A moral conundrum, or a motherly duty?

I just watched the latest episode of Chicago Med, one of my favorite shows. There were, as usual, a number of different cases going on, but the most poignant was that of a family with two young children and a pregnant mother whose heart was too weak to function for two. The older of the two children, a daughter about 11, was slowly losing her battle with leukemia. The unborn child was a perfect match as a blood marrow donor for the daughter with leukemia.

The conundrum was that the mother would not survive very long with her bad heart, and needed open heart surgery, but the anticoagulants that would make the bypass procedure feasible would damage and perhaps kill the baby. There were two other alternatives: heart surgery without bypass, which was much riskier than surgery with it, or intubation of the mother to keep her breathing after her heart gave out, which would result in her being in a “persistent vegetative state”.

The mother, over the objections of her husband and children, chose the intubation because at least it would keep her alive long enough to deliver the child who could save her daughter. Finally, after abject pleading by her children, she allowed the surgeon to do the heart procedure without bypass. She survived, but her child did not. Her daughter with the leukemia wanted her mother more than her own survival, and her mother was willing to sacrifice her life and her “quality of life” to save  her daughter.

I am writing this the day after my post about Anna March and her “intersection” argument to preserve abortion on demand. A couple of thoughts: the doctors informed the mother multiple times that because her heart was pumping blood for two people, it was too weak to do the job. The mother was willing to radically sacrifice her autonomy–including even the ability to breathe on her own–to protect her children. How you view those facts (yeah, I know it was a TV show, so consider this a thought exercise) says a lot about you.

Someone who believes as Anna March does would promote quality of life (primarily that of the mother) as the most important consideration, so allowing the mother to be intubated would be out of the question. The problem and solution would be simple: since the unborn baby was overtaxing the mother’s heart, abort him. Problem solved, but the parents wouldn’t consider that since it would probably condemn the sick daughter unless they could find another perfect blood marrow match and get on the list before the daughter died. They could also argue that the mother wasn’t trying to save her baby’s life primarily, but the life of her born daughter, which did appear to be the case.

However, the family in the show was functioning as a unit. The daughter said she didn’t want her life to be the focal point of the family. She lamented all the attention she was getting to the detriment of her little brother, and would rather have her mother alive than save herself. The father was not willing to have his wife become a vegetable no matter what. The little brother was too young to understand much of this except that he was about to lose his mother and he begged her to live. Let’s not ignore the burden to be placed on the son who was about to be born, saving his sister’s life.

Now in your thought exercise, compare the worldviews. One says nothing is more important than the autonomy of a woman. But what if that woman is part of a family? Is her autonomy really a standalone issue? The other worldview says that we are all part of a larger web of relationships, and one person’s decision usually affects others. I am reminded of a proverb that had a profound affect on me. “I slept and dreamed that life was pleasure; I awoke and found that life was duty; I acted and found that duty was pleasure.” True freedom isn’t the right to do whatever you want for you, it is the ability to know and pursue your duty to others. I wonder if Ms. March and her constituency would say that your duty is just to yourself?

 

Intersectionality: The radical theory of relating the unrelated.

According to Anna March, writing in Salon, Bernie Sanders is no longer a “progressive.” Here is part of her argument, which is mostly a defense of “intersectionality”, an ultra-lib theory of……well, read it, see if you can figure it out.

“Economic populism and what are commonly erroneously and dismissively referred to as ‘social issues’ — such as reproductive rights, immigration reform and civil rights for people of color, those who have disabilities, people of all faiths, LGBT people and women — are indivisible. Sanders routinely demonstrates his own lack of progressive values by dividing them.

“There is no economic populism without abortion rights and civil rights. No one can have economic justice if he or she doesn’t have fundamental rights. Yet Sanders has made it plain that abortion rights are negotiable and brushes off ‘identity politics.’ He consistently argues that his values — and his alone — should define what it is to be progressive. (Which can’t help but remind one of Donald Trump’s unilateral defining of terms.)

