Planned Parenthood: The Enemy of both Life and Choice

I’ve been waiting to comment on the recent drama surrounding Planned Parenthood until more information became available, but with the release of the fifth video this week, there’s not a lot more that can be said. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the group behind these videos, says it has released less than half of the videos the organization has in its possession, and in fact some of them may never see the light of day given that a LA County Superior Court Judge and a Federal Judge who bundled $230,000 for President Obama’s last campaign have both issued temporary restraining orders against releasing videos involving certain Planned Parenthood business partners, based on the time-honored legal standard of: “you can’t do that because it might make the people I support look bad.”

These orders have not, though, prevented the group from releasing footage of Planned Parenthood staff themselves. Perhaps there’s worse footage waiting in the wings, but it seems as though any additional footage can only confirm what we already know from these first five releases.

And what, precisely, is that? In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll note here that I haven’t gotten through the several hours of unedited footage yet. I tend to be Boehner-esque in my lack of control over my lacrimal glands, so watching things like this make me start bawling, not to mention turning my stomach and just being flat out horrifying. I also have young kids at home, including a 9 month old baby, so my already-weak stomach is considerably more so when violence against small children is involved. What I have seen is incredibly difficult to watch, and would be even without a baby of my own at home. Watching it while thinking of her sleeping upstairs is next to impossible. So I haven’t watched everything. But what I have watched thus far is bad enough.

Here’s how bad . . .
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40 Questions: Asked and Answered

I’ve stayed fairly quiet in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same sex marriage nationwide in the United States. My views on same-sex marriage are hardly a secret, but there are several things about the way this case was decided and the likely (and already beginning) aftermath that have me concerned. As a result, my feelings on the topic are very mixed, and I simply hadn’t found the right forum in which to share them.

Until now.

I’ve seen an article going around the Internet from Kevin DeYoung, writing at The Gospel Coalition, entitled “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags.” I’ve had a number of friends post this article and ask for thoughts and responses. I’m not much of a flag-waver myself, but I am happy for the people who can now get married, and have been vocal in supporting their ability to do so. That being the case, I thought I’d share my answers to DeYoung’s questions. As always, in sharing these thoughts I am speaking for myself, and myself alone. Your mileage may, and probably does, vary. I’m sure there’s plenty of material below for those on all sides of this issue to find offensive, so if your preference is to read only things you agree with, I’d advise you to stop here.

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The Day I Met My Daughter

I had a brand new experience this past Friday. I met my daughter for the first time. It was exhilarating . . . unbelievable . . . mind-blowing. It was a thousand different adjectives for which the English language doesn’t have words.

When Heidi was pregnant with Tristan, we decided to be “surprised.” We never had an ultrasound and didn’t know whether he was a boy or girl until he was in our arms and we could check all his parts for ourselves. We never regretted that decision, but this time we decided for a variety of reasons that we wanted to know in advance, and seeing that little girl on the screen this morning, I’m so very glad we did.

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How Far Fallen?

Any “regular readers” here will know that I’m a graduate of Patrick Henry College, a small, Christian liberal-arts college here in Northern Virginia. Since my time at the school, they’ve established the Faith & Reason Lecture Series, described on the school’s website as a semiannual, “day-long shared experience that involves a presentation by a faculty member or guest, lunch with the speaker, small-group discussions, and an afternoon question-and-answer session with a faculty panel.”

The most recent such lecture occurred on Friday, September 13, 2013. It was given by faculty member Dr. Stephen Baskerville, and was entitled Politicizing Potiphar’s Wife: Today’s New Ideology. I was not present at the initial lecture (though I plan to attend a follow-up session for alumni later this week). However, after reading the content of the lecture, I am left with grave concerns about the state of education at my alma mater.

It’s long, but if this is a topic that interests you and if you have not already done so, please read the above link before you proceed. I fear what follows will make little sense otherwise, and I dislike presenting only my perspective on an issue without the reader having an opportunity to become familiar with the other side. If a discussion of academic rigor, logical argumentation, and what it means to have a “Christian education” does not interest you, you probably won’t care to read further, though you’re certainly welcome to do so.

Continue reading How Far Fallen?

Why THIS Millennial Left the Church

. . . and why he has no intention of going back anytime soon . . . 

