HOPE for the HAPLESS

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


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Painting a Different Picture

For some truly wonderful pictures of motherhood, might I suggest you visit the site of Katie m. Berggren http://kmberggren.com/

For some truly wonderful pictures of motherhood, might I suggest you visit the site of Katie m. Berggren

I don’t normally like to do this sort of thing, but someone I care about alerted me to this recent post over on Facebook. As it is a time sensitive issue, and as Facebook is notoriously difficult to comment on (in a meaningful way), I have decided to pursue the issue here.

I’m not sure if you have noticed, but the pro-abortion supporters have been working really hard lately at painting a different picture of themselves. The talking points of choice and women’s freedom are fading into the background as a new tactic begins to take the center stage. Abortion as the kind and loving option!

[Author’s note – following the links below will take you to stories that are emotionally disturbing. They do contain graphic and tragic content that is not for everyone …]

There was the young woman who so bravely (and out of love for others struggling with the shame and stigma of abortion) filmed her abortion to show how empowering and uplifting it can be. There was the couple in Britain who bravely and lovingly poisoned their unborn child so he wouldn’t have to suffer in life. It was after all the only thing a mother could do. And because it was such a hard decision to make you know it had to be the only right one to make.

And then there was this article, about a young woman bravely struggling with her decision to abort her baby [tomorrow] by writing an open letter to the child she is going to terminate. Sarah Burris who writes the article for Blue Nation Review, after accusing those who oppose abortion of thinking all women who get one are selfish, finishes with the summation: “The facts, and this woman’s story, paint a different picture.”

So, just what are the facts here? And what picture is being painted? Best go right to the source and see for ourselves. [Again, my apologies to those who will find this upsetting]

Little Thing:

I can feel you in there. I’ve got twice the appetite and half the energy. It breaks my heart that I don’t feel the enchantment that I’m supposed to feel. I am both sorry and not sorry.

I am sorry that this is goodbye. I’m sad that I’ll never get to meet you. You could have your father’s eyes and my nose and we could make our own traditions, be a family. But, Little Thing, we will meet again. I promise that the next time I see that little blue plus, the next time you are in the same reality as me, I will be ready for you.

Little Thing, I want you to be happy. More than I want good things for myself, I want the best things for the future. That’s why I can’t be your mother right now. I am still growing myself. It wouldn’t be fair to bring a new life into a world where I am still haunted by ghosts of the life I’ve lived. I want you to have all the things I didn’t have when I was a child. I want you to be better than I ever was and more magnificent than I ever could be. I can’t do to you what was done to me: Plant a seed made of love and spontaneity into a garden, and hope that it will grow on only dreams. Love and spontaneity are beautiful, but they have little merit. And while I have plenty of dreams to go around, dreams are not an effective enough tool for you to build a better tomorrow. I can’t bring you here. Not like this.

I love you, Little Thing, and I wish the circumstances were different. I promise I will see you again, and next time, you can call me Mom.

First, lets begin with the seeming confusion in the recipient of this letter. Is it a little thing or a person being addressed? One doesn’t usually write letters to things. But then again, one doesn’t normally go around talking about killing people next friday.

Next, consider that this woman states she wants the unborn to be happy, and that more than she wants good things for herself she wants the best things for the future … but whose future? Obviously not the little thing in question. She wants her child to have everything she didn’t have as a child, but since she can’t give her all that  her only recourse is to kill it instead. This, by  the way, is what Sarah Burris states is one of the main reasons for abortion – no money to raise a child. That and abusive partners. which I think may lead into the next point.

Next this young lady states that ghosts of the life she’s lived would cause too much harm to the child in question. So again, to avoid  the possible victimization of this person in the future the best solution is to kill them before it happens.

Once you get past the emotionalism of the words (which I don’t think you are supposed to do – remember if the person is agonizing over the decision then whatever they decide must be right) … once you get to the heart of what is being said … such words do indeed paint a picture, but one that is very dark and terrifying.

At best these words paint a picture of  someone who doesn’t really believe the humanity of the baby involved, but will play on the heart strings of those who do to show that abortion is not selfish (really?) and is in fact the only loving thing you can do sometimes.