“Further, Sanders routinely divides matters of race and gender and class — which, again, cannot be untwined — by discussing the ‘pain’ and needs of working-class voters….. Being pro-choice is not an optional part of being a progressive. Full stop. There is no justice for women, there is no economic justice for women, without the right to control their reproductive lives. The right to have an abortion is not a ‘social issue.’ It is an issue of fundamental rights; it is a matter of economic rights. One is not a progressive if not pro-choice. One hundred percent pro-choice is the only pro-choice position. One hundred percent pro-choice is the only pro-choice position. That is, abortions should be safe, legal, accessible, funded and available on demand — for all.”

The reason I put that last sentence in bold is because her entire screed comes down to a defense of the idea that every woman should be able to abort her baby for any reason whenever she wants with taxpayers paying for it. Given that is the primary revenue stream of planned parenthood, the name of which I consider the primary euphemism of our age (the “final solution” for the not yet born), she could be on their payroll or their board. What I am most incredulous about is that otherwise intelligent people could accept such statements as true. Let’s dissect some of these tortured propositions:

1. Since abortion is not a noun but an act, and since the fetus will become a human being if not destroyed, what she is saying is the right to kill her baby in the womb is a precursor to economic justice–whatever that is. If that were true, wouldn’t every woman (she didn’t say they had to be unmarried) with children be impoverished?

2. The right for any woman to kill her child is “a fundamental right”? Rights come from where? The Declaration of Independence states that rights come from the Creator. The Constitution of the United States assumes that source of rights and establishes the system for their protection. The preamble says “secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” That hardly presumes that killing our posterity is a fundamental right.

3. “Race, gender and class cannot be untwined”? That presupposes that they are even related to begin with. By whom? Obviously, by her philosophical cohorts. But race and gender are determined by God, or if you don’t believe in the Creator, then they are accidental and random, but in no sense are they related to class.

Then again, I am out of step with the philosophy that insists that such human characteristics are related by oppression and victimhood. Simply put, she makes no sense but her constituency will believe it uncritically. Sigh.

 

Sez who?

Last night I watched “Free speech apocalypse“–or as much of it as I could stomach–on Amazon. It’s Doug Wilsondougwils attempting to speak at U. of Indiana, while most of the “students” tried to drown him out. I have never been more convicted of the futility of starting a discussion/debate/argument with opinions. The starting point of fruitful debate is the unmasking of the authority behind the opinions. Once that is explicit, it can become the authority of the Bible vs. your leftist professor, Rolling Stone and MTV. Now, THAT’S A DEBATE!

Instead, viewers are treated to the spectacle of costumed hecklers yelling unintelligible insults, shaking their fists, waving little rainbow flags, draped in bunting that says “the queer will inherit the earth” (from whom? I ask, and how will you do that when you can’t reproduce your own kind?) and chanting alternately “we support free speech” then “this is hate speech.” I guess it’s difficult to justify supporting free speech while threatening and heckling and shouting down the one speaking. I can live with all that–that’s merely young, naive bubbleheads performing their job description. What I can’t live with is this faculty member, described as the protector of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transwhatever students (whose position is paid for by taxpayers on one of the most conservative states in the U.S.), proudly holding up the t-shirt he intends to wear at Pastor Wilson’s talk. It says “Jesus loves drag” and he further insults the Lord of Life by saying He would be on the side of the hecklers. Isn’t that even greater hate speech?

One of the primary justifications the hecklers gave for labeling Biblical wisdom as hate speech is that is that it encourages and justifies violence against LGBT people. I have 5 questions about that assertion:

1. Who actually does more violence, church-going Christians against homosexuals, or homosexuals against churches?

2. What does Jesus say about using violence against people for their beliefs and practices?

3. To label anything “hate speech” assumes you can read the mind of the speaker and know they intend to harm with their words. Since the labeler is claiming knowledge of the internal state of the speaker, what is their evidence for this power?

4. If your position is so righteous and correct, why do you fear and avoid dialogue, instead substituting name calling and ad hominem attacks?

5. The most important question is, “what is the authority for your position?” If you disagree with what the Bible says, what authority can you cite that has a greater track record of truth? Kinsey studies? Newspaper editorials? TV shows?

 

“Virtue signaling” and tweeting, a really modern way to get into college?

I know you can’t wait to find out what “virtue signaling” is. Stanford University accepted Ziad Ahmed after he wrote “#Black Lives Matter” 100 times across his personal application statement to the university. As if that were not enough for him, he also tweeted a picture of his statement and received immediate “applause” (I don’t know what that is, since I don’t tweet–my wisdom is too profound to be encapsulated in 140 characters don’t you know–but from the context of the article about this it sounds like something other denizens of Twitter do to show their approval). He was also accepted by Yale and Princeton.

Admirers called him “bold”, but others complained that his statement was “an insufficient defense of the movement” and an example of……wait for it….”virtue signaling!” My good friend and mentor Gene jokes that satirists are running out of material, then this item comes along. I can’t type fast enough to keep up with all the material to satirize! To be fair, Mr. Ahmed is more than just his statement. Here is a link to his website.the activist

If you don’t have the patience to wade through all his prose about himself, what he stands for is the third sentence of his self-description, “Ziad has resolved to work towards a world safe for all and accepting of everyone.” Sigh. Sure sounds great. However, the universities he is choosing among are not exactly safe for those who express opinions contrary to the current orthodoxy nor are they accepting of diversity of thought. So what does he really mean? Safe for whom? All? Not hardly. Accepting of whom? Everyone? Really?

The spirit of totalitarianism, and wolves in sheepskin.

Recently, University of California Berkeley canceled a speech that Ann Coulter was scheduled to give in May 2017, saying that they could not guarantee the safety of the speaker. This cancellation was sharply criticized by, among others, Bill Maher, who holds opinions the opposite of Ann Coulter in every way. He says they disagree about everything….except the right of “free speech” and the importance of being allowed to listen to those who disagree with you. I love what he said about beserkeley, I mean Berkeley. “It used to be the cradle of free speech, now it’s just a cradle for f____n babies.” Right on Bill. At least he is capable of seeing the bigger picture.

The university later reversed the denial. For those of you who are too young to remember or too apathetic to care, or unable to take a break from tweeting, instagramming or snapchatting, the “free speech movement”, FSM, was a series of protests and demonstrations that students initiated between October and December of 1964 on the Berkeley campus, but mainly a “sit in” by 1,000 students in Sproul Hall. They demanded the University stop restricting political activities on campus. When the chancellor asked them to leave, some did but most didn’t and things turned violent shortly thereafter. 796 were arrested. The University capitulated and relaxed the rules against political activity on campus and declared Sproul Hall a place for open discussion. However, this so-called FSM was hardly a new phenomenon.

That was then. How did a desire for open discussion morph into the desire to muzzle anything that disagrees with the current political orthodoxy? Here is a better perspective on the history of free speech. fsm isn’t new How did “political correctness” become the norm on college campuses across the country and the world? The secret is in the playbooks of the spiritual fathers of political correctness: Hitler, Lenin, Marx, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and their disciples. Yes, I assert that the campus thought police and their ilk have as spiritual fathers all the brutal dictators in history AND the vicious oppressors of today’s news (ISIS anyone?).

I use the word spiritual purposefully! What they all have in common is the spirit of totalitarianism. This earth is a place of spiritual warfare, and rarely does anyone possessed of a spirit realize who or what is “pulling their strings.” This spirit is manifested by the desire to control, not simply influence how and what other people think, live and do. It brooks no dissent or discussion, since such a desire can never be admitted or exposed. When challenged, people possessed by this spirit either suppress discussion if they control sufficient force, or they attack the motives and character of the questioners if they can’t shut them up physically.

