So. These horrific Planned Parenthood videos. As I’ve been watching this all unfold, there are a couple things I keep noticing – just a jumble of thoughts, really.
The first thing that jumps out at me is that this entire horror show is run by women. It’s startling actually. The abortion doctors, the nurses, the baby-part-wholesalers, the corporate bureaucracy, and obviously every mother who turns up at a Planned Parenthood chop shop to have her own baby executed and sold for parts. Clearly, the entire situation is built on the premise of men’s sin . . . but the fact remains that this grisly, depraved, monstrous assault on human dignity is being conducted by women. I’ve seen a lot of “this is a war on women” and “women betrayed” kind of language lately . . . and it’s completely true. But the thing I continue to find odd is that it’s a war on women which is being conducted by women. Everyone (rightly) keeps noticing parallels between America’s abortion mills and Nazi Germany, but I think there’s another similarity besides the gruesome nature of the problem and the massive body count.
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, the Germans often times actually appointed Jewish leadership in the ghettos, and it was those Jewish leaders who forced their own people into slave labor, who rounded up the quotas to be shipped to concentration camps, and who generally ruled their own people with a rod of iron on behalf of the Nazis. Rumkowski was a famous example of this – a Jew who was responsible for thousands and thousands of Jewish deaths. But he continues to be a controversial figure because all of his own rhetoric was that he was only doing this to help the Jewish people manage to survive. Was he a traitor? Or was he simply being shrewd and getting as many Jews through the Holocaust as possible – by pragmatically throwing many, many, many of them overboard? His most famous speech was when he stood up in the ghetto and said “Give me your children” – to send away to the camps. He said it, of course, like he was sad about it – a little choke in his voice no doubt – but nonetheless, he demanded everyone give up their children for the greater good. “I never imagined I would be forced to deliver this sacrifice to the altar with my own hands. In my old age, I must stretch out my hands and beg: Brothers and sisters! Hand them over to me! Fathers and mothers: Give me your children!”
The Jews of Poland were betrayed by their own – just as “Women Betrayed” are being betrayed by their own. But to some degree, any Jew who willingly handed over their child to save themselves was complicit in the evil . . . no matter how lied to they were, or how impossible everything seemed. Just as every mother who willingly donates her baby’s body parts to “research” is also complicit in the evil . . . no matter how lied to she is, how impossible everything seems. This, of course, is why the after-effects of an abortion can be so devastating for a woman – because she is left with such a burden of guilt over what she’s done, regret, confusion, etc.
But this leads to the next thing I keep noticing – which is that the line between victim and perpetrator is always a very tricky thing – but especially so in this area. I think our tendency is to want everything to be very simple – to freeze moments of time and be able to point to who is the black hat and who is the white hat at any given moment. But that line is nowhere near that clear. For every monster out there who is dissecting babies and haggling over the prices . . . how did they get there? I’ll bet if we rewind the tape 20 years, odds are good that we would find a sad, pitiful, atrocious little story playing out – and they would be the victim we would sympathize with in that moment. Which is just to say that “victim” is not synonymous with “righteous.” Apart from grace, victims frequently go on to become perpetrators themselves. How many molesters were molested themselves? How many current victims will go on to hurt and defile others? Are these ladies who make a living by ripping babies apart every day actually just making some desperate and horrific attempt to bury a memory that refuses to stay in its shallow and unquiet grave? That is the sad brokenness of the human condition – which means that ultimately, the most important dividing line is not between “victims” and “perpetrators” but between “forgiven” and “unforgiven.” Being the victim of abuse, being lied to, believing the monsters who tell you the only solution is to kill your baby . . . that’s horrible. It’s devastating. But it doesn’t make you righteous. There was only one truly righteous victim -which is the good news of the gospel. I think if we want to fight the horror of Planned Parenthood effectively, it’s important to see clearly that “women” are not the victims who need to be liberated from the tyranny of the abortion industry . . . women need to be forgiven so that they can be liberated from the tyranny of the abortion industry – no matter where they fall on the scale of victim or perpetrator. Is she a tragic victim of abuse? Then she needs to be freed by the free grace offered in the gospel. Is she a selfish college girl who won’t give up her lifestyle or her career dreams? Then she needs to be freed by the free grace offered in the gospel. Is she a suburban mom, haunted by the memory of that abortion she never told anyone about, having babies now in a desperate effort to make up for that one she refused to have? Then she needs to be freed by the free grace offered in the gospel. Is she an abortion doctor with thousands of deaths on her conscience? Then she needs to be freed by the free grace offered in the gospel.
And the last thing I keep wondering about is how many Christians are sitting out of this particular fight because of some random compromise in their own life. I think we’re seeing a glimmer of what could happen if Christians all threw themselves into something – we might actually be able to change the course that this ship called America is sailing. But, for instance, look at how Tchividjian just took himself out of the fight – right at a moment when everyone could have really used his help. How many Christians are sitting this one out in some similar way? How many men feel sheepish about saying anything on this issue because they themselves are sexually compromised? How many women are keeping quiet because they feel like a hypocrite since they had an abortion years ago? Or then again, how many women are so caught up in their own current sin – too busy fighting with their husband, or not speaking to their children . . . too absorbed in their current personal sin to make time to be interested in this national sin? Or the kid who has spent so much time trying to make it in the (to take an instance at random) indie-rock scene that he doesn’t want to blow it all by saying something out loud which would ruin his chances. The Pro-Life movement is accustomed to say that life begins at conception. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” But sin is the same way. A sin is a sin, no matter how small – and just like a baby, that sin will grow. The Bible uses this metaphor as well, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” How many Christians are cherishing a little sin, nurturing it, hiding it, wearing baggier and baggier shirts in the hopes that no one will notice how they’ve changed lately . . . clinging to death in a way that makes them unable to fight for life? We need to pray that the Christians in America would all get their own hearts in order – so that they can help take down this beast that is Planned Parenthood.