Tag: abortion

Your Value? Mother Knows Best

We all know the phrase mother knows best. Most of us remember it as a tactic used to convince us to listen to their mothers, but for Beto O’Rourke and his supporters, it is also their approach to abortion. In a recent campaign event, the 2020 Presidential candidate fielded a question from a member of the audience regarding late-term abortion. The individual asked the former congressman whether his life had any value on the day prior to his birth in 1989. This question was a direct reference to O’Rourke’s opinion expressed during a previous campaign event in Ohio, during which he stated his favor for third trimester abortions.

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Why Legalism Can’t Be the Answer

Recently, I had a conversation with someone who explained their frustration at the amount of churches in America continuing to push a legalistic view of Christianity instead of applying theology to real life. She wasn’t against the need for discipleship, accountability and holding to biblical principles of morality, but rather the constant focus on enforcement of these principles through rule making. I couldn’t agree more. What came to mind was the phrase, “I don’t smoke and I don’t chew and I don’t go with girls that do.” It is a phrase which focuses on behavior, not the heart and fails to recognize the complexities involved in moral decision making within the modern society. If Christians are going to face the issues of today, a legalistic approach will simply not suffice.

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Vote for Conscience Sake

The news coming from last night’s election campaign brought forth either sentiments of disappointment or joyous celebration for conservative Americans, as they became aware of Ted Cruz’s decision to suspend his campaign; leaving Donald Trump as the front-runner candidate to become the Republican party nominee.  Those who did not support Trump are now faced with a decision regarding who they should support in the national election, especially given the two candidates will likely be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Yet, unlike in previous election cycles there are now Christian leaders, some of whom I deeply respect, who are encouraging Christians to either restrain from voting at all in the Presidential election on November 4th or to vote instead for a third party candidate.

What does it say that we have now shifted from merely guiding Christians to examine specific positions of a candidate according to a biblical worldview, to now telling them which candidate they should or should not vote for in the Presidential election?  Even if you were to agree that such a practice is justified, why did Christian leaders wait until Ted Cruz departed the race before suddenly making it known that he was apparently the evangelical Christian candidate?  Is choosing not to vote or voting for a third party candidate a more biblical decision?  For those encouraging a third party candidate, how are we to believe that this unknown candidate would hold to a biblical worldview or even be guaranteed a victory?

It is well known and accepted by many people that a third party candidate victory in a Presidential election is statistically improbable and typically results in a victory for the party opposite of which the person most closely aligns.  In the case of this year’s election, a third party candidate which most closely aligns with conservative values will inevitably lead to a Hillary Clinton victory.  Perhaps this is an outcome you have considered and are content to accept knowing you supported someone in good conscience instead of merely a party line vote.
Allow me postulate that a Hillary Clinton victory will inevitably lead to an even greater increase in the erosion and intentional dismantling of religious liberty.  Mr. Trump certainly does not embrace a biblical worldview, but is it possible to conceive of a Clinton victory as the better alternative, because that is exactly what you will have if Trump fails to win the election in November.  Although Trump may endorse the pro-gay movement in certain areas, Hillary not only endorses it, but will aggressively push it down the throats of Christians by forcing religious institutions to conform or be shutdown.  Hillary aggressively supports the right of a woman to murder her unborn child in the womb, while Trump has indicated a shift in his position to no longer support abortion.  How could such a high priority issue for Christians suddenly become one in which we are willing to now choose Clinton, an avowed abortion rights supporter, to continue stretching the boundaries of abortion by not voting for the one candidate who could defeat her in the election?  Would it not be worthwhile to suspend our disagreement with Trump on other issues in oder to gain a small victory by having a President who does not support the murder of a child.

The impacts of the Obamacare bill, which will especially be realized this year, will continue to contribute to the decline of the U.S. economy under a Clinton administration because only Trump has offered to repeal this bill.  Even if you do not believe all of Trump’s economic plans align with conservative principles, it cannot be argued that they are much closer than Hillary’s socialist, Keynesian position.  Do we not as Christians believe that a strong, economy which enables human flourishing is beneficial for mankind?  Which candidate is more likely to support policies which enable the economy to return to it’s former luster?

Trump is determined to improve the condition of U.S. veterans who have given so much to our country, while Hillary has proven she could care less about the military let alone the veterans who have served.  Although many people may not consider the vast, world-wide influence of the U.S. military, it represents the most powerful military force in the history of the world.  As someone who has worked at the senior level of the Department of Defense throughout the Obama administration, the military is unable to survive another administration which has eroded the very principles which have allowed it to sustain such a globally recognized position.

The next President of the United States will likely have the opportunity to select new Federal judges to include several who will sit on the Supreme Court and have vast influence on our nation for the next few decades.  Even if you do not agree that Trump would make a good decision, is it possible that his decisions might prove to be a better alternative to Hillary?

This is not an endorsement of Trump over any other GOP candidate, that ship has sailed.  Rather, it is an endorsement of some semblance of conservatism against the guarantee of socialism.  It is an endorsement of some religious liberty over no religious liberty; or should we say no Christian liberty since Hillary certainly supports liberty for other religions.  If the argument is that Trump does not support religious liberty to the same degree as other candidates such as Cruz or Rubio, then perhaps we should make it clear that Trump is also not out to intentionally destroy it like Hillary.  Even if we agree that Trump’s policies may lead to a decline in religious liberty, which is certainly open for debate, he has not made it a mission to force conformance to the homosexual agenda like Obama has done and Clinton will inevitable continue.

As already stated, there is no hope for a third party candidate victory, so if your decision is to either vote for an unknown candidate or not vote at all, then understand you are voting for Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States and we can say goodbye to any religious freedom we may have left.  It may be difficult to vote for Trump in good conscience, but how will your conscience feel when you watch religious liberty deliberately be dismantled by Hillary, knowing you could have prevented it?

The Age of the Designer Family

Since the rise of Hollywood, we have witnessed our culture set their dreams on creating what has become known as the definition of a “perfect” family.  For many years creating this ideal family involved factors which were largely outside of our control. But the post-modern world is enabling people to come closer to making this dream into a reality by overcoming former barriers through advances in medical research and the revolutionary shift in moral standards.  What was once thought to be impossible is now becoming possible and more importantly, culturally acceptable.

For the past several decades an individual or family no longer needed to settle for the interruption of a new child at a time which is inconvenient, they can simply have an abortion.  The professional career woman can remain committed to her career and couples can maintain their desired lifestyle, waiting for a more convenient time to have children.  A recent article told the story of woman who decided, with her husband, that the cost associated with having a new child was not in the best interest of their family who would most certainly experience a decrease in their luxurious lifestyle; perhaps having to sell their vacation home or reduce the family vacation to only two weeks.  In this particular case the married couple decided to actively take steps to prevent a pregnancy, but it demonstrates the reality of a cultural belief which prides itself in emphasizing the priority of personal autonomy and the supposed connection to individual happiness.

Additionally, the advances in medical technology allows families to determine the suitability of a new family member prior to the child’s birth; that is before they become “officially” part of the family.  No longer must a couple be burdened with the high maintenance requirements of a physically disabled child or take the risk of having a child with a high probability of genetic disease.  In essence, individuals are now free to choose the acceptance of this lifestyle based on an informed decision or make the decision to simply try again with the hope of better results next time.  In other words, it increases the degree of personal autonomy when it comes to designing the family.

In a society where people are given the option to personalize nearly every available consumer product, this concept has not been lost even when it comes to having children.  So it is not surprising to learn the latest development in the progress towards family design is gender selection.  While the previously mentioned features of modern day family planning provide the ability to reject the undesirable they are incapable of allowing for the individualized selection of the preferred qualities in a child.  Yet, the increasingly popular medical procedure of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), originally designed for the purpose of assisting parents with infertility issues, has become the gateway for personalized, family design.

Unlike artificial insemination, which involves conception within the womb, IVF involves the conception of the baby in a laboratory environment, which eventually leads to the implantation of an embryo into the womb.  While there is nothing inherently immoral or unbiblical with IVF, in a culture which is experiencing a rapidly changing moral revolution, it opens the door to an entirely new set of moral and ethical concerns.  According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that across the U.S. an increasing percentage of parents are paying the $15,000 to $20,000 fee for IVF, not due to infertility problems, but rather for gender selection¹.  As the article explains, this process includes the creation of multiple embryos which are then tested for both genetic diseases and gender prior to being implanted in the womb. This allows parents the ability to select an embryo which has both the desired gender and also the least risk for contracting a genetic disease.