At worst they show (perhaps even more fearfully) someone who does in their heart of hearts believe in the humanity of the child in question and simply doesn’t care. If you or I were to walk up to anyone on the street and say the things this mother says to her unborn child we would rightly be called sociopathic. Why is it criminal in one case and “brave and loving” in another?

I am not saying all this to attack the person struggling with her life and her decisions. I think she is struggling in large part because she, like so many other young women (and men) have been duped into thinking something that their hearts don’t really believe. I am saying all this in the hopes of getting past the brazen and deceptive picture some would like to paint of abortion, to the truths that lie behind the emotion.

Finally, I am writing all of this to ask you to join with me in praying for this young woman, and for her unborn child. Pray for a different understanding of love to guide her actions tomorrow. Pray that this young woman, and so many others like her would come to see that her life is in the hands of  the God who paid everything (even His own life on the cross) for her salvation because cost is never really a consideration when it is someone you truly love.  The very same God who has brought her through the harsh abuse of this cruel and calculating world by sacrificing not someone else but himself. Just as He did for that precious baby He has entrusted to her.

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When the right to choose, is chosen wrongly …

There was a brief splash in the Canadian news here recently when it was reported that in certain cultural communities the data seems to indicate that abortions are being used as a tool for gender selection. To put it bluntly, certain people are inclined to abort pre-born daughters in favour of having male children. And so, it was reported by the CBC, an editorial in the Canadian Medical Journal called for preventative intervention.

A fetus’s gender should not be revealed until after 30 weeks of pregnancy, says an editorial in the Canadian Medical Journal. This change in procedure for a fetal ultrasound, where the sex is usually disclosed to parents at 20 weeks, would help prevent female feticide, says Rajendra Kale, editor-in-chief of the CMAJ. [Read the rest of the story HERE]

As you can well imagine this raised concerns over stereotyping and/or invoking discrimination against certain people groups. It raised the question of whether information is a right or not. It raised the concern of whether or not there should be limits on freedom of choice. All of these are indeed, important questions to be discussed in their own right, but at best this particular discussion was frustrating to witness, and at times downright confusing to follow. Why?

Because all of these (rightful) concerns begin from an assumption that simply isn’t allowed to be assumed by those who hold to the right to free abortions.

Consider the following: How can a class of people (women/girls) be targeted by selectively terminating a non-person? Many calm their consciences by referring to the subject of the procedure as simply a mass of tissue (or use clinical terms like fetus to distance emotions), but in this case it is painfully obvious that what is being terminated simply isn’t anything of the sort. Why is it OK (even good some will argue) to kill both equally, but not one more or less than the other? The sex is medically irrelevant, unless it is being used to select out certain individuals? People should be free to choose – unless they choose wrongly?

The only moral conundrum here is why any of this news should be morally repulsive … unless of course what we are talking about aborting is NOT some lump of tissue, but an actual human person …  a son or (in increasing numbers) a daughter.It is only an issue if they are really people!

Abortion has always stereotyped against certain people groups – unborn humans.  Abortion discriminates against those who cannot speak for themselves. Abortion limits the freedom (to life liberty and happiness) of those conceived to others who simply choose not to give it to them. Why should we be the least bit surprised when this begins to spill over into unintended victims? Why should we be surprised when the wrong choice is then chosen wrongly?

Withholding information will not change anything. It will just cause there to be more late-term abortions (which are not normally practiced – but are certainly allowed here in Canada). Trying to foist some sort of ill-conceived, reactionary, and baseless morality upon the situation will not change people’s hearts or their desires for a male child. Trying to protect one class of human beings cannot be done while not recognizing the humanity of another. The only thing that will change such terrible situations and sad choices is a new-found respect for all human life, wherever you may find it. Spreading the knowledge that a person is a person whether in the womb, in the cradle, in school, in the hospital, or the senior’s center. Giving the freedom you and I enjoy to all who are part of this human race, whether they are boys or girls, born or not!


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Bieber, abortion and babies

Here is an article I wrote for the church.  What do you think?

Canadian Lutheran Online » Blog Archive » Bieber, abortion and babies.

It is a sad statement on our society when there is more outcry against the sincere answers this young man gave, than for the tactics of an interviewer who thought it was appropriate to hit a 16 year old with these questions.  Not to mention the two separate “editorial” omissions in the initial reporting that made his comments more controversial, and less specific then they were when given.


