Awesome Guest Post: Should we stone abortion clinicians?

…and great timing for me, for I’m busy braving that inner circle of hell known as Tech Support for, which is getting more hits than it can handle.

Should we stone abortion clinicians?

Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director, launched a new ministry, And Then There Were None. Check out this logic:

No more abortion clinic workers.
No more abortion clinics.
No more abortions.

Some “pro-lifers” have criticized this approach. Here’s one miss-the-point-pro-lifer:

“The pro-life movement was doing just fine before Abby Johnson left Planned Parenthood andwhile her efforts have been appreciable, I feel now that she has crossed a line into some kind of movement that has less to do with the ending of abortion and instead is some kind of carthartic excercise to humanize the very organization that has systematically dehumanized unborn children dating back more three quarters of a century.”

Doing just fine? I’ve never heard a pro-lifer describe the movement as dandy. But something deeper remains off kilter here. Let’s examine this absurdity that’s crushing where it should be relieving.

A complaint leveled against Johnson’s ministry: It makes it “too easy” for abortion workers to quit.  This is the old logic of a guy named Donatus, the father of “it’s too easy to repent.”

Who was he? The Christians were persecuted under Emperor Dicoclesian in 303 AD and Churches and Bibles were destroyed. Some were tortured or martyred, others caved and gave the Roman authorities Bibles, reported the location of other Christians, or even made offerings to pagan gods under pressure.

Enter Bishop Donatus. Annoyed that those who buckled remained in the Church, Donatus and his clan set up a new standard for what composes a serious Christian: Lapsed bishops and priests cannot even validly administer sacraments (e.g. baptism), so they said. Lucky for us, St. Augustine was waiting at the end of the century to throw down by appealing to Rome’s authority as a sure guide against the pick-and-choose-your-own-authority crowd. The Church went with Augustine; the Donatists were sent packing.

Why does this matter today? With 50 million+ abortions in our country, we are dealing with a generation of mothers and fathers who are post-abortion. It means your church, grocery store, and gym are filled with women who have had abortions – some unwillingly and others by choice. This post-abortion army is ripe for forgiveness and conversion (aren’t all Christians converts? Isn’t the Church a hospital for those who have the disease of sin?). They’ve already condemned themselves. They know pain. Our job is to introduce them to the guy who heals.

Abortion offends God – that’s called sin. Those who participate in it (directly or indirectly) are buying lies and become enslaved to sin. They are not free. So should we condemn them? Remember how Jesus spoke to Prostitutes? Though they were sinners, participating in sin, he wanted to set them free. He highlighted sin not to obsess over it, but that they might seek salvation. Jesus came to annihilate sin on the cross.

What if we had a ministry to save women out of prostitution? Pro-life Donatists would tell us it would be wrong, because we’d be making it “too easy” for them to leave. Jesus was the first guy to make an easy exit it out of sin, we’re just following the boss. If you can’t explain why people should leave sin and enter freedom, and help them do so (traditionally known as “evangelizing”), you have a different boss.

Abortionists have turned their backs on God, our job is to help them turn around. The Bible tells the story of a woman caught in adultery and she’s thrown to Jesus’ feet by those who planned to stone her. What did Jesus do? He had more right than any to condemn her because sin primarily offends Him. He did not say, “If I quickly forgive you, it will make it too easy for you to leave your life of sin.” Jesus is the way out, the only way out.

Jesus does say, “Come as you are,” but to the chagrin of relativists he does not say, “Go as you are.” Rather, “Go, and sin no more.” God is Truth. God is Love. Can we seek one without the other? And Then There Were None reveals truth (horror of abortion) through love (extending the presence of God). This mirrors Jesus’ words and actions. “Go” because he mercifully forgives her. “Sin no more” because sin is not okay and it takes virtue to strive in holiness. And since the contemporary Donatists don’t get the love and mercy portion, we must add, “No stoning please.”

Towards abortion doctors, nurses, and clinicians, we must couple our anger with sadness -like a father who learns his teenage daughter is sleeping around. Anger without sadness is not love. Sadness without anger is not love either. If we hate abortion but don’t love the mothers and abortionists, we won’t have converts because we’re not dishing out the gospel of Christ the only way it can be served: truth wrapped in love.