For the Christian worldview, which understands life beginning at conception, this presents a significant problem, not because of conception outside the womb, but rather the selection of an embryo.  By definition the selection of an embryo means there are some embryos which will not be selected.  This naturally leads to the question of what happens to those remaining embryos; a question of vital importance for the Christian who views this as a decision which affects the future of human lives.  In most cases, couples with no desire for additional children are limited to the choosing between either having them destroyed, donated to medical research or donated to another couple for implantation.  Sadly, the first two options are most commonly chosen because the third option creates an entirely new set of ethical considerations. As revealed in a different article by KJ Dell ‘Antonia, appearing in the New York Times, the latter option is challenging because it is difficult for parents to consider the existence of a child (their child) who carries their DNA, but belongs to someone else².

So what we are witnessing is the intentional creation of multiple human lives outside the womb, for the sole benefit of allowing parents to choose the gender of their next child at the expense of other human lives.  For the Christian, the more disastrous realization is that these parents are, in essence, choosing the sanctity of one child’s life above the lives of his or her siblings.  Yet, if an embryo is merely, in the words of the NYT article, “tiny little balls of cells that, with a lot more time and a whole bunch of luck, will someday become children,” then the moral implications are non-existent and it no longer matters what happens to the other embryos.  For the family mentioned in the earlier cited WSJ article, what matters is that they “already had three boys, who had all been conceived naturally” and they “wanted to ensure their next child was a girl.¹”  What matters is that we can now have a family of our own design.  Yet it is also significant to note, at the same time these embryos are considered expendable, they are also being defined as male or female.

This topic not only causes us to consider the moral implications of these procedures, but it also reveals the yearning shared by every human being to be free.  It is the desire to be my own person, to create my own world and ultimately define myself in order to experience happiness in life.  If happiness is confined to my current circumstance or situation in life, then controlling my environment affords me the best chance at experiencing personal joy.  If what I believe will bring me joy and satisfaction is a family with three sons and a daughter, then I want the ability to make this a reality.  In a secular age, operating outside of the biblical worldview, this reaction should not come as a surprise.  If this really is “your best life now” then it would be illogical for us to not be constantly pursuing increased personal autonomy, in order to fulfill personal happiness.

Fortunately for Christians, the biblical worldview teaches us that our happiness is not based upon our current circumstances, but in the knowledge of the eternal, sovereign God who “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).  Ultimately, our joy resides in the knowledge of our condition as people who have been redeemed through the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross who will one day experience a perfect, everlasting joy made complete in the new heavens and the new earth. In a culture which is constantly seeking new methods of producing happiness, this is a joy which transcends any circumstance we could possibly experience in our fallen world.

When we consider the implications of the current moral revolution, our concern will not be whether the culture continues to pursue new methods of producing happiness, but rather how far they are willing to extend the moral boundaries in order to produce this happiness.  A culture prepared to accept the killing of babies in the womb and the destruction of unwanted embryos in the name of personal happiness, is a culture which is on the path of accepting anything to achieve this end.

The recent release of the Planned Parenthood videos, created widespread knowledge about the selling of body parts from abortions for the purpose of medical testing. However, if this is considered morally acceptable, how long before medical technology makes it possible to use these same body parts to provide necessary transplants for babies still in the womb?  If the heart of an aborted baby can be preserved for medical research what would prevent it from being used to replace the defective heart of a baby before it is born. The moral implications of such a notion are staggering.  Imagine a consumer market created for the sale of healthy body parts from aborted babies; some of which may have been conceived merely for this purpose.  This may sound unthinkable, but when the culture’s response to the Planned Parenthood videos is one which says “those body parts were going to be discarded anyway” it leaves the gate open to using them for any purpose.  But again, when a culture embraces the position that human beings in the womb are merely a grouping of cells which do not yet form a human life, even what seems outrageous can be justified.

In the coming months and years we will see just how far the culture is willing to go in order to achieve their dream of the “perfect” family.  Welcome to the age of the designer family.

¹ Reddy, Sumathi, Fertility Clinics Let You Select Your Baby’s Sex, The Wall Street Journal, Aug 17, 2015
² Antonia, KJ D., Unused Embryos, to Donate, Destroy or Debate, The New York Times, June 17, 2015