Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why the hate?

Every year our church participates in the "Life Chain". The Life Chain is a peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life Americans standing for one hour along major roadways praying for our nations and for an end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the Church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception.

Today we stood holding signs and praying along 95th street in Overland Park between 1:30 and 2:30 pm. Many who passed by waved and honked in support. Most simply drove by. What amazes me every year are those few who react negatively. Today was no different. Several drivers passed us jeering, some yelling at us, and still others waving their middle finger at us. I made eye contact with a middle-aged woman driving a mini van who forcefully held both middle fingers at me as she read my "Jesus forgives and heals" sign. She was very angry with our being there and what we stood for.

Why the hate?

I stand for such events for one reason- I think human life begins at conception. I think the bible teaches this and biology affirms it. Even if I did not believe the bible and was ignorant of biology, common sense would convince me pregnancy, at any stage, means a new human being exists. By definition, abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death. In this light, I believe that abortion for any other reason than to save the life of the mother is murder (see comments for explanation of my position on this) . Why be so mad at me for this conviction? Honestly, can you say I am illogical for opposing abortion as I have described? Why the hatred for me?

I don't hate people who choose to have abortions. Don't get me wrong, it frustrates me on many levels. I grieve for such people. I am certain such a choice will hurt them personally. Very frankly, I think the hatred and anger shown toward those who oppose abortion is a fruit of guilt. In their heart, they know abortion is wrong. For me to hold a sign that in some way declares abortion to be wrong makes some people feel they are being judged thereby provoking them to anger. Guilt and anger go hand in hand.

I judge abortion to be wrong on the basis of Scripture, biology, and common sense, so it's not a personal angst toward those who support or promote abortion. I am a sinner and have no standing to personally judge anyone, but I can make a judgment about what sin is. I am confident on the basis of Scripture, biology, and common sense I can prove my case. Don't hate me for my conviction. Flipping me off when I'm standing there with my family says more about you than me.

I grieve over the state of our culture. How has it come to this? How has abortion become acceptable? I know the answer, and that makes me grieve more. Abortion primarily exists so we can live the way we want to live- as selfish, self-serving, self-centered, self-worshiping people. To some degree abortion allows men to act like untamed animals and treat women as sex objects. Abortion gives women the illusion of control or freedom over "their body" so they also can live and act the way they want. Abortion is the symptom, self-worship is the cause.

Over a year ago my wife and I applied with a local agency to adopt a baby. In part we wanted to promote a culture of adoption that might play a small part in reforming the low view of life in our society (a tell tale sign of a culture in decline, by the way). For a whole year we waited and no babies were available for us to adopt. I began meeting others who were trying to adopt domestically, they also waited for months and years with no babies apparently available. How could this be? I hear the term "unwanted pregnancy" enough, where are all these "unwanted" babies? I know plenty of people who want one, including us. Very simply, there are well over 1,000,000 abortions every year, that's why there are apparently so few babies to adopt in the U.S. I have become convinced there are plenty of adoptive parents waiting for children so that no woman has to have an abortion.

Obviously much more could be said on this volatile subject, but again I ask- why the hate? When I stand on the sidewalk as a reminder of something that goes on in relative secret but is a huge holocaust, why hate me for doing so? Why be so angry with me? I'm not telling any woman she has to deliver and keep the baby she is carrying. Shari and I will take him or her. I know plenty others who would do the same. Don't kill a person when you know it's wrong. Are you not ready to raise a child? Put him or her up for adoption. There is not only nothing wrong with such an action, it's the right and merciful thing to do in many cases. I won't judge you for your actions that brought you to this point- I really won't. But please don't kill the person inside of you.

The blight of abortion stems from all sorts of other root problems summed up in our drive to worship self. I just don't understand why such anger and malice is poured out on people who are genuinely concerned with a culture that is so flippant about human life. Maybe you're not convinced by biology or common sense that conception is the beginning of human life. Why give me the finger because I think it is? We could have a conversation that explains to each other why we hold our particular views, no need to hate me. Instead of jeering those who truly believe they are standing for the sanctity of human life, just drive on past and leave us in our ignorance.