 

Rachel Held Evans wrote a blog post at CNN recently that set off a miniature firestorm among those interested in spiritual things and the state of the Christian church in the United States. Her post, entitled, “Why millennials are leaving the church,” has elicited strong reactions. Most of the ones I’ve read have been largely negative.

Unfortunately, both Evans’ original article and every response to it that I’ve encountered, suffer from over-generalization. The assumption at work is that there is A Reason for millennials leaving the church. Detractors fill in terms like “narcissistic” or “consumerist” to try to explain the emotions that drive young people out of the walls of church buildings . . . as if everyone who leaves does so because the church isn’t catering specifically enough to their own individual whims. What has largely been lacking in the discussion – particularly from the “anti” side, but even from Evans’ perspective – is the stated viewpoint of an actual millennial who has actually “left the church.”

Having been what I like to call a “post-congregational Christian” for the past seven years, I thought I’d offer one. I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself – like I said, there is no single reason for the phenomenon Evans observes. What follows are my reasons.

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Where we are. Where we’ve been.

I woke up this morning deeply discouraged about the future of our country. Conservatives like to say that we are a “center-right nation,” but in a country where the challenger can win independents handily and still lose the election that is clearly no longer the case. Many, myself included, thought the polls showing Obama ahead based on 2008 demographics couldn’t possibly be right . . . that 2008 was a historical anomaly centered on the man himself, and that after the pendulum swung the other way in 2010, everything would revert to the norm in 2012. We were wrong. I was wrong. 2008 was a realignment, and the face of the country changed. That being the case, it’s worth looking back at the country we left behind us four years ago.

Four years ago, I wrote a post on this blog intended to calm the fears of readers on the right who were worried about the fate of the nation in the face of what everybody knew would be an overwhelming victory for Barack Obama. It’s never as bad as it seems, I wrote, and the election of a staunch far-left liberal masquerading as a post-partisan moderate is not the end of the world.

I will not be writing any such comforting words this time. This time the electorate’s rose-colored glasses were off. The far-left liberal ran as exactly what he is. He ran a small, vicious and mean campaign based on character assassination, and was reelected anyway. It really is as bad as it seems. It may be worse.

Continue reading Where we are. Where we’ve been.

Stepping Back from the Ledge: On the Obamacare Opinion

Let me preface this by saying that I am no legal scholar, merely a long-time hobbyist and sometimes court-watcher. That said, I wanted to share some unorthodox thoughts on today’s PPACA decision and the man who authored it. I’ve deliberately avoided reading much in the way of commentary on today’s opinion from either side, choosing instead to read the opinion itself and formulate my own thoughts on it. And here they are, for any who care to read them. Take them for what they’re worth . . . which is roughly equivalent to the amount you paid to read them here.

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Dear Tristan: The Point of it All

Dear Tristan,

I’ve written 24 letters to you now, in which I’ve shared my love for you, my hopes for you, and my advice for you. My last several letters have focused on truth . . . caring about it, seeking it out, and recognizing it when you have found it.

I think it’s appropriate, as your very first Christmas Day draws to a close, for me to share my thoughts about the One I believe to be the source of that truth. I’ve written several times in these letters about God . . . about how I believe He created us and seeks relationship with us. Today I want to share what I believe that looks like.

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Dear Tristan: What’s Your Story?

Dear Tristan,

Your life is a story.

My last few letters have centered on truth: What is it? What isn’t it? How do you know it when you see it? Can you know it when you see it? How do you go looking for it?

Today I want to write about where it fits. I want to share my thoughts about the story that is your life.

You see . . . like I said in my last few letters. “Truth” is not mere facts . . . data points . . . bits and pieces of information. These can all be “true,” but they are not “truth.” Truth requires context. It requires history. It requires story.

Continue reading Dear Tristan: What’s Your Story?

Dear Tristan: Imagine That

Dear Tristan,

Yesterday I wrote about knowing . . . about whether it’s all that important – or even all that possible – to know without doubt that what you believe on any given matter is right.

I wrote and urged you, instead of loving knowledge, to love learning the process of adding to what knowledge you are able to gather for yourself.

To truly love learning, though, you must dive deeply into something that is essential to the learning process. It is dangerous, because you can never predict where it will lead you, or what your life will look like when you get there. In truth, this is something you’ve already exhibited . . . something that perhaps all babies at your age exhibit, before we adults kill it off as you grow.

I’m talking about curiosity.

Continue reading Dear Tristan: Imagine That