Another sinner once came to Jesus, knelt and wept. She washed his dirty feet with extremely
expensive perfume and her tears, and wiped his feet dry with her hair. She cried so becauses he recognized her sin offended God. But Judas (who witnessed the repentance) ridiculed her because he didn’t understand the way of Jesus, the way of conversion. Today’s Donatists canonly condemn the guilty. But they do not understand mercy, and that mercy is the completion and perfection of justice. They do not understand the way of Jesus. They can only side with Judas saying, “Well that was a waste of money.” Like this criticism leveled against Johnson, “Is the pulling away of more pro-life resources warranted for this kind of ministry?” They make Judas’error: repentance is unimportant with this kind of cash on the line.

Everyone needs reconciliation. Tough guys are victims too. Bullies, gang bangers, drug dealers, prostitutes, murderers – they are hurting and empty inside. They are enslaved to their desires.They need serious healing. We tend to overlook their need for redemption, and only wish swift justice upon them. Such desire for justice is good, but not at the expense of mercy. They too can be saved – look at Mary Magdalene or the good thief on the Cross or Saul or Augustine the playboy or Giles the Satanist or Vladimir the rapist and practitioner of human sacrifice – they all have one thing in common: Conversion. And now their names begin with 2 special letters: St. They became saints. That’s the power of the gospel for sinners – it makes them saints. Why the complaining? Why the qualifications? Don’t be a Donatist. Instead, hear the words of Jesus, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

– Chris Gilbert, Youth Minister at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Charlottesville, VA.

Awesome. Y’all have a great day now. Don’t party too hard.

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  • Miguel

    Thank you for your healing perspective. The same can we said for any kind of sinner. Love requires mercy. And that’s the long and short of it.

  • Theresa Fortin

    One of the best articles I’ve read yet. You have a gift and I thank you for sharing it. God bless you!

  • Marie

    Reminds me of the parable where the workers all showed up a different times, but all got the same payment at the end of the day. The first ones whined about it – which seems perfectly reasonable, but God’s “fair” is not our “fair”.

  • Michellehood

    Interesting thing about the blogger you reference: he never allows anyone expressing an opinion different from his to post on his blog. He won’t approve their comments — he’s never approved mine. I sure am glad Jesus didn’t take this guy’s approach with me in my sin. If Jesus worked that way, we’d all be in hell.

  • K. Bartell

    “Doing just fine?” Well, if by that you mean, “The enemy’s ready to give; I think I just broke his hand with my face,” then yes, everything’s going swimmingly.

    Scream too loudly for justice, and you tempt souls to despair. If we’re wise, we know we all get fewer stripes than we justly deserve. If we want mercy for ourselves, we’d best love our neighbors enough to wish the same for them.

  • Lisa Mladinich

    Right on! Thank you for sharing this guest-post, Marc! It is holy and excellent! Sharing…

  • Erikh

    um, there were no Bibles in 303.

    • Jared

      The individual books were all written, so the writer probably meant he had destroyed copies of the Old Testament, Gospels, and Letters which would later be compiled into the Bible.

  • Ben

    –”Those who participate in it (directly or indirectly) are buying lies and become enslaved to sin. They are not free. So should we condemn them?”–

    Meh… I’m all about the non-stoning non-Donatist attitude, but they should definitely be condemned PRE-repentance given the usual elements are met (which in this age of confusion may or may not be met). I am not saying we need to approach them with hostility (I agree with the main post here), I am just saying that they often CAN be responsible, and are condemned if so until repentance. That is, its not just an evil they need to give up, but they are often to blame for the wrong (unlike, say, a disease).

    Of course, post reconciliation is another story. They are a new creation then.

  • Jay E.

    That was very well put, you made my day for bringing up Donatus.

  • Melia

    I needed to hear that. I’ve been reading various Catholic blogs lately (want to convert myself), and while I understand their anger at those both inside and outside the church, I do wish for more of that whole ‘loving one’s enemies’ trope, as all the bitterness threatens to drive me to despair.