The truth doesn’t fear dissent and welcomes disagreement. Lies are the opposite. Do you really want to know who loves truth and who loves lies? Look at who persecutes whom. Those who persecute dissent are generally those who need to defend their lies, whether a false religion or false political system. Apart from that, those who hate and fear anyone who is different, or whose customs they don’t understand, are also protecting lies they tell themselves.

But there is persecution, then there is PERSECUTION! The latter is killing, maiming, slavery, rape, burning of homes and churches, preferably with the victims inside. Think ISIS. Then there’s persecution, which might be snide remarks, name calling, looking askance. In most Western countries, which is it? They aren’t the same, not even close. Maybe it’s because I live in the USA, but I am bombarded with articles and headlines about persecution here, and it seems to garner more opprobrium than PERSECUTION of Christians in Muslim and Hindu countries. So who are really the most vicious oppressors today?

As bad as the wolves in sheepskin on campus are, they don’t have the weapons or brutality to PERSECUTE. But it probably isn’t for lack of desire. (Also see my post on March 15, ‘The epidemic of ______ophobias and “hate speech”).

Aaron Hernandez found dead in his cell.

Today his former team, the New England Patriots, visited the White House to be feted for their victory in Super Bowl 51. He might have been with his teammates today, instead of alone and hopeless. Five years ago, Aaron Hernandez was a star, and signed a contract extension on August 27, 2012. According to ESPN, “A league source said the extension is for five years and includes a $12.5 million signing bonus, $16 million in guaranteed money, and a maximum value of $40 million in additional money.

“Hernandez, appearing at the Patriots’ annual Charitable Foundation Kickoff Gala in the Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium on Monday night, was clearly thrilled and emotional about the contract extension. ‘I knew it was coming, just cause, when Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) got it, I knew there was a good chance I was next in line,’ he said. ‘Now that it happened, it’s definitely a blessing, and take it in, I’m excited to go on with my life. As soon as we started talking about contracts, I was emotional from that day on,’ he continued. ‘Honestly, it’s hard for me here (at the gala) to stay, keeping my mind off it, and it’s just, like I said, it’s surreal. Probably when I’m done with this conversation I’ll get some tears in my eyes. But it’s real, and it’s an honor.’

“Upon agreeing to the extension, Hernandez made a charitable gesture that Patriots owner Robert Kraft appreciated. ‘One of the touching moments since I’ve known the team — knowing that this is our charitable gala tonight — Aaron came into my office, a little teary-eyed and presented me with a check for $50,000 to go to Myra Kraft Giving Back Fund,’ Kraft said. ‘I said ‘Aaron, you don’t have to do this, you’ve already got your contract.’ And he said ‘No, it makes me feel good and I want to do it.’

“To Kraft, Hernandez’s donation reflected the organization’s desire to have players give back after receiving financial security by playing in the NFL. ‘That made me feel good because part of the thing that we learned early on is that we have a lot of young men who come into this business, and they come from humble financial homes, and part of what we try to do is make them understand is that there is a psychic income involved in giving back both your time and your financial resources, if you can do that,’ he said.”

It was not as if Mr. Hernandez didn’t have positive influences in his life, or confusion about right or wrong. He played college ball for Urban Meyer, with whom he would read the Bible many mornings.  His quarterback in college was Tim Tebow. From a USA Today story: “Tim Tebow attempted to keep Aaron Hernandez out of trouble during a 2007 bar squabble while both were playing at the University of Florida, but not even the mild-mannered, Bible-toting quarterback could keep the hot-headed tight end from slugging a Gainesville, Fla., restaurant manager and puncturing his ear drum. Still, after Tebow’s efforts failed, it appears the school or football program might have gotten Hernandez off the hook by reaching a settlement with the manager to keep him from pursuing charges, according to a supplemental investigation report on the altercation obtained by USA TODAY Sports.”

