Murder on South Claiborne Avenue

After the construction work is completed at 4636 South Claiborne Avenue, seven miles from my house, human babies will be murdered in that building.

I was born in 1974, the year after Roe v. Wade. All my life, abortion has been legal in the United States. During my early teen years, I became aware of abortion and sensed intuitively it was morally wrong. During my high school years, I read about the Holocaust (also called the Third Reich’s “Final Solution”). At that time, I wrote an essay comparing the slaughter of innocent “non-persons” in Europe and the butchering of innocent babies in the United States. (Owen Strachan and Collin Garbarino recently wrote about this comparison.)

My worldview has since matured. I am now able to articulate what I intuitively sensed as a teen. Abortion is immoral because it is the taking of an innocent human life, a person. All people have value at every age, stage, and level of development because God created them in His image, God loves them, and Christ died for them (Gen 1:27; John 3:16; 2 Tim 2:4. Click here for the lesson on the Sanctity of Human Life I wrote for The Gospel Project. Click here for my article on the extent and nature of God’s love, God’s desire to save, and Christ’s atonement.)

I have been encouraged to see culture move slowly toward recognizing abortion as it is: the ending of a human life. Partial credit for this shift is probably due to technological advances, especially the circulation of 3-D ultrasound images and in-utero photography. The pictures are persuasive. We’re talking about little people here.

(Photo credit: WebMD)

The recent series of undercover videos that has been strategically released by the Center for Medical Progress has exposed this tightly-held secret: Planned Parenthood sells baby parts. The callous conversations and gruesome images have been impossible to ignore. Even Hillary Clinton, who is a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and abortion, admitted the videos are “disturbing.” The barbarism has been exposed. And that’s a good thing.

To date, five states have cut funding to Planned Parenthood. That’s a start. Of course, those states are already being threatened by a federal agency that withholding funds from Planned Parenthood might violate federal law. The fight continues.

Last weekend, a friend of mine texted to ask my view on the national Planned Parenthood protest. I told her I was unaware of the event. She sent this link. She also said that some of her church friends were not supportive of the protest, saying such actions were ineffective and useless.

I thanked her for the tip and told her I planned to attend the August 22 event in New Orleans. Today, I attended the event.

I understand the hesitation of some pro-life advocates about attending a protest. After all, abortion has been “the law of the land” since 1973. However, my question for them is: Do you think doing nothing is a better idea?

In the future, I want to be able to able to tell my grandchildren I did something during this Holocaust–even if that something is as small as showing up at an under-construction clinic of death one Saturday morning for two hours to say, “This is wrong.”

This morning, about ten people waved their middle finger at me and/or yelled foul words as they passed by in their cars. Why? Because I stood with a group of people holding signs outside a building under construction by Planned Parenthood. They were about the same number of thumbs up and other affirmations.

I would estimate that several hundred people attended the event. I saw priests, pastors, women, men, bikers, children, teens, young adults, senior adults, couples, and singles. I spotted a colleague from NOBTS and about a dozen seminary students.

Were any minds changed today? I don’t know. Did the event make a difference? I’m not sure. I suspect the building will eventually open and the killing of infants will commence.

But several hundred people stood today on that site at South Claiborne Avenue to say peaceably and clearly, “This is wrong.”

(Children drew pictures and wrote “Choose Life” on the sidewalk in front of the building which, when finally open, will end the lives of many babies.)

Sam Storms on Infant Salvation

Today, The Gospel Coalition posted a brief excerpt of a book by Sam Storms answering this question: Do All Infants Go to Heaven?

My interest in this topic resulted in a PhD dissertation (revised as a book) and other articles and presentations (see here).

I am largely in agreement with Storms’ arguments and conclusion. In my estimation, however, Jeremiah 1:5 and Luke 1:15 refer to God’s choice of a prophet, not infant salvation. Also, I do not think the Bible describes salvation in terms of deterministic, individual election. Rather, the Bible describes salvation as a gift of grace that individuals are free to accept or reject. Otherwise, this is an excellent article. My favorite quotation from the article is:

Given our understanding of God’s character as presented in Scripture, does he appear as the kind of God who would eternally condemn infants on no other ground than that of Adam’s transgression?

Storms anticipates the rhetorical answer: no.

I agree.

Harvesting Body Parts

Robert George is a Princeton Law Professor. And something of a cultural prophet.

In recent weeks, the public learned through a series of undercover videos from The Center for Medical Progress that Planned Parenthood sells–or is reimbursed for–infant body parts. Ten years ago, George warned this would happen.

He had studied the subject of stem cell research as part of his service on the President’s Council on Bioethics. In a 2005 essay in The Weekly Standard, cleverly titled “Fetal Attraction,” George describes new research in which “embryonic stem cells can be produced by a method that does not involve creating or destroying a living human embryo.”

George sounds this alarm: “I fear that the long-term goal is indeed to create an industry in harvesting late embryonic and fetal body parts for use in regenerative medicine and organ transplantation.”

Harvesting. Body. Parts.

He wrote those words in 2005. The videos released last month indicate that the industry for harvesting body parts is–unfortunately–already up and running. May Congress put an end to this practice. And may God have mercy on our nation for cutting up and selling these little people, each one made in His image (Genesis 1:27).