The Evil of Planned Parenthood: Will America react? Will Christians?

That is the question raised in an op-ed over at the NYT (hat tip to The Gospel Coalition), covering the recent video sting of planned parenthood operatives calmly (while eating lunch!) discussing how they make sure to crush the unborn child in a manner that allows them to still harvest the vital organs to sell.

There are still 10 more videos to release, beyond the one above and this one, so we can expect more outrage.  Modern technology is giving us the ability to bring to light what the world would prefer to stay in darkness.  Yet it is very difficult for those on the other side of the debate especially to grapple with:

Because dwelling on that content gets you uncomfortably close to Selzer’s tipping point — that moment when you start pondering the possibility that an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism.

That’s a hard thing to accept. It’s part of why so many people hover in the conflicted borderlands of the pro-choice side. They don’t like abortion, they think its critics have a point … but to actively join our side would require passing too comprehensive a judgment on their coalition, their country, their friends, their very selves.

Sometimes we are called to make hard choices.  While for those of us on the pro-life side this is a no-brainer, for those on the other side, it was easier when it was all hidden.  Now it’s out in the open, and not in quite the “in your face” way of all those pictures of aborted babies that we used to see carried by pro-life protesters on the street corner back in the 80s and early 90s.

So what does this mean in political economy?  When I was a much younger man, a nominal catholic co-worker friend confided to me that despite being very much in tune with Democratic politics (especially environmental issues), he had made a vow never to vote for a candidate that was supportive of abortion.  He couldn’t cross that line.   I think a question for us, is what do we make of the data on political contributions from Planned Parenthood?  Please click thru to see the entire list (not easy to copy here–sorry)–but suffice it to say that pro-abortion groups give a lot of money (almost all to Democrats) and spend much money lobbying congress to maintain their brutal business, often with public funds.*

This ought to be a moment of clarity for Christians–if you ever were on the fence of the morality of planned parenthood, it ought to push you off the fence.   I know of no way to defend what Planned Parenthood is doing, beyond the morally reprehensible “the ends justify the means.”  Surely that cannot be an acceptable Christian response.  So my challenge to all of us, is what do we do with this?

To our progressive readers especially, what will you do with this? Will you make peace with this, or will you rise up to challenge your fellow progressives that this evil must end?  You have a slightly higher burden in the political process simply because you are part of the progressive polity–its possible you may have some ability to influence those in the Democratic party, whereas I and my fellow Bereans have almost none.  And what will you do if they will not change?  Of course there are many dimensions of our values, and abortion is simply one of those dimensions.  While others are arguably gray, this is one that is remarkably black and white–at least in my eyes.  But will Christians continue to insist that they see gray? What these videos do is remove our excuses: we now see, we now understand, and are now at least partially complicit if we do nothing.

*Money is fungible; do not fall prey to the deception that there are nice, neat little accounting lines that separate $$.  That may be technically true, but it doesn’t overcome the fact that were federal funding not given to PP in one area, it would have to have been made up with private donations from another area, or PP would have had to stop it.  I think the videos surely show that PP tries to find ways around any restrictions for their activities.

13 thoughts on “The Evil of Planned Parenthood: Will America react? Will Christians?”

  1. Let’s consider the implications of what you wrote…

    According to 1 Samuel 15, “theLord Almighty says…attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, infant and nursing child.” (Btw, I just chose one of many passages that are not, shall we say, child-friendly).

    I know of no way to defend this, beyond the morally reprehensible “the ends justify the means.”

    Are you willing to defend such egregious actions, just because God commanded them? Or are you willing to be consistent, condemning ALL atrocities, modern or ancient?

    Please do not just stay on the fence with this. Thank you.

    1. Jeff:
      You have evinced no sensitivity to the covenantal schemata of Scripture, nor for the peculiar place of the Hebrew people, nor for redemptive history, nor form God’s preservation in that Old Testament period of His holiness in a land of pagans. In our “modern” sensibilities, we give little place to the justice of God, along with His other attributes. First, let’s go to the most metaphysical idea, God’s justice. God was certainly just to condemn the people you referenced. In fact He would have been just to condemn everyone on earth–we deserved it. Moreover He gave a direct command to the people, which, unless that occurred today, we could not emulate properly, even if we were objectively certain some group was pagan/evil. In addition, the Hebrew people were both a religious and a political unity at that time. God wanted (as He said numerous times in Exodus Leviticus, Deuteronomy) His chosen people to remain Holy, that is, set apart, and gave them the land with that stipulation. That meant at that time a cleansing of the land–keeping in mind that God would have been just to kill all of them, including the Israelites, as He would be today. So it is both holiness as a people and individually and a political regime that are involved here.