His quarterback with the Patriots was Tom Brady. This write up appears on a NESN website: “After a 2011 game in Denver, the two star quarterbacks spent a few moments chatting about the game and even talking about two of Tebow’s teammates at the University of Florida in Hernandez and linebacker Brandon Spikes. In the encounter, Brady and Tebow exchange some pleasantries before briefly chatting about the two Patriots players.

Brady: “Good game, Tim. You’re having a great year.” Tebow: “Thanks. I appreciate it.” Brady: “Keep it up. Good things happen to good people. Tebow: “I appreciate that.”
Brady: “And I’m trying to watch over Aaron and Brandon.”  Tebow: “I appreciate that, too, man. They’re good guys.” Brady: “[Yeah] they’re a lot to handle.” So, aside from Tebow’s clear “appreciation” for just about anything and everything Brady says, it’s interesting to hear Brady not only mention that he was watching over Hernandez but also noting that he and Spikes were a handful. That’s not to say they were necessarily difficult to handle or even a problem, but the comment does seem to carry much more weight now given Hernandez’s murder charge.”

It seems some men who could have been great mentors to Hernandez believed in him, and made an effort to steer him on the right path. But they were not the people whom he chose to be influenced by. He sought the company of drug dealers and petty criminals when he wasn’t with his positive influences. I am sure much will be written about his wasted promise. I read that he wrote John 3:16 on his forehead with a marker before hanging himself. Life is full of uncertainty and contradictions, and Aaron Hernandez’s life was among the most contradictory of all.

Four days ago when I first wrote the above there was even speculation that he was murdered. Today I read that other prisoners knew he was planning to kill himself weeks before he did, as he started giving away everything he had and began coating the floor of his cell with soap, so that if he lost his nerve while hanging he wouldn’t be able to get a grip on the floor. The whole thing is just sad.

A river is declared a person.

On March 15, 2017, the Parliament of New Zealand passed a law officially recognizing the “legal personhood” of the Whanganui River. whanganui. What does that mean? It means, among other things, the river “can be represented in legal proceedings.” I am not making this up. Here is what Time Magazine had to say:

“In what’s believed to be a world first, New Zealand’s government has granted a river the same rights as a living person. The Whanganui River, considered part of the living landscape by the indigenous Whanganui Iwi people associated with it, has been granted legal personhood under a parliamentary bill, reports local news service Newshub. Two representatives from the local indigenous community — one appointed by the government, another elected by the community — will be entrusted with acting in the river’s interests.

“I know some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality,” Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said, according to Newshub. “But it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies, or incorporated societies.”

There are already natural resources that are protected by legal mechanisms, such as trusts established by the Nature Conservancy. I am in favor of such protection. However, using well established legal structures to protect something seems to me to be substantially different from declaring that the resource itself is a legal person. Is that how the law reads? It appears that the law actually does confer a type of personhood on the river, in that it recognizes the relationship that the Whanganui Iwi tribe (Maori) has had with Te Awa Tupua (the Maori name for the river). That Maori tribe began a lawsuit to have the river recognized as an “ancestor” 140 years ago, and this legislation apparently does that.

So another precedent has been set. I don’t mean just the precedent of declaring a river a person. Similar precedents, in principle rather than content, are laws or regulations declaring gender to be a matter of personal preference rather than biology and marriage a union of whomever or whatever rather than between man and woman. This legislation is only the most spectacular example to date of the dominant principle of postmodernism, which is emotions and preferences trump objective reality.

Actually, the river legislation seems less egregious to me than the gender and marriage applications of that principle, because the Maori have held on to their beliefs about their oneness with the river for a long time, and as a spiritual principle it doesn’t need to jibe with the river’s biology. Within the context of how the tribe lives and believes, their oneness with the river reflects how they thrive in their environment and doesn’t harm others. While I believe there is much about this material world that none of us know, the Bible does have some words about those who worship the creations rather than the Creator.

