Alonzo wrote, “Dr. Michael Brown is truly a heartless monster!” Similarly, Brandon said, “You, sir, are a monster. . . . It is a shame that you [evangelical Christians] cannot be the victims as well as the perpetrators: that would save the rest of us a lot of grief and despair.” Dave stated, “You are an idiot. You are a bigger reason for this type of crime than any gay rights activist. . . . You’re a narrow minded, ignorant bigot.” (I took the liberty to correct any typos in the comments cited.)
According to Jari, “The level of sheer satanic evil demonstrated in this ‘article’ is mind boggling. If there is someone contributing to anti-gay violence, suicides of gay teens and yes, murder of this poor kid it is people like Dr. Brown and their message of hatred and venom.” Similarly, Denise claimed, “Yeah, Dr. Michael Brown is an activist . . . actively encouraging and supporting the murder of children,” while Jonathan wrote, “What a worthless stain on humanity you are.”
Over at the GoodAsYou.org website, Jeremy could only find one word to describe the article, namely, “Monstrous,” while Chrislove at Daily Kos referred to me as a “viciously anti-gay personality,” encouraging readers to continue reading only if they had the stomach. Brent commented, “I have no words for this evil article,” and Veda seconded with, “Evil and disgusting.”
Limelight asked, “Who Is the Greater Monster? Mr. Brown, or young Mr. McInerney [the murderer of Larry King]?” According to Steven, “Michael Brown is one sick . . . oh, h-ll, there aren’t enough expletives in the world to describe what he is.” Finally, David wrote, “You should be ashamed of yourself. I’m sure the young people in your family are ashamed of you already.” (Note to David. Quite the opposite!)
What did I write that caused such outrage? It was that gay activism was complicit in the senseless murder of Lawrence (“Larry”) King. This, apparently, was more than many people could bear to hear.
JUSTIFYING THE MURDER?
Some commenters claimed that I said Larry’s killing was justified or that I was defending his killer. God forbid! To the contrary (and all in the space of less than 850 words), I stated that “under any circumstances” this was “a totally unjustifiable, horrific and deplorable act,” speaking of Larry’s “terribly tragic death,” twice referring to it as being carried out in “cold blood,” four times referring to it as “murder” (including in the title of the article), and stating at the outset, “Of course, there is only one real killer, Brandon McInerney.”
In spite of this, Ezra wrote, “The kid is gay and therefore must be punished? He ‘flaunted’ his sexuality and therefore must be stoned to death? He ‘flirted’ with other boys and therefore must be shot down in cold blood?” Coming from another angle, Scott stated, “Notice how Dr. Michael Brown says he is a Jew [this is printed in my bio at the OneNewsNow website], but is defending an anti-gay bigot who bedecked his bedroom with Nazi symbols.”
Could someone please go back to the article and tell me where I wrote a single syllable in defense of the murderer or in justification of the murder?
Yet Derek went even further, claiming that I am “someone who had to twist himself into a knot to avoid explicitly saying, ‘I think it’s a good thing that boy murdered that gay kid.’”
I guess calling Larry’s murder “a totally unjustifiable, horrific and deplorable act” and describing his death as “terribly tragic” was not clear enough.
BLAMING THE VICTIM?
A constant refrain was that I was blaming the victim. Willa wrote, “The spinelessness of this article is typical of the ‘blame the victim’ approach,” while the Daily Kos article was entitled, “Larry King, the Anti-Gay Right, and Blaming the Victim: Or, ‘Murder is Wrong, But…’”
James stated, “It’s time for you bigots out there to take responsibility and stop blaming the victim,” and Craig exclaimed, “Oh good GRIEF! This idiot is blaming King as if he were the female in a rape case. ‘She ASKED for it!’” Ezra commented, “I say good show! Let’s keep blaming the victims for being victimized!,” while Ian wrote, “Talk about taking blame the victim to an extreme . . . .” And Jeff said, “Next Brown will be blaming rape on women.”
Remarkably, not only did I not blame Larry in the article, but I specifically referred to him as a victim, stating that “gay activists . . . have made Larry into a martyr for the cause of gay activism when, in reality, he was more a victim of gay activism.”
When you call someone a victim, you are not blaming them! And when I spoke of his troubled upbringing, that was not to demonize him but rather to create sympathy for him.
Later in the article, I also asked if it was “fair to Larry” for school administrators not to step in when teachers reported that his dress and behavior were causing disruption among the students. My whole point is that the school should have been addressing this situation if they saw problems, for his sake and for the sake of the other students.
IT’S ALWAYS HOMOPHOBIA!
