1:20:20 on the video].)

So today let’s talk about straw men.

Repeatedly throughout the debate, Hunter blamed incrementalists for the fact that abortion has remained legal in the U.S. for 43 years, and this because we don’t have enough faith in God. Excerpted from his closing argument (1:53:39-1:59:47), italicized/underlined emphases mine for points to make afterward:

The Word of God is clear on at least this point. When there are grave injustices and evils going on in your midst, you ought to, because you love your neighbor, do justice and show mercy.

My big beef – my big problem- with the incrementalism is that people, instead of trusting in the Word of God and coming together as the bride of Christ and bringing the Gospel into conflict with the evil of the age, and doing what we are commanded to do, instead of being like Jonah to Nineveh, we go and we say, “What do the laws say? What can I get within the current federal ruling?”…

The debate between immediatism and incrementalism, when it’s couched in the, “which should we rally around, which should we come together,” if all Christians had to say, I’m going to go all my funding all my energy, my time, my talent, my church, which project should the people of God do? You may call it binary. Should we all pick up the ax and lay it to the trunk of the tree over and over and over, no matter how long it takes…. Should we do that – should that be what we unify around – or should we continue to say that’s good, I like that, but I’m gonna work on cutting down these branches….

My contention is that the people of God are under a false delusion that incrementalism is what they ought to be paying attention to. They ought to be unifying….

I don’t find incrementalism in the Bible. I don’t find incrementalism in the historical record of fighting social justice, except for that it is as a tutor to tell us don’t play around with it….

It’s just a question of like, do you believe in that God?…

If we can get people to believe in Him and trust in Him we can abolish abortion. But if we can’t get people to believe in Him and trust in Him we will not abolish abortion.

chewing-gumThe emphasized sections highlight three flaws – straw men, if you will – in Hunter’s logic.

False premise

First, Hunter sets up a false premise, claiming we must choose between immediatism and incrementalism.

But Hunter is the only one “couching” it as an either/or. As Cunningham repeatedly rebutted, Hunter’s assumption is flawed and binary. Incrementalists pursue both strategies. We can walk and chew gum. Hunter apparently can’t.

Let babies stuck in the branches die

Second, Hunter glosses over the babies he is callously willing to sacrifice while focusing on chopping down the abortion tree with his ax, “no matter how long it takes.” Russell repeatedly refuses to stop and own the span of time between when immediatists began axing and when the tree falls. How exactly do we “show mercy” to our neighbors caught in the branches of abortion while ignoring them to hack at the tree “over and over and over, no matter how long it takes“?

Blame incrementalists when immediatism fails

Third, Hunter says we only need faith to stop abortion, but apparently the faith of he and his band isn’t strong enough. If they fail, it’s our fault. International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies reiterated their convenient escape hatch/scapegoat in a recent Facebook post:

2015-05-04_1759

In other words, there’s a Goliath II blocking AHA from getting to Goliath I.

Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute responded to that logic fail in his article analyzing the debate:

Hunter never once said how his policy of immediatism plays out in the real world. How, exactly, does it work to insist on the immediate abolition of abortion? Got the votes for that? Here is where Hunter’s argument is truly self-sealing. He states that if only all incrementalists would become immediatists, we could take the ax to the root and win.

So there you have it. When you can’t explain how your strategy actually works in the real world, you just fault your opponents for your failure to execute. This reminds me of faith healers who blame the victim for “not having enough faith” when he doesn’t immediately recover from a systemic illness….

… Hunter’s reply was that pro-life incrementalists don’t trust the power of the risen Lord and thus don’t embrace immediatism. But wait. If Hunter truly believes the power of the risen Lord enables us to end abortion immediately, why wait for us? Doesn’t that same power enable small groups as well as large ones?

If so, stop blaming the pro-life movement for not joining your immediatist crusade. After all, the gospel proclamation began with just twelve men, accompanied by signs and wonders, proclaiming the power of the risen Jesus in the very city where he was crucified in the face of hostility far worse than Hunter faces today.

Hunter also stated, “I don’t find incrementalism in the Bible.” If so, it’s only because he doesn’t want to. Cunningham gave but three examples (2:00:12-2:02:16), as summarized by Klusendorf:

First, Paul (1 Cor. 3) works incrementally to convey hard truths to weak brothers in the faith. He gives them milk instead of solid food. He revealed God’s law to them incrementally so they could digest it. Second, Jesus (Mark 10:4) says that God instructed Moses to relax the law on marriage because the people were not ready for tough divorce codes just then. Gradually, however, Christ toughens those laws. Jesus said this! Third, when Peter asked about paying the temple tax, Jesus compromised and paid lest he offend weaker Jews. Jesus was skillfully picking his fights!

Klusendorf added:

Commenting on the debate, Dr. Marc Newman, professor of rhetoric at Regent University and well-known debate coach, writes:

Look at Acts 17, with Paul on Mars Hill. He preaches a sermon during which he, quite interestingly, doesn’t cite a single scripture, but does invoke the local religion, philosophers, and poets. At the end, some scoff, some convert, and others say that they want to hear more on this subject.

Similarly, God in his foreknowledge and omnipotence, could convert all of the elect in the womb, but he does not. C.S. Lewis came to Christ incrementally: from an atheist, to a mythologist, to a theist, to a Christian – and this road has been traveled by many others.

God saves people in much the same way that incrementalists save children. God makes it clear that it is His desire that all be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4), and that He takes no delight in the destruction of the wicked (Ez. 33:11). Nevertheless, we all come, one at a time. This one gets saved, then that one.

Imagine if the apostles waited until they crafted a strategy that resulted in the salvation of everyone before they actually began evangelizing? The Church would have been strangled in its cradle. No. The Apostle Paul says that he works separately among the cultures in all ways that don’t require him to compromise the core of the faith, becomes all things to all men, that by all means, he might saves some – not all, some (1 Cor. 9:19-23). Paul even declares that he will live as one under the law, even though he is not under the law, if by doing so he can save some. If Paul was an incrementalist, count me in.

In short, if Paul and the other apostles didn’t immediately end the social ills of their day by applying the power of the risen Christ, what makes Hunter think he can do so today?

Actually, as he stated during the debate and elsewhere, Hunter doesn’t believe “immediatism” means “immediate,” the topic of my next post.

Also read:

Prologue
Part I: Let babies die today, we can save the rest later
Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?
Part III: Social justice history vs TR Hunter
Scott Klusendorf: Debate between Gregg Cunningham and T. Russell Hunter
Jonathan Van Maren: Four observations from the Cunningham vs. Hunter debate

Sunday Word: “How Great Is Our God”

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Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment…

he who looks at the earth, and it trembles…

I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Excerpts from Psalm 104, New International Version, as quoted by singer/songwriter Chris Tomlin in his song, “How Great Is Our God”…

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