The end of what Ed Stetzer presciently called “An Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News” brought a wave of articles demanding to know why some Christians refused to jump on the Fake News bandwagon.
Stetzer himself — with a whiplashing-inducing lack of self-consciousness just days later — asked “Where are the Mainline and Progressive Evangelical Voices Speaking Up After That Planned Parenthood Tragedy?” That set the tone for the rest of the wave of similar posts and tweets, all of which, like Stetzer, asked: 1) Why aren’t pro-choice Christians abruptly changing their tune because of a Snopes-debunked video from Operation Rescue? while 2) Not bothering to engage, hear or pay any attention to the great deal that pro-choice Christians are, and have been, saying.
Anyway, since one of these posts has mentioned me by name as a pro-choice Christian who has been suspiciously silent in the wake of this video and its lack of any revelations about anything, I suppose I should respond. And since that post is from a blogger whose writing I enjoy and whom I regard fondly, I will even attempt to respond with something more than simply pointing out that I wrote two posts and a half-dozen tweets on this very subject before he asked why I hadn’t said anything about it.
When I first caught news of this video, of its purported substance, its actual lack of anything like said substance, and its provenance, I wrote what I usually write in response to the many, many iterations of this very same phenomena — a single bullet item consisting of a link to the story embedded in this phrase: “I am shocked — shocked! — that good Christians are spreading lies about Planned Parenthood.” (Initially I had that with a link to this Goblinbooks post.)
That’s what I usually write whenever I come across a story of American Christians spreading lies about Planned Parenthood. (Well, obviously, I mean whenever I come across a public, headline-making story about that. If I tried to post that sentence every time American Christians spread lies about Planned Parenthood I’d never have time to write anything else. Or to eat or sleep.)
Like the leading anti-abortion members of Congress, when they dismissed the video as inconsequential after previewing it a month ago, I didn’t see any way this could be a big deal.
But before posting that bullet-item post, I realized this was, in fact, being manufactured into a big deal. So I deleted the Capt. Renault gag and wrote the other thing I always write here. I wrote it twice — once on Wednesday morning, and then again Wednesday afternoon. That amounts to some 2,500 words posted on the subject prior to being challenged on my silence.
And here is what I wrote about this latest video back in 2008, six years before it was recorded and seven years before it was released:
And here’s a testier, less patient, cut-to-the-chase version of the same thing:
As you’ll see from those links, I tend to repeat myself a lot here. Everything I wrote this week about this latest Scary Story echoes and/or repeats everything I’ve been writing for years about all the earlier versions of these Scary Stories, whether the particular prompt is the Satanic baby-killers of Mike Warnke’s lucrative imagination or the Satanic baby-killers of Randall Terry’s unfunny version of the same act.
And every third time or so I usually toss in that same old bit from Mere Christianity, in which Lewis describes, with meticulous precision and foresight, the test that American Christians are failing and the damage that anti-abortionism has done as it has displaced evangelical faith.
Let me close by reassuring my friend — and Ed Stetzer and all the rest — that I will continue to write and to “Speak Up” about this video and all of its iterations. A lot of that will be snark and mordant humor at the expense of those choosing to bear such false witness, but a lot of it will also be genuine lamentation at those in bondage to this pretense of self-righteous indignation and the way it slowly transforms them into “devils … fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.” That’s harsh language from Lewis. But he isn’t wrong.