Why the hate? It's because of the primacy of self-love, self-preservation, self-promotion, self-centeredness. If selfishness is the driving force that works in us, anything that threatens must be eliminated. In such a self-serving, self-promoting culture, what chance does a voiceless, seemingly non-existent person really have? Someone has to say and do something. No need to hate them for it.


Rick Calohan said...

Praise God that people like you Tony and those who stood with you made a positive statement while a nation ignores the 1.4 million babies that are murdered each year. That makes over 42 million since 1973. Your testimony is a reminder to all of us what is at stake in this election. Whoever is the next president will appoint three or four justices to the Supreme Court and thousands more to Federal Courts throughout the land. A vote for Obama will solidify Roe v. Wade for decades to come. We cannot be complacent about this; it is not the war, the economy, or George W. Bush stupid. It is the sanctity of human life.

I know this a public forum, but let me put this in a human perspective. Consider this as a public confession of how sin destroys human life. When I was stationed in Korea and was living and indulging in my wicked and sinful ways, I was involved with a married woman for eight months, in that time she claimed to be pregnant not once but twice. Both times even when I knew that one of them may not have been mine I willing and able to do the honorable thing and married this woman and raise those children. However, she aborted both times. I guess raising her son from the age of three months – eleven months was not convincing enough for her. Had the first child came to being the second would not have existed to be aborted had either of those children came to being, they would now be 19 years old enough to vote in this election.

My first wife became pregnant on or about April 1990 approximately six months into our rocky marriage made of sand, four months into her pregnancy she became upset with me got drunk and claimed she was miscarrying. She therefore went to the local abortion clinic and had a D&C; turns out, she was pregnant with twins. Had those babies came to being they would be now 18 years old and old enough to vote in this election.

I guess my point is things happen in our lives, mistakes are made, and our sins or irresponsibility far outweigh any good we shall do in this world. It is by the Grace of God that I am able to publicly confess these sins so that perhaps if some young misguided individual out there who is confused and thinks the only thing to do is abort, I urge you to stop and think of the consequences. The events of 18 or 19 years ago never leave your heart, or your mind, they stay with you, and they affect future events in your lives. It took three marriages and at the age of 41 to hold a child of my own, most of my friends have children who are eligible to vote in this election I pray that they vote Pro-Life.

“I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.”
~Ronald Reagan, quoted in New York Times, 22 September 1980

"All those who hate me love death.” Mishlei (Proverb) 8:36

malcolm said...

First of all, Tony thanks for the thoughtful and prayerful dialogue. Every thing you said is spot on. There are so many "pro death" arguements that make no sense. They say how can we be pro-life and then be for the death penalty. Isn't the question itself an admission that an abortion kills something that is alive? The question has about 3 more levels of stupidity but I won't go on. I would encourage everyone who has read this blog to do one thing. I would ask that you spend 30 minutes outside an abortion clinic. Do it safely. There is no need to protest or block traffic. Just stand there and observe. My wife was a sidewalk counselor for many years and it has to be one of the most thankless things a person could do. But if you just observe for a while you will walk away very sad but very moved. There are so many young women that come in that you can see in their faces that they don't want this. Their mom, their pimp, their boyfriend - all of these and others insist on the procedure and this young woman's life and mental health is damaged for the rest of her years. Give it a try folks. Go by yourself around nine in the morning and see how full the parking lot is. Just stand there, pray and contemplate. It will move you to tears. And Tony, I am sure you will get some comments on this that will be much like the people you descibed driving by yesterday. I would encourage you to publish those as well.

Reepicheep said...

Because I expect several questions:

That loss of life to the unborn that occurs as a result of an attempt to save the life of the mother when, on those rare occasions, it is reasonably certain that unless a critical abortion is performed both mother and child will die, is not murder, in my opinion. It’s more like self-defense. Many ectopic pregnancies fall in to this category.

Frontier Forest said...

Wow, I need to humbly offer two thoughts: one, thanks Pastor for standing up for life; Thanks Rick, I praise the Lord for you and I was deeply moved by your statement of repentance. What wonder is His grace… the ONE who can forgive any and all sin. said...

