Month: November 2016

Kill and Shout: The proud normalisation of murder

15574220219_e2d4d26308_b

[1]

A few days ago Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC published an opinion piece that celebrated the brilliant ruthlessness of ISIS in putting their ideological convictions into action with devastating effectiveness in Iraq and Syria. The piece encouraged every Muslim who has ever waged jihad against infidels to go online and brag about the times they’ve successfully exterminated an unbeliever as a means of expressing their pure, self-determined identity and purging those who don’t deserve to live in Allah’s world.

No, you’re right, of course no such piece was ever published. There would be outrage; public calls for people to be sacked and a major review into the ABC if they ever allowed such an article to make it past the submission stage.

And yet, a few days ago, the ABC published an opinion piece that did promote a different form of ideological extremism, but one that is also willing to destroy innocent human lives as an expression of its convictions.

Extremist feminism is just as murderous as Islamist terrorism/militancy (perhaps even more so), but it operates differently in its bloodthirsty struggle for cultural and ideological dominance. On the one hand, its proponents seek to radicalise normal women into feminist jihadis, by encouraging them to exercise their power and autonomy in a way that demonstrates reckless disregard for the rights and lives of vulnerable human beings.

On the other hand, extremist feminism has dedicated male and female operatives who look like you and me and are virtually undetectable when they move around in the general populace. But with the complicity of many governments around the world, including those in Australia, these operatives commonly known as “abortionists” kill their victims one by one, behind closed doors and often without fear of reprisal – all to advance “the cause.”

#shoutyourabortion: Normalising evil 

Radical feminists, such as Jane Caro (the author of the reprehensible ABC piece in question), believe that every woman who has conceived a child and proceeded to abort the baby rather than continuing to carry him or her full-term to birth, has something to “shout” about. They should be open and unashamed about ending the life of their unborn child as part of a grand feminist struggle to completely normalise the practice to the point that it is no longer a subject capable of being debated.

4423279746_5a5b25eb98_b

[2]

Talking about abortion in this way is supposedly part of empowering women. Those who sought such a procedure were exercising their bodily autonomy and reproductive rights (inalienable women’s rights according to feminist ideologues, which justify the killing of babies in order to uphold them). Because these “rights” can never be hypothetical (i.e. they must actually be used in order for women to enjoy the full freedoms they supposedly entail) essentially what this means is, according to extreme feminism:
The more normal and accessible abortions are the more powerful and free women are.

The fight to normalise abortion is one that Christians and anyone who values human life (and the fundamental right every innocent member of the human race has to have their life protected by law) must wholeheartedly counter at every stage. Our work will never be done until abortion is regarded as completely abhorrent, unacceptable and even unneeded. We too must “shout”, making our voice heard with respect to the hard truths of abortion. But we must be careful how we do it.

The question of shame

As Caro’s article points out, like certain other issues of contemporary debate (eg; sexuality), a big element of what is going on is “shame” vs. “normalisation.”

2338069444_cc370310ac_b

[3]

Shame has a legitimate place in society and while we are eager to get rid of it and all too aware of the unfounded and unfair variety, there are times when being ashamed of our actions is entirely appropriate (eg; think Bill Clinton; Lance Armstrong; and your pick of footballers in the headlines for all the wrong reasons any given year).

Regarding shame as a result of an abortion, we can all agree that a woman should not feel shame when she has done nothing wrong. And while feminists always attempt to make this about the women involved, there is also the aforementioned medical operatives of the feminist agenda to consider. Doctors who perform abortions should likewise feel no ounce of shame if what they are doing is helpful to people and beneficial to society, without any ethically wrong or questionable element present.

The pertinent questions are therefore: 1) Are women and doctors involved in an abortion procedure doing anything wrong? 2) If so, should they be ashamed of what they’ve done?

Extreme feminists, and even many other people who are more moderate in some respects would, answer no or at least cast doubt on the first question – making the second irrelevant. But I and many Christians (and others who value life) would unequivocally answer yes to the first question, therefore making the second one a live issue. I will give a very clear yes to that question as well.

Anyone who kills another human being without an exceptional and compellingly justifiable reason should feel both guilt and shame as a result of what they have done.

Any society that attempts to alleviate a sense of shame for bloodguilt of innocent lives by normalising both the practice of killing and open, dispassionate discussion (even celebration!) of it, will stand condemned before God on the day He judges the world. Romans 1:32’s judgement of wicked Gentile societies is entirely relevant here: “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

But Christians should be thoughtful as to how they engage with these matters of shame. On the one hand, both the extremist feminists and faithful evangelical writers have rightly identified that there are probably people you know – perhaps closer than you dare imagine – who have had an abortion and fear talking about it with anyone in anticipation of condemnation or shaming.

It is not the church’s job to punish people or drive them out of our midst for such things. But nor is it appropriate for us to offer any alleviation of the very real guilt and shame associated with murder or manslaughter that is something less than God’s offer of forgiveness in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Churches can’t afford to be places where non-conformity to a moral norm is punished by gossip, looks of disapproval, ostracism or demeaning treatment.

3251428624_80eec993d7_o

[4]

This kind of toxic gracelessness is so destructive that it is in fact an accomplice to the evil of abortion: countless young women have secretly sought to end their pregnancies before they could be publicly shamed as loose and irresponsible for engaging in pre-marital sex.

Every Christian heart should grieve to think that there have been churches throughout history where the stigma of being a single, unmarried mother was so great that young women would rather kill their unborn child than face the lifelong opprobrium their church community would dish out in the name of deterring others from going down the same path.

Women who find themselves in situations that might make abortion seem desirable or necessary, and women with secret abortions in their past, need the offer of love and forgiveness in the Christian gospel. Just like you and I do. And if you’re anything like me, you can relate to the difficulty of having shameful things in your past that you wouldn’t necessarily want to disclose to everyone.

But at the same time, there are people who really need to feel the full force of shame for what they’re saying and doing as part of addressing their sin and hopefully: a) bringing them towards repentance b) stemming the tide of the normalisation of evil.

Anyone who publicly promotes abortion and seeks to persuade women towards this course of action is committing a great evil and should be ashamed of themselves.

I earnestly wish that the full weight of my ISIS comparison in the introduction to this article would be appreciated by more and more people. Extreme feminists should be viewed with the same disdain we normally reserve for terrorists and ruthless militants. Advancing your ideological goals through the promotion of murder has no place in a free society with the rule of law and should not be tolerated.

Also, any doctor who performs abortions and thus profiteers from serial killing deserves no greater social respect than an underworld hitman. They should not only be ashamed of their actions, but permanently de-registered and locked away for a long time. A doctor with the level of education required to perform surgery knows what they’re doing when they perform an abortion. And yet they do it over and over again and get paid handsomely for it.

2061730839_0317b9be29_z                                                                                                                                                                                         [5]

 

Abortionists are the scum of the earth. They deserve to burn in hell for all eternity. But so does everyone reading this piece – whether you’ve committed murder or not. The gospel of Jesus is for idolaters, liars, thieves, slanderers, the greedy, the violent, the cruel, the selfish and for murderers of babies and promoters of wickedness too. The gravity of the Cross can only be appreciated truly when we see that the Son of God placed Himself under God’s holy wrath against sin – in order to deal with the most heinous sins in the world and set the most wretched sinners free.

Taking action

What are we to do when women are being encouraged by radical feminists to become the foot-soldiers in a jihad against chauvinism and patriarchy – where babies are at worst the enemy of female autonomy and at best collateral damage in the struggle – by “shouting” about their abortion experiences?

Christians and others need to be speaking up as well. Speaking up for the gospel and speaking out against the killing of innocent children. If you would like to think more about how to speak the right words to people concerning this issue, I cannot recommend the following articles highly enough:

https://australia.thegospelcoalition.org/article/time-to-talk-about-abortion

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2016/11/23/trying-to-think-through-the-logic-of-abortion-rights/

Pictures

[1] Day Donaldson “Egypt’s Largest Terrorist Group Pledges Allegiance to Islamic State” (CC BY 2.0)
[2] Jon Chiang “Pro Choice Rally” (CC BY-NC 2.0)
[3] Suelen Pessoa “Shame” (CC BY-NC 2.0)
[4] Marc-Andre Lariviere “Day 003 – Shame” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
[5] Jeheme “Operating” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Fall of the West & “The City of God”

donald_trump_august_19_2015_cropped
The next President of the United States of America [1]
It’s the day after Donald Trump’s historic election victory in the U.S. Presidential contest and the sun has still come up, the world continues much the way it has since the dawn of time and one would think this will equally be the case on 21st January 2017 – the day after President Trump is sworn in as “POTUS.”

But while the rise of Trump itself is not necessarily the cataclysmic, Armageddon, nuclear-meltdown scenario that some of his critics have predicted, it is symptomatic of trends that do have concerning, world-altering implications.

In a repugnant failure of democracy, the American people chose one of two very poor candidates offered to them as the main – and perhaps only viable – contenders for the top office of the land. The fact that Democrat and Republican voters selected Clinton and Trump in the first place, thus setting us up for a contest that seemed best described as King Kong vs. Godzilla (Kong won, just like in the movie), was an appalling state of affairs.

Similarly tragic is the willingness of both major parties to endorse such terrible nominees and the compliance of millions of Americans who voted for one or the other, as though they truly had no other option. Nothing seemed able to fix the Trump v. Clinton debacle from eventuating and that fact itself suggests American democracy is broken.

America and its Western allies – particularly kindred nations in Europe and across the Anglosphere – are facing uncertain times. The political climate across these nations is volatile, restless and even enraged with the failures of the status quo. The deterioration of our collective cultural atmosphere should concern us to the same extent that many are concerned about the health of the physical atmosphere – perhaps even more. The West appears to be possibly years, rather than decades, away from degenerating into a putrid mess, where the healthy tension between competing and conflicting interests is no longer maintained through the mechanisms of pluralistic, liberal democratic societies.

Rather than worry about a “Clash of Civilisations” between Western and non-Western powers – which may still be the eventual outcome – we must first find ourselves gravely concerned with the seemingly unavoidable collision course of ideologies, values and claimed rights and freedoms that threatens to irreparably tear apart Western, post-Christian societies from within.

If and when this occurs, the American-led West may find itself a house divided to the point of being unable to stand in any meaningfully “united” way. Other powers will begin to encroach into what has traditionally been the Western sphere of dominion and influence and eventually, Western nations may find themselves in economic and even military decline in much the same way we presently are culturally, religiously, morally and politically.

Augustine’s City of God  

While many Protestants are excited about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next year, there’s another – less notable – anniversary of a nonetheless highly significant event in Christian history, that might do us some service in the closing months of 2016 and beyond.

1590 years ago, one of the most significant Christian theologians of all time published a work he had begun many years earlier, as he sought to deal with the decline and eventual fall of the world power of his day: Rome. Augustine’s reflections in City of God offer a detailed defense of Christianity with respect to Rome’s downfall, in the face of accusations and criticisms from disgruntled pagans who blamed the Empire’s decline on her change of religion and gods.

But he also seeks to help Christians have the right perspective in a situation when the world was in massive upheaval, as the imperial stability offered by Rome was crumbling. Here are just a few of his thoughts which might help us deal with both the present political realities and the possible further decline of the U.S. and the Western world.

#1 “The Times of All Kings and Kingdoms are Ordained by the Judgment and Power of the True God.”

“Therefore that God, the author and giver of felicity, because He alone is the true God, Himself gives earthly kingdoms both to good and bad.  Neither does He do this rashly, and, as it were, fortuitously,—because He is God not fortune,—but according to the order of things and times, which is hidden from us, but thoroughly known to Himself; which same order of times, however, He does not serve as subject to it, but Himself rules as lord and appoints as governor.  Felicity He gives only to the good.  Whether a man be a subject or a king makes no difference; he may equally either possess or not possess it.  And it shall be full in that life where kings and subjects exist no longer.  And therefore earthly kingdoms are given by Him both to the good and the bad; lest His worshippers, still under the conduct of a very weak mind, should covet these gifts from Him as some great things…”
– 
City of God, Book IV, Chapter 33.

#2 Bad rulers hurt themselves more than they do their subjects and they can’t affect true freedom

“In this world, therefore, the dominion of good men is profitable, not so much for themselves as for human affairs.  But the dominion of bad men is hurtful chiefly to themselves who rule, for they destroy their own souls by greater license in wickedness; while those who are put under them in service are not hurt except by their own iniquity.  For to the just all the evils imposed on them by unjust rulers are not the punishment of crime, but the test of virtue.  Therefore the good man, although he is a slave, is free; but the bad man, even if he reigns, is a slave, and that not of one man, but, what is far more grievous, of as many masters as he has vices; of which vices when the divine Scripture treats, it says, “For of whom any man is overcome, to the same he is also the bond-slave.””
– City of God, Book IV, Chapter 3.

#3 It is tragically possible for nations and empires to fall or decline as a result of divine judgement, and yet not learn from their sins and punishment

“O infatuated men, what is this blindness, or rather madness, which possesses you?  How is it that while, as we hear, even the eastern nations are bewailing your ruin, and while powerful states in the most remote parts of the earth are mourning your fall as a public calamity, ye yourselves should be crowding to the theatres, should be pouring into them and filling them; and, in short, be playing a madder part now than ever before?  

…Depraved by good fortune, and not chastened by adversity, what you desire in the restoration of a peaceful and secure state, is not the tranquility of the commonwealth, but the impunity of your own vicious luxury…”

– City of God, Book I, Chapter 33.

#4 We have hope in the face of fading earthly powers, because the City of God excels every city, nation & empire! But Christians ought to exceed the pagan patriot’s love for his country with a greater love for God’s City. 

“But the reward of the saints is far different, who even here endured reproaches for that city of God which is hateful to the lovers of this world.  That city is eternal.  There none are born, for none die.  There is true and full felicity,—not a goddess, but a gift of God.  Thence we receive the pledge of faith whilst on our pilgrimage we sigh for its beauty.  There rises not the sun on the good and the evil, but the Sun of Righteousness protects the good alone.  There no great industry shall be expended to enrich the public treasury by suffering privations at home, for there is the common treasury of truth.  And, therefore, it was not only for the sake of recompensing the citizens of Rome that her empire and glory had been so signally extended, but also that the citizens of that eternal city, during their pilgrimage here, might diligently and soberly contemplate these examples, and see what a love they owe to the supernal country on account of life eternal, if the terrestrial country was so much beloved by its citizens on account of human glory.”

– City of God, Book V, Chapter 16.

[1] Michael Vadon “Donald Trump” CC BY-SA 2.0 wikimedia commons.