Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Tangled Web of Kermit Gosnell, Mark Driscoll, and Why Denying Climate Change is Anti-Life

I have largely held my fire on commenting on the murder trial of abortion doctor (and alleged killer of babies following a live birth) Kermit Gosnell for a variety of reasons, but for two in particular: one, I have been infuriated by the right's complaint that the so-called left-wing media isn't devoting enough ink to covering Gosnell's trial, when in fact outlets like The Nation and NPR covered Gosnell's arrest way back in 2011.  This reaction infuriated me because it spoke to just how partisan our news consumption had become: if conservative Christians had actually bothered to follow the outlets that they instead routinely demonize, the Gosnell house of horrors would not have hit them like a house of bricks just this year.  And so, instead of asking why their conservative publications were acting like Gosnell's trial was some sort of surprise, the blame game on the other side started anew.  So I stepped back.

But the other--and far more meta--reason I have remained reticent is because more than anything else, abortion is the singular topic in my mind where I stand almost no chance at actually having a constructive dialogue with people.  I consider my politics to be very moderate when it comes to abortion: I think it should be completely illegal after viability (unless the mother's health is in jeopardy), and even before viability I am intensely uneasy with it.  But that alone is enough to make me a supporter of baby-killers to hardline pro-lifers (never mind that I am adamantly for a lot of the things designed to help young children succeed, like Head Start and subsidized preschool, when many of them are not) and enough to make me a denier of women's health to hardline pro-choicers (never mind the fact that I am adamantly for universal access to birth control as a public health issue).  I will say, though, that I hope Gosnell spends the rest of his life in a prison cell (I wouldn't want him executed because I am against the death penalty, but that's the topic for another post).

But I'm not trying to make this sound like a pity party for the cheese-stands-alone situation that I feel like I am in.  No, it's just that in my experience, abortion in the Christian arena is the single most polarizing issue there is, even though there are complex Scriptural and public health debates to be had on it.  But as such, I don't engage those debates because I find the chances of having safe, constructive dialogue (much less having any chance at persuasion or changing someone's mind) to be basically nil.  That is my experience and my choice, your mileage may well vary.

Except to say this: I totally and completely get the principle of being against abortion because life comes from God--it's Psalm 139, which reads in part:

You are the one who created my innermost parts; you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb. I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart. Your works are wonderful—I know that very well. My bones weren’t hidden from you when I was being put together in a secret place, when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my embryo, and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me, before any one of them had yet happened. God, your plans are incomprehensible to me! Their total number is countless! If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand! If I came to the very end—I’d still be with you.

But here's the pivot--if we are to respect the sanctity of life because life comes from God, then why for His sake are we unwilling to do the same for the planet when it comes to climate change?

And I'll be honest--this question comes after I screamed while reading yet another dickish pronouncement from Mars Hill's pastor Mark Driscoll that seems tailor-made to piss off a compact Sentra-driving Christian like me.  If you didn't click on the link, what he said (this time at the Catalyst Conference) was this:

I know who made the environment, and he's coming back and going to burn it all up.  So yes, I drive an SUV.

Driscoll followed this up with a gratuitous potshot: "If you drive a minivan, you're a mini-man," and by several accounts, a number of people got up and walked out.

So, if you're playing along at home: preserving human life is imperative because human life comes from god.  But preserving the earth isn't necessary because the earth comes from God.

What.  The.  F*ck.


How do you show your appreciation for God's creation on the one hand by protecting it at all costs (the unborn), but pillaging and abusing it on the other hand (the earth)?

And this is even before we consider the implication that our children are the one's inheriting the earth from us, and that maybe, just maybe, it would be pro-life of us to bequeath to them an earth that is habitable and sustainable.

Or the implication that Scripture is patently clear that we aren't supposed to know when Jesus is to return--the day of the Lord, it is written, comes like a thief in the night and we know not when or where (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Or the implication that every time an oil rig blows up in the Gulf of Mexico and kills 11 people while trying to ignore safety conerns in order to churn out more oil to meet the demand of SUV-driving narcissists like Driscoll, that isn't very pro-life of us, either.

If you're going to wear the label of pro-life, please feel free to do so loudly and proudly.  But please, for the love of God, actually be pro-life for not only all the living, but also all the unborn: not just the unborn who are growing and developing in the womb as I write, but the unborn who are to come in the months, years, and decades ahead, who will inherit this amazing, divinely-breathed creation that we inhabit.

Be pro-life for them as well, I beg you.  Preserve their God-given home so that they may appreciate it as we have.  They, and I, will thank you in Heaven.  After all, Heaven is where, Jesus says, we all receive our rewards.

Yours in Christ,

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