    • MotherSetonsDaughter

      Good Luck, Melia! Came into the Church myself at 40. Just keep an open mind and an open heart; don’t be afraid to go where the Holy Spirit leads you.

  • Gail Finke

    “Jesus does say, “Come as you are,” but to the chagrin of relativists he does not say, “Go as you are.” Rather, “Go, and sin no more.”

    I love that especially. Great post. While I have a hard time understanding how doctors and nurses can do abortions, and how people can work at clinics, I’m all for helping them to leave! I have not met any neo-Donatists but the impulse to demand more for foregiveness than God does, though understandable in many cases, is very bad for one’s soul.

  • JAGreene86

    Violence is the outward expression of hatred: Conversion is the outward expression of love.

    We do not repay evil by doing evil. We do not kill because others are killing. We do not condemn because we have faced condemnation.

    We are, as Christians, are “set apart” from the normal realm. We do not need to enslave ourselves to the rest of the world. We, freely, enslave ourselves to the order of Jesus Christ, and His order is to Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us in His name. But also, Paul writes that we are solders of Christ Jesus, to take upon the Armor of Salvation, and that we are not fight people, we are fighting principalities, ideas, and powers. We are fighting abortion, not the people enslaved in abortion. You must defeat the master in order to free the servant and tell the servant to never become wrongfully enslaved again. We must defeat the ideals and powers that support abortion, but not to lay a hand on those caught in it’s trap. Christians should share no association with violence against other people…however, we should “fight the good fight of faith” against the evil ideas of the world.

    Jesus called everyone to conversion. With some, He was as gentle as a dove…but with others, He was as cunning as a fox. To those who know have done wrong, gentleness is what they need. To those who don’t acknowledge their sin, “tough love”, as they put it, might be in order.

    Many suffering from the sin of abortion (whether directly or indirectly) know that they are/have done wrong. These are people like Abby Johnson who needed gentleness and Mercy, since they knew how broken they have become from their sin. Others, however, live in the “ignorance is bliss” mentality, and need their pride to be broken down with Truth and Justice.

    All of this is out of an act of love. The desire for conversion for another is linked with God’s desire to call everyone to conversion. We do not benefit directly when someone else converts, but it is in the joy of “one repentant sinner” that we rejoice with Heaven above.

    I pray for the world’s conversion, and I pray that God equips me to help convert those who come to me with the desire for conversion. Conversion is between them and God in the first place, but God can use me to greatly help them along the journey if I so desire.

    My love for God is the reason why I love people. My own conversion of my heart is the reason why I desire others to convert. The lesson of Truth and the power of Mercy that I have received in my life is the reason why I preach Truth and Mercy.

    “What you do to the least of these; you do to Me.”

  • Nancy

    Thank you for sharing this post. I was jumping up and down when he referenced prostitutes — I volunteer in a ministry that attempts to be the hands and feet of Christ to women who work in the sex industry (as exotic dancers, primarily, with some overlap into prostitution). They are very like the clinic workers in that a.) they already believe that Christians hate them, and b.) they would never be working where they’re working if they weren’t believing some significant lies about the value and dignity of human life.

    Our job is to love people into the kingdom of God. Rarely do we condemn people into moving closer to Jesus — rather, we should be shocking people with the extravagant love of Christ. They should be so astonished by how we reflect His love that they want to discover more about it themselves. Would that more of us, and more of our parishes and churches did this — we would have to turn people away because our masses and services were too full.

  • David

    How the heck can anybody criticize what Abby Johnson is doing? Hel-LO! Promote the pro-life cause by changing the hearts of people who work at clinics! Isn’t this what I’ve heard is THE ONLY SOLUTION to the abortion debate for 20 years now? Don’t trust legislators, change people’s hearts? And now that someone’s actually trying to do that, we’re gonna hear, “Well, it’s too easy on the abortion workers.” When the heck did CONVERSION become a controversial concept for CHRISTIANS?

    Sorry, just gotta rant.

    • Rose

      I agree, I think that would be the best way to promote the pro-life cause and reduce abortion. I honestly doubt it will work because I think the people working there are working there because they think they are helping women.

