The Church Owes Planned Parenthood An Apology

The Church Owes Planned Parenthood An Apology January 26, 2016

planned(Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr Creative Commons)

Last summer, Christianity Today columnist and church statistic aficionado Ed Stetzer wrote a fantastic article about the Church’s embarrassing tendency to share fake news stories online.

It was an incredibly timely and important reminder of the need to do due diligence (or at the very least check out Snopes) before sharing “news” on Facebook, especially when that “news” simply confirms our deepest fears and suspicions of folks we’ve already deemed our enemies. Along with providing then recent example of fake news stories being frequently shared in Christian circles, Stetzer offered 3 helpful steps for fixing the false rumor you helped to spread.

It was a post I wish everyone on the Internet – Christian and non-Christian alike – would have read.

Unfortunately, the advice fell on deaf ears.

The very next day after Ed’s wonderfully helpful post, the Center For Medical Progress released the first of a now infamous string of sting videos which purportedly proved Planned Parenthood was in the business of selling baby parts for profit.

Not surprisingly, all hell broke loose on the Christian (and politically conservative) Internet. Even many self-identified progressive Christians were understandably disturbed by what they saw.

Deftly edited, the videos seemed like an open and shut case, definitive proof that Planned Parenthood truly is as evil as its opponents have always claimed. And, to be fair, if they were indeed selling baby parts for profit, the evil label would have been well deserved.

But the videos weren’t what they appeared to be.

Despite what seemed to be unquestionably damning evidence, a whole host of questions began to be asked about the context of these interviews, what was being edited out, and who exactly this Center for Medical Progress actually was.

In the days and weeks that followed, the videos were roundly debunked as propaganda pieces put together by a radical anti-abortion group hellbent on smearing Planned Parenthood by any means necessary. This, of course, didn’t stop nearly a dozen states from conducting their own formal investigations anyway in order to discover the truth of whatever was going on.

In every single investigation, Planned Parenthood was cleared of wrong doing.

Most recently in Texas, a state one would think Planned Parenthood stood the least chance of emerging unscathed, investigators not only cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrong doing, they indicted Center for Medical Progress members David Daleiden and Sandra Merrit for tampering with a governmental record (a second degree felony) and Daleiden again on one count of prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs.

Sadly, both the debunking and the investigations were too little too late.

The mass hysteria that followed the initial release of the bogus videos was enough to ensure that Planned Parenthood was forever damned as baby part sellers in the eyes of those who had already denounced Planned Parenthood long before Daleiden and company started their hit job.

In other words, despite the perfect timing of Stetzer’s article, neither he nor many of his readers were able heed his advice.

Just 3 days after his sage post, Stetzer joined the newly formed chorus of the outraged, by calling out progressive Christians for not speaking up and denouncing the clearly indisputable evil exposed in the Planned Parenthood videos. Of course, he was far from alone. The Christian internet was filled with condemnation from every corner of the country, with passionate Planned Parenthood opponents sharing each new video as soon as they were uploaded to YouTube.

Conspicuously missing in the midst of this righteous crusade was any sense that confirmation bias might be at play or any concern that these videos uploaded by a mysterious here-to-for unknown group were being blindly accepted without much scrutiny and the counter-evidence intentionally ignored because the smoking gun so long desired had not only being found, but gift wrapped and made available for easy sharing at the click of button.

Worse than the simple gullibility Stetzer warned us about, as state investigation after state investigation cleared Planned Parenthood of wrong doing and independent inquires revealed the videos as bogus, countless Christians chose to ignore the truth and instead continued to spread the lie that Planned Parenthood was involved in the selling of baby body parts and therefore Congress should defund them immediately.

Just last month, long after it began to become clear the Center for Medical Progress videos were not what they seemed, Franklin Graham was still spreading the lie that Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts as he announced on Facebook he was departing the Republican Party. Earlier this week, Russell Moore proudly posted a picture on Instagram of himself welcoming David Daleiden to the Evangelicals for Life conference even though Daleiden’s videos had long ago been exposed as a fraud and Daleiden himself faced an impending indictment for his leading role in perpetrating that fraud. And as of today, presidential candidate Ted Cruz still features the baby part trafficking lie on his website as part of his call to defund Planned Parenthood.

Folks like Graham, Moore, and Cruz are far from alone in their participation in this epic campaign of lies. They are merely some of the more famous faces of a much, much larger contingent of Christians who have continue to bear false witness against their neighbor.

Now, to be fair, gullibility and ignorance may have been passable excuses in the beginning and if the news from Texas was the first report we had revealing that the Center for Medical Progress videos were bogus, then this would simply be an embarrassing case of being wrong. But month after month as investigation after investigation cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing, the continual denouncement of Planned Parenthood as traffickers of baby parts stopped being misguided and became willful participation in a wholesale lie.

Which is why the Church owes Planned Parenthood an apology.

Not for differing views on abortion, but because we collectively and willfully ignored the ninth commandment and in so doing, not only did we slander and bear false witness against our neighbor, we provided the righteous justification (if not the inspiration) spewed from the lips of a murderer who shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

I say “our” and “we” not because we all participated in the spreading of this lie or because it was only Christians who did so. I say “our” and “we” because this systematic lying has been most closely associated with Christians and when we speak of the Church, whether we like it or not, whether we all are technically involved or not, we are all in this together.

And together, we owe Planned Parenthood an apology for our sin.

Again, please hear me clearly. This isn’t about apologizing for whatever our stance on abortion might be. Personally, I think abortion as birth control is morally indefensible. But it’s also morally indefensible to bear false witness against our neighbors in order to shame them out of business.

As awkward, embarrassing, and painful as it might be, if we are going to claim to be biblical people and hold on to our integrity, we must find the humility to admit both that we were wrong and that we participated in bearing false witness against our neighbor because we wanted it to be true.

Because we needed it to be true in order to sustain the age old narrative that the folks at Planned Parenthood are altogether evil.

Sadly, the silence from Christian leaders once so outspoken about these videos has become deafening at this point. But the absence of their leadership shouldn’t stop the rest of us from seeking forgiveness from our neighbors no matter how much we may disagree with them on abortion.

We didn’t make those videos, but we continued to spread their lies long after they were shown to be false. The least we could do would be to follow Ed Stetzer’s 3 step advice: post a retraction, don’t excuse it by saying something like, “Well, it might be true,” or, “Well, there is something like that,” or, “Well, it will be true soon,” and be less gullible next time.

If we can’t do that or even something like that, if we can’t find the humility to apologize for our role in this epic campaign of slander and false witness and instead continue to embrace the lies spread by the Center for Medical Progress, we will have forfeited the moral high ground we so proudly claim in the abortion debate.

Moreover, this should also be a soul searching moment for the Church, a time to reflect on our collective approach to abortion because regardless of what side of the debate we find ourselves, all of us – pro-life and pro-choice – want to see the number of abortions in this country (and around the world) reduced.

But to do that, we have to be willing to put down our stones and listen to each other.

Instead of standing at the gates with rocks in our hands ready to stone the next sinner we see walk into an abortion clinic, we should be in dialogue and even working together with groups like Planned Parenthood to figure out a better way forward.

Whether we want to admit it or not, that is our best hope for ensuring women the care they need while also seeking to reduce the overall number of abortions in this country as much as possible.

But it can’t happen and it won’t happen until we find the humility to repent and apologize for our sin.

 

ONE LAST NOTE: Before the lazy but inevitable “Planned Parenthood owes unborn children an apology” comment appears below, let me just once again: this post is not about whether or not abortion is right or wrong. It’s about bearing false witness. If you don’t think those who spread the lies about selling baby parts are in the wrong, then you’re welcome to explain why, but please don’t bother filling up the comment section with abortion rants.

">>>>"He’s just saying what 81% of white evangelicals already believe."Do you not understand that many, ..."

Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Christian Defense Of ..."
"Zack thanks for sharing on this personal level the hard aspects of faith in what’s ..."

Is It Really Well With My ..."
"Yes. And thank you for saying so, especially today, the day before Rachel's funeral. OK. ..."

Is It Really Well With My ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • PastorM

    I agree, but do you honestly think that it will happen?

  • Pastor Joe Bell

    I’m sorry- even CNN- in your linked article- doesn’t deny that the videos were of Planned Parenthood staffers seeking money for tissue. In fact, the last part of the story is the true change by PP of no longer accepting funds for tissue- a change that occurred AFTER the videos went viral. SNopes doesn’t deny or argue it. (http://www.snopes.com/fetal-tissue-sales/) The Christian community may have been harsh, but you don’t show me proof that they were wrong….

  • ZackHunt

    I did provide proof (as have countless others), you’re just apparently unwilling to accept it. Case(s) in point: your spin of the CNN article that doesn’t confirm Planned Parenthood was selling body parts and instead reveals the lies and manipulation of the Center for Medical Progress as well as the link to the nearly dozen state led investigations which all cleared PP of wrong doing which you’ve chosen to ignore.