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A Little Healthy Reflection

Since we are on the subject of life and death (see my last post), I would like to take the opportunity to thank the government of Canada for the recent stance they have taken on “maternal and child health” in poor countries.  In preparation for the Leader’s meeting of the G8 next month.

Maternal, child health in poor countries leads G8 talks in Halifax By The Canadian Press

HALIFAX, N.S. – A two-day meeting of G8 development ministers got underway in Halifax on Tuesday with a debate on abortion looming over a discussion on improving maternal and child health in poor countries.  Canada announced on Monday it won’t support funding for abortions in the developing world as part of a family planning initiative it is pushing as a key agenda item for a meeting of G8 leaders in June in Huntsville, Ont …  On Monday, Oda said Canada’s contribution internationally could involve family planning and the use of contraceptive methods, but funding for abortions is not something the federal government will support.

Some government critics say Oda’s declaration on abortion could threaten an attempt to find a consensus on the best approach to maternal and child health among G8 development ministers. Ontario Liberal MP Bob Rae said the Tories’ position is ridiculous. “They have this great sort of double talk where they say, ‘We don’t want to reopen the abortion debate.’ Well, they just did,” he said outside the Commons on Monday. He said the federal government is trying to impose its moral agenda on other countries. “Canada is now taking an ideological position and, frankly, I think they’ve raised something which could well have been avoided in the effort to create a stronger international consensus.”

As soon as the word abortion is raised hackles go up and the rhetoric starts flying.  It is not my intention to fling rhetoric.  What I would like to do is ask once again (see Abortion Question Part I and Part II) for a little healthy reflection – this time on what health care is.  There are many who claim that free and easy access to abortion is not only necessary, but vital to maternal health. Perhaps we should stop for a moment and discuss what the word maternal means.

“Maternal – related to or characteristic of a mother” (Oxford English dictionary)

Now please realize that I do not say this tongue-in-cheek.  I’m not trying to be a wise-guy.  I simply want to know how a woman destroying that very thing that would make her a mother, can be considered as receiving maternal health care?  Is a farmer a farmer because of the crops he destroys?  Is a writer a writer based upon the books he burns?  How can the destruction of a woman`s unborn child be considered maternal care?  How can it be defined in any way as health care for women AND Children?

But so many women die because of unsafe, illegal abortions (especially in poor countries), to deny them that right would be to in effect kill them.  So the argument from the other side goes.  Yet, let’s please stop and think critically about this too.  Why should women have to suffer the consequences of a bad  decision?  It almost sounds like those who might ask why a fetus should have to suffer the consequences of not even being allowed to have a decision.  Why is it morally wrong not to safeguard the life of a human (who willingly chooses to kill her offspring), but morally ambiguous as to whether or not that human offspring in question should be safeguarded?  Does not our moral obligation lie as much or more in aiding those who face death through no fault of their own, as it is with those whose very decisions are implicit in causing their own demise?

And finally, to Mr. Rae and those with him that oppose health care that only cares for health instead of also offering death … since when is consensus more important than human rights?  Just because others are doing it doesn’t make it right, nor is it Canada’s job on the international stage simply to do whatever the rest of the gang is doing.

Oh, and by the way, being pro-abortion is as much an ideological stand as being against it … the only difference is in who will thank you for it – the ones who are allowed to kill or the ones who are allowed to live.  On behalf of them, I thank you government of Canada.


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A Distinct Tragedy

By now you may have heard that there has been a fatal shooting of a well-known late term abortionist George Tiller in the United States.  Such news is tragic for many reasons.  Not the least of which is the loss of yet another life to this ongoing debate.  Those of us who seek to protect the life of every human being at every stage of their life, regardless of the “value” or “merit” of that life, must condemn this action and any other like it.  We cannot EVER make a distinction that some lives are worth saving and some are to be done away with (even of necessity).  This is the very position of those who seek the right of death over life and call it a freedom of choice.  We are never free to take the life of someone else into our own hands and place our choice above their will.