      Moreover, we are also taking about a period during which God’s covenant was being worked out in a way different from what it would be later. Here it was a chosen people with a political and religious identity, while after Christ, it was a chosen people (Jews and Gentiles) with a religious identity–Christian. The political aspect has dropped away and so there is no land to be set aside (except of course in misreadings of this idea in South Afrikaners, some Northern Irish, even a bit in pre-WW I Germany, and a bit in America). Nor is there any command to eliminate the inhabitants of a city or country. We are now concerned with individual and voluntary efforts at redemption as we proclaim the Gospel. Some day (See the Revelation of John) we will once again see God exercising the same type of judgment as the OT, but He will once again be perfectly just to do so.

      Now our first reaction to this is that it seems barbaric and it would be if it were not God Himself who ordered it, for His just purposes. But I fear you have overlooked this justice aspect, not to mentioned the redemptive-historical aspect of the narrative. But of course you will not agree with that unless you share my presuppositions. That (again) is the difference. Where you end up depends crucially on where you begin.

      1. You are trying, and failing, to defend atrocities. I admire you for failing to do the next-to-impossible, although I deplore your morality.

        “Now our first reaction to this is that it seems barbaric and it would be if it were not God Himself who ordered it, for His just purposes.”

        My presuppositions are that the murder of unborn children is wrong. On the contrary, your moral relativism allows you to accept that the murder of unborn children is not necessarily wrong. It is wrong when liberals do it, but OK when God commands it.

        You are justifying the murder of unborn children (I repeat, the murder of unborn children) under your banner of moral relativism (and this is a blog about truth, I thought).

        If one accepts your reasoning, how can one say that God is good, if God’s goodness includes the murder of unborn children? If that is “goodness,” then what isn’t goodness? Theft, rape, and other crimes are much less evil than the murder of unborn children. Are those acts therefore good?

        Your reasoning fails here. Simply put, you are committing the fallacy of special pleading. I wish you could complete just one post here without committing a fallacy.

        “First, let’s go to the most metaphysical idea, God’s justice. God was certainly just to condemn the people you referenced. In fact He would have been just to condemn everyone on earth–we deserved it.”

        Unborn children deserved to be murdered? Really? What did unborn children do?

        What kind of justice calls for the murder of the unborn children for the sins of the parents? Should we base our judicial system upon that principle (so we can be a godly society)? There are many, many other passages in the OT–which you deem to be as much a part of the infallible and ETERNAL Word of God as the rest of Scripture–that accept the same principle. See Exodus 34. And of course the cruel, prolonged suffering and death of David’s son, for his own sins.

        Since I am a Christian who does not (have to, for sake of my job) accept inerrancy, I can accept that those OT passages may not necessarily describe real events. I can accept that the Genesis Flood is not a historic event. Neither is the story of Adam and Eve. The truth in those passages must therefore lie in some other meaning that we humans cannot understand.

        If God is good, which God is, then God could not have made that command to kill unborn children. Obviously, the command did not happen the way the writer of I Samuel 15 says it did.

        But in your worldview, you sadly have to defend atrocities in your (needless) attempt to defend inerrancy. I feel badly for you. I don’t know how you do it.

        I could get into Augustine here and his (imo) fallacious interpretation of the fall, but it is late. Have a nice night.

      2. “If God is good, which God is, then God could not have made that command to kill unborn children. Obviously, the command did not happen the way the writer of I Samuel 15 says it did.”

        What is obvious to you is not so to others. I believe the command happened exactly the way it is described (and I believe the flood happened as described and that Adam and Eve were real people).

        But the mistake I believe you are making here is in the assumption that because “God is good” that “goodness” equals “mercy”. It doesn’t. Because of the sinfulness of the Human race, none of us are ourselves good. It is EXACTLY because God IS GOOD that He makes such commands that to us seem so horrible. It is His MERCY, NOT GOODNESS, by which we are all not simply destroyed outright, because we all deserve destruction. A “good” judge will levy on the criminal the just punishment under the law to his actions.

        If God is good (righteous), which He is, and intolerant of sin, which he is, then He has every justifiable right to render judgement out on those who haven’t accepted him. One day the entire earth will face judgement and only those who have accepted Christ as their willing substitute for their punishment will He allow into His kingdom.