    • Tara

      And I’ve never envisioned conversion to be “easy”…

  • Brian F Hudon Perhaps you might have included all my comments on my blog, and some of those by Abby herself before you starting throwing stones yourself. Such as the following comment by Abby Johnson: “And for anyone who says, “oh, you left without support, so can they.” You don’t know my story. I left ONLY because I knew I would have financial support when I left. I knew I wouldn’t be wondering how I would feed my child. Many of these workers don’t have that reassurance. I had a support system in place. Most of these workers don’t…unless we step up and help them.”

    I guess if you really need a job, according to Abby Johnson, killing the unborn is as good as any, or perhaps like the “Occupy” protesters, they simply think that too many other jobs are beneath them. After all, many of these workers have college degrees and are recruited on college campuses just like Abby was. I think it’s great if people choose to leave the abortion work, but no one should be there to ensure them a standard of living. The great saints were willing to die for their convictions. In Abby Johnson’s world, convictions aren’t worth missing a paycheck for. If I realized I was doing something this horrible, I’d be willing to live on the street to get away.

    • Adam Cormier

      The point if if they are the sole provider of their family or a major income, the moral reasoning of the evils of abortion would most likely be subverted by supporting your family. I agree it shouldn’t be difficult to leave and find another job if you see the horrors of abortion if you don’t have a family. But imagine leaving one when the support for your entire family could rest on your shoulders, the risk of not being able to provide for them would almost certainly keep most men and woman in the profession, not for themselves but their family. That is what Abby is trying to fix and I think her movement is a step in the right direction.

      • Sue

        Plus to make a conversion of heart, it doesn’t happen instantaneously. Just look at Augustine, it took him 30 years. These clinic workers have said no to God for so long, that when they decide to say yes, they need help. They probably have no idea how to trust God fully and it takes a true Christian to show them how. That includes helping them support their families, if they can see that, then they will see that God does provide, through the rest of us who are His hands and His feet.

    • QDefenestration

      They’re not just responsible for themselves, they’re responsible for other human lives. Being another cog in the abortion industry’s machine vs letting your family starve? Could you really make that choice yourself?

      Better that we work so that no one does.

    • Therese

      It’s easy to condemn a person for a sin that you have never felt tempted to commit.
      And not helping these people get out of that type of horrible place. Would be as bad as not helping a woman who had just had an abortion. Both of them need people helping them. If we refuse them, we are as bad as people say we are.

  • Brian F Hudon

    And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” -Matthew 14:28-31

    If the abortion worker will not depart the boat motivated by Christ’s call alone, they will never walk towards Christ. They do not return his call because they are too fearful. They cannot even risk the dangers of the waters, because they are too proud. Christ says “Come”. No one can take these first steps but the one called. If they are not willing to ignore the dangers of the sea, how will they have faith?

    • jenn

      I think you may be missing the point. If Peter – who already had a strong relationship with our Lord – was fearful in leaving the boat, how much more help and encouragement would one who may not know our Lord’s love and mercy need in making such a “leap of faith”.

      • Margaret Davis

        The Church has existed for over 2,000 years now. We know so much more and communication of the truth is so prolific. Besides, even Dr. Tiller, the late term abortionist, called himself a Christian. God speaks to the heart. If He’s speaking to the heart of an abortionist or clinician then that “leap of faith” is possible.

  • Tim

    Great post. It reminds me of the Prodigal Son.

  • Karen

    Beautiful! God is love and mercy which is why He is a just God.

  • Ptyler

    likewise the Dracula of olden folkloric proportions and / or Vladimir the impaler of the realm…they were the epitome of evil incarnates…my beliefs

  • Nick B. Steves

    Should we stone abortion clinicians? In a saner world, a righteous ruler would in fact punish such a crime by death. They should, of course, be given ample spiritual guidance and an opportunity to repent before meeting their maker. We obviously don’t live in anything close to a sane world, so the question is somewhat moot. I do however believe that penances have grown exceedling light of late, and that is something the Church’s (all too) human leaders have the right and duty to correct.

