Thursday, July 14, 2016
A “Floating” Controversy: Part 1
My heart is heavy. I like to be comfortable, and my heart gets heavy when I am confronted with something I know is right, but I am uncomfortable doing. In the issue I am about to write about, I know I am not doing enough.
A float that was in the recent Templeton Fourth of July parade is causing quite a stir in local papers and on Facebook for such a small “hometown” parade (Templeton is about an hour from us). The float was made by a group opposed to abortion (more about them and a petition they have in a future post) and it consisted of American flags, an eight-foot tall Statue of Liberty (without the torch lit), lots of baby dolls, some banners (one read, “Where the Spirit of God is there is Freedom! Let Freedom ring!” and the other talked about how abortion is America’s holocaust), and some photos of babies in the womb. Because of the venue of a family patriotic parade these were beautiful photos of babies in the womb—“fetuses” according to the newspaper—and not photos of aborted babies as some of the critics accused them of doing. That being said, if any young adult or adult is not fully convinced that abortion in fact kills a baby (not a “fetus”), seeing photos of aborted babies will quickly change that because even a child will immediately know that they are truly babies and not just a “fetus.”
The designer of the float—Danny—was quoted in a local paper saying, “Our hope is to create a juxtaposition between the freedom we hold in our ideal and the freedom that is still being withheld to so many around the world. With the flag of our country flying over an eight foot statue of Lady Liberty we see the ideal of American freedom we hold in our minds. At the base of the float [where the baby dolls were] we see those still in need of being liberated. With the Liberty Bell following and ringing out to call our nation out of its slumber and to attention. To wake the nation with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Join us in the ongoing fight for freedom!” [Note: because of controversy when the parade director tried to block the float they were not able to follow it with the Liberty Bell and the literature about Jesus they had for people who might seem to be struggling after seeing the float.]
I know Danny. Fairly well. And he and his family are some of the most humble, God-loving and obeying people I know. I have rarely met a family so committed to live out and act out what they believe God is calling them to. We may not agree on every theological issue, but I have a sense that God is far more pleased with Danny’s actions in faith than any theological correctness I may have that I’m not acting on (see A Stunning Realization for more on that really, really important idea . . .).
As I read many of the comments about the float complaining that the Fourth of July parade wasn’t the place for it I kept thinking back to Danny’s comments regarding the “ideal” of freedom we celebrated that day, juxtaposed to the reality that over 3,000 babies a day in the United States have no freedom to choose life (the “Pro Choice” movement never seems to talk about the baby’s choice). I then thought about the Fourth of July which is the celebration of our Declaration of Independence, and the words of the Declaration itself, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness . . .” Ironic that people complain about the public defense of a baby’s freedom and life, on the day they celebrate a document that established us with the idea that a CREATOR has given to ALL PEOPLE the gifts of LIFE and LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. I guess that pursuit only applies to the mother and not the baby. But, of course, those who feel that way don’t consider it a baby but rather a “fetus” . . .
And this is a core question of this whole issue. Is he or she a baby, or is “it” a blob, a fetus, a bunch of cells? Well that all hinges on when life begins. As a Christian I believe it is untenable to believe it begins at any place other than conception. To believe God would create life, in His image, to be “life” only when it can be medically supported outside the womb is to bind God’s hands to mans’ science. It is to say that a baby went from fetus to baby at, say 8 and a half months a couple centuries ago, but goes from fetus to baby maybe at seven months today (I am just making up figures to make a point)—or that, say, an 8 month “fetus” in America is a baby, but it is still a fetus in a third world country. That is nonsense for people who believe it is God that gives life in the first place. Besides that common sense reason for life being life in the womb, we have only to think about John the Baptist, in the womb, leaping at the entrance of Mary, who was carrying Jesus in the womb. Or about David’s Psalm 139 where he marvels how God knit him together in his mother’s womb, or God’s comment in Jeremiah 1:5 when he tells Jeremiah that He knew him before He even formed him in the womb.
No, for a Christian, life must be considered to begin at conception, and as such it must be defended as the epitome of the defenseless. And so, what does that defense of life look like? And here is the point at which it gets uncomfortable. I will post more about this and thoughts I am struggling with in coming posts, but hopefully this post has given the background for what I am going to write about.