    And, yes, Snopes does take issue with the claim that Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts: http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/08/24/growing-list-of-planned-parenthood-investigatio/205116

    I’m not telling you you need to be a fan of Planned Parenthood. If you want to continue to denounce them for performing abortions, go right ahead. But continuing to spread the lie that they were selling body parts is unacceptable, not just for those of us who call ourselves Christian, but also and especially for those of us that carry the title “pastor.”

  • ZackHunt

    Probably not. Publicly dmitting we’re wrong is an incredible difficult thing to do and when we were wrong in the name of Jesus, admitting that often becomes all but impossible.

  • Pastor Joe Bell

    No- that they were illegally selling body parts is not the case, according to what you shared. Where allowed by law, they were selling body parts- these real conversations, however wrongly edited, did include such matters. And the fact that Planned Parenthood changed their policy after these came out is testament to the fact that it did occur before the change. That’s not me being unacceptable, it’s true. The hue and cry over the videos seems to be that they were talking about modifying abortions as a way to provide better tissue samples.

    The doctors manipulate victims to get better post-mortem subjects for study. That’s what the doctor in Texas was talking about in the video.

    There is no reason for me to apologize for getting upset at that situation. I’m not flying off the handle here, I’m standing for the dignity of the innocent victims in the face of a society that allows us to kill them. That is the Christian response- protecting the helpless- not wringing my hands because there were inaccuracies. I did not lie, I did not support a lie, I did not say anything negative about PP for things that weren’t done. The crime is that they were making money from the mothers and at the same time from “science” for killing viable children. Then they talked about doing it in such a way as to increase their profit.

  • ZackHunt

    I’m not speaking condescendingly. I’m speaking honestly. You can spin it however you want, but nearly a dozen separate state investigations have proven that the “Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts” is a lie. They are owed an apology, particularly by those who claim that bearing false witness is a sin.

  • Dan Emas

    While I think the quick dismissal of the accusations serves a confirmation bias of the author, I think the point he is making is wrong anyway. If, as I believe, life should be valued, then a lie that saves lives does not merit an apology. If it does, then we should also we asking those who hid Jews during World War 2 to apologize to the SS. It’s an odd theology that equates lying with spreading something we believe but doesn’t equate abortion with destroying life.

  • “It’s an odd theology that equates lying with spreading something we believe but doesn’t equate abortion with destroying life.”

    I don’t know that Zack has done that. If we are wrong, if we make a mistake, we should be quick to seek forgiveness and quick to offer it. Nothing here says anyone should love PP or that abortion is right (or wrong for that matter). But simply, if we are wrong we should apologize, and own our faults. The problem to many outside the church see is that for so many Christians truth is deeply important, unless is doesn’t fit their world view or message they are promoting. We’d do well as a church to be transparent, admit our mistakes. It gives more credibility to all that we say when people can trust us.

  • Dan Emas

    I think the Church does need to own up to its mistakes and be transparent, and our credibility is important. However, I think we are left with few options when it comes to Zack Hunt’s position of apologizing to Planned Parenthood. Either:
    1. Abortion is genocide, in which case “lying” (I still think this is a strong word for a still debated position/opinion, but I acknowledge that some have probably exaggerated to the point of lying) in the hopes of stopping or hindering the genocide is morally justified.
    2. Abortion is not wrong, in which case an apology is owed for accusing someone of crossing a moral line.
    3. Abortion is genocide, but lying (see above) is not acceptable under any circumstances, including genocide. Our self-righteousness becomes more important than than the lives of others.
    4. We do not know whether abortion is right or wrong, so we do not know whether or not an apology is necessary.

    I don’t think it is possible to separate these issues and say the Church should apologize regardless of the morality of abortion. So, unless Zach can present the apology argument with a foundation of abortion being morally reprehensible, those of us who hold that opinion will not be able to follow him to his conclusion of a necessary apology.

    Finally, I will defend my use of the Holocaust analogy, as I was not comparing a leader I disagree with to Hitler, but rather a genocide to another genocide. If anyone else knows a more famous genocide than the Holocaust, I will be more than happy to use it going forward.

  • To me, if we need to lie, we are showing that our beliefs and ideals cannot stand on their own. If abortion is genocide, we don’t need to lie to prove that it’s wrong. Moreover, lying will obscure the reality and distract from the important issue, genocide. I think it’s creating a false narrative. we can say abortion is wrong and so is us lying about PP.

    They are owed an apology because we said something about them that isn’t true. That’s all. Admitting we were wrong and that PP wasn’t doing something illegal doesn’t mean we think abortion is ok. Just because we disagree, no matter how vehement, doesn’t mean we are free to speak falsely about PP. it does nothing to further our desire (whatever that is) if we lie about the other side.