    2. Jeff — Looks like the conversation spiraled out of control!

      I think you’re raising a really important question, but I don’t think you’re being a very charitable conversation partner. The blog’s contributors have pointed out some helpful foundational issues that I haven’t seen you wrestle with yet.

      For instance, when you make the critical claim of “moral relativism,” by what standard are measuring the decisions to determine whether or not they oblige relativism? What I mean to say is that you must have some moral or ethical basis to measure the actions of others — including, I suppose in this case, God — in order to determine whether or not their paradigm is relativistic.

      Also — and I’m not sure this has been pointed out — but we need to be careful before tagging language of “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” to the terrors of Judges. Justin Taylor does a nice job of breaking the theological rationale behind the Hebrew’s warefare. Tim Keller also does here and does so without dismissing what I think are very fair and legitimate concerns by those like you (and I) who have raised those concerns.

      Regardless of all those controversies, how do your questions contribute to the conversation around Planned Parenthood and legalized abortion? I follow that you’re attempting to point out an ethical inconsistency, but whether or not you prevail, your argument seems to hinge on the idea that abortion is still wrong. Did I lose you there? :)

  2. Jeff–
    One thing I’ve seldom been accused of is sitting on the fence. Obviously the question of why God would exterminate any group is a tough one; the outline below you will not find compelling. There are much better theological analyses out there–but here is generally where I stand. Let me say that while I understand your concern over the seemingly harsh treatment of many peoples by God in the O.T., I do fail to see why you seem to think that means God is insensitive to abortion.

    First, and the most important, is that God is the creator, the owner of everything and everyone. He has the exclusive right to do anything with any part of his creation. Should he today wipe out the entire universe, he would have that right. Does not a potter have a right to mold the clay anyway He desires (Romans 9:21)?

    Second, biblical reality is that every human being is born in sin (Psalm 51:5), and a “child of wrath” worthy of condemnation (Eph 2:1-3). Thus God has both a right (from 1 above) and a just rationale to demand anyone’s life. There is no one innocent–not even Amalekite children.

    Thus our initial conclusion is that it is not outrageous that God commands some peoples’ deaths, but rather the outrageousness is that God is merciful to anyone! This is radical grace, as picking up from our previous reference, Eph 2:4-9 shows.

    Third, and following from points 1 & 2, God can choose to harden whom he hardens and show mercy to whom he will show mercy (Romans 9:14-18). If he chooses to do so to show the riches of His glory to objects of mercy, we have no basis to complain or call it unjust (Romans 9:19-23).

    Fourth, God provides prescriptive commandments for when anyone is to die; no individual has the right to take a life, but the government has been ordained as the avenger of evil to apply capital punishment to those who violate God’s commands (Romans 13). The Amalekites as a people were particularly wicked, attacking the most defenseless of the Israelites escaping from Egypt. If God commands capital punishment to anyone or any group, the government is the prescribed agent to do this. Beyond your case of God giving explicit commands separate from His law, today we have laws that when violated can result in capital punishment, and God has mandated certain protections to protect the innocent (such as requiring two or more witnesses–which was grossly violated by allowing circumstantial evidence to convict some minorities to death in the last century in our country). So under what basis can we convict unborn persons as being worthy of death? Where is there a commandment from God to do so? Absent a command from God for capital punishment, then killing (whether privately or by the state) is simply murder. In Genesis 9:6, where capital punishment is mandated, it has a positive view: capital punishment is required precisely because each person that is murdered is created Imago Dei. Yes, when children are in the womb, they are image bearers and worthy of protection.

    Sixth, your concern over the Amalekites is likely because you make the mistake that the most important concern of God is for the benefit of people on this life, and that he equally loves all people. God is much more concerned about His glory and the benefit of all those He has chosen. And all of us believers will be perfected by suffering. From our human/finite perspective, this is only natural. Christians understand there is an eternity in heaven, but it doesn’t occupy much of our thinking–we think primarily about the here and now. It’s why we have to have a command to tell us to set our minds on things above (Col 3:1-2). So it is easy for us (me included) to think in terms of fairness about this world. But God sees the here and now in light of eternity. We think the worst thing that can happen is death, but the worst thing that can happen is eternal separation from God. You picked the Amalekites as offending your sensibilities. For me, they are easy–they were a wicked people. Much more difficult for me is when God took the life of Uzzah for trying to catch the ark of God from falling. In my ridiculous perspective, I say “Really God? You took his life, for trying to help? Trying to make sure the ark didn’t hit the ground?” That is a lot tougher for me. But again, I can’t see the big picture. Certainly God’s holiness is much more precious than one person’s life. Further, I don’t know that we won’t see Uzzah in heaven–just because God required his life to sanctify (treat as holy) Himself, doesn’t mean that God didn’t take him immediately into eternity–we simply don’t know. If he is in heaven, when we get there I am sure he will give glory to God for taking him exactly as he did. Thus faith is required–we tie this reality to what Christ did for all of us on the cross, knowing that he is the most merciful and loving God, willing to die for us, and does not delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18). Given we only see a part, dimly, we must be very careful not to judge God as unjust.