 I cannot give any validation to those other applications of the principle, especially as it is applied to “transgender dysphoria” (we’ll call it TD for brevity), the new category of psychological confusion about what gender a person is or thinks they are. Imagine if you thought you had a disease, and decided to self diagnose it and self treat it. If you thought you needed surgery for it or drugs to treat it, would you expect to be able to get all that on your own recognizance? Of course not. But in the case of TD, a confused youth (and what youth is not confused about much?) can get life altering surgery and drugs for a psychological condition that is often temporary and self reported. For a look at what happens to some of those unfortunate people, check out the latest issue of World Magazine.worldmag

This post is REALLY about something more significant than giving a river legal rights. Too many people get upset and distracted by the content of a controversy, while missing the more insidious nature of the principle that is being espoused! 

Willie Parker: “Christian” reproductive “justice advocate” and abortion provider, apostle for self-deception.

This post is not primarily about abortion, but rather about how a compassionate and intelligent human being can be so self-deceived that his compassion can provide cover for acts of evil, while believing he is really doing good. Even more, this is about the human mechanisms of self deception. How many of these do you fall into? Willie Parker’s quotes are taken from an interview he gave to a magazine called Jezebel (how appropriate is that!). There is so much to tackle here that I will intersperse my comments in italics with his quotes.

“It was not lost on me, an African-American man from Birmingham, Alabama, descended from slaves, that new legislation aimed at telling women what they might and might not do with their own physical bodies looked a whole lot like men owning women’s bodies,” he writes in his memoir. Parker then “decided to exercise Christian compassion not by proxy but with my own capable hands.” One of the foundations of self deception is personalization of non equivalent situations. He is saying that legislation removing government funding for women to kill their babies is the same as enslaving women, which is really an extension of the slavery his ancestors experienced. There is so much wrong with that argument I would need pages to deal with it all, so I will address only the most glaring error in the next paragraph.

Notice the next mechanism of deception, false framing. He is saying the issue is what a woman “can do with her own physical body”, but the truth is that once a woman is pregnant, the changes start occurring in her body make it clear there is also another body involved. Which body is initiating those hormonal changes, the mother’s or the baby’s? Since the presence of a baby is responsible for the hormonal changes, true framing is to acknowledge that the decision to abort the baby is not just about her but about another life. To those who insist there is only the mother’s life involved, I ask you “can one body have two different blood types, be male and female simultaneously, have two unique sets of fingerprints?”

Countering those who invoke Christianity and God as their principle argument against abortion, he writes, “A pregnancy that intimates a baby is not more sacred than abortion. To Parker, what’s sacred‚ what’s most Godlike, is a woman’s agency—“the part that makes a choice.” The third mechanism of deception, and probably the most common (most people do it automatically), is nominalization, turning a verb or adverb into a noun. It is a corruption of language that allows us to avoid responsibility for an action. The nominalizations here are “abortion” and “pregnancy.” Neither is a noun, yet they are used as if they were. The correct terms are aborting and becoming pregnant. Saying “I am going to abort my fetus” carries far more responsibility than saying “I am getting an abortion.” The latter is like getting groceries.

Even worse is his saying “what’s sacred is a woman’s agency”, which is exactly the same argument the serpent in the Garden of Eden used to get Eve to eat of the fruit that God forbade. “You will be like God…”  Far be it from me to say who really is a Christian, but he is literally saying it’s good to be Godlike. Nope, God is not self deceived and we are not God, period!!! His next set of quotes is more of the same.

“If you fancy that that fetus has rights, and you call that fetus a person and a baby, I don’t agree with that from a scientific or even from a religious standpoint.” Okay then, if that “fetus” was left alone to grow, what would it become? An aarkvark? A grown up ‘product of conception?’ You don’t agree that it would become a human being? I thought you were a doctor, but thank you for showing how deeply self-deception cuts.

