It was political strategist James Carville who coined the now-famous phrase that helped catapult Bill Clinton to the presidency, incessantly reminding him that, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Any candidate seeking to unseat President Obama in the 2012 elections will surely follow this same strategy.
After all, the economy is in shambles and Americans are fed up with the latest congressional efforts to reduce the deficit. Unemployment is nearing epidemic proportions, gasoline prices are outrageous, spending is out of control, and for the first time, our national credit rating has been downgraded. Worse still, if foreign money was pulled out of our economy, we would have a massive, coast to coast collapse.
Political pundits commonly warn candidates, especially Republican candidates, that voters today are not as concerned with social and moral issues as much as they are concerned with the economy. In that respect, Carville’s sage advice to Clinton is nothing new. After all, Hebert Hoover’s 1928 campaign slogan was, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Has anything really changed since 1928 in terms of what Americans care about the most?
Surely, it still is “the economy, stupid.” Or is it? Could it be that there’s more to the story? Could it be that we make a serious and fundamental mistake when we separate economic issues from moral issues? Could it be that we are often treating the symptoms rather than the cause? There was bipartisan disgust as the nation watched the president and both political parties wrangling over a solution to the current financial crisis, and in the end, all we got was a very small, largely ineffective band aid. As one political cartoonist depicted it, the congressional “solution” was like slowing down the speed with which the Titanic was sinking.
Across party lines, there was a feeling that we were not really getting to the root of the problem, but few, if any were suggesting that it is impossible to separate economics from morality. Eventually, our moral choices will have a definite and direct impact on the money (or lack thereof) in our pockets.
A successful businessman recently suggested to me that some of the roots of our economic problems include:
1) Instant gratification. It was Jim Morrison of the Doors who once proclaimed, “We want the world and we want it now!” That was 1967. Today, we really want it now (as in “instant”; think “messaging” and “downloading” and more). If I want it, I will find a way to get it, and I will get it now. Yes, it’s true that I’m out of work, but I will get that iPad, I will be at the movie theatre this weekend, and I will find a way to buy the latest, trendy threads. Thank God for credit cards!
2) We have become consumers rather than producers. One website claims that, “Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as 2 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians, 370 Ethiopians.” And, “Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily, enough to feed 3 third world countries.” Of course, some of this has to do with the fact that we have a lot more at our disposal than, say, the average Ethiopian. But a lot of this also has to do with our selfishness, greed, and lack of discipline. Do our political leaders dare address those issues?
3) The breakdown of the family. Two generations into the sexual revolution (which has brought us to the point of sexual anarchy), and two generations into no-fault divorce, the “traditional family unit” is an increasingly threatened species, and at a high economic cost to our society. Author Frank Turek points out that kids raised by their mom and dad are: “a. Seven times less likely to live in poverty; b. Six times less likely to commit suicide; c. Less than half as likely to commit crime; d. Less than half as likely to become pregnant out of wedlock; e. Develop better academically and socially; f. [Are] healthier physically and emotionally when they reach adulthood.” You had better believe the breakdown of the family has massive economic implications.
4) Abortion. With all the concerns about Social Security defaulting, very few leaders are talking about the 800 pound gorilla missing from the room, namely, multiplied millions of working Americans who are not here to pay into the system and contribute to the economy because their lives were cut short in the womb. Yes, there is an economic consequence to abortion as well.
Perhaps, then, it would be wise for political candidates who really care about what’s best for America to change their slogan to, “It’s the morality, stupid.” Or is this slogan too true to be good?
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.
On November 11–12, 2011, thousands from across America will gather to Detroit to fast, pray and cry out to God. We will gather to this city that has become a microcosm of our national crisis—economic collapse, racial tension, the rising tide of the Islamic movement, and the shedding of innocent blood of our children in the streets and of our unborn.
But the place where they say there is no hope, God has chosen as His staging ground for a great communal healing and His house of prayer for all nations. Therefore, we are calling the nation to a 24-hour solemn assembly, daring to believe that Detroit’s desperation can produce a prayer that can change a nation.
Come and take your place on the wall in Detroit, where we will ask God to send fire on our hearts, to forgive our national guilt and establish justice in our land.
America’s greatest crisis today is not economic, nor is it political, social, or military. To be sure, we are teetering on the edge of a massive financial collapse, while at the same time we are politically and socially divided, not to mention mired in two or three costly wars.
But our greatest crisis goes deeper. It is a spiritual crisis, and because it is a spiritual crisis, it is a moral crisis. The light within us has become dark (see Matt 6:23) and the salt has lost its saltiness (see Matt 5:13). The Church of Jesus, which is called to be the spiritual lamp and the moral preservative of society, has fallen asleep. The awakening must begin with us.
This is not to minimize the many acute problems we face in our country today. Abortion on demand still takes more than a million lives a year. The family unit continues to erode. Gay activism continues to challenge our biblical values and freedoms. Human trafficking, gang violence, teen drug use, and a host of other social ills stare us in the face. But our problem is not so much the presence of darkness as it is the absence of light. The finger must first be pointed at us.
You see, it is to be expected that sinful people do sinful things and that worldly people do worldly things. But it is unexpected when those called to be righteous live just like the world, when the sins of the society become the sins of the Church, when it is the world that changes the Church rather than the Church that changes the world. Can anyone really dispute that for the last generation this is exactly what has happened?
It was Dr. Martin Luther King who noted that,
The Church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.
This certainly cuts to the core of the never-ending debate about the meaning of the separation of Church and state. But King also issued this warning:
If the Church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
What an indictment of the American Church today. Having lost our prophetic zeal – our consciousness of God, our conviction of sin, our brokenness for the lost, our courage to go against the grain and challenge the status quo, our moral imperative – we have become, in all too many cases, an irrelevant social club. In fact, it would not be that far out of line for many of our religious assemblies to change their marquees to read, “Irrelevant Social Club: Meets Sunday Mornings and Wednesday Nights.”
Without a doubt, there is a godly remnant that is seeking God, reaching out, touching the world, making a difference, but we deceive ourselves if we imagine it is anything more than a remnant. George Barna discovered that the most accurate articulation of the moral standard of today’s Christian teens was “whatever,” while Prof. Kenda Creasy Dean in her book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, argued persuasively that the toothless and tepid Christianity found among young people in many of our churches has been inherited directly from their parents.
We have gotten to the point where we hope (rather than take for granted) that the famous pastor or evangelist or teacher whose ministry has so blessed us will not be caught in some kind of moral scandal, while on the local level, millions of people are dropping out of church participation because of boredom and disillusionment. This is not the “glorious Church” for which Jesus died and rose and sent His Spirit. Something is terribly wrong and something is clearly missing.
But it is not time for us to point accusing fingers at this denomination or that leader, at this local congregation or at that TV preacher. Rather, as Ambrose said, “Before God can deliver us, we must undeceive ourselves,” and the awakening that we so desperately need, yes, the awakening that America must have, begins with each of us individually. Each of us must search our own hearts and lives and ask, “Have I left my first love? Have I become cold or compromised? Have the values of the world corrupted me? Have I become polluted by sin?”
As an old evangelist once counseled, the best way to pray for revival is to draw a circle on the ground, then step inside that circle, and then pray, “Lord, revive everything inside this circle.” Let the awakening begin with us.
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
Bernard Nathanson, who went from helping found the pro-choice organization NARAL (the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws), and directing the world’s largest abortion clinic, to becoming a leading pro-life activist and committed Catholic who authored books and created documentaries that have been used to expose the abortion industry, died this week at the age of 84. Bill Muehlenberg wrote a great piece chronicling his life, below is a selection:
The pro-abortion activists have always claimed that thousands of women died each year in America before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalise abortion. Nathanson helped to make up this figure of 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.
He said this about it: “I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”
Nathanson went on to describe the real figures: “In 1967 … the federal government listed only 160 deaths from illegal abortion. In the last year before [Roe v Wade], 1972, the total was only 39 deaths”. While 39 deaths are too many, the figure must be held up to the 1.5 million babies killed each year in the US since 1973.
Jim Hughes, President of Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition, recounted the following comical experience:
“He’ll be greatly missed. His story is an unbelievable story,” said Hughes, who recalled one time when Nathanson debated Canada’s “father of abortion,” abortionist Henry Morgentaler. “It was rather comical,” said Hughes “When Morgentaler put forward his ideas and his defense for the practice of abortion, and Nathanson laughed and said, ‘I invented all those phrases! I invented those statistics.’ It was quite the experience.”
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?”
Former Director of the Bryan, Texas Planned Parenthood, Abby Johnson, recently released a book chronicling her transformation from Planned Parenthood Director to pro-life activist. The first chapter of her book, an account of the day that changed her life, was released on LifeSiteNews in full. Click here to read it. The visiting physician needed Abby’s help with an ultrasound-guided abortion of a 13 week old baby. The following is the key section of her account. I dare you to read this and not be shaken.
At first, the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula. It gently probed the baby’s side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn’t feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed. Get a grip, Abby. This is a simple, quick medical procedure. My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn’t shake an inner disquiet that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen.
The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if it were trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed its side, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that it could feel the cannula, and it did not like what it was feeling. And then the doctor’s voice broke through, startling me.
“Beam me up, Scotty,” he said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction — in an abortion the suction isn’t turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.
I had a sudden urge to yell, “Stop!” To shake the woman and say, “Look at what is happening to your baby! Wake up! Hurry! Stop them!”
But even as I thought those words, I looked at my own hand holding the probe. I was one of “them” performing this act. My eyes shot back to the screen again. The cannula was already being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it. For the briefest moment the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone. And the uterus was empty. Totally empty.
Read her entire account (the first chapter of her book) here, then buy her book via the link at the bottom of the page.
According to a recent study, unborn twin babies socialize as early as week 14 of gestation. The scientists that conducted the research summarized their findings in the following way:
“We demonstrate that by the 14th week of gestation twin foetuses do not only display movements directed towards the uterine wall and self-directed movements, but also movements specifically aimed at the co-twin, the proportion of which increases between the 14th and 18th gestational week”
In cases in which the mother’s health is not at risk due to her pregnancy, it is currently legal to kill unborn children in America well past 14 weeks. The following summary of abortion laws was compiled based on information from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute:
12 states do not prohibit abortions at any point in pregnancy
38 states prohibit abortions in which the life of the mother is not in question after a certain point in pregnancy.
23 states initiate prohibitions at fetal viability (when the attending physician determines “there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial support,” generally b/w 22-24 wks).
5 states initiate prohibitions in the third trimester (28 wks).
10 states initiate prohibitions after a certain number of weeks (24 in most, 20 in a few).