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A ‘positive good’?

Pro-abortion rhetoric is starting to sound like the antebellum defense of slavery

A ‘positive good’?

A protest in Los Angeles (Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/AP)

Several of my Facebook “friends” are flaming liberals whom I seldom engage. Part of the reason is that I don’t want them to unfriend me, but a bigger reason is that I can’t begin to unpack some of their bizarro-world statements. One of these acquaintances—I’ll call her X—posted a brief meme last month: I love abortion! Clear and forceful as a punch to the stomach, but I felt no need to respond because so many already had. A man (M) who sympathized with X’s cause criticized her method: “That’s not the best framing for the issue.”  

X replied: It’s how I feel. M: OK, but we’ve got a political fight to win, and inflammatory statements bolster the opposition’s arguments. X: It’s the truth. M: Fine, but we have to be practical. On it went, with other voices jumping in, mostly on X’s side. X finally expressed pity for M’s wife, and M signed off with, “Whatever.”

In other words, a normal Facebook debate. But it echoed a shift in rhetoric on the pro-abortion side, rising with the legislative stakes. “Loud and proud” is the new strategy: #shoutyourabortion has been trending for months. On May 17, late-night TV host Busy Philipps tweeted, “Let’s do this. If you are also the 1 in 4 [women who have had an abortion], let’s share it and start to end the shame. Use #YouKnowMe and share your truth.”  

New York Magazine that same day boldly unfurled this title: “Abortion Is Morally Good.” The writer, a former evangelical named Sarah Jones, contradicted old-school strategists: “The assertion that nobody wants an abortion, ever, directly affirms the anti-choice narrative.” Anodyne terms like “safe, legal, and rare” are mere popguns when legislatures from Ohio to Missouri are passing heartbeat laws and outright bans. Lock and load, ladies: Stop pussyfooting around. Abortion is not a sad thing, a bad thing, or a mad thing. It’s good.  

I don’t think we’re headed for a shooting war, but a showdown is coming, probably within the next 20 years

As if to second that motion, a picture of three beaming young women with a sign hand-lettered, “Parasites don’t have rights,” made the rounds on social media.

Way back in 1837, Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina made an infamous speech in response to the rising abolitionist movement. Thousands of anti-slavery petitions had poured into the Capitol, and for Calhoun, it was time to draw the line. A generation earlier, some of the most respected minds of his region—Jefferson, for one—regarded slavery as an unhappy necessity that would soon, one hoped, outlive its usefulness (becoming safe, legal, and rare?). Calhoun wasn’t having it. Hangdog expressions of the “unhappy necessity” played right into the opposition’s hands. It was time for the slaveholding interests to declare their peculiar institution, “instead of an evil, a good—a positive good.”

From our perspective that speech sounds insane, if not evil. But Calhoun correctly predicted the bloody conflict looming for the United States. He blamed it on the abolitionists—the “anti-choice” cohort of his day—who were poisoning minds. The nation would be ripped apart unless men of good will, North and South, accepted his judgment about the “positive good” of slavery and passed no laws to hinder it.

Calhoun made his speech as a direct response to the abolitionist threat 49 years after the U.S. Constitution grudgingly allowed slavery in the Southern states. The “positive good” abortion rhetoric is coming 45 years after Roe, with the threat of a realigned Supreme Court. In both cases, a regrettable fact of life, due for extinction or severe reduction, did not go away. Instead, the justification for it grew more extreme until the indefensible became, not just defensible, but desirable. 

I don’t think we’re headed for a shooting war, but a showdown is coming, probably within the next 20 years: It won’t be won with guns, or words, or rage. My first response to in-your-face memes and signs about parasites is first anger, then sorrow. These are sheep without a shepherd, who know not what they do. If they only knew what makes for peace.

Then I pray for them.

Comments

  • PAUL GOELLER
    Posted: Wed, 05/29/2019 08:21 pm

    It is very easy to get angry - but Janie's respone is the most appropriate one - pray for them.  As followers of Jesus we are always "on mission" to do whatever love requires".  And God requires us to pray for even those who might want to persecute us. The early church turned the world "upside down" simply by "being the church" to a world culture that was so dark we can hardly imagine.  What a difference could we make in our culture, in our time if we followed Jesus command to love - how else will the world know we are truly His disciples (John 13;34-35)?

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Thu, 05/30/2019 08:38 am

    When you are struggling with the "love" part, you can remember the "we wrestle not against flesh and blood" part (EPH6).

    Satan is the author of the lie "abortion is good", and because he is "the god of this age" who "has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they CANNOT see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2CO4.4), the pity will rise up to overtake the anger.

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Fri, 05/31/2019 03:54 pm

    well, we hope so, but it's not at all easy..... Praise God for the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.

  • William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Thu, 05/30/2019 11:24 am

    prayers are good, I don't deny that. But I hope Janie prays for warriors to go fight the battle in the marketplace, putting on their armor of God and fighting this spiritual war. Retreating to your safe space won't be enough to win the battle.

  • Bob C
    Posted: Thu, 05/30/2019 03:19 pm

    To admit the sin of their depravity would be unbearable painful, so they take pride in it. Jesus loves us, even while we are in our sin, what greater love can there be?

  • Xion's picture
    Xion
    Posted: Thu, 05/30/2019 07:38 pm

    Trying to debate a typical liberal is rarely possible.  The liberal mindset is one of moral superiority.  Detractors are by definition evil, which changes the rules.  Anything short of the loudest outrage against non-liberals is in itself evil.  In this way, all manner of incivility against conservatives becomes justified and even required.  Disagree and you will be immediately unfriended and worse.

  • KeithT
    Posted: Fri, 05/31/2019 05:30 pm

    Interesting. Here is what I bet liberals would write about conservatives (and with much justification):

    Trying to debate a typical conservative is rarely possible.  The conservative mindset - especially that of religious conservitives - is one of moral superiority.  Detractors are by definition evil, which changes the rules.  Anything short of the loudest outrage against non-conservatives is in itself evil.  In this way, all manner of incivility against liberals becomes justified and even required.  Disagree and you will be immediately unfriended and worse.

    We conservatives need to do better.  Instead of labeling and listing all their shortcomings as a justification for dismissing them, try asking questions and listening.  A pastor I heard said he's learned that most conflicts are not solved by addressing the surface issue, but require asking questions that uncover at least 3-4 layers of concerns, values, motivations, hopes, fears, cultural context, personal history, and more before the root issue can be uncovered.  Then steps towards reconciliation can begin.  If you haven't, please read Sophia Lee's article, "Heart to heart with Laci Green."  It's an example of a good step in the right direction.

  • Rich277
    Posted: Fri, 05/31/2019 08:27 am

    These are child sacrifices to the gods of this age.  The more the culture embraces the gods, the more it celebrates the sacrifice.