    Abortion won’t be ended because of lies. This will make it so much harder for those on the pro-choice side to be taken seriously because now everything said can be seen through the lens of “it’s ok to lie because we care so much”

    To your point it would be more akin to lying and exaggerating the horror of what Hitler did. Claiming “not only did he hate Jews but anyone born on a Monday. Every child born in Germany on a Monday was instantly killed.” The horror doesn’t need an exaggeration or lie to be seen for what it is. And if we need a lie to act on a genocide, as a society we have far more we need to be reflecting on.

  • Dan Emas

    I think you nailed that reply. There is much truth in lying not being a path to end abortion, and it being a terrible PR move. If lying is really all that’s been going on, it’s a bad move. As Christians, we have to love those who work at Planned Parenthood equally to those they kill. The dialogue I’m still interested in having is whether lying in attempts to end a genocide is morally wrong. Not foolish, not bad for our credibility, but morally wrong. To simplify it to “We lied, therefore “We are Wrong” is to downplay the nature of what is truly happening. To say that an apology is necessary is to say that lying to save lives is never morally acceptable. It’s a position that some take, however a very legalistic one. But the only other option that demands an apology is abortion not being immoral.

    Side note: I’m also curious whether or not posting the unedited versions of the videos still qualifies to the author as “lying”.

  • Not only has PP been not found of any wrong-doing, but a Houston grand jury has now handed down and indictment of the CMP “journalists/investigators”. Which is pretty amazing, considering the grand jury in question was originally brought together to consider if PP should be indicted, not CMP.

  • Jeff Bys

    To be consistent, I think you should also demand Jesus apologize to the Pharisees. They were not legally a “brood of vipers.”

  • I think trying to create a universal rule around probably misses the point of living like Jesus. It’s how do we respond in love. I think its hard to say we were loving in promoting this lie (that they sell baby parts for profit). Loving towards the people of PP, the people who hold a pro-choice position, etc. We were creating dehumanizing rhetoric about who they are. So I think an apology in this instance makes sense.

    In the abstract we can find times where the moral is unethical and vice versa. Your two examples work in a level of black and white that I don’t think is helpful (though that’s just me). It’s not that it’s never acceptable but it wasn’t in this case (nor as I argued above necessary. If it’s as bad as many see it, we don’t need to find ways to make it seem worse)

    We could apologize for not honoring the humanity in the people we were attacking. Their actions don’t dictate how we should respond to them. We are called to love our enemies. Again, I get the desire to break this down to something simple and clean, but I think that misses Jesus in some sense. Misses that on all sides are people. The absolutes (the law as it were) make love hard.

  • Jeff Bys

    The investigations found that PP was accepting money for baby parts, and PP has admitted they have accepted money for baby parts, they just said the money covered the cost of procurement, which is legal and the states that have investigated so far have agreed. But, many of us consider accepting money for tissue procurement to be “Planned Parenthood selling baby parts”. In The view of many people, the exchanging of money constitutes a sale. Just because there is a legal work-around doesn’t change that. Legal does not always mean just. Consider that just a short period of time ago, slavery was legal in the US. Just because you disagree with our assessment doesn’t make us liars or slanderers.

  • ZackHunt

    This is just another example of the lying and slander. There was money exchanged. Because collecting, handling, transporting, and storage all cost money. You don’t get to spin those costs into “selling baby parts” simply because that is “the view of many people.” That view is factually and demonstrably wrong and continuing to claim it is true because you want it to be true is yet another example of the bearing false witness I described in the post.

  • ZackHunt

    As I said in my post, I find abortion as birth control to be morally indefensible, but the pro-life crowd does itself no favors by spreading misinformation and then responding to that misinformation being proved false with stuff like this that is nothing more than non-sequiturs, a straw man, and the obligatory Nazi reference. And that’s to say nothing of the Machiavellian justification of lying. I would say it’s unbelievable, but unfortunately it’s become par for the course.

  • ZackHunt

    Actually, that wouldn’t be consistent at all. Calling someone names and claiming someone did something they didn’t do are not at all the same thing.

  • Dan Emas

    First and foremost, I think I really like you. I find this conversation very helpful, and I feel as you respectfully disagree with my position, and it’s the respectfully part that makes this so constructive to me. To be clear, I do advocate for lying. It hurts our credibility and is, as you say, is not necessary and probably not helpful. However, to someone who does view abortion as a black and white issue, it’s hard for me to arrive at the conclusion that a “lie” spread for the purpose of saving lives, however ineffective this strategy is, automatically merits an apology. If, as others believe, abortion is not a black and white issue, than a lie told simply to discredit someone else absolutely merits an apology. Finally, your suggestion that we could apologize for not honoring the humanity in the people we were attacking should be addressed. For me, right or now, there is a separation between attacking an organization and attacking a person. I have no problem saying that Planned Parenthood is an evil organization, but would not want to point the finger at an individual who works there is an evil person. This might be an over-simplified justification, but I’m trying to find the appropriate way to love the people who work there while condemning the work they do.

  • Jeff Bys

    Accepting money to cover costs of collecting, handling, transporting, and storage fits within the definition of “sale”.

  • Jeff Bys

    But they did accept money for baby parts, they admit that. You just seem to be caught up on the fact that what they did was legal. I am saying, legal or not, they were selling baby parts and that is unjust.

  • Dan Emas

    Thank you for responding to my post. While you are quick to dismiss my opinions, I would like to rephrase in a way that would further constructive dialogue:
    My main point was that I do not think it is possible to completely separate one’s stance on abortion in deciding whether or not the Church should apologize. I think your argument is extremely logical to those who do not view it as wrong, or even to those whose views on abortion are mixed and undecided. However, to those who believe it to be genocide (Like the Holocaust. I’m gonna double down on the Nazi analogy until you give me a better genocide reference to use. I get it’s over used, doesn’t mean it is never valid), I don’t think the argument was presented in a way that properly explained why lying (an oversimplification, but enough people are debating the videos that it doesn’t further this discussion) for the attempted purpose of saving lives is morally indefensible. Whether or not human life is at stake makes a big difference to me whether or not an apology is necessary. It might not be a bad thing to do, and open dialogue with Planned Parenthood would be a great step for the church, but to me, an apology is not a moral obligation if lives are at stake. If you believe “lives are at stake” is an oversimplification, that is your opinion. But you have to understand why those who hold that belief may not follow you to your conclusion.
    I do not assume to know your opinions on this. You clearly separate yourself from the pro-life crowd, but do share some of their convictions about abortion. Do you take issue with me calling abortion genocide, or do we agree on this? Once again, I don’t think one’s personal opinion on abortion is irrelevant to this conversation.

  • Dan Emas

    Thank you for responding to my post. While you are quick to dismiss my opinions, I would like to rephrase in a way that would further constructive dialogue:
    My main point was that I do not think it is possible to completely separate one’s stance on abortion in deciding whether or not the Church should apologize. I think your argument is extremely logical to those who do not view it as wrong, or even to those whose views on abortion are mixed and undecided. However, to those who believe it to be genocide (Like the Holocaust. I’m gonna double down on the Nazi analogy until you give me a better genocide reference to use. I get it’s over used, doesn’t mean it is never valid), I don’t think the argument was presented in a way that properly explained why lying (an oversimplification, but enough people are debating the videos that it doesn’t further this discussion) for the attempted purpose of saving lives is morally indefensible. Whether or not human life is at stake makes a big difference to me whether or not an apology is necessary. It might not be a bad thing to do, and open dialogue with Planned Parenthood would be a great step for the church, but to me, an apology is not a moral obligation if lives are at stake. If you believe “lives are at stake” is an oversimplification, that is your opinion. But you have to understand why those who hold that belief may not follow you to your conclusion.
    I do not assume to know your opinions on this. You clearly separate yourself from the pro-life crowd, but do share some of their convictions about abortion. Do you take issue with me calling abortion genocide, or do we agree on this? Once again, I don’t think one’s personal opinion on abortion is irrelevant to this conversation.

  • I’m glad 🙂 I appreciate that you’ve noticed the effort.

    As a start there a very few things that to me are black and white. Even more so when those things are being applied to someone else. It’s just to hard and I think when I consider the plank/ spec principal it’s hard for me to say what someone I don’t know should do, categorically, in any situation. So some issue personally with black and white anything.

    The idea that this situation automatically merits an apology isn’t my argument. But rather in the context of what has happened, what has been said, shared and the venom with which it was stated by so many Christians. It feels like an apology is warranted. Can we not find a way to be like Christ in this? It fees like the lieing doesn’t do that.

    I get the idea of trying to love the person while hating the organization. But much of the rhetoric (though not what Zack noted) involved not only the facts but the further implication or direct statement that those people are monsters, how could anyone do this, etc. Those are the types of things many of us Christians could apologize for, along with in my mind the way we represent, speak about, and in some cases lie about those who are getting an abortion or who practice them.

    We do a poor job representing Jesus and his love to those on the other side of this issue, not matter what side you take.

  • I’m glad 🙂 I appreciate that you’ve noticed the effort.

    As a start there a very few things that to me are black and white. Even more so when those things are being applied to someone else. It’s just to hard and I think when I consider the plank/ spec principal it’s hard for me to say what someone I don’t know should do, categorically, in any situation. So some issue personally with black and white anything.

    The idea that this situation automatically merits an apology isn’t my argument. But rather in the context of what has happened, what has been said, shared and the venom with which it was stated by so many Christians. It feels like an apology is warranted. Can we not find a way to be like Christ in this? It fees like the lieing doesn’t do that.

    I get the idea of trying to love the person while hating the organization. But much of the rhetoric (though not what Zack noted) involved not only the facts but the further implication or direct statement that those people are monsters, how could anyone do this, etc. Those are the types of things many of us Christians could apologize for, along with in my mind the way we represent, speak about, and in some cases lie about those who are getting an abortion or who practice them.

    We do a poor job representing Jesus and his love to those on the other side of this issue, not matter what side you take.

  • Dan Emas

    It’s the representing Jesus correctly in this situation that I’m still trying to figure out. Lying is not something He would have done, but He also never had to apologize for anything. I can say with conviction I don’t believe He would have stayed silent on the issue, and I believe He would have invited himself over for a lot of meals with those involved on every side of the issue. Our most Christ-like strategy is to show love to those involved without compromising on an issue that I believe grieves the heart of the Father.
    And yes, Christians that went past what they believed to be the facts to personally attack individuals and call them monsters should probably have some conviction to apologize. Not because they suddenly believe a new set of facts, but because they never conducted themselves in a Christlike manner to begin with.
    We seem to have found a fair amount of common ground, although I think it makes a huge difference that you see abortion as morally gray, and that certainly makes a big difference as we talk about this issue.

  • I think you’ve answered the question as it relates to this post. “Lying is not something He would have done” If we’re not trying to act more and more like Jesus then what are we doing? Right? We don’t opt out or justify why this time it’s ok to not be like him. Right?

    He spoke out about injustice, he fought for the marginalized and oppressed. We worry far to often about what sharing love recklessly like Jesus did would mean. I don’t want people to think I affirm this or support that. For me, we God grieves whenever we don’t share his love with those who desperately need it. When being pure and holly and maintaining right doctrine come before loving people. That’s why it’s all so grey to me. Because it’s so much less about is abortion right or wrong but how do I love this person in front of me, where they are, as they are. They don’t need my judgment on their choices, they need someone who see them a valuable as they are in the moment, never needing them to be something more or better.

    and if I am in those relationships with people. If I have earned a relationship with them, then we can talk about what abortion means in their life and in mine. But not before they are a person, wholly love and wholly valued. at least for me.

    At the risk of not filling Zack comment section more than we already have I’ll leave you with the last words. It’s been a good chat. If you’d like to chat more (and I’m more than happy to, trying to respect Zack’s space here) you can find my Twitter and blog through my Discus profile and we can continue in another space.

  • Jeff Bys

    The state investigations did no such thing. What the state investigations did do was to find that there was not substantial evidence that PP was illegally selling baby parts: the key word being illegally. Which is still up for debate really. As was pointed out earlier, if PP wasn’t doing anything wrong, why did they change their policy after being caught on video? Furthermore, they have not satisfactorily explained the StemExpress flier approved by and found in PP clinics explaining the profit benefits to selling fetal tissue.

  • Jonathan Bernier

    So, Rev. Bell, let me get this straight. Nobody cared about whether any laws were violated. That was never the issue. In fact, no one even was accusing them of breaking the law. That’s your case, right? If that’s true, then when all those law enforcement agencies were asked to investigate the allegations against Planned Parenthood it was already known that Planned Parenthood had not broken any laws. When district attorneys attempted to bring legal charges against Planned Parenthood they knew that Planned Parenthood was innocent of those charges. In your world then, with the church’s strident urging, political leaders across the land openly sought to use law enforcement and judicial powers to punish a group that they knew had broken no laws. In other words, at the church’s behest the government sought to punish law-abiding citizens. That is the world you paint, and I fail to see how the church come off smelling like roses in that world.

  • Pastor Joe Bell

    That isn’t what i said. In my discussion with Zack, I said that my frustration was that they were taking something which I already knew to be wrong, and callously (at least to me and many others) discussing how they might further their work (and profit) through the method of ending these young lives.
    The videos went viral in my opinion because the nation doesn’t think abortion is right, but thinks the discussions like this being had about how you abort a child is more wrong. People hear this and know this must be wrong. The response of PP in stopping funds for the tissue from the aborted children says that they understand that all too well.
    For those with laws on the books, they understand that you’re not supposed to profit from the tissue. In my opinion, that was why all the legal groups got involved. But there was no smoking gun, so there is no legality question. That doesn’t mean PP was not terribly wrong in having multiple people involved in this business who thought it a good thing to abort children differently so as to get better tissue and even thought as to how they might be better compensated for it.
    So I don’t feel the need to apologize because a few people went too far. The speakers still said the things they were recorded as saying- no one forced them to these statements- and that’s what upsets so many. Ignoring the travesty of that in favor of bending over backwards to be polite to them seems far worse than someone tricking them into saying things they shouldn’t be thinking. That’s my point of view, and why I think the idea of apologizing is futile and misthought.

  • Pastor Joe Bell

    That isn’t what i said. In my discussion with Zack, I said that my frustration was that they were taking something which I already knew to be wrong, and callously (at least to me and many others) discussing how they might further their work (and profit) through the method of ending these young lives.
    The videos went viral in my opinion because the nation doesn’t think abortion is right, but thinks the discussions like this being had about how you abort a child is more wrong. People hear this and know this must be wrong. The response of PP in stopping funds for the tissue from the aborted children says that they understand that all too well.
    For those with laws on the books, they understand that you’re not supposed to profit from the tissue. In my opinion, that was why all the legal groups got involved. But there was no smoking gun, so there is no legality question. That doesn’t mean PP was not terribly wrong in having multiple people involved in this business who thought it a good thing to abort children differently so as to get better tissue and even thought as to how they might be better compensated for it.
    So I don’t feel the need to apologize because a few people went too far. The speakers still said the things they were recorded as saying- no one forced them to these statements- and that’s what upsets so many. Ignoring the travesty of that in favor of bending over backwards to be polite to them seems far worse than someone tricking them into saying things they shouldn’t be thinking. That’s my point of view, and why I think the idea of apologizing is futile and misthought.

  • Jonathan Bernier

    First, polling data shows that the US is close to 50-50 on the issue of choice, so the hypothesis that “the nation knows abortion is wrong” is empirically questionable. There’s further inaccuracies in your response. For instance, you continue to insist that the videos show that Planned Parenthood is selling tissues, when the investigations have concluded precisely that they are not. You are failing to make a distinction between the sale of fetal tissue and the donation of fetal tissue with compensation for the costs involved in harvesting said tissue. That is a key distinction. With dealing with non-profits compensation for cost is not the same as selling. You do not feel the need to apologize because some people went too far, fine, but how about you repent of bearing false witness? Because that is *exactly* what you continue to do.

    And this brings it back to your objection that you didn’t say what I ascribed to you, and I would respond by saying, Yes, you did. You said that legality was never the issue. You repeated it here. So, what you are saying is that the legal system was used to punish Planned Parenthood, with at best indifference to whether any violation of law was committed. That tells me that the people who advocated such a thing, most of whom were indeed very vocal Christians, do not respect the rule of law, and that makes me wonder about the present state of American Christianity.

  • Jonathan Bernier

    First, polling data shows that the US is close to 50-50 on the issue of choice, so the hypothesis that “the nation knows abortion is wrong” is empirically questionable. There’s further inaccuracies in your response. For instance, you continue to insist that the videos show that Planned Parenthood is selling tissues, when the investigations have concluded precisely that they are not. You are failing to make a distinction between the sale of fetal tissue and the donation of fetal tissue with compensation for the costs involved in harvesting said tissue. That is a key distinction. With dealing with non-profits compensation for cost is not the same as selling. You do not feel the need to apologize because some people went too far, fine, but how about you repent of bearing false witness? Because that is *exactly* what you continue to do.

    And this brings it back to your objection that you didn’t say what I ascribed to you, and I would respond by saying, Yes, you did. You said that legality was never the issue. You repeated it here. So, what you are saying is that the legal system was used to punish Planned Parenthood, with at best indifference to whether any violation of law was committed. That tells me that the people who advocated such a thing, most of whom were indeed very vocal Christians, do not respect the rule of law, and that makes me wonder about the present state of American Christianity.

  • Pastor Joe Bell

    Oh my goodness- is this all you have to do?
    Having spent 23 of my 26 post-seminary years working with non-profits, I can quickly say that your distinction is quibbling. If you get funds for something, you can couch it like you want, but you’re doing something to get the money. “compensation for the costs involved in harvesting said tissue” is like “compensation for the costs of building, distributing and providing a car.” If you do something and get donations, that’s not selling. But anything done to get money is just that. I’m in that camp- don’t try to treat me like a non-profit outsider who doesn’t understand. That’s not real in the non-profit world, only the justification world.
    Legality- PLEASE! I said to Zack in our discussion that the legality issue was over- he said all these people came back and said what they did was legal.
    I didn’t follow the court cases because I knew what I. my parishioners, and over 15 people who talked to me about it without my starting the conversation said about it- the anger is that they were discussing how to make abortions more profitable. It doesn’t matter to me if they follow the law or not- I believe it is wrong to consider any living being “tissue.” If they harvested puppies right before birth and used their tissue, the animal rights activists would be all over them!
    And that is the case even if YOU in your wisdom could magically differentiate between a third trimester viable baby inside or outside its mother. I’ve seen both-THERE IS NONE! If killing one is murder, so is killing the other.
    So if you feel at home with the Gospel telling a lady she can kill her viable child, that’s between you and the Lord. But don’t use your mixed-up sense of fairness to not at least mourn that millions of babies are dying, yet attempt to manipulate Christians who saw something inherently wrong in what was said by these people to feel and express guilt. It doesn’t wash. I’m out.

  • Steve Austin

    Great post, Zack. My friend Sarah did an outrageously kind thing in early December (immediately following the Colorado Springs shooting), to show love as a representative of Christ. I wouldn’t normally share a link on someone else’s page, but I thought you might find this worthwhile: http://iamsteveaustin.com/2015/12/04/the-christian-who-thanked-planned-parenthood/
    Thanks again for a great article.

  • Canbuhay

    What exactly did the videos lie about? Planned Parenthood tears babies limb from limb? That they sold the body parts? That they profited from them? All of that is true.

    The only people who said the videos were lies we’re Planned Parenthood and the echo chamber of so-called Christians who support it. Even Planned Parenthood’s own study that they paid for said the videos were not edited to remove any relevant information:

    http://dailysignal.com/2015/09/29/forensic-analysis-planned-parenthood-videos-are-authentic/

    Stop lying about the church and Planned Parenthood. You owe the church an apology for writing this drivel.

  • Canbuhay

    There are so many lies in the piece. First, when you say the videos are “Deftly edited, the videos” you are already lying about the way the videos are edited. All videos are edited. Period. Full stop. Are they “deftly” edited to manipulate? NO! There’s no evidence that any of the editing shows any falsehood, manipulated what was said by the Planned Parenthood staff or that anything that was shown was not true!

    Editing happens to allow for bathroom breaks, for editing things such as dead time when nothing is being said. But if this evidence is thrown out, then any undercover or even regular newscast should be thrown out for being “deftly” edited.

    Then you write “But the videos weren’t what they appeared to be.”

    The article linked to CNN simply states that the aborted baby in the video is not the aborted child mentioned in by the former employee of Planned Parenthood. Sigh. If this is a lie, than half of what journalists show is a lie! It’s obvious the video was just showing an example of what the woman was talking about. If is a lie, than the Jesus movie is a lie for not showing the real Jesus!

    Then you state, “In the days and weeks that followed, the videos were roundly debunked as propaganda pieces put together by a radical anti-abortion group hellbent on smearing Planned Parenthood by any means necessary.” Who roundly debunked them? Again you link to a CNN article where, (SURPRISE!) Planned Parenthood denounces the video!

    They even hired their own PR firm to “study” the video and to “prove” the videos are false. But they can’t. That’s why they keep using the term you us – “heavily edited” because they aren’t false! But even this study found that the videos aren’t false. The best attack line they use is that the videos are edited – just like their press releases and your attack article.

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/10/01/media-censors-forensic-analysis-showing-planned-parenthood-videos-not-deceptively-edited/

    http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/2015/08/cmp-statement-on-planned-parenthoods-failed-analysis-of-videos/

    In fact, your entire piece relies on Planned Parenthood press releases and assumes that they are telling the truth. Why assume this? Does Planned Parenthood have no interest in covering this up? They don’t have any incentive to lie?

    I will concede that the evidence that Planned Parenthood may be “profiting” from selling fetal body parts may not be as strong. But that hardly means that Planned Parenthood isn’t lying about anything else they do, let alone the undisputed fact that they are selling fetal body parts!!!!! including from babies whose moms didn’t know that they are doing this.

    So for you to write this piece not only nicely plays into the hands of people who sell children’s body parts but is terribly dishonest by combining all the accusations (some of which are evidently true) and treating them all as false.

    Thankfully, the images speak for themselves. And as people do see the evidence, they’ll see that maybe the only people who should be apologizing are the people who perpetuate the lie that their deaths matter less than the reputation of the people who killed them.

  • Canbuhay

    If abortion kills 1 million Americans every year (40 million around the world), how can a Nazi analogy not be appropriate?

  • Pingback: When Stupid Goes Mainstream | Second Journeys()