    Finally, to make clear, I know its easy to say “Amalekites had it coming” when I’m not the one that would have to do the killing. I don’t know how I would have been faithful to God’s command. When I think of my son, I thank God that I was never given a command like Abraham to slay him. Recognizing that God is just in His judgments in no way requires us to rejoice in the application. We should weep as capital punishment is executed, while we rejoice that God’s justice is implemented. And we should pray all the more, yes Lord Jesus come, so that our collective wickedness would be no more.

    1. You are guilty of the same moral relativism your colleague in history is. Start with my response to his post–most of it applies directly to you. Note my discussion of presuppositions.

      In your original post, you claimed that the ends do not justify the means, but your reply to my post says that it does. In your own worldview, the ends indeed justify the means. It just depends who does it. As long as God does it, the ends DO justify the means. Your logic makes no sense, as it commits the fallacy of special pleading.

      God can do what God wants, even command the murder of unborn children. That seems to be your point, but it brings up the issue of God’s goodness.

      You may well believe that God is good, but if murdering unborn children, who have never committed a sin, is accepted as part of God’s goodness, then God’s goodness means nothing.

      God can do anything and everything and still be considered good, in your worldview. That makes absolutely no sense.

      And cherrypicking Scriptural passages, ripping them entirely out of their contexts, and reading into them what you want to read into them, in order to justify the unjustifiable is simply ineffective.

      “First, and the most important, is that God is the creator, the owner of everything and everyone. He has the exclusive right to do anything with any part of his creation.”

      If God can do anything, can God do evil with any part of his creation? You did say “anything”? Can God do evil? Isn’t killing unborn children evil?

      And why does ownership necesarily mean absolutely no limits at all? (Your citation of the pottery passage makes no sense here, I am sad to say). My wife and I made our children–does that mean we can ANYTHING we want? I own pets–does that mean I can torture them all I want? Doesn’t ownership and control imply responsibility?

      How can a good God order the murder of unborn children? It makes no sense. God might have the power to do so, but that does not make it right, especially because, as you believe, God opposes the murder of unborn children and looks down upon the acts of Planned Parenthood.

      1. Jeff–
        Yes there is a categorical difference between morality with the ultimate creator and us. For example, you claim to have made your children. You did no such thing. God mercifully included you as part of His creative plan, but it was His plan and His creation. So contra the Bill Cosby comedy routine, where he tells his son, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!”, you have no such right. However, God does. As for the ends justifying the means, that is a concept l apply as immoral to humans only. If you think we–who are effectively ants in comprehension comparing to God–can possibly be able to judge the ethics of God, go ahead. I find that most unwise. We can only see a part and he sees the whole.

        Also, as usual, you have successfully avoided the main point of the post by refusing to say what we should do about planned parenthood’s sale of baby organs. Further, you make no comment that the abortion lobby funds almost exclusively Democrats. Aside from trying to slander God’s ethics, do you have any comment about us as a people allowing this? Or do you, along with planned parenthood, think the dismembering of unborn babies to allow the sale of their organs is acceptable? If not, what do you think should be done? If so, under what ethic?

  3. When one examines the full context of the Amalekite passage as well as other biblical references regarding the Canaanites, we can form a clear picture of exactly why God ordered what He did.

    The Amalekites (and the majority of the Canaanite tribes) were very brutal people. Human sacrifices and religious prostitution were practiced in the worship of their gods. Yes, the sacrifice of children to the pagan gods was one of the charges leveled against the Canaanites, so even in His command of destruction of these peoples for these reasons we find that it is because God values life that He sometimes orders it taken from those who don’t. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man” – Genesis 9:6

    The primary stated reason for the command to wipe them out was that they had continually warred with Israel for close to 400 years, starting with an unprovoked attack on Israel during their time in the wilderness after the Exodus (Ex. 17:14). The order to destroy the Amalekites was one of retribution for their hostility to Israel, not one solely based on their sinfulness. (Deut. 25:19).