As the issue of abortion continues to be pushed to the forefront, and anger and frustration mount on both sides, such terrible moments as this are bound to come along (though I pray from the bottom of my heart that they wouldn’t!).  My great sadness in all this is that the central issues here have now been clouded once again, and the focus on the one question that truly matters in this debate, has now been obscured to the detriment of many hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

As a pastor of a Lutheran Church Canada congregation I am also puzzled and dismayed.  I am puzzled that someone who so unapologetically and routinely took human life not only attended, but served in a church where the Lord and Author of Life is worshiped (and His commandments like “Thou Shalt Not Kill” should be understood).   Where was this man’s pastoral oversight – the call to repentance?  I am also dismayed that the devil was able to cause all this to happen in the church (the icing on his diabolical cake).  It blurs so many distinctions and makes the whole thing so much more tragic.

I therefore truly appreciate the both the clarity and the distinctions that the Lutherans For Life news release made in speaking to this terrible crime.

Lutherans For Life Statement on the George Tiller Murder

June 1, 2009

Lutherans For Life (LFL) joins pro-life groups across the country in extending our sympathy to the family of George Tiller, the late-term abortionist who was gunned down Sunday morning in his church. We join other pro-life groups in denouncing this action as evil. No circumstances justify the violent murder of another human being.

God’s Word tells us not to fight evil with evil but to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Based on that same Word of God, LFL believes that abortion is a great evil, the violent murder of another human being that deeply grieves the Author and Redeemer of life. But we oppose the use of evil to overcome this evil. We have the greatest “good” there is to use against it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. LFL strives to apply the Gospel to the life issues, to change hearts and minds so that people will turn to the Lord of Life and not the god of death as the solution to difficult circumstances. We want to make the killing of children in the sanctity of the womb as unthinkable and deplorable as the killing of George Tiller in the sanctity of his church.

While George Tiller was a member of a Lutheran denomination that does not officially oppose abortion, it should be noted that almost all other Lutheran denominations do take an official stance that opposes abortion and asserts the God-given value of human life from conception to natural death.

We commend the Tiller family and all affected by this tragic event into the loving arms of a crucified and risen Savior. May He be at work in all of this according to His good and gracious will.


I also appreciate the discussion of this same matter on the Issues Etc. Radio Program of June 1.  In particular I found the comments of Dr. John Warwick Montgomery to be very helpful and insightful.  I encourage everyone to listen.

A Discussion of these tragic events, with John Warwick Montgomery


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The Abortion Question (Part II)

Here, as promised, is the second part of my discussion on the question of abortion.  In the first part I did what I could to answer just the latest of the so-called unanswerable questions posed to those who support the right to life.  In this post I would like to make things a little more personal, with a story and a question of my own.

samuel-1What you are looking at is a picture of my son, Samuel.  This picture was taken only an hour or so after he was born prematurely.  It was an unexpected surprise for all involved.  He decided to come some 5 1/2 weeks early.  One evening at home my wife’s said “Uh-oh!” and hurried into the bathroom.  Minutes later we were already pulling into emergency.  By the time we got her to the hospital things were well underway.  The doctor barely got there in time to deliver him.  Because the birth was so fast (and early) he had trouble breathing on his own.  He needed to be taken to the NICU in a neighbouring city.  He spent the first few days of his life hooked up to tubes and wires.  It was something straight out of a sci-fi movie. I didn’t get to hold him until he was 6 days old.  But he recovered quickly and by two weeks old he was out of the hospital and back home with us.

Now you should also know that I live in Canada, which has a great health care system.  I truly believe that.  They were there for my wife and my son every step of the way.  I have nothing but praise for the doctors and nurses who did so much to help us get through it all.  But something else you should know about Canada is that there is absolutely NO restrictions on when or why a woman may have an abortion.  The very same morning of the very same day my son would be born, it was well within my wife’s legal rights to have walked into a clinic or a hospital that performs abortions and to have had the pregnancy terminated.  In fact, by law she still had upwards of 5 1/2 weeks to have gotten around to it (if he had not come quite so early)!  In my country, while abortions this late in pregnancy are not the norm, they are done.

Now MY question … and this is not meant to stump anyone or prove anything … I’m just asking it because I think it is important to ask and answer truthfully, openly and honestly … My question is this:

“What changed in the couple of hours on that fateful day in September when in the morning what you see in the picture above was (to so many) just a lump of cells, a bit of tissue that could be discarded on a whim, and just a few hours later when he was now very obviously a human being that so many dozens of people were going to so much effort to save?”

