I am so distressed today. There are a lot of words being said, back and forth, across the social media sites today about the lack of media coverage of the abortionist who is being tried for murder. One of the nurses testified that at least one infant screamed as the doctor severed its’ neck with scissors. That in and of itself is a horrible thing to testify to, to witness, and to have done. Wanton-less killing is evil; pure and simple. And I am a pro-life person through and through. I have learned, through the years, that being pro-life does not just mean that you are anti-abortion. It does mean, however, that you believe in the sanctity of all human life, from a natural beginning to a natural end.
And the rhetoric that is being flung against this man, and against the mainstream media, is pretty strong. I was invited to participate in a tweeting meeting…I have no idea what exactly that is, because I really haven’t figured out tweeting. I guess it’s like instant messaging a whole bunch of people, all at the same time? I am unclear on the concept or the need for it. But I digress. Part of this invitation included lots of comments from the pro-life contingency. And that is where my upset stomach comes in.
We cannot say the sort of things that are being said about this man and consider ourselves Christians. It is one thing to believe that someone is guilty of a heinous crime, and I in no way believe this man is innocent, and it is another to speak with such hatred and vitriolic commentary. How can someone say they are pro-life and Christian, and wish upon a fellow human being the same atrocities they have committed against these babies? One commentator said he thinks this doctor should be killed by scissors, without anesthesia, piece by piece until he is dead. There were so many comments about an eye for an eye and so many Biblical quotes from the Old Testament. The one most used is: “If two men are fighting and they strike a pregnant woman and her children are born prematurely, but there is no harm, he is certainly to be fined as the husband of the woman demands of him, and he will pay as the court decides.” (Exodus 21:22). For one thing, this verse is talking about a woman being an innocent bystander when two men are arguing; they accidentally hit her and she miscarries. Her husband can then demand recompense for the loss of her child. This is not about abortion. In the case of abortion, the mother is complicit with the decision to kill her child; she is no innocent bystander, but an active participant.
Christ came to change the world. Yes, He came to cause division. Yes, He certainly stirred the pot in the ancient world and tried to change how people viewed themselves and their neighbors. He instructed us to, above all, love our neighbor and pray for those who persecute us. He also taught us the value of life…of all life. We are not to sit as judge, jury, and executioner; that is God’s prerogative. Certainly, this doctor deserves to be punished by the law. Pope John Paul II said that the death penalty is just in a just society. Is the society we find ourselves in right now, a just society? I think not. We have all sorts of standards, in all sorts of situations. Very few people believe our judicial system is actually working. We have more people in jail in America than total populations in some countries. We house more criminals than any country in history. But does this system work? Recidivism, that subconscious desire to return to the world of the prison system, pulls hard at so many of our convicted. They prefer life on the inside versus life in the streets. We have raised a generation who believe the world owes them everything and they don’t need to do a thing to earn it. We have one of the most severely under-educated populations in the world, and yet we spend more per pupil than any other nation.
Most of the commentary about this doctor is so hateful and spiteful, and supposedly said by Christians, that it is frightening. Now be prepared, because I am a person of eclectic tastes. One of my favorite TV shows is called Supernatural. The premise is these two brothers, working with angels, are trying to stop the apocalypse from happening. There is a lot more to it than that, but that is the basic idea. In one episode, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are slowly escaping (the explanation for the whys of that take an entire season) and War has made himself known in a small town in Colorado. When one of the brothers is chatting with War, he asks him why is he poisoning the people? What is he doing? Is it an incantation, a spell, a drug? War simply answers that he needs none of that. Lovely, complacent, Christians (many of the scenes take place in the Catholic church’s basement Hall, where a stunned priest asks, “Wait, you mean the Apocalypse?) can turn on their neighbor when you simply introduce doubt and suspicion into their minds. He goes on to say that being War is one of the most simple things to be because humanity itself can war on itself, with nothing more than a little nudge from him. That got me to thinking about the reaction to this doctor. Hateful. And the reaction in politics – it is frightening how our hatred spews from the same mouths that proclaim Christ as King.
Today, the vitriol made my stomach just churn in knots. I grabbed a tums and sat down to write. What we say and how we act shows where our hearts truly lay. If we can so easily turn on another human being with such hatred, is it any surprise that things like the holocaust could happen in those quiet, German, suburbs? Is there any surprise that Planned Parenthood can operate in our towns and cities with no reaction? Where is the surprise at what a late term abortion entails? Babies are born alive and then they are killed. When my sons were born, they were crying almost right away. Of course a baby will scream when you cut its neck with scissors. What did we think happened? But do we really want to impose that same thing on this doctor? What happened to us that we think that is justified, while decrying ourselves as Christians? Christ told us, quite specifically, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48) The fifth chapter of Matthew contains the Sermon on the Mount. Christ exhorts us to behave above and beyond what our culture expects of us. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5: 21-26).
It frightens me, how easily the hatred and frustrations people bear towards their neighbor comes to the surface. How can we possibly attract people to Christ when we behave like that? If someone from the pro-abortion side were to read the comments made on this pro-life site, they would feel even more justified in their position. They spew things about pro-life supporters, calling us names and telling us how false we are. Perhaps if we show our underbellies like this, there is some truth in what our naysayers actually say about us. I stopped reading the sites and went to prayer for these people. We need to love the sinner, but hate the sin. It is stated this way in Scripture: If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? (1 John 4:20) St. Augustine is thought to have expounded on that with the love the sinner but hate the sin statement. There is more evidence that we should not judge our brothers: “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eyes; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5). Furthermore, Christ instructs us: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever …” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
In no way do these statements of Christ I have opted to quote, nor my commentary, undermine or reduce the crime this man has committed. In no way do I condone his actions. I believe abortion is evil and wrong, and a choice of convenience. In our hedonistic society, we are all about serving ourselves and not looking out for our brothers. We think that we have the right of death over life, when in fact, that belongs to God alone. My point is that the words we use do remain until eternity. And because eternity is never-ending, our words are never-ending as well. Do we want to be known for the vitriolic hatred spewed about this man, or would it be better to calm down this hateful rhetoric, push for a life-long jail sentence, and see to correcting the societal ills that approve of abortion in the first place? Let us not sink down into the miasma of hatred from which the desire to kill the unborn sprang. Let us instead approach the situation with the love of Christ. He quietly stood among those in a small community, calling for the stoning of the woman accused in adultery. He alone caused that community to calmly walk away, by asking those without sin to cast that first stone. We can do at least that. We can put down the stones and allow the man to spend his life in repentant jail time, and try to change the world that caused him to abandon his training as a doctor who saves lives, to one who takes life.