“But we can debate about whether or not a fetus is a person. But there’s no question that a woman is a person. And so the question is: At what point is a woman not a person? At what point does a woman lose her right to be self-governing and to have bodily integrity? Does pregnancy trump the rights of a woman to be entitled to decisions about her health and her body? Here is another example of false framing: Saying that the federal government not funding aborting is akin to declaring women non-persons. He also says, accurately, that the word ‘abortion’ is not mentioned in the Bible. While that’s true, it is also deceptive, because the Bible does explicitly say that God formed us well before we were ever born. Psalm 139, verse 13, says,

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Clearly, leaving out the word abortion does not tacitly condone that act.

He goes on to say, “It’s interesting that you would frame abortion as black genocide and allege that you care about the birth of babies while at the same time cutting off all of the vital aid that would be necessary to raise a black baby.”  Here he is contradicting his own reality. He was one  of those “black babies“, who supposedly couldn’t be raised without ‘vital aid’, whatever that was, yet this is how he describes his own history: “A colored boy from Birmingham,” Alabama, as his 1962, pre-Civil Rights Act birth certificate described him, Parker grew up in abject poverty, fourth of six children, raised by a fierce single mother. Against all of the obstacles his country stacked against poor, African-American boys and young men, he became a doctor. Parker progressively expanded the horizon of his dreams and ambitions. First, he aimed to get any education at all. Then he made it to college, summer school at Harvard, and eventually onto med school.

“I’m pro-life and I’m pro-abortion. But pro-abortion doesn’t mean the promotion of abortion. The relationship that I have with abortion is the same relationship that a cardiothoracic surgeon has with heart transplants. Cardiothoracic surgeons don’t promote heart transplants, but they want to make sure that somebody with cardiac disease can get a heart transplant if they need one. I feel the same way about women having access to abortion. Abortion’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s a biological reality. And I’m in favor of making sure that women have access to the things they need to thrive and to be healthy.” Is he really saying that women need to be allowed to kill their babies (while in the womb) in order to thrive and be healthy? What about the false equivalence between heart surgery and aborting?

Here is an example of how his self-deception gives cover to enemies of truth, some excerpts of a review of his book on Quartz: Parker’s book provides a tight moral and religious case in favor of choice. It has the potential to speak to an audience far beyond those who are pro-choice. As a doctor and as an advocate (Parker chairs Physicians for Reproductive Health), Parker debunks the myths around abortion with scientific precision and moral clarity, stripping away political interests, social prejudice and religious misconceptions to show it exactly for what it is, a medical procedure that offers women control over their own bodies. His self-deception debunks the myths? It provides a tight moral case for choice? It does neither, but rather gives cover to the same invalid arguments traditionally used to justify aborting babies. Euphemisms are another element of deception. Choice is a euphemism for you know what. So was the “final solution.” When the truth is really ugly, euphemisms are invented to make the reality more palatable. I will leave it to Dr. Parker to condemn himself as his words reveal what he really stands for:

For Parker, the moral and religious arguments against abortion are misguided at best: “The will of God,” he says, “manifests itself in human’s free will. That extends to the freedom to choose whether or not to take part in the reproductive process, a divine freedom accorded to women as it is to men, regardless of their biologies.”

Those who accuse Christianity of hypocrisy…

I love this quote from Zig Ziglar: “If a hypocrite is standing in the way of your relationship with God….the hypocrite is closer to God than you are.” Think about it positionally. But let’s face it, while it’s perfectly okay to be skeptical of the claims of Christianity (after all, a healthy skepticism can lead to investigation, and that’s good), the hypocrisy excuse isn’t about skepticism or unbelief. If hypocrisy on the part of some of the adherents to a particular belief were the reason not to believe, you couldn’t believe in anything.

Do you believe in evolution? Are there no hypocrites in that camp? Do you believe in patriotism? Are there no hypocritical patriots? How about whatever religion you claim, or atheism? Do you know any hypocrites therein? I don’t believe I have ever heard someone reject a belief system because some of the believers are hypocrites….other than in the case of Christianity.