Well said Tony. I got fired up this morning about this issue when I read an article by a "conservative" who will vote for Obama. This is the message I have for any professing Christian considering a vote for the fresh face on the scene this year:

Frankly I'm shocked how many people actually consider all issues equal. Faith and commitment to Biblical truth must trump disagreements on tax policy. God will judge this country and its professing believers based on one's stand on issues of life, defense of the innocent, justice, and His moral commands.

A man (or a political party for that atter) that supports infanticide and other clearly forbidden practices must be condemned, not supported in any way. Obama needs desperate prayer, not votes. It is irresponsible and irrelevant to place good or different ideas about taxes or governmental social policy above Biblical mandate!

By all means, be angry with George Bush if you want. He is certainly not my ideal President either. But Christians must not let their distaste for an individual man cloud their judgment on the issues that the Almighty values.

Please don't be fooled. All issues are not created equal. Do we really think that we will stand before our Creator some day an be asked to explain our terrible decison to support trickle down economics or a middle eastern war?

The author of the article I read had the audacity to allude to the "wasted lives" of the Bush wars. Interesting that liberals care more for the 5,000 "wasted lives" of our soldiers than the 1,000,000 ANNUALLY wasted lives our pre-born children. Please wake up Christian brothers and sisters. This is NOT OK. God will not support this clear hypocrisy. He never has and He never will... look it up.

Michelle K said...

I decided to comment because you mentioned you and your wife wanting to adopt a baby. My husband and I have also started the very beginning steps of the adoption process. While I think it is a wonderful thing to want to adopt a baby, I would encourage you to look at adopting an older child. There are thousands and thousands of children living in foster care, waiting for a family to adopt them. Babies are typically adopted quickly, but it's the children who are being left behind. I know that there are over 6,000 children just in TX who are eligible for adoption in the state system.

Reepicheep said...

michelle, you are right about older children needing adoption.

We are currently getting licensed to be foster parents for 0-5 year olds. Our youngest of 3 is 5 yrs old, so we will keep our foster kids under his age for family dynamic reasons.

We may be in a position to foster older children later. Maybe even adopt.

For now,we will be foster care providers and adopt as God directs.

Michelle K said...

That's incredible that you are doing the foster care process. It takes a special family to have the ability to foster and there definitely needs to be more of them! We have found the whole process of adoption (and by that, I mean the decisions and the paperwork) quite daunting so far and we haven't even gotten very far. : ) I am not sure how Kansas is, but TX sure asks lots of questions!

Zach said...

Rick, what a courageous testimony to the sovereign grace of God. Tony, what a great witness and written reflection.

Am I out of line to suggest that a poignant subtext occurred to me when reading your post? When you ask, "How has it come to this? How has abortion become acceptable?" My answer is that widespread acceptance of contraception during the middle part of the twentieth century was the first step down the slippery slope toward widespread acceptance of abortion during the latter years of the same century.

To illustrate my point, allow me to amend the most powerful passage in your post, and see if you disagree: "Contraception primarily exists so we can live the way we want to live- as selfish, self-serving, self-centered, self-worshiping people. To some degree contraception allows men to act like untamed animals and treat women as sex objects. Contraception gives women the illusion of control or freedom over "their body" so they also can live and act the way they want. Contraception is the symptom, self-worship is the cause."

Don't misunderstand my point. Abortion represents unadulterated evil of the most unimaginable sort. Contraception is not in the same ballpark. But I submit that the abortion mindset is the logical conclusion of the contraceptive mindset, which preceded it.

I believe that even a cursory reading of pre-twentieth century Christian thought (including Luther and Calvin) bears this out.

Reepicheep said...

Zach, non-abortive contraception is not equal to abortion. Obviously some of the same selfish motives that lead to abortion might also be present with the use of contraception, but not always. But again, non-abortive contraception is not murder, so big difference.

I know the official RC position says contraception is a sin. I just don't think such a position is biblically sustainable.

Zach said...

Tony, I think I was pretty clear that I consider the relationship between abortion and contraception one of logical conclusion, not one of equivalence.

I would also argue that this is not a Catholic vs. Protestant issue, as many of the most ardent and eloquent opponents of contraception are Protestants.

