Apologizing to Abortionists

Japus Gassalascus, the pseudonym for the author of The New Pantagruel’s blog The Japery, points to a startling article in Christianity Today entitled, “Why I Apologized to Planned Parenthood.” The article is by a woman who though she kept her child, disdained her pregnancy so much that she felt the need to apologize to Planned Parenthood for all the mean things that Christians have said about them. Yep, Christianity Today. Were he not with the Lord, founding editor Carl F. H. Henry would be rolling over in his grave.

The article is about as close to pure emotional drivel as one can get without turning into a New York Times Magazine article (in fact, this CT piece on abortion sounds remarkably like a recent NYT Mag feature on abortion). I would fisk the article myself, but the Jape has done a more than adequate job. Go read his take now.

18 thoughts on “Apologizing to Abortionists”

  1. Bloody hell. I had not seen that NYT Mag piece. At first I thought you might be referring to something else I have commented on–Barbara Ehrenreich in The Times, berating mothers who, like her, have had abortions for reasons of pure economic convenience but who fail to braise a loud a voice in support of this freedom. She basically says she killed to stay in the middle class, and this is a great thing to support. Whether this sort of opinion impacts laws is not so important to me as how it impacts common opinion. When you see Ehrenreich’s motives–the orientation of her will–converging with an essay in CT, it speaks to damage on many levels. Living in an abortion state is one thing; living in one where Christians (right, left and center) go along with its spirit–and eventually its worst actions–is another.

  2. I’m all for showing the Fruit of the Spirit in our interactions with people both in the faith and people in the world. But this article about “apologizing” is pure tripe. Oh. My. That woman needs to get over herself.

    While there are fringe weirdos who may be horrid to abortion providers, the vast majority of pro-life activists are kind, even when being vocal.

    Instead of making a big to do about “apologizing” to abortionists and publicizing it for the world to pat them on the back, this couple would have done better to pray for by name the abortion workers in their town. And befriend them and be used by the Lord in their lives.

    (Okay, okay. . . so perhaps MY attitude towards the writer of this article isn’t what it should be. But, puh-leeze. What a self-congratulatory bit of fluff.)

  3. What bothers me most about this article is the words chosen by the author to apologize for Christian’s behavior…
    Actually, we’re Christian and very pro-life. We’re here to say we’re sorry for all the people who are mean to you guys. This is not how Christians should behave, and we feel deeply sad about it.”

    Ron chimed in, “It’s not right for believers in Jesus to judge or despise you. It’s just awful, and we wanted you to know that we don’t hate you or believe you are terrible people.”

    What does she mean by being mean or judgmental? Is it mean for Christians to tell the truth about the evil of abortion? How is it judgemental to fight for life by stating our beliefs? Their apology was not for specific acts or judgements, it was an apology for an opinon. It sounds like she apologized for our lack of flexibility when it comes to the right to life. This is not an area where I’m willing to say sorry for my convictions.

  4. She did not disdain her pregnancy at all, but was rather moritfied but her obvious experiences of less than compassionnate Christians. Yeah, not all pro-lifers are shooting abortion doctors, there is some pretty nasty vibes put out toward those who don’t grasp the magnitude of what they are doing. Kind of like the crucifixion.

    I don’t think she was being arrogant or self congradulatory either.

  5. I agree Michael! Although most pro-lifers aren’t shooting abortion doctors, many of us have been pretty judgemental and have displayed almost the sheer opposite of compassion. By refusing to empathize with the other’s position we’ve cut off the potential for all productive dialogue until finally, as Jemila Monroe explained, we de-evolve into the totaly useless (and self-congradulatory I might add) bumper-sticker war. And no, I don’t sense, as some have suggested, that she’s two steps shy of leaping over to the pro-choice side either. I mean, am I reading the same article here? I’ve been appalled at some of the demonizing comments I’ve heard about this woman — exactly proving her point!

  6. Yeah, like what’s with that? She obviously had a hard time with her pregnancy with an unsupportive husband, and I get the impression that her baby is (and was while in the womb) very special to her. As for the gentleman above who said she would have better “spent their prayers” befriending the abortion workers, ummm… I thought that was kind of what they did. And maybe she didn’t publisize every little way she prayed that week. Who are we to judge how the Lord moved them to pray?!