What happened?  What changed?  What was the all important difference (legally, and morally speaking)?  He had not changed physiologically over the intervening minutes and hours – he had not grown a head or a heart or anything like that.  He was not any bigger, not any more developed.  In the morning he was disposable flesh, something less than human under the law and in the eyes of so many.  In the evening a person, a citizen of Canada with all the rights and privileges thereof.  … What changed?

Furthermore, on the day he was born he was not technically looked for or wanted (not right then at any rate, not under those circumstances).  He was not able to breathe on his own.  He needed machines and tubes and round the clock nursing care.  Yet not one person in that delivery room for even one second questioned whether he was a human being or if he was worth saving!

So what changed?  He didn’t.  His circumstances didn’t (not in any meaningful way).  His “viability” didn’t.  His need for care and support didn’t.  His life looked very much in the evening as it had in the morning, and was lived very much as it had been that morning – completely in the hands of (at the mercy of) someone else.  So what changed?

I’m just asking …


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The Abortion Question (Part I)

Just this last week there has been a great deal of chatter around the wordpress blogs regarding a story posted by Mr. Daniel Florien titled “How to Stump Anti-Abortionists with one Question” Over 950 comments on the original post and dozens and dozens of follow up posts on other blogs.  At first I didn’t want to get involved, as most of the people I write this for probably won’t even have noticed any of the discussion going on.  But sometimes God has other plans.  Over the past five days since I read that first post, I have been faced with the discussion of Abortion again and again, seemingly at every turn.  It may have taken me a while to clue in, but I think I got the point finally.

So here, then are some thoughts I have on the issue of  Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, in two parts.  In this first part I will answer the question to stump anti-abortionists (and others like it).  In the second I will give you a very near and dear personal story and ask a question of my own.

The question laid before those opposed to abortion was this:

If abortion was illegal, what should be done with the women who have illegal abortions?

Now watch their faces as the cognitive dissonance sets in. They believe abortion to be murder. Murder deserves severe punishment. Thus, women who have illegal abortions should receive severe punishment — like life in prison or the death penalty. That’s the logical conclusion.

But they can’t accept this conclusion. They know it’s absurd and unfair — which means they know abortion is not really murder.

Following this is a video of some poor protesters being hit with this question they are simply  unprepared for.  I feel sorry for them, but I do not blame them for their trouble in answering  because it (like most arguments against pro-lifers) is not really a fair question.  It paints them into a corner that isn’t really there.  Here’s what I mean.

First the question throws the pro-lifer off balance because it accuses them of wanting to ‘unfairly’ (and yes this is implied in the question) take the life of someone else.  In essence it is presented in such a way as to say “Oh yeah?  You’re no better yourself … maybe even worse … you killer!”

Secondly, it is an unfair question because it begs the question.  What I mean is that it begins with an asssumption of truth that is at the heart of the debate between pro-life and pro-choice.  It begins with the assumption that the fetus in question isn’t really alive, or at least not really human.  How can I say this?  Consider the question with just a little change in wording and you will see what I mean …

What if terminating the life of a toddler was illegal?  What should be done with the women who have done it?  Not such a morally hard question anymore is it?  What about terminating the life of a teenager, fireman, senator, housewife, pro-choice advocate, retiree?  No morally grey area there either.  The question in question therefore is only morally ambiguous IF what a pregnant woman carries in her womb is not really a human being.

And this is the question at the heart of the debate.  Not whether it is a right of choice.  Not how, when, or if abortionists should be punished or not.  But whether this unborn life is human or not.  This, is the real question to be asked and answered.  This is the one question that the pro-abortion side is forever trying to dodge, or re-write, or simply ignore, because they know that to truly, honestly, answer this question will re-write the whole debate.

For more insight into how to respond to abortionists and pro-choice advocates I highly recommend you go to Issues Etc and listen to the series “Five Bad ways to Argue about Abortion” with Scott Klusendorf

Here is just one of the five part series:

Bad Ways to Argue About Abortion: Assume What You Are Trying to Prove