And historically, no Protestant of merit before 1930 would have agreed with your dismissal of the biblical argument against contraception. In their commentaries on Genesis, Luther called it "a most disgraceful sin . . . far more atrocious than incest and adultery", and Calvin deemed it "an unforgivable crime".

Nathan said...

I had to check myself when I was offended at someone driving by and giving me abd my family the finger for standing against abortion. On one hand I felt indignant and how could they, and then on the other I thought this is what Jesus had to take. Before I could get too righteous on myself I realized he got it everywhere he went I only get it on the side of the road with a sign. He got it all the time. I'm lucky to get flipped off only once a year. I just get a passerby to honk, boo or gesture at me when Jesus had a mob pull over beat him to a pulp and strap him to their car to parade him around for everyone to see as he slowly died in front of a hateful crowd while his friends with the signs dropped them and ran. Then I thought I don't have it that bad "Lord give me a love for the lost and faith to believe you can change even the most hateful saved even me."

Reepicheep said...

Fair enough Zach.

I didn't "dismiss" the anti-contraception argument, I just said it's not biblically sustainable.

I wasn't aware of Luther or Calvin's views on contraception. I definitely disagree with the quotes you attribute to them.

To me, the contraception issue, while not totally unrelated, is a different debate. A worthy one, but not in my perview here.

Frontier Forest said...

I get very emotional when I think about the awful subject of murdering the unborn. Just reading the passionate testimonies from so many "Pro-Lifers" makes me cry out! I pray God will confuse the minds of the ignorant, and not allow Obama to become President Hitler.

Lara said...

When looking at an "issue" such as this, one has to look further than we're just being "selfish and greedy."

Why are we selfish and greedy? Human nature? No.

It's because of our capitalist society. This society encourages us to not only try to do better than everyone around us, BUT ALSO step on each other's neck in the process. Why is that? Money.

Anyway, read about Marx, he knew what he was talking about. Educate yourself.


Ok, you mentioned that abortion gives the illusion of control over the women's body. You used the word illusion completely wrong.

Illusion means it's not true.

Women have the CHOICE of having a abortion. If they kill the baby, it's their choice. That is, in no way an illusion, as you put it.


I'm glad family values are leaving.

I don't care much for them. The majority of America agrees with me. You're mention of over 1 million abortions a year proves it.

Oh, I almost forgot, saying you don't judge people is completely ignorant. Know yourself before you speak your opinion.

P.S. The adoption system sucks. Everyone wants to get a baby. What happens when nobody get's that baby? They grow up, and live without any real parents.

P.S.S. How the hell can you ask a women to have a baby after being raped?

P.S.S.S. Enjoy having your kids growing up to be killed fighting for the last remaining oil. McCain doesn't seem to understand the concept of sustainability, so nothing will change.

Reepicheep said...

Lara- You gave yourself away with your bid for me to read Marx.

The illusion women have is they can "kill their baby" (as you so accurately described abortion)and somehow be done with it. Unfortunately, abortion is a decision and act that will forever haunt the one who commits it. They will be enslaved by the burden of guilt that will gnaw at them every time the baby's b-day comes and goes. They'll look at newborns with heavy hearts.

Sure, some women supress their guilt and heartache...but they can't do it forever. It will catch at up.

No, I was right, the illusion of control is just that- an illusion.

Rick Calohan said...

I think it is clear that I am not a Roman Catholic but on the issue of contraception I agree with Rome. The use of birth control only leads to promiscuity among people who are having sexual relations outside the realm of marriage, not to mention to detrimental affects on women who use the pill or some other form or medicine to prevent pregnancy. The only sure way to avoid unwanted pregnancy is abstinence, which works every time it is used. As for married couples, there is the rhythm method, which the Catholic Church endorses and teaches. My wife who was raised Catholic has used this throughout our marriage therefore conversely we were able to know the right time to conceive.

As for the life of the mother argument, allow me to quote a Presbyterian Elder:

“Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years of pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life. If toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, the doctor will either induce labor or perform a Caesarian section. His intention is to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby’s life is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”
- C. Everett Koop, M.D.
Former U.S. Surgeon-General