jasonbwatson

July 8, 2014

Celebrating murder

Caution: the contents of this post may sicken you and will no doubt offend you. Reader discretion is advised.

The debate over abortion in the United States is not news, nor is the fact that there are very strong opinions on all sides of the debate. What may surprise you is that there is a woman in the United States who actually believes that “abortion is a gift from God” and that abortion is a “life-sustaining act.” Yes, you read that correctly.

The woman is Heather Ault, an activist and artist. Ault claims that she just assumed that there was only illegal abortion prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. She began to dig into the matter, though, and, according to an article in On The Issues magazine, said, “I found a lot of information, along with illustrations, about birth control and abortifacient products going very far back in American, and world, history. I was shocked to see these practices, some advertised on the back covers of women’s magazines throughout the 1800s and others dating as far back as the ancient Egyptians.” Ault had an abortion herself in 2001 and that “unwanted pregnancy” drove her to want to understand “the idea of controlling pregnancy.”

Ault began to share the information she was acquiring with the other students in the women’s studies course she was taking and then began looking for ways to communicate the information in artistic form. Her first effort was a series of four posters “depicting the history of the condom and showcasing herbal abortifacients like silphium,” which sold almost instantly. Ault decided that posters was the way to go since they were easy to create and to reproduce. She has now developed a 50-poster collection entitled 4000 Years for Choice. Ault has designed the posters to include information about “reproduction control” and to each include one “large word.” Since she wants to “empower and affirm” the pro-death movement (my word choice, not hers) she chooses to emphasize words like “affirm, cherish, discover, love, unite.” She also chooses to use “bright, lollypop colors so that the posters are cheerful and inviting.” It is bad enough to think that it is possible to create “cheerful and inviting” posters celebrating death, but there is simply no way to rationally believe that there is any correlation between words like “cherish” or “love” and the act of killing an unborn baby.

It will not surprise you that Ault’s theology is a bit warped. Her poster claiming that abortion is a gift from God uses the Venus symbol, the gender symbol for woman, for the “o” in “God.” Still, it is difficult for me to understand how she can think that it is possible to celebrate abortion. Yet, that is exactly what she wants to do. “I feel like the most important thing we can do to defend clinics is to show up with big, bold, positive messages that say ‘we’re here to celebrate choice,'” she said. She continues, “I’d like to see prochoice activists come to clinics for events, celebrations and parties, to create something positive between the health center and the community.” The only comparison I can imagine to this line of thinking would be Nazi Germany–and I do not make that statement lightly.

In January Ault delivered a speech at the University of Michiogan and her posters were displayed there through May. When Students for Life America asked the university to remove the display a spokesperson said that the display was not about the political issue of abortion, but rather “about the history of women learning to abort their fetuses in order to gain control over when they are pregnant.” (So aborting “fetuses” is not about abortion? Huh…what was I thinking?)

In an article on ChristianPost.com, Debra Schwartz, senior public relations representative for UM’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, said, “Contrary to what they are saying, this display is not about pro-choice or even pro-abortion. This is about the history of women learning to control their reproductive system. Heather [Ault] is trying to get past the hanger and the idea of back ally dirty abortions and celebrate the ways women, and men for that matter, can control their reproductive system through birth control and even by aborting a fetus.” The reality, though, is that is really does not matter what you call it; the simple fact of the matter is that Ault is celebrating and promoting the taking of innocent life as a convenient means of “controlling the reproductive system.” There is a huge difference between birth control and abortion, or at least should be. There is a huge difference between using medication (or some other method–Ault’s poster series highlights some very bizarre ones from ancient history including the use of crocodile feces or wild cucumbers) to prevent pregnancy and using a hanger, a pill or a pair of scissors to end the life of unborn child after conception occurs. Those of us who hold to the sanctity of life must not allow anyone to change or re-frame the debate on this.

Some of Ault’s posters read, “”Abortion Providers Are Heros!,” “Everyday Should Be Abortion Providor Appreciation Day!,” and “Calm And Peace Radiate From This Space. Celebrate Abortion Clinics!” One of the messages on notecards that Ault sells reads, “I didn’t see it as killing a baby–I was simply giving the life with in me back to God to protect and hold onto until the right time.” I am not making this up…and it just sickens me that Ault…or anyone feels this way! Notice, however, the wording in that notecard message–what was it being given back? “The life within me” it says. Interesting, is it not, since those who “celebrate” abortion almost uniformly deny that the fetus is a life? After all, if it is a life being taken when abortion is committed there is very little way to defend the practice.

Here is how Ault describes herself on her Twitter account: “Artist, activist, creative thinker, dreamer, and idea maker. I’m passionate about abortion rights and reducing the stigma though empowering history and images.” So despite the fact that Ault is “passionate about abortion rights” the University of Michigan expects intelligent people to believe that her poster display is not about the political issue of abortion. Sure… And those people carrying signs in support of the legalization or marijuana are not referring to the use of illegal drugs, either.

We need to pray for Heather Ault and for those who “celebrate” the culture of death that is called pro-choice. And again, we must refuse to allow Ault or anyone else to use semantics to recast the abortion debate into anything other than what it is–the taking of innocent lives. Anyone who celebrates abortion is celebrating murder.

July 7, 2014

“Abandoning the battle for the Bible”

A few months ago the board of trustees at Bryan College in Tennessee decided that it would insist that all of its faculty members adhere to a clarification to its statement of faith that makes clear that God created Adam and Eve in specific acts of creation–not through starting a process from which Adam and Eve eventually evolved.

According to a May article on insidehighered.com, this clarification has been deemed by many to be “too narrow” and has resulted in the departure of at least two faculty members, a vote of no confidence in the school’s president by the faculty and a variety of student protests.

The article explains that the Bryan College statement of faith previously included this statement on Adam and Eve: “that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death[.]” Now I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty clear to me. Then again, I believe the Bible means an actual 24-hour day when it describes the days of creation in Genesis. Apparently a number of those who claimed that they agreed with this statement in the past do not agree, since they have been squawking ever since the school made this clarification: “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

The article also quotes some talking points presented at the faculty meeting prior to the no confidence vote by Phil Lestmann, a Bryan professor mathematics and head of its natural sciences division, in which Lestmann claimed that the clarification “pretend[s] that a very complex issue is really very simple and straightforward” and “possibly put[s] the college into too small a scientific or theological box.” Therein, of course, we find parts of the problem. The issue in fