A recent article I wrote on the late-term abortion controversy in our culture began trending and subsequently led to a wealth of feedback. Although it’s impossible for me to answer every individual question and critique, I have some follow up thoughts that I think are warranted, particularly as the abortion debate continues to intensify and is sure to be a central issue in the 2020 elections. As I started writing my response, three separate ones began to emerge. Rather than releasing them separately, I’m going to put them all in one article. Even though some of this may not apply to you, it may help you to read how and what I have to say to people with a different perspective than yours. Thus, I’m organizing this response with a word to three different groups: Those impacted by abortion, those who identify as pro-choice, and those who identify as pro-life.To Those Impacted by Abortion:Whenever I speak or write on the issue of abortion, it is never fear of controversy that gives me pause. Instead, I am burdened by the countless people bearing the personal pain, guilt, and shame of abortion, and I know that discussing the topic, perhaps even simply mentioning the word “abortion,” has a way of reopening past wounds. One person humbly confessed that a decade’s old choice to abort her pregnancy still haunts her to this day and has a way of paralyzing her sincere desire to stand in opposition to abortion. The “who am I to speak” syndrome is very real.This is an underappreciated dynamic to the public debate, particularly when it comes to the cavalier and callousness with which the debate rages. I cringe at the way our culture disputes this sensitive topic as I imagine silent sufferers personalizing all this incivility. To those impacted, I have two the thoughts.First, God’s ability to forgive is much greater than your ability to sin. With grace deeper than our deepest shame and wider than our furthest wanderings, the gospel of Jesus Christ can handle anything any of us have ever done, and yes, that includes an abortion. If not, I’m in as much trouble as you, because I, like you, have past regrets that haunt me to this day. But God’s grace is so amazing that not only are these forgiven, they are forgotten. That is to say, God chooses not to remember the failures we cannot forget. To him, they are gone. So may they be gone to you as well. Secondly, once you can accept your abortion as forgiven and forgotten, we need your voice more than any other. Male voices like mine are easily dismissed, female voices who have never struggled with an unwanted pregnancy also hold little weight, but it is impossible to ignore the prophetic stories of those who have gone through the trauma, pain, and shame of an abortion and are willing to speak. I don’t want to bind your conscience as though you must share, but I do want to dispel the lie that your regrets are telling you. You are not disqualified; you are actually uniquely qualified if you so choose to bless this cause with your story. To Those Who Identify as Pro-Choice:Not surprisingly, I received a lot of criticism from Pro-choice advocates. Some critiques were very fair and need to be owned (more on that below), but some I would take exception with. However instead of engaging in argumentation that continually gets us nowhere, I would like my response to be less of an argument and more of a plea. A plea to see how well the unborn actually fit your noble cause. There are many things about the progressive movement I admire and have learned from, but the more I learn, the more I am baffled by the lack of advocacy for the unborn. Allow me to explain: Progressives pride themselves as advocates of science. The problem, however, is the more advanced prenatal science becomes, the more it affirms the humanity of an unborn child. What was once an unseen mystery inside the womb has become a masterpiece of scientific discovery. We know at the very moment of fertilization a separate DNA has been created; we know when the heart starts beating; we know when ears can hear and eyes can see; we know when organs develop and muscles are used; we know when pain is felt, thumbs are sucked, and dreams begins; we know every single part of a child’s development in the womb. The archaic clump of cells and parasitic lump of tissue distinctions have been replaced by crystal clear 4-D images. Add to this the fact that science is increasingly enabling wanted babies to survive premature births, and what we have is mounting scientific evidence that is challenging the way we have historically denied life of the unborn.Progressives, we have much to thank you for in your advocacy of science. My humble request is that you not become science deniers when it comes to the humanity of the unborn. Progressives pride themselves as advocates of the helpless. I genuinely admire your passion to advocate for those who have no advocate; to defend the weak against the powerful; to give voice to the voiceless; to do justice for those suffering injustice; indeed, to do exactly what Jesus calls us to do—to care for “the least of these.” More than anything else, this is what my more progressive friends have helped me see as a glaring deficiency in my own faith. Conservative Evangelicals have a notorious blind spot in our disproportionate emphasis on orthodoxy (right thinking) at the expense of orthopraxy (right actions). Our church recently hosted a conference on Neighbor Love, and I was deeply convicted at the disconnect between my beliefs and actions, and it has led to some significant steps of repentance in my own life. Having said that, I struggle to understand why progressives do not view the unborn as fitting their passion for justice. What group is more vulnerable, voiceless, and the victim of violence than the unborn? Progressives, you are leading the way in your advocacy for the helpless. My humble request is that you see the unborn as a demographic in desperate need of your advocacy.Progressives pride themselves as advocates of cultural diversity. They rightly point out the domineering tendency of white western culture to look down upon other cultures as inferior, or even imperialistically impose our culture upon others. You have helped us to see that we need to humbly listen and learn from a diversity of perspectives rather than simply assuming our way is the only way. Diversity is the key to dismantling the echo-chamber temptation within us all. The problem, however, is I’m not sure many progressives want to hear non-Western opinions on abortion, because, quite frankly, other cultures view our practices as barbaric. Even by Western standards, America is very radical when it comes to abortion policies and practices, with some states rivaling China and North Korea. When you step outside Western culture, abortion is viewed very differently. A compelling example of this took place at a United Nation’s panel discussion on the topic of maternal health in Africa recently. The clip begins with a European woman lamenting colonization by attempting to colonize her maternal beliefs and practices upon female Africans. Oh the irony! The applause of other Westerners is interrupted by a brave speech from an African woman, and I’ll let her words speak for themselves.
Best practices for maternal health in Africa Q& A Session (United Nations Side Event) - YouTube
Progressives, thank you for your advocacy for cultural diversity. My humble request is that you listen and learn from views of other cultures on the topic of abortion as well. Progressives pride themselves as advocates of public opinion over special-interest power. Polling consistently shows the majority of Americans favor at least some form of stricter gun laws; so why does that public opinion not translate into legislation? Progressives’ response: the NRA. Polling has consistently shown that the majority of Americans believe prescription medication costs are way too expensive; so why do prices continue to increase? Progressives’ response: Big Pharma. Polling shows most of Americans see climate change as a pressing issue; so why is it not being addressed with equal urgency? Progressives’ response: Oil and Gas. I am really not trying to make any statements about any of these issues and certainly don’t want to derail this conversation by adding controversy to an already deeply controversial topic. But with the examples above, I believe I’m representing what progressives see as a deep flaw in the system—special-interest money reigns over public opinion.But let us then consider public opinion on the topic of abortion. Recent polling is showing a major shift in public opinion toward pro-life positions. For example, consider the recently released Harvard CAPS/Harris poll on the most debated issues facing American voters. Here are some conclusions on the topic of abortion:A majority of Americans (54%) believe Roe v. Wade should be modified or overturned. A great majority of Americans (70%) believe abortion should only be allowed in the case of rape or incest or during the first trimester. Only a small minority (6%) believe abortion should be allowed up until the birth of the childSo how is it possible that a position with such little public support could be so legislatively protected? How is it possible that a bill that only represents 6% of American support could be passed with a standing ovation in the state of New York? How is it possible that same 6% position must be held by 100% of DNC presidential candidate in order to be considered viable for the primary? In fact, why is it nearly impossible at all to successfully run as a pro-life DNC candidate in any race? Why? Money. The DNC is owned by the special-interest money of the abortion lobby as much as they claim the GOP is owned by their own special-interest groups.Progressives, thank you for your advocacy of science, for your advocacy of the helpless, for your advocacy of cultural diversity, and for your advocacy of popular opinion over special interests. My humble plea is that you rise above partisan dogmatism and consider how perfectly the unborn fit the cause of your advocacy.To Those Who Identify as Pro-Life:The most feedback I received was from fellow pro-life advocates, the majority of whom seemed overwhelmed and wanting to know what, if anything, they could be doing. And in most cases, the question was posed from a posture of desperation, perhaps even skepticism that anything could be done at all. I understand. The sheer pervasiveness of abortion combined with the seeming impossibility of any real change can feel insurmountable. In some ways, the article was written to get us to that place. Not so much to guide us, but to disturb us. I believe the “wake up” effect is itself a step forward. But I also recognize the deficiency of the article in unmasking the issue without providing a way forward, a common deficiency in the pro-life movement. As one progressive friend said to me, “Don’t come with your critique if you’re not prepared to give a better solution.” Fair enough. Allow me to address this issue as practically as I know how. But first, I feel the need to state upfront what my practical answer is not: It is not a legislative one. I will suggest that the politicization of this cause has unwittingly crippled, perhaps even paralyzed, the cause itself. We need to think outside the bounds of legislation and courts in order to reimagine and reframe our advocacy. Here I suggest a three-part strategy that requires the work of us all, not just those we elect. Here is my A. B. C. way forward against abortion: Apologize, Broaden, Change. ApologizeFirst and foremost, we must lead with our apology. Unless we have the audacity to claim our movement is perfect, then it must begin with humbly searching for our imperfections and owning them. In fact, even more than searching ourselves, we must actually listen. Our pro-choice friends are telling us where we have fallen short, but do we have the humility to listen? If so, I can tell you what they desperately want us to admit. The pro-life movement, in essence, tends to be a pro-birth movement. What rightfully irks them is our duplicity—a passion for unborn life with what seems to them an indifference to other lives. Until we apologize for this, our voice will continue to be drowned out by the noise of our own hypocrisy. I know conservatives will want to rush to defense. And to be fair, the angry callous caricature of conservatives is extremely unfair and inaccurate. In my experience with many conservatives, I have found them to be compassionate, caring, and generous people. However, if we lay down our defenses and examine the measure of zeal, sacrifice, and certainly our politics, I think conservatives must admit that we have cared far more for the life of the unborn than the lives of the immigrant, poor, orphaned, discriminated, and otherwise marginalized people in our community.
Until we apologize for our indifference to life after birth, our voice will continue to be drowned out by the noise of our own hypocrisy.
There is certainly room to debate the best way to care for the hurting (I happen to agree the government is not the most effective system of care), but I think progressives are right to say, “At least we care!” I once asked a pro-life Democrat about aligning himself with the pro-choice party, and I think his response is worth consideration: “It seems to me that Democrats care more deeply about injustice in every area except one. I’m fully pro-life, all of life, and Republicans just don’t seem to care about anyone I care about, with the one exception of the unborn. And conveniently, the unborn are the easiest to care for, because you don’t actually have to care for them. The mother does.” Ouch. Resist the partisan knee-jerk reaction and ask: Is there any truth to this? Put policies aside on the best way to care, and genuinely ask the question: Do I care? Personally, I know I was convicted by my answer to that question. Are you? Are you fully pro-life? If you detect hypocrisy, it really is okay to just admit it and ask forgiveness. What you will find is the power of an apology to disarm this heated debate and create space where dialogue and common ground are actually plausible. So it starts with breaking the number rule of our polarized and partisan culture: An apology. That does not mean you apologize for your passion for unborn life; rather, it means admitting that it is not matched by an equal passion for all of life. And then our apology must be reinforced by our actionsWhich brings us to point B. BroadenApologies are important, but only so far as they give way to change. The pro-life movement needs to broaden its actual advocacy such that our protest against the taking of life is accompanied by a proactive care for life. Simply put, pro-life must truly mean pro-life. Nothing would be more compelling and convincing to our cause than the care of unwanted children who were not aborted. One pro-choice advocate reached out to me with this feedback, “So will your church be paying for full maternity healthcare for the duration of these pregnancies? Will you pay for maternity leave for these women that work hourly jobs? Will you pay for or provide daycare that costs more than an average worker makes in a month? Will you provide diapers? Will you provide formula? Will you pay for the 18 years of medical care, medication, vaccinations, and then contribute to their college funds?” Could you imagine if the Church of Jesus Christ could (in good conscience) say, “Yes. As a matter of fact, we will.” Too idealistic? If so, then we must concede the dream of ending abortion as likewise idealistic.
Simply put, pro-life must truly mean pro-life. Nothing would be more compelling and convincing to our cause than the care of unwanted children who were not aborted.
One of the unique marks of early Christianity was the stark contrast between the Christian conviction of life’s sacredness as opposed to Roman culture’s cruel indifference to life, most notably in Rome’s practice of “exposure.” Unwanted children were simply discarded and exposed to the elements until death. This was anathema to the early Christian community, and their solution was as effective as it was simple: They started picking up the discarded babies and adopted them as their own. If a small, impoverished, and persecuted movement had the gumption to solve Roman Empire infanticide, then surely the enormous, wealthy, and free American Church has the ability to take on the epidemic of unwanted children in our land. A telling statistic in America is the number of children in foster care roughly equals the number or children aborted each year. One could easily argue that the seriousness of our pro-life stance toward the roughly 600,000 aborted children in our nation could be measured by seriousness of our pro-life stance toward the roughly 600,000 children in foster care. Our own Commonwealth, in particular, is an interesting test case. Typically in Kentucky there are just over 3,000 abortions performed each year. At the same time, we are nearing a record 10,000 children in foster care. So Kentucky Christians must ask ourselves whether we are truly pro-life. Because a poverty-stricken state with 10,000 unwanted children is an epidemic of injustice that needs to come to an end. And legitimately, the KY church community could bring it to an end. That may seem hopelessly naïve, but I suggest it is as tangible and possible—if not more so—than ending abortion in our state, and we’ve never let idealism stop us from trying that. Unlike abortion, there are no laws to be changed, no resistance to overcome, literally nothing standing in our way of ending this crisis except, of course, personal sacrifice. Which is precisely the Pro-choice talking point. But what if that talking point was nullified by our actions? What if churches across our Commonwealth united together for the common good of foster care and adoption? Suddenly the Pro-life voice becomes too legitimate to disregard, too loud to ignore. This is only one example to consider in the broadening of life’s advocacy, but the greater point is that until our cause is broadened, our cause will continue to be viewed as shallow.We Apologize, we Broaden, and then finally we Change. Change When I speak of change, I speak of strategy. It is time to reimagine how we advocate for the unborn. The pro-life movement has largely been politicized, making it predominantly a partisan movement. In fact, I would suggest it has become the issue that determines the very battle line of our polarization. Because of this, it is constantly being leveraged for votes by politicians that never deliver on their promises (the cynic in me can’t help but think there are political strategists that don’t want to deliver because it compromises their hold on one-issue voters). So my contention is that we desperately need to rescue the cause from its enmeshment with toxic partisanship and reclaim it as an issue of justice that transcends our political divide. I understand that now, more than ever, the legislative fight seems obtainable and likewise more tempting than ever. Yet ironically, I’m not certain that these bills being passed in conservative states will amount to any significant victory for life. Don’t get me wrong, I understand and sympathize with the strategy, but I’m suggesting that it will likely prove a failed strategy in the end. Consider the potential outcomes. Worst-case scenario: State legislation is ruled unconstitutional, challenged at the Supreme Court, and when the SCOTUS actually reconsiders Roe v. Wade, it is upheld. I do not have as much confidence in the makeup of this court as many conservatives do, and if I had to wager, I do not believe the landmark decision would be overturned. If not, then what? Overturning Roe v. Wade has been the central focus of the pro-life agenda for decades, so what will become of the movement if it is upheld? That is to say, what becomes of our strategy when our singular strategy is defeated?Best-case scenario: The Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. If so, then what? That doesn’t make abortion illegal in our country, it gives the decision back to the states. So in essence, conservative states will ban it, liberal states will protect it, and women will simply seek abortions in states where it is legal. For example, under Kentucky’s current state leadership, I have no doubt abortion would be banned. However, I also have no doubt that Illinois to the West and Virginia to the East would protect abortion to the furthest extent. So, although abortion would be eliminated in Kentucky, I suspect it will only increase in other areas. Is that the victory for life we imagine? In addition, we will have a new crisis of life on our hands. The ones who will not be able to seek abortions elsewhere will disproportionately be the poor and underprivileged. As I already stated, Kentucky is nearing a record number of children in foster care, and if abortion were banned, then this problem would become an all-out epidemic. To be clear, I much prefer that humanitarian crisis to the option of death, but it will be a crisis nonetheless, and I believe the pro-life movement under its current strategy is woefully ill-prepared to take up that challenge. In short, putting all the proverbial eggs in the basket of overturning Roe v. Wade is a deficient strategy, and we need to reorient around a new way forward.But what does that even mean? That question itself is problematic and reveals how much politicization has crippled this movement. Thus far, pro-lifers have primarily conceived of legislative solutions when there are so many other ways to address this issue.What if all the resources, time, and energy devoted to making abortion unconstitutional was directed toward making it unthinkable? To be clear, I’m certainly not opposed to changing laws; I just happen to believe that changing the narrative is far more effective and obtainable.
What if all the resources, time, and energy devoted to making abortion unconstitutional was directed toward making it unthinkable?
I believe our culture is primed for a new way forward. Without a doubt, the radical far-left position held by DNC leadership is wildly out of touch and unpopular (again, only 6% percent hold the same view that every DNC Primary candidate holds). The problem, however, is people don’t view the current pro-life approach as a compelling alternative. Our country is ready for a new narrative to emerge, one that rejects both the Fox News and MSNBC ethos and invites the public to embrace solutions that are refreshingly novel. A truly..
To Harry Potter, or not to Harry Potter: that is the question.Or to state it more plainly, how should Christian parents engage the world of myths, fantasies, and fairy tales? I understand some parents feel the need to protect their children from worldly myths, but I want to suggest that in so doing they may unwittingly be training their children to embrace the world’s greatest myth of all.Allow me to explain.The lie that will be repeatedly told to your child, both overtly and covertly, is that the physical world and natural order is the exclusive reality. This is the essence of the secular age we inhabit. That “this” is all that there is. That what is true is only what can be evidenced by the physical senses.That, my friends, is the greatest myth of all, and we must learn to train our children to renounce this heresy of secularism. But how? There are many answers to that question, but one of the most effective is to let your children get lost in a world that is not secular, whether that be “Hogwarts” or a “galaxy far, far away.”Believe it or not, it was myths that converted C.S. Lewis from his staunch atheism. His fellow Oxford professor, J.R.R. Tolkien, asked him to consider that fairy tales were only partly wrong. Tolkien claimed that fantasy is indeed untrue but not completely untrue.These stories we tell ourselves—stories of supernatural battles, of good triumphing over evil, of escaping death and living forever, of tragedy giving way to victory—are not merely a way of coping with our reality but instead speak to a far greater reality that we are all a part of.In other words, our fairy tales are of course untrue, but they point to something that is absolutely true. Tolkien convinced Lewis this was the case, and that the story of Jesus was not just one of many myths, but the one true myth to which all other myths point. That’s what eventually led C.S. Lewis to believe in Jesus and become one of Christianity’s greatest apologists.
In other words, our fairy tales are of course untrue, but they point to something that is absolutely true.
Do you see Tolkien’s wisdom when it comes to our parenting? Allowing our children to encounter and even “believe” (children don’t cognitively believe like we believe. They have an ability to get lost in fantasy without detaching from reality) in fantasy is one of the greatest ways to prepare them to believe in the true and better story to which all other stories point. Or to put it negatively, to deprive them of fantasy is to reinforce the lie of our secular age that there is no fantasy.What if our novels and films were both untrue and true? Untrue because they are fantasies of human imagination, true because they are portals into another reality, a greater reality of which our physical reality is a part not the whole.What if we love to tell stories because we are made in the image of a God who Himself is telling a story that we are all a part of? We certainly cannot see this God any more than Harry Potter can see J.K. Rowling, but there are signposts everywhere that we exist within a story written by an author.So then the question of questions becomes this: Who is this author, and what is this story? Now we come to the utterly exclusive and compelling story of Jesus Christ.He did not claim to be a character within our story; He claimed to be the Author entering into his own story. And not only did He claim it, He proved it.Do you know what Easter is? The cosmic display that his is the one true myth. It’s not that all myths are mere fanciful, rather it’s that all myths point to the one true myth, the story of Jesus Christ.What if fairy tales weren’t necessarily fairy tales? Would it not be the greatest news of all to discover that the cruel world as we know it is going to give way to the beautiful world we read of in our stories? Well this is precisely the promise of Easter. Jesus is risen as the invasion of a new story, a story that’s going to actually end happily ever after.So let your kids indulge a bit in myths that point to the true myth, and tell them with audacious certainty that the story they want to be true will indeed one day come true.Allow me to conclude with Tolkien’s conclusion in his famous essay On Fairy Stories:It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be “primarily” true…The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind…But this story is supreme; and it is true…Legend and History have met and fused…The gospel has not abrogated legends; it has hallowed them, especially the “happy ending.”- Robert
“You had to have known. You had to have smelled the stench.”These are the words from a gripping scene in HBO’s miniseries Band of Brothers. It’s near the end of WWII, and the allied forces have moved into Germany. As they make their way through German towns, what becomes striking is the otherwise normalcy of life. German citizens are going about their days seemingly oblivious to the atrocities all around them.One town, in particular, has a concentration camp located just far enough on the outskirts of town to allow for convenient indifference. But when the soldiers discover the camp, their indignation turns toward the village. They enter a local bakery where the owner is going about his normal baking routine, and they begin to take his bread to feed the famished prisoners of the camp. The baker is furious, screaming at the soldiers to leave his store, until one soldier shoves him against the wall and shouts,“Shut up you Nazi!”“Ich bin kein Nazi (I’m not a Nazi),” the baker replies aghast.“You’re not a Nazi? OK, how about a human being? You had to have known. You had to have smelled the stench.”The Third Reich is a fascinating look into the nature of evil, because it was a modern, developed, educated, and affluent culture that allowed for barbaric atrocities. The “banality of evil” is how Hannah Arendt famously described it in her essay from the Nuremberg Trials. Otherwise normal people, like you and me, indifferent or even complicit in widespread carnage. Indeed, evil could no longer be called unthinkable; it had become banal.Well, take heed and be not naïve, America, for the banality of evil is among us too.The United States is one of only seven countries that allows for elective abortions after 20 weeks (the point where it is conclusively proven that unborn babies feel pain). In fact, our federal law allows for abortions through the stage of viability (22-24 weeks) all the way up to the birth canal of a full-term mother. In America, it is only after the baby has exited the mother that a child is granted human rights by the Federal Court. Individual states are certainly allowed to restrict abortions themselves, and most do, but there are others that do not.And this past week, in particular, the often-ignored reality of late-term abortion became front and center for all to see.First came the chilling eruption of applause as the New York Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act, allowing for abortion up to the point of delivery “in cases of risk to mother’s health”. That language is standard in states with no limitations on abortions, but what many fail to realize is that on the same day of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court released the lesser known Doe v. Bolton, which reads, “medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” In other words, Doe v. Bolton allows for “health” to be defined any way an abortionist and mother choose, i.e. any reason under the sun.Then shortly after the action of New York’s Senate came another viral video of Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran defending similar legislation, explicitly stating that her bill would allow for an abortion even while a mother is dilating in active labor. Shortly thereafter, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam publicly defended Tran’s proposal, and in so doing took the debate even further, into the very realm of infanticide: “So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mothers.”Friends, if this is not evil then what is?I personally believe life begins at conception, but I also understand why those who do not share my Christian worldview disagree. I also accept the fair critique that the pro-life movement is too often a mere pro-birth movement. Fair enough. The disposition I see from many conservatives toward the lives of immigrants, minorities, and the poor does not seem very pro-life, and I recently wrote about the noticeably selective outrage of the pro-life (and social justice) causes. All to say, I understand the arguments, I hear the critiques, I see the hypocrisy, and in many cases I agree.But this. Surely this we can agree upon. Surely this we can call evil. Or do you even know (or want to know) what ‘this’ entails?After the Nazi concentration camps had been liberated, the Allied soldiers chose to do something very powerful. They gathered German citizens from those surrounding villages and forced them to tour the death camps. They took them through the ovens, showed them the decomposing corpses, and even gave them shovels to dig the graves of victims they had conveniently ignored.I would like to give you a tour of late-term abortion. I’m warning you, you’ll want to turn away and get back to your normal life, which is certainly your choice. Just know it’s a choice to disregard evil.Because the baby is so developed, the late-term abortion