  7. I am an evangelical Christian who has also worked in a crisis pregnancy center. People say that if you empathize, symathize, or whatever-ize with somebody who’s part of the evils of abortion, than you’re no better than people who aided Hitler in hunting down the Jews in WWII. That is a false comparison. Yes, abortion is killing a human life, but women who do it, as Christ said, “Know not what they do.” And no, those who helped Hitler in the 1940s do not get to use that excuse. The SS troops that murdered and ravaged had all the tell-tale signs of the depraved, violent, and evil. These women do not. They are confused, scared, and often pressured by their own parent’s and community’s graceless attitudes. They legitimately aren’t sure about life and when it begins, and most of them have simply made a mistake that, tragically, is ultimately an action that is the ending of a human life. “Involuntary Manslaughter” is the only crime you could conceivably convict these women of given their emotional and circumstantial state. But I hear and see so many pro-life Christians plastering their cars with bumper stickers that say “Abortion is Murder.” And that it may be, in a sense, but how would you react if you, at age 14, got an abortion, only to realize there are a lot of people out there who would, if they had their way, make it a “murder-one” offence. I commend the writer of that article for her graceful ways which seem to have been lost on so many. If we don’t start to show compassion…well, then we’ve lost all hope of being able to change things.

  8. What a lively discussion! It is interesting how a topic that people feel impassioned about can cause believers to interpret the same article so differently.

  9. Very lively discussion, yes. Makes you wonder how come we fundamentalist evangelicals in our own churches swear by the bible, but often interpret that very same bible in (vastly) different ways. Like, vastly. Yet we still cling to the philosophical pre-supposition of “biblical innerency” like some kind of crutch, thereby committing the sin of making our religion “Biblianity” as opposed to putting God first. How many churches have the Bible as “thing number one” on their “Statement of Faith” or “What We Believe” pamphlets, listed before the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? (!) If so many can mis-hear and mis-interpret the writer of this article (a writer who’s living in the same time & culture & language as her readers), imagine the room for error with even our best scholarly and/or spiritual attempts to gather meaning from the documents contained in what we call “the bible.” I think the debate over this article underscores our own arrogance and pride as so-called followers of Christ (my own included, in case my judgemental little rant hasn’t made it obvious). 🙂

  10. Yes, couldn’t agree more Janet. The bible helps us know about God but we should not worship it. We worship the Living God. Jesus is the Word of God — the bible is a translation. Why are we so afraid if we ask tough questions we’ll lose God. God cannot lose us, and if our hearts seek to know Him, our questions can only draw us into deeper faith, even through seasons of uncertainty. Statements of faith should always put God before a doctrine of the bible. Still, even if we take the bible at literal face value, the New Testament is far more radical in it’s value of grace than most anyone I know — liberal or conservative.

  11. But the Bible says the Spirit shall lead us in all understanding. You can’t just get rid of the whole Bible because sometimes some little things are tricky to interpret through exegesis.

  12. See, Bob, that’s the problem with the “Doctrine of biblical innerency.” One which man created, I might add. We feel like the slightest pin-prick at any location will cause the whole baloon to burst. I wasn’t suggesting somehow “getting rid of” the whole dern bible. 🙂 See, when that’s the PRE-assumption that’s been made when we lay that blanket of biblical perfectionism over the entire text PRIOR to engaging the critical mind God gave us, we end up feeling like somehow God’s character (which we feel we have to defend) will be impugned if the Bible is shown to have paradox, contradiction, or error. It’s a logical fallacy to say that if one little part isn’t written according to some artificial 20th century journalistic literal style of writing, then the whole shmeer falls to pieces. I mean, c’mon. The problem is that huge groups of evangelicals (like mine) have put vast amounts of energy (personal emotional energy and heart and money!) into this philosophy. We strain at gnats at every jot and tiddle of the bible (often “against” other fundamentalists) and lean on the bible in this artificial way — a way it was never written — to inform every minutia of our existence.

  13. I’ve been watching this conversation without comment for some time due to the fact that we have a new baby. Perhaps the timing makes me especially sensitive to the plight of the unborn, but I stand by my original take on Mrs. Monroe’s CT article.