While there was outrage over my argument that gay activism played a role in Larry’s murder – something that others have argued, including Larry’s adoptive father – none of the critics had any problem with GLSEN’s contention that “homophobia killed Larry King and destroyed Brandon McInerney’s life.” Instead, my article was described as “religious based, homophobic nonsense,” while Zachary simply stated, “I can’t stand homophobic people.” Brittany posted, ‘This guy is clearly a deluded homophobe,” Trevor said, “I don’t think I have ever read a more clear cut case of homophobia,” and Ian even wrote, “Wow, reading this article made my head hurt. So the killer’s homophobia did not contribute to the victim’s death it was actually the victim’s homosexuality that caused these horrible events.”
Let’s sort this out. I trust we all agree that cold-blooded murder is cold-blooded murder and that Larry’s killing was “a totally unjustifiable, horrific and deplorable act.” It is also my view that, if Brandon had even punched Larry in the face (rather than shot him twice in the back of the head!) that too would have been unjustifiable. If you are being taunted or sexually harassed, it’s best to simply walk away and, if needed and possible, report the matter to your authorities.
But is it “homophobic” if a straight teenager is upset when a gay teenager openly flirts with him or tells others that they are dating or chases him down the hallway while wearing high-heels and make-up? (There are different reports about how much of this happened between Larry and Brandon, but again, Larry’s adoptive father believes that Larry did sexually harass Brandon, while that was one of the factors that contributed to 7 jurors voting for voluntary manslaughter rather than first or second degree murder.) The politically correct view seems to be that straight guys are now required to be indifferent to gay male flirting (or even harassment), otherwise they are “homophobic.” Talk about overusing an already overused word!
Brandon was obviously a tragically violent, troubled teenager, and for all I know, he was someone who hated gays. He might have been a classic example of a “homophobe.” But that doesn’t mean it is homophobic for a straight guy to have a problem with a gay guy’s sexual interests in him or romantic flirtations with him. The problem – the horrific, deadly problem – was Brandon’s reaction.
FLAUNTING GAY SEXUALITY IS EQUIVALENT TO SKIN COLOR
There was a common line of thinking among the critical comments that went like this: A) Larry’s behavior and actions were perfectly fine and unobjectionable since it was part of his gay identity. B) Being gay is something you’re born with and you can’t change, just like being black. C) Therefore, Larry’s murder was no different than the lynching of a black man.
In keeping with this, Jimbo wrote, “I suppose, with this logic we should blame the black man for flaunting his color before his lynching,” while Stephanie argued, “It’s like saying, ‘Well why didn’t we keep segregation laws in place, because a lot of black people got hanged in response to desegregated schoolsl, we should have just kept things status quo so there were no problems.’”
Jonathan had a more clever approach, commenting, “Breaking: football coach blames anti-intellectual bullying on MENSA activists.” (Question for Jonathan: Are you saying that a teenaged boy wearing women’s accessories and make-up and taunting straight boys is similar to being a Mensa member?)
Bernard also had a clever, sarcastic post: “This guy’s absolutely right. I know that growing up as a Jewish kid in Arlington, Virginia, then headquarters of the American Nazi Party, I was lucky to have parents who always warned me never to disclose my Jewish affiliation to anyone. Really, what business was it of theirs? If I missed a high-holiday service here and there, played softball on Saturdays, brought ham sandwiches to school–it was a small price to pay to ensure that I didn’t make anyone so uncomfortable that they felt inspired to beat me, burn a cross on my lawn, or break my windows. I never forgot that I lived in a majority-Christian country, and that therefore, any hatred anyone showed me was just a confirmation of their basic values, and any toleration they displayed just a demonstration of their ultimate superiority. In fact, I’m happy to say I had the smarts, even at that young age, occasionally to kick a Jew in the face a few times myself–just to throw the Nazis off the scent. I’ll never understand why minorities are so resistant to a little common sense. Why can’t we just go along with the crowd?”
But once again, they’re missing the point. First, just to remind us of the facts, there is no conclusive proof (quite an understatement) that anyone is born gay, while there is ample proof, scientific and anecdotal, that some homosexuals become heterosexual. So, being gay is not innate and immutable, and gay is not the new black, contrary to popular opinion. And how can romantic attraction and sexual behavior be equated with skin color? Second, and more importantly, there were three main issues here, Larry’s disruptive behavior (which was certainly his choice), the school’s failure to take action, and the irresponsibility of gay activists.
To carry out the analogies here, the situation we’re discussing would have been the equivalent of Jewish parents encouraging their kids in a Nazi school district in Germany to come out boldly as Jews and to chase Nazi kids down the hallways while wearing large Stars of David. Would anyone question for a moment that the parent’s encouragement would have been totally irresponsible? (To be clear, I am not comparing being Jewish to being gay, nor am I comparing wearing a Star of David to sexually harassing someone, nor am I comparing our schools to Nazi school districts. I’m simply carrying out the analogy.)