process lasts several days. The first step is a large needle inserted through the mother’s abdomen and into the baby’s head or chest. A lethal dose of a drug called Digoxin is then administered to the baby causing cardiac arrest. The mother is sent home with the dead child inside her, while laminaria dilates her cervix for 2-3 days. The mother then returns to deliver the stillborn child, however in many cases a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is necessary. At this stage, a D&E requires the use of surgical tools to crush the skull and dismember the body of the baby for removal.All that I just described—from lethal injection to body dismemberment—is perfectly legal in these United States of America.And now you know. Now you have smelled the proverbial stench. Now ignorance is no longer a luxury to claim, indifference no longer an option to choose. Now you know, which means now complacency is complicity.During the rise of the Third Reich, a German named Dietrich Bonhoeffer rejected the path of comfortable ignorance and valiantly chose instead to stand against the banality of evil in his land. May his words haunt the collective soul of our country:“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”- Robert
Should Christians participate in Halloween? It's a question many struggle with. After all, it feels like a celebration of evil, a holiday devoted to the demonic. But what if I told you the opposite is true. Halloween isn't a celebration of evil, but a mockery of evil. It's actually a humiliating night for the devil, and he would much prefer you turn off your porch lights, stay hidden inside, and save him the embarrassment. In the Christian tradition, November 1 is All Saints Day—a day set aside to honor and celebrate the triumph of saints who have gone before us, especially our martyred brothers and sisters. A more historic word for ‘saint’ is ‘hallow’, and so the day was originally known as All Hallows’ Day. An important part of the celebration involved the night before, All Hallows’ Eve. Thus the contraction "Halloween" came to be.The tradition of Halloween is a celebration of our confidence over the demonic realm. Ephesians 6 lets us in on the truest nature of our fight: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” So on the eve of the day we remember those who fought the good fight, it is appropriate to celebrate that in Christ they actually won that good fight.Unlike what we see in Hollywood, Satan’s terror is not haunted houses or possessed children. It's something much scarier. Accusations. He is our great accuser, and there is much to accuse us of. We have fallen shamefully short of God’s law, and God’s justice demands our punishment. In this way, our failures serve as Satan’s ammunition against God, because hell can now justly demand from God what God cherishes the most, His beloved people. Satan temps, we sin, Satan accuses, God must condemn, and that, in essence, is the ploy of the evil one.
Go have some fun tonight at hell’s expense and talk a little trash to the devil
And yet All Hallows’ Day celebrates the triumph, not the condemnation, of the saints. How can this be when there is seemingly no escape from the Satan’s accusations and God’s condemnation? 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” It’s the great exchange we celebrate in the reformation (by the way, the tradition of All Hallows’ Eve is why Martin Luther chose October 31 as the day to post his 95 theses). Jesus takes our sin and is condemned as such, we receive His righteousness and are accepted as such. Therefore, God in the gospel of Christ has stripped Satan of all ammunition, leaving him nothing to accuse us of. Colossians 2 says it perfectly: “Having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Jesus.”The cross of Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities of evil, and in this way put them to shame, so that Calvary is simultaneously our victory and Satan’s mockery. And that’s exactly what we do on All Hallows’ Eve—we mock Satan. So confident are we in the triumph of Jesus, that we literally have a holiday set aside to ridicule Satan. We will take what should be scary—devil, demons, and death—and turn them into an occasion for a neighborhood party. In fact, we're so confident in Christ that we will actually dress our children up as a mockery of evil, because for the Christian, Satan is as scary as a kid in a mask. As an aside, Halloween is a great opportunity to teach your children that the gospel is so powerful that we can laugh at what should be terrifying. As a practical suggestion, before going out to trick-or-treat read Luke 4:31-37 or Mark 2:2-7 with them and ask this question: Who’s scared of who in this passage?Halloween is not something Christians should be afraid to celebrate; quite the opposite. Halloween is a night of gospel surety and hell’s mockery. What should scare us is scared of our Jesus. So go have some fun tonight at hell’s expense and talk a little trash to the devil.- Rev. Robert Cunningham