So why apply the hypocrites excuse to Christianity when you believe all kinds of things on faith without worrying about hypocrites who espouse those beliefs? Speaking of believing things on faith, do you believe that subatomic particles–protons, neutrons, electrons–are the basic building blocks of the material world? Why? Has anyone actually seen an electron? The answer is……no. Their existence is based on the behavior of larger, visible particles. (In fact, much of science is the same thing–inferences and constructs rather than visible proof.) Research that question for yourself, then you can try to ridicule my belief (today being Easter Sunday-resurrection day) on faith that Christ rose from the dead. There were a lot more eyewitnesses to that event than have ever seen an electron! But I digress.

What is the real reason behind the hypocrisy excuse? It’s the weakest dodge there is. What would happen if you accepted the claim of Jesus Christ on your heart? The issue is what you would have to give up. Human beings in their natural state cling to their lusts. Anything that threatens the satisfaction of those lusts is the enemy. That’s certainly no problem for atheists or evolutionists, or postmodern pseudo religions. Embracing Christ means, or it should, that pleasing Him rather than self becomes the focus of life.

This is where the hypocrisy excuse comes in. Christians often fail to tame their lusts, and many do put on a false piety to try to cover up their struggles. We might be redeemed but we still fall into temptation, but when we fall we can repent and come closer to God. The cycle of temptation, falling, repentance and restoration is not hypocrisy. It is being human. Hypocrites are those who pretend they are above that cycle, but no one hated hypocrites more than Christ himself.

“I really want to understand myself….or do I?”

Years ago, when I was in training to become a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), we did a “self-knowledge” exercise, the implications of which were so frightening that all the students, with two exceptions (one of which was yours truly), ran for emotional cover rather than finish it. Instead of going deeper into the exercise they strayed into small talk, as if by tacit agreement.

What was so frightening to this group of explorers of the mind?The exercise was this: “Imagine an action you could physically do, but under ordinary circumstances would not want to do. Under what set of circumstances would you do it?” Every one got that far. “Under this new set of circumstances, what is something you could physically do but would not want to do?” I can’t speak to what others were thinking, but I could clearly see where this was leading. Each set of circumstances would be more extreme, more painful and coercive. Finally, I would be confronted with something I would not be willing to do under any circumstances. Or worse than that, I would realize that I was capable of doing anything that relieved the pressure.

It was this latter revelation that, in my opinion, my fellow classmates were loath to face. What if there is nothing so bad or wrong that I wouldn’t do it to save myself, or a loved one, pain or injury or death? What is my final stand? Do I even have one, or am I really a slave to expediency?

My exercise went like this: I could spit in my mother’s face, but I wouldn’t. If someone held a gun to her head and demanded that I spit in her face, I would do it. If that gun were still at her head in the next iteration of the exercise, what would I be unwilling to do? How about killing an innocent person? Would I do that to avoid my mother being shot in the head? I said I would not be willing to kill an innocent person even to save my own mother.

Now that I am married with three adult children, it becomes an even more difficult choice. What if the gun was on my wife or daughters? Would I be willing to kill an innocent person to save one of them? This kind of moral dilemma is only a dilemma if you have no comprehensive theology. What do I mean? I believe that my wife and daughters are sealed for salvation by Christ, and when they die will be with Him in heaven. That would be true regardless of how they died. If I killed an innocent person to give them more time before death, my action would show that I either don’t believe the previous sentences, or place my emotions above my moral code and belief in the goodness of God.

Without that theology, I would have no basis beyond my emotions to base such a decision on. This kind of dilemma is very popular as a plot line in movies and tv shows about terrorism or criminals. It’s been used recently on Homeland, 24 Legacy, Blacklist Redemption, Taken and more, and in all those cases the protagonist or hero opted to save their loved one. Since that was tv, they all managed to both save their loved ones and foil the bad guys. In real life, what would you do? Do you really know? Do you really want to know? Maybe not.