It’s one thing, say, for a black man to decide he wants to expose racism by sitting at an all-white lunch counter, knowing that he might risk his life. It’s another thing entirely for black parents to tell their kids to go play basketball in a white supremacist neighborhood, wearing “Black is beautiful” tee-shirts. That too would be terribly irresponsible, and yet that’s similar to what some gay activists do, encouraging kids to come out in their schools while at the same time telling us how dangerous the schools are. (To be clear again, I am not comparing being black to being gay, nor am I comparing wearing a “Black is beautiful” tee-shirt to sexually harassing someone, nor am I comparing our schools to white supremacist neighborhoods. Again, I’m simply carrying out the analogy.)
Scott opined, “Dr. Michael Brown is making the same argument people make when they say that a girl was asking to get raped because she was wearing a mini-skirt.” Actually, my argument would be this: “If parents were telling us that the schools were not safe for suggestively dressed girls, then they shouldn’t be encouraging their daughters to wear mini-skirts.” And no one said that Larry was asking to get killed! In fact, that’s one of the issues I have with making him into a gay martyr. We can safely assume that the last thing he wanted was to be murdered and that he never thought to himself, “My behavior might get me killed, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.”
And how do you think gay activists would have reacted if a straight kid was harassing a gay kid, spreading rumors about him to the other kids, and chasing him down the hallway while wearing a “Straight is better than gay” t-shirt, to the point that it was disruptive to the other students and complaints were filed by other teachers, asking the administrators to step in. Yet the administrators replied, “We don’t want to violate the civil rights of the straight student,” after which the gay kid finally got so upset that he killed the straight kid. Do you really think gay activists would not be in an uproar over this, even painting the murderer as a victim himself, even while recognizing that he was guilty of a heinous crime?
Not only, however, were these points not grasped, but extreme comparisons were made, like this one, by David S.: “I want you hypocritical ‘Christians’ to imagine the roles were reversed. Instead of Larry being Gay, he was Christian. Instead of trying to kiss the boys, he was trying to minister to the boys. And instead of being MURDERED for his homosexuality, he was MURDERED for his Christianity. The Christian community would be furious about his death. And believe it or not, so would I. I’m furious over the bigotry and hatred this nation has bred, whether it be from the LGBT community or from the Christian community. I’m not bashing all Christians, just the ones who can’t see past the spine of their Bible long enough to realize what they are saying and what they are doing!”
While I certainly appreciate (and resonate with) his renunciation of all bigotry and hatred, wherever it is found, can anyone seriously compare a Christian boy trying to minister to other boys to a gay kid (or straight kid) sexually harassing other kids?
Finally, Dirk (who is obviously gay) wrote, “And none of us have ever ‘encouraged’ young LGBT kids to come out ‘earlier and earlier’. That monstrous lie comes from Brown’s need to paint all of us as pedophiles – it is absolutely untrue, and just an attempt on their part to get more people to hate us.”
Dirk, may I ask what rock you’ve been living under? From GSA’s (Gay Straight Alliances) in middle schools to GLSEN’s (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network’s) school curricula, and from younger and younger openly gay characters on TV to the fact that kids are coming out at younger and younger ages – you’ve got to be kidding me. This is anything but a “monstrous lie.” As for “pedophiles,” who in the world brought that up in this context? And what does encouraging a young person to “come out” have to do with pedophilia?
This is just a sampling of some of the negative feedback to my article, but enough has been said to make clear that, with rare exception, these posts represent reactions more than responses, barely even touching on what the article was actually about. What then was the purpose of writing this controversial article?
* * *
It seems that every week, we hear another tragic story about an LGBT teen committing suicide, and anyone with a beating heart should be troubled over these reports. (Note to my critics: Despite your perceptions and accusations, my heart beats strongly, and I too have agonized over these young lives cut short. I believe, however, that the best approach to bullying, which occurs for a multitude of reasons, is to teach how wrong bullying is, rather than teaching that gay – or, say, obesity, which is another major cause of bullying – is good.)
The story of Larry King is, in a way, more tragic still, since he was the victim of a brutal shooting in what should have been the safety of a classroom. But gay activists have made a serious error in making Larry into a gay martyr (Newsweek even referred to Larry’s murder as “the most prominent gay-bias crime since the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard”), and that is one reason I wrote the article, knowing full well that it would produce such ugly reactions.
In the months before Rosa Parks became a national symbol for the civil rights movement, there were other black Americans who stood up to oppressive white racism. One of them was a younger woman who also said enough is enough and took her stand, but when it was learned that she was pregnant out of wedlock, civil rights leaders immediately realized that she would not be a good poster girl for a national movement. In fact, she might have even played into the negative stereotype of white prejudices.