    Michael, John, Johanna, Rochelle, and Janet (all writing from the same IP address, interestingly enough…) have spoke much about compassion, but it seems like they have elevated sentimental empathy for abortionists over true compassion for the unborn.

    Christians should deal with pro-abortionists with respect and decency, but it is unloving to apologize for the evangelical position that says abortion is murder. That is unworthy of the lives of all the unborn who have been killed.

  14. Janet, I fail to see how your view of Scripture leaves you without a sense of agnosticism. You claim that the word of God should not be elevated over the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Perhaps it shouldn’t, but keep in mind you would know nothing of the Father, Son, and Spirit if not for the word of God.

    “See, when that’s the PRE-assumption that’s been made when we lay that blanket of biblical perfectionism over the entire text PRIOR to engaging the critical mind God gave us,”

    I’ve much more faith in God being able to communicate propositional truth to me than my own critcial mind (which is affected by the fall).

  15. Jared, I think you misunderstand Ms. Monroe’s position regarding her apology. I don’t think she was apologizing for being pro-life and believing every life is precious, nor was she apologizing for other christians holding this view. After all, she stated outright, “We’re christian and very pro-life.” What she was apologizing for was the meanness of some evangelicals who have no empathy for the circumstances that might lead a desperate woman to have an abortion. Imagine for a second that your parents would kick you out of the house if they knew you were pregnant, your church would ostracize you and you have no higher education and your boyfriend said he’d break up with you if you didn’t have an abortion. Plus, you’re honestly not entirely sure when an embryo is actually a “person” or has a “soul.” From my perspective, no matter what a woman has gone through, there is no getting around the fact that abortion is killing a human life, however any of us in different circumstances could be guilty of that sin. In fact, if we want to save babies, we need to focus on loving and helping women rather than condemning them. “Whoever among you is without sin cast the first stone.”

  16. Textbook response Jared, textbook. Therein likes the rub. You expect God to communicate “propositional truth” to you, but via what means? Ummm, well…the bible, right? But then it has to be interpreted by other “fallen-infected” pastors and lay people and our own dern minds. Church A says X, church B says Y, and church C says Z — all with spiritual fervor. Hry, if interpreting Scripture (you, your pastor, your dog, whoever) were a litmus test of trusting God with the ability to get the correct message of propositional truth accross vis-a-vis how to live life, judge others, etc. etc., then were it not for emotional investment, pride, and social inertia, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all us evangelical fundamentalists on Amazon.com buying L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics. Or just be an atheist just by looking at us hypocritical schizophrenic innerentists. Why is innerency a hill we must die on? Do you remember when you first decided, with your own conscious mind, “Gee, I believe the Bible is innerent. Why, it just *has* to be!”? Or was it like millions of other evangelicals, having that view foisted upon them some time after conversion, then orbitting around the same circular reasoning and logical fallacies time & time again. Why is it okay for the bible to be treated ad hoc? If something can’t stand up to the artificial construct that every verse somehow lines up with all other verses, why does that HAVE to mean the Resurrection is not a historical fact worth putting your trust in?

  17. Janet, you misunderstand the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. The inerrancy of Scripture is not beholden to the ability of any one person, pastor, or dog to interpret it (must be some dog you have! ;-)).

    What is ironic is that this danger of misinterpretation that you warn of with inerrancy is exactly the fallacy that one falls into when assuming the Bible to contain errors. You claim that I simply say, “Gee, the Bible is error-free.” Well, you’re beginning with the premise that the Bible does contain errors.

    Once that premise is established, the God -inspired meaning of the text itself is no longer the arbiter of truth. The locus of authority is transferred from an authoritative text to the reader’s individual “critical mind.”

    When the locus of authority is found in one’s own mind, the text is subsurvient to a person’s authority rather than subject to it. When authority resides within an individual’s mind, that individual can do anything he or she chooses, all the while making the biblical text seem to agree with what their own “critical mind” has devised.

    Therefore, if something within the text doesn’t fit with the reader’s “critical mind,” the text is assumed in error, rather than the mind itself.