    Why does this include women and children? Why should it not? The women were just as evil as the men, the children were being raised to worship the same gods and commit the same evil of their parents. God gave the Amalekites 400 years to repent before actually ordering their destruction and if He hadn’t there would have been continual generational war between Israel and Amalek for centuries more. In all probability, a much larger loss of life over time would have occurred had they not been destroyed. In that light the destruction was actually a merciful act rather than a cruel one.

    1. Your “defense” takes my breath away. I am sure you have not thought this through completely. I HOPE you have not thought this through completely.

      Point blank, you are defending genocide (using human “logic” to do so). In your worldview, if God orders genocide, it is OK, but may I assume that you think if people do the same thing (need I give examples?), it is wrong.

      You are practicing moral relativism–and a particular repugnant version of it.

      You are also defending the killing of unborn children and of children based upon the sins of their parents. And of all things calling it an act of mercy!

      Sad. Very, very sad.

      As for the Amalekites, God could have easily sent someone to convert them, as God did with Jonah and Ninevah, and could have unhardened their hearts (God can harden hearts for sure, as God did with pharaoh). Then all would have been saved, literally (twice). God COULD have done that, but instead saw genocide as the only real solution? Seriously, that kind of “plan” that you see here is not indicative of omniscience.

      But God did not choose to use God’s power for good, in this case. Instead, God commanded the murder of unborn children, infants, pregnant women, etc. when there were clearly other, less murderous options.

      And you are fine with it?!

      I think I need another shower.

      As we have seen tonight, an unjustifiable belief in inerrancy can lead one to defend the indefensible–genocide, the murder of unborn children. One can be a good Christian and not accept such a logically inconsistent view of Scripture.

      1. I regret I must dash your hopes because I have thought this through completely many times and knowing the full context of the Amalekites, who they were, their actions, and what they would have done (and in fact tried to do, since Saul DID NOT totally wipe them out) it is not morally relativistic to condone God’s command of destruction in this instance and to condemn abortion.

        “As for the Amalekites, God could have easily sent someone to convert them”

        Before Israel even entered Canaan, they were attacked by the Amalekites without provocation. However, the Israelites for 400 years never fought them offensively, only defensively. For that length of time they were living, so to speak, in the same neighborhood, as Israel. God specifically declared that Israel as his chosen people were to be his witness. They’re very existence as “neighbors” of the Amalekites was a witness to them. Simply because scripture does not record a famously known prophet having gone to them does not mean they were not given ample opportunity to convert. For 400 years God patiently tolerated them. If this was not a “less murderous” option, then what would be?

        This leads into the actual issue of genocide. I would actually argue that genocide as we think of it in modern terms, or its ordering, did not actually occur here. God’s command is against the nation of Amalek. Those who were to be destroyed are those who identify with the Amalek as a nation. This does not mean one who is of “Amalekite” ethnicity is automatically precluded from mercy.

        Prior to Saul’s assault on Amalek (the nation) he sends ambassadors to the cities of the Amalekites. In I Samuel 15:5-6 notice that a people called the Kenites are living with the Amalekites. These people had, in contrast to the Amalekites, shown kindness to Israel. Saul warns them that an attack is coming (by logical reasoning then, since they lived together, the Amalekites heard it was coming too) and to get out. There is nothing in the Bible that precludes the possibility that many Amalekites probably chose to identify as Kenites and leave with them. The very fact that these Kenites chose to worship God and be kind to Israel is ample proof that the Amalekites too had the same chance at repentance and conversion. What was required here was only for them to renounce their citizenship of the NATION of Amalek and leave with the Kenites. Those who chose to remain, whether a man, woman, or child, and identify as Amalekites (in the national sense) were willingly declaring their undying opposition to God and His people.

        So you see, even after the command had been given, God still provided one last way of escape.

        God is the creator not only of the physical universe and its properties but of morality. Nothing that God does is by His standards immoral and it is NOT our place as Humans, with an incomplete understanding of the full morality and thoughts of God, to pass judgement on Him for ANYTHING even though it may, in this life, seem to offend our Human sensibilities.

        God is not willing than any should perish but that all should come to repentance. That is why, ultimately, Christ went to that cross, to provide an escape to all from the just consequences of our sin. But He is not going to make that decision for us. Just like the Amalekites had opportunity to choose to identify with the Kenites and be saved if they so chose, so do we have the chance to identify with Christ and be saved.

        If you wish to go take another shower now, feel free to do so.

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