Yet gay activism is so committed to the mantra of, “This is who we are, we have the right to express ourselves however we desire, and we are always the innocent victims,” that it drew the completely wrong conclusions from Larry’s cowardly killing. This should have been a time for introspection, for asking whether, by wanting to protect Larry’s “civil rights” (this term actually came up in school discussion about his behavior), “pro-gay” administrators neglected the needs of the other students. (Remember that other kids, who did not lift a finger against Larry, were also troubled by his dress and behavior.)
In fact, gay activists have also been irresponsible by pressing whole schools to revolve around the needs of a transgender-identified child who is allowed to use the bathroom and even locker room of his or her perceived gender. They fail to ask, “Is this fair to the other children? Does the ‘right’ of one, struggling student trump the rights of the other students, many of whom are upset and even traumatized by this? And should they be reprimanded for having an issue with ‘the boy who wears the dress’ or ‘the girl who has a penis’”?
Gay activists should have also asked whether they were acting in Larry’s best interests. After all, much of his behavior was not typical for gay teens (in fact, many believe that he was actually “transgender,” which further underscores the fact that he was trying to understand his own “sexual identity”), and he could have gotten along fine while using a little more restraint. But as long as gay activists remind us about gay suicides and the “unsafe” nature of many of our schools, they need to be more wise in their counsel to kids about “coming out.” (I’m not addressing the larger question of whether kids should stay “in the closet” and wait until they’re older and are more certain about their sexuality, or come out and explore their sexuality at the youngest possible ages, or do everything in their power to overcome same-sex attraction. I’m simply saying that, by their own admission, schools are not always “safe” places for kids to “come out.”)
And why is it that any criticism of gay behavior or expression is immediately branded as “hate”? Is constructive criticism never possible? Would it have been right under any circumstances to have counseled Larry to modify his behavior or dress, or would all such counsel immediately be rejected as “homophobic”?
The bottom line is that Larry’s murder should have prompted some soul-searching among gay activists. At the least, they should have said, “We should be more careful.” Instead they said, “We have another martyr.” And that is a real shame.
Michael Brown is host of the daily, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.
The details of the tragic massacre in Norway are shocking beyond words. At least 76 fatalities. Scores of young people gunned down in cold blood. Others seriously injured or missing. Body parts still to be recovered in the bombed out buildings. A nation traumatized and in mourning.
Were these horrific acts the result of an outside terrorist attack? No. Was this the work of Muslim extremists living in Norway? No again. Rather, the bomber and shooter was a native-born Norwegian, a blue-eyed and blond haired vegetable farmer, Anders Breivik, with no prior history of violence. And he has been described as a “right-wing, fundamentalist Christian.” But of course! How long will it be before ominous new warnings are sounded throughout America reminding us of the dangers of “right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity”?
In 2007, a New Jersey school came under criticism after staging a mock hostage drill in which the intruders were not radical Muslims or other, known terrorist groups. Instead, they were Christian fundamentalists dubbed the “New Crusaders.” As noted by JihadWatch in April, 2007, the intruders were described as “members of a right-wing fundamentalist group . . . who don’t believe in the separation of church and state.” And these fake gunmen were driven to attack the school because they were “seeking justice because the daughter of one [member] had been expelled for praying before class.”
Conservative Christians who learned of this drill were rightly outraged. Where, they asked, had any of their people committed such acts? Where were the 9/11-type massacres carried out by American, fundamentalist Christians? Where were the barbaric killings, carried out in our country in Jesus’ name, similar to the slaughter of school children in Beslan, Russia that had been carried out by Islamic, Chechnyan sympathizers? Obviously, they did not exist.
“But,” we were warned, “they could be coming soon. After all, these Christian groups use violent, warfare language, and they talk about a ‘Jesus revolution.’”
In other words, singing old hymns like “Onward Christian Soldiers” might lead to bloodshed, and those conservative Christians who feel their rights are being violated by the government might just put down their hymn books, pick up their rifles, and lay siege to the school building across the street. Right. Just like those who believe in the “war on poverty” also believe in killing poor people (or perhaps rich people?) and those who engage in the “culture wars” believe in slaughtering the people with whom they differ. Yet there are many who truly believe that conservative Christians will somehow turn violent in the name of the Lord.
In the summer of 2009, in my current home city of Charlotte, North Carolina, a local gay journalist warned about religious leaders (which included me) who were allegedly “preaching and teaching with violent and militant theology and rhetoric, painting the social conflict over LGBT equality as a ‘battle’ and a ‘war.’” He asked, “How thin of a line exists between violent word and thought, and violent action and deed? That’s a question answered plenty of times before, from Christian Crusades and Inquisitions of ages past to the modern day of radical Islamic terrorism. But, it is a question yet to be answered in Charlotte, N.C., where I believe there is a potentially dangerous and violent threat ramping up its efforts to counter the annual LGBT event, Pride Charlotte.”
And what was this “potentially dangerous and violent threat”? It was a group of 500 Christians who gathered to pray, worship, and share the gospel with attendees of the gay pride event, declaring that “God has a better way.” After the event (which I helped organize and which was as peaceful as could be imagined), a local lesbian activist told me that what we were doing was an act of “radical love.”
Yet the murderous acts of Anders Breivik in Norway will be seen as proof that conservative Christians in America might just turn violent too, as if the demented actions of an anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalist Norwegian have anything to do with the spiritual, moral, and cultural aspirations of American Christ-followers who espouse the non-violent teachings and example of the Master himself.
Sadly, the atmosphere in our country has become so toxic that venerable ministries like Focus on the Family and the American Family Association have been branded as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, while People for the American Way sends out regular warnings about evangelical Christian leaders on its RightWingWatch website. And this will surely intensify in the days to come in the wake of the tragedy in Norway.
Let us, then, who call ourselves conservative Christians, redouble our efforts to expose the folly of these false charges, overcoming evil with good and hatred with love, thereby proving ourselves to be genuine followers of Jesus.
One night, in family devotions, I was reading to my kids from a Bible storybook about Cain and Abel. In this author’s rendition of the story, Cain’s offering was rejected because it was not his best, while Abel’s offering was the best he had to give and therefore acceptable to God. It suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks…this writer missed the entire point of the Biblical story! In fact, I believe the reality is quite the opposite. Cain was a “tiller of the ground”. His days consisted of backbreaking manual labor and he earned every morsel with the “sweat of his brow”. When asked to bring a sacrifice to God, he must have surely thought that his offering would be the best in God’s sight. Cain’s offering was the hard earned fruit of his labor, the work of his own blistered hands. But, in spite of all Cain’s striving, God rejected his offering. The Bible says, “Cain was exceedingly angry and his countenance fell” (Gen 4:5). Cain was so frustrated and angry because he had indeed brought his best to God…and yet his best was not good enough.
God said, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” “Do well?” Cain must have thought. “I’ve done the best I can do.” Perhaps Cain knew in his heart that he had worked longer and harder than Able ever did. Through sweat, tears and hard manual labor Cain had worked the thorny soil to bring this offering to the Lord. Yet God was pleased with Abel’s gift and not his own. Cain could not understand and soon his frustration boiled over into murderous rage.
Why was Abel’s offering acceptable to God? Was it a better offering? Had Abel worked more or harder or better? On the contrary…Abel brought the blood of an innocent other. The real sacrifice was not his at all…it was really the sheep who had paid the dearest price. Abel was NOT relying on the work of his hands and the fruit of his labor. Somehow he understood that it was the blood that satisfied God.
“Without the shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22). Cain is a type of all those who come to God with the work of their own hands. Even if we do our best and strive with all our might to please God, we will always come up short, no matter how well-intentioned we may be. Whenever you swipe the credit card of your own righteousness into God’s ATM it will ALWAYS be declined. All our righteousness is like filthy rags.
Abel is a type of all those who come to God with the blood of that innocent other; the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. It is the blood of Jesus that has cleansed us from all sin (I John 1:7). It is the blood of Jesus that has purged our conscience from dead works (Heb 9:14). It is the blood of Jesus that has reconciled us unto God (Eph 2:13). It is the blood of Jesus that has redeemed us (1 Pet 1:18). Abel came not on the basis of his works, but in faith, and like Abraham, “It was counted to him as righteousness.” By faith we carry God’s own credit card, without a capital limit, backed by the collateral of heaven’s endless supply, and billed to Calvary’s address. Hallelujah!
The Center for Bio-ethical Reform has been displaying posters of aborted babies on college campuses across America over the last number of years. Recently, at Florida State University, they were shouted down by a group of very loud protesters. According to CBR:
The Center for Bio-ethical Reform and the Canadian CBR displayed the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) amidst much opposition at Florida State University (FSU).
During our recent open microphone session, on February 17, a large crowd of protestors attempted to disrupt our attempts to respond to questions from FSU students.
Despite their attempts, CBR succeeded in fielding dozens of questions from abortion advocates.
Watch the episode described below (pay special attention to the response by the CBR worker in part two to the accusations regarding the use of the Rwandan poster):
So murdering these 7 infants AFTER inducing labor is “one of the most horrific things” the news reporter of 30 years had “ever heard,” and these abortions are worthy of having the doctor charged with 7 counts of murder, and yet in a number of states, doing this same thing with infants the same age is fine as long as you do it inside the womb (Pennsylvania’s limit is 24 weeks)? What hypocrisy!
Shockingly (or perhaps, not that shocking come to think about it), there are notable pro-choice activists that say there should be no limits on when abortions should be able to be performed! According to the leftist magazine Slate:
Marge Berer, founding editor of Reproductive Health Matters, takes a similar position. In an article on the same site, RH Reality Check, she argues that “an abortion provider must never pass judgement on the validity of a woman’s need for an abortion.” Instead, “abortion providers should act as technicians with a clinical skill to offer.” According to Berer, “anyone who thinks they have the right to refuse even one woman an abortion can’t continue to claim they are pro-choice.”
Berer takes particular offense at a moral limit suggested by pro-choice writer Frances Kissling. Kissling has proposed that “when a fetus reaches the point where it could survive outside the uterus, is healthy, and the woman is healthy, and she has had five months to make up her mind, we should say no to abortion.” Berer quotes this statement with dismay and repudiates it with a question: “Who exactly are the ‘we’ that she [Kissling] now considers herself to be part of?” Berer concludes that “there will always be a handful of women” who don’t make their abortion decisions before 20 or 24 weeks, and “the pro-choice thing to do is to support them and do the abortions anyway.”
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, goes further. “Is there anything qualitatively different about a fetus at, say, 28 weeks that gives it a morally different status to a fetus at 18 weeks or even eight weeks?” she asks. “Why should we assume later abortions are ‘bad’—or, at least, ‘more wrong’ than early ones?” Furedi rejects this assumption and concludes that “in later pregnancy, too, I believe that the decision, and the responsibility that comes with it, should rest with the pregnant woman. … We either support women’s moral agency or we do not. … There is no middle ground to straddle.”
Among other things, this means no time limits. Furedi argues that “women should have access to abortion as early as possible and as late as necessary.” In her current essay, she writes: “To argue that a woman should no longer be able to make a moral decision about the future of her pregnancy, because 20 or 18 or 16 weeks have passed, assaults [moral autonomy] and, in doing so, assaults the tradition of freedom of conscience…” In fact, “the delivery of an abortion procedure in the second (and even third) trimester is preferable to its denial.”
These essays vary, but together, they capture the absolutist worldview. There’s no moral difference between eight, 18, and 28 weeks. No one has the right to judge another person’s abortion decision, regardless of her stage of pregnancy. Each woman is entitled to decide not only whether to have an abortion, but how long she can wait to make that choice.
Make no mistake about it, what Kermit Gosnell, the physician charged with murdering these infants, did was business as usual in the abortion industry (save for his less than sanitary abortion office and less-than-professional way of doing things). After all, what do people think abortion is?
As disgusting and horrific as this case is, the words of pro-choice activist Ann Furedi should resound: “Is there anything qualitatively different about a fetus at, say, 28 weeks that gives it a morally different status to a fetus at 18 weeks or even eight weeks?”
One need not have special revelation or any particular spiritual belief to know that what happened in Arizona was wrong in the worst way. We instinctively and rightly recoil from the thought of it, no matter where and how our morality is founded. Yet whether we consciously intend to or not, we not only react with revulsion, but also a question… what does this mean? Just as we know instinctively that it is wrong, we also know that it carries meaning. We want and need to interpret this event and what it means in our time, as well as what our response should be.
To the New York Times’ Paul Krugman and other similarly minded thinkers, the meaning is to be found in calling out right-wing political commentators for creating a climate of “hate” towards Democrats that is so dreadful that folks like Krugman “expect[ed] something like this atrocity to happen.” Our response to these murders, we are told, should be to call “all decent people” to “shun” the “likes of [Glenn] Beck and [Bill] O’Reilly.”
FoxNews and Drudge Report, on the other hand, seem to interpret this event as an anomaly we can safely attribute to the strange delusions of one mentally disturbed individual (while also throwing in that he was a “left-wing pothead” in order to curb the attacks coming from outlets such as the NYT). How is one supposed to react to the “Scary Freak” shown in the screenshot below taken from the Drudge Report homepage? Obviously, the intent is to disassociate this man not only from conservatives, but seemingly from all of us! The response they are advocating seems to be a very practical one, that we should improve our governmental mental health system so that people like this are identified, hospitalized, and (perhaps) medicatedbefore they act out in this way.
While the conservative reaction described is more to the point (and certainly better factually attested and reasoned), I believe that the liberal attempt to interpret the event as part of a larger reality is right on, even if their conclusions are not. The NYT’s Krugman was right when he said:
It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.
Yet he was wrong in his analysis of what it is in the national climate that bred events and minds like this. The problem goes much deeper than right-wing rhetoric aimed at the left (as an aside, it should be noted that the left is often as bad as or worse than the right in their demonizing of the opposition, as discussed on yesterday’s Line of Fire episode). In fact, it goes much deeper than the New York Times, or FoxNews, or the Drudge Report are willing (or trained) to go. Krugman is right that there is “sickness” permeating our society, but the sickness is not only in “them” (to Krugman, the right), and it is not only in “him” (to Drudge, the shooter). No, the sickness is in us, all of us!
The nation’s sickness is an evil more real and devastating than any of us realize, and when events such as what happened in Arizona occur, we must discern that rather than some anomaly perpetuated by one angry or disturbed soul so utterly different from the rest of us (some “Scary Freak”), this evil is a public manifestation of a larger reality. We are in a sin-sick society that has cultivated a loveless, godless, and purposeless culture that provides its youth with precious little reason to live beyond the pursuit of immediate pleasure and the numbing of one’s pain. Is it any wonder that it is in the midst of this sort of environment we find young men that for whatever reason (be it mental instability, social rejection, or beliefs/ideologies) are neither enticed by the allure of pleasure, comfort, or societal status, nor intimidated by the punishments that can be leveled upon them by society’s social and governmental structures, turning their inward rage and hostility outward? While we ought to be shocked by this act, we ought not be shocked that a deluded young man living a meaningless, purposeless life in a meaningless, purposeless society, committed an act of meaningless, purposeless violence.
In addition to the immediate, visceral, and pragmatic response we should have to a tragedy such as this, there is a deeper reality we need to enter into in order to extract the meaning of something of this horror. What is the meaning of this tragedy? And what should our response be? Whatever the specifics of this particular case may end up being, and to whatever extent Jared Loughner was affected or unaffected by this age in the midst of his apparent delusions, I would submit that to look into the face of the “scary freak” pictured on Drudge above, or at the pictures of Virginia Tech shooter Seng Hui-Cho or Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold below, and look away without sensing a need to desperately change the culture we’ve nurtured is to see but not understand, to hear but not perceive. These were not individuals motivated by greed, or ideology, or so many other things that make (at some level) sense to us. There’s something desperate, something pathetic in their lives and actions.
There’s a deeper response called for, and it starts with a call for all of us to repent before the living God for cultivating the culture we abide in, asking the author of life to change us from those that sit idly by as generation after generation comes through the societal “system” we’ve set up without having any sense of meaning and purpose beyond the things of this world. There is a stream of true life available to all, and we must be ones that testify to its reality in our generation. We must be the “salt-seasoning” of our society, with a “saltiness” born from deep and real encounters with the Messiah. “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.” This is our divine responsibility… let’s not miss this.
Unless there’s more to the story than meets the eye, two Jesus-followers were shot for preaching the gospel on the streets in Florida. According to BosNewsLife:
Tite Sufra, 24, … and Stephen Ocean, 23, were shot and killed in Boynton Beach in the U.S. State of Florida where they evangelized last Saturday, January 30, after meeting Jeriah Woody, 18, local police said.
“They witnessed to Woody for fifteen minutes when he got a phone call and told the preachers he ‘had to go’, added the Commission, which closely monitored the case.
“As they walked away, Woody suddenly started walking back toward them. Sufra walked up to greet him and was killed with a shot gun blast at point blank range. When Ocean ran, he was shot in the back. After he fell, Woody shot him in the head execution style.”
As of February 6th, the mainstream media has not run with the story.
The Alliance Defense Fund is urging that Fort Hood Terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan be charged with 14 counts of murder, rather than the 13 he’s currently charged with. Who is this 14th victim? The unborn child of Private Francheska Velez. According to the ADF:
The Alliance Defense Fund issued a letter Thursday to the Office of Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Hood, Texas, urging it to enforce the law by charging the suspect in the Fort Hood massacre with the killing of all 14 of the dead victims in the Fort Hood massacre, including the pre-born child of Private Francheska Velez.
“All murder victims–born and pre-born–deserve equal justice,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Women who volunteer to protect our country deserve to know that the government will enforce the laws that protect their children.”
Military prosecutors have charged Maj. Nadil Malik Hasan with 13 counts of premeditated murder after last week’s shooting at Fort Hood but have not yet charged him with the death of Velez’s child, being referred to as “Baby Velez.” Army officials have indicated that additional charges against Hasan are under consideration.
The ADF letter urges enforcement of Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which makes it a crime for anyone “to cause the death…of a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place” regardless of whether the killer intended to kill the child. If the killer intended to kill the child, he can be prosecuted for murder under Article 118.
“According to press accounts, Private Velez had returned to America from Iraq a week before the shooting,” the letter states. “Private Velez was three months pregnant and was excited about being a new mother. She was scheduled to begin maternity leave next month. She was filling out paperwork relating to her pregnancy when she and her child were killed… It would cause a severe and negative impact on morale if Army women were made to believe that the Army valued their children less than they did adult victims of crime. We respectfully request that you enforce UCMJ Article 119a against the suspect.”
The Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 119a, makes it a crime for anyone to “cause the death of.. a child, who is in urtero at the time the conduct takes place,”while he is committing conduct that constitutes murder of the child’s mother under Article 118 (or while committing any of server other offenses against persons). Culpability under 119a explicitly does not require that Maj. Hasan knew about Pvt. Velez’s unborn child; but if he intended to kill the child, the law requires that he be prosecuted under Article 118 for murder of the child.
Notwithstanding the incredible hypocrisy of a government that protects a mother’s right to murder their infant while prosecuting the same murder when someone else is at fault, we are in full support of ADF’s stance and hope to see justice done in the case of Pvt. Velez’s child.
On August 4th, 2009, George Sodini walked into a fitness center near Pittsburgh, PA and shot 12 people. Three women were killed, and Mr. Sodini himself committed suicide. The day before the murder-suicide, Mr. Sordoni wrote that he was going to “see God and Jesus” soon on his blog, saying:
Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.
The day after the shootings, Dr. Brown addressed the murder and these words on his Line of Fire radio show (the show is appropriately titled “A Once Saved Always Saved Murder?”). The audio is below, and provides a good overview of the situation and the doctrine in question:
Evidently, the gunman had been taught that because he had prayed a prayer asking Jesus into his heart at some point in his life, he would spend eternity in heaven with God, no matter what sins he committed or beliefs he espoused thereafter. Here are some thoughts on the subject I put together in an email shortly after the killings took place, and the news came out concerning the gunmen’s beliefs. I submit them for consideration:
I would venture to say that our life and faith in Messiah is in reality more about an organic, somewhat mysterious spiritual dynamic, than a doctrinal system that has as the main goal avoiding the bad place and going to the nice place upon death.
Of course, his thesis has major problems philosophically (does not atheism teach the dangerous nonsense that our only punishment and reward are in this life?), but I actually AGREE with him that false and untrue religion is quite dangerous, and for people to blindly believe that they’re going to heaven the second they die, without feeling the need to have a bit of evidence that it’s true beyond the words of a religious teacher, is quite dangerous as well as perhaps a bit crazy.
But then, if as so many believe, we don’t need the tangible, objective, supernatural presence of God, nor as Mark Galli writes, any real difference at all in our lives from non-believers, to know that our particular doctrinal system is absolutely true, why should we expect people to not “misuse” a doctrine such as once-saved-always-saved, or believe a false religion like Islam? They believe what they believe for the same reasons we do, and with the same level of certainty.
All this to say, I wonder if the problem with this shooter was both an unbiblical belief and blindly believing something with no tangible evidence. Perhaps in his case a healthy fear of death and the judgment to come was in order, as well as a healthy skepticism.
If we require nothing of our religion, why should we expect our religion to require anything of us?
Is it any wonder that those of us in the Kingdom of God that are living and dying for the advancement of the gospel, spiritual revival, cultural reformation, and an increased depth in the Church find it so difficult to awake this “sleeping giant” (as Leonard Ravenhill called it), when so many of us in the Church require nothing of our beliefs beyond simply hearing them preached from a pulpit or reading them in a book?
Until men and women start taking seriously the question of why they believe what they believe, not only will they continue to subconsciously resist the leaven of the gospel from infecting their entire lives, but dangerous doctrines will continue to abound.
It has been confirmed that the murder this morning of a pro-life activist happened because of his prophetic witness to society concerning the murder of the unborn. According to LifeSiteNews:
Prosecutors said Drake told them he targeted Pouillon because of his pro-life activities.
“There was some displeasure with how open he was,” said … Shiawassee County chief assistant prosecutor Sara Edwards, according to a New York Times report. “He tended to carry big signs with very graphic pictures of fetuses.”
The murdered activist, Jim Pouillon, refused to declare “peace, peace when there is no peace,” instead exposing evil and trumpeting the righteous cause of protecting the innocent. Flip Benham, leader of Operation Save America, had this to say about the victim, and the meaning of his death:
We may have lost a fellow soldier in the cultural war that we are fighting, but it is a historical fact that the persecution of the Church emboldens Christians to stand for Jesus, no matter what the cost.
“We knew Jim as ‘Jim for Michigan’. Jim would often call and say ‘Hello Flip, this is Jim from Michigan’ and go on to tell of his most recent exploits for Jesus at the school, the abortion mill, the Governor’s Mansion or anywhere that he could stand up and be a voice for the babies. ‘I’d say, God bless you brother and Jim always answered, He already has, I got to talk to you today, brother’.” Flip Benham, director of Operation Save America.
Rev. Cal Zastrow, of Michigan, and one of Operation Save America’s leaders said of Jim, “Jim was a very peaceful man, against any type of violence. I was with Jim in the past when his life was threatened and he would just praise God in the midst of it. He got his martyr’s crown this morning!”.
We honor Jim Pouillon today. A faithful witness that died in the line of duty.