    • Margaret Davis

      Nick, did Jesus tell the sinner to go and do penance? No, he didn’t. He knew she had true sorrow. That’s all Jesus wants. These sins haunt people the rest of their lives. It’s not as if they go home from confession and never contemplate what they did ever again. I’ve spoken to people who’ve had abortions and each one were haunted, one said “daily” though it had been years since her abortion. Have mercy Nick. After all we are all sinners.
      Could you go out in that state of mind you display and convince an abortion clinic worker that she/he should join us?
      When the law once again outlaws abortion the law will hand down proper punishment. The law itself can be an effective deterrent. I asked an abortionist why he did abortions and his immediate answer was, “It’s legal”.

  • nitnot

    Bernard Nathanson. Discuss.

  • nitnot

    Abby Johnson said that the fear of not having an income kept her in the killing biz longer … and I don’t doubt that fear is widespread among killing biz workers, just as that fear is widespread among ordinary people. So if this is their roadblock — and it is a real roadblock in their minds and hearts, regardless of the oh-so-pure who say “if they really repented, they would quit anyway” — makes me wonder whether those oh-so-pure have ever had children they were responsible for? But I digress … well, let’s just get rid of that roadblock and remove that excuse … and make straight the path for them to move toward conversion … that’s what Abby’s ministry is about. It’s as purely Christian as buying slaves in order to set them free. Meanwhile, we continue to work to outlaw the killing from the top down, just as we continue work to eliminate the slave trade. Both/and … what’s more Catholic and truly Christian that that? Thank you, Abby.

  • Rose

    “your church, grocery store, and gym are filled with women who have had abortions – some unwillingly and others by choice. This post-abortion army is ripe for forgiveness and conversion (aren’t all Christians converts? Isn’t the Church a hospital for those who have the disease of sin?). They’ve already condemned themselves. They know pain. Our job is to introduce them to the guy who heals.”

    Um, I had an abortion and I don’t think I understand this pain. What do you mean I “know pain?” I felt pain during my short pregnancy and relief and happiness with it’s termination. As for the offering of healing, thanks but no thanks.

    • Margaret Davis

      Well then I will pray for you Rose. You are on this site for a reason. If you seek to find the truth then you will find it one day. If not and your heart is not open to it, then know that real suffering awaits the sinner…. for all eternity. Killing one’s preborn child is a sin. Without repentence of such a grave sin there is Hell forever and ever. On the other hand God’s mercy is forever. It is healing. It is love. Rational people all appreciate being loved. God, the creator of all things offers it to all mankind, for He wants all mankind to be saved from sin. Is it so hard to recognize sin as something that offends the one who made you?…made you to be good, to be kind, to protect the little one’s who cannot protect themselves?

    • Brian F Hudon

      The Church is a hospital for the sick, the spiritually sick. Abby Johnson is not the Church however.

  • Hi There

    What exactly is wrong with you for even suggesting to take someone’s life because they pull out unwanted babies, and if you say put it up for adoption try to list all of the children available for adoption and tell me there aren’t more than 100k, if someone CHOOSES to take away THEIR baby YOU AND YOUR GOD have NO affect or any input whatsoever. So go live your life and think about how immoral it is that priests can molest young children and not be condemned and simply moved, or something more important than how a woman wants her body to look or feel. If It’s your baby congratulations, if you’re a woman It’s your choice If you’re a man you have no say in how your wife choses to have something that would have to grow inside of her.

    • Hi

      The fact that a baby lives inside its mother’s body does not mean she has the right to kill it. Could she kill her baby after it was born because it was sleeping in “her crib” Could I kill you because you were in “my house”? (not a threat or anything, just an example) That logic does not make sense. “MY GOD” actually does have a say in whether a mother decides to kill her baby because He brought both of them from nothingness into existence. I do not think anyone has the right to hate or wish violence on those who kill unborn babies, because God created them too. The point is that both the unborn child and the abortion clinician are equally valuable, and no one has the right to take the life of either. Also, no Catholic thinks that it is in any way acceptable for a priest to molest a child. The fact that the scandal was covered up is truly shameful and the Church has taken responsibility for it.