    Considering the fact our minds have been corrupted by the fall (or so the Bible says…), I have much more confident putting my sin-affected mind under the authority of the inspired word of God, trusting—as did Jesus, the apostles, and other human writers of Scripture—that his word is without error.

  18. It is one dern good dog I have. My Dog can recite 12 passages of Scripture! 🙂

    You wrote, “Well, you’re beginning with the premise that the Bible does contain errors.”

    Mightn’t all premises, indeed anything that smacks of a pre-assumption, or decisions made a-priori something to be wary of? Before you’re swept away by a religious “experience” and clever circular logic. The kind of logic that says, “The Bible is innerent because the Bible says it’s innerent.” I’m simply suggesting that before you decide *either way* you must approach the text with a critical mind, else be swept into a theology/dogma that is built upon an atificial rubric. Innerent or non-innerent, they are both gross presumptions.

    You wrote: “Once that premise is established [an errent bible], the God -inspired meaning of the text itself is no longer the arbiter of truth.”

    And this is bad how? I’d rather trust God and fellow Christians than deal with a text that, though allegedly innerent, is for all practical purposes, treated the same by pastors and preachers the world over. Oh I know, I know. The bible does not HAVE to be an “all-or-nothing-at-all” proposition. Who sold you on that lie?

    You wrote “The locus of authority is transferred from an authoritative text to the reader’s individual ‘critical mind.'”

    Do you not see that this is already what’s dern well happening anytime a human being interacts with text? Any text. Period. Whether it’s the translation of ancient texts like the bible, or Ms. Monroe’s article. There is a veritable tsunami of pastors, lay-preachers and deacons and lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) that have very ferverent interpretations of the bible, all using the allegedly innerent text, and coming up with not just different conclusions, but contradictory ones to boot. And they all have spiritual experiences, individual prayer times where they felt God spoke to them and alleviated their worries and told them they could sleep at night *knowing* that their view was the right view. Not idiots, Jared. Holy men and women of God earnestly seeking “The Lord’s” will. Well, who is this Lord who tells people two different things that fractures whole churches? When push comes to shove, if everyone were to really be honest and transparent for just split second, we’re pretty uncomfortable with this fact. We know this happens, but we do mental contortions and gymnastics to explain it away.

    “When the locus of authority is found in one’s own mind,” (as it already is, Jared, it’s just your pastor’s mind, no matter how much they pray or what nomenclature you want to put on it), “The text is subservient to a person’s authority rather than subject to it.” (See above). “When authority resides within an individual’s mind, that individual can do anything he or she chooses, all the while making the biblical text seem to agree with what their own “critical mind” has devised.”

    I disagree completely. An individual can’t just sort of have the freedom to do ‘whatever he or she chooses.’ That person would be desireous of interpreting the document responsibly with as few errors as possible. What you’re saying, if I hear you right, is that if you acknowledge the bible contains any error, than somehow it’s *entire* testimony about everything becomes this subjective monstrosity, and you can then turn the bible in something that can say any ol’ thing. Oh the horror! Well c’mon. Those who are going to do that are doing it anyway, but there are plenty of people who have the integrity to handle the text responsibly, and have the Spirit of God within the to glean truth from these documents.

    To put it another way, the bible having “error” (please define “error” by the way, because I think you misunderstand what I mean by this great spectre of “error”) does not logically fly in the face of an authoritative God and the possibility of gathering truth from said bible.

    You wrote, “Therefore, if something within the text doesn’t fit with the reader’s ‘critical mind,’ the text is assumed in error, rather than the mind itself.”

    I hear you saying this: “If the reader doesn’t like how the bible convicts them of some way of living that doesn’t line up with Jesus’ ideals of purity-of-heart and Love, then that person will simply cry out, “Oh I umm… *ahem* don’t think the greek verb here is really saying you should love your enemies and take care of the poor. Yeah, that’s just ummm, what my critical mind says.”

    I mean, duh. That person is obviously not engaged in the excersize of interpreting the text rigourously. They are engaged in rationalization. They’re just explaining away” something they know in their heart to convict them of a way of living that is hurtful toward others. To that I say, so what? They’ll do that anyway. But the bible does contain so many paradoxes and contradictions I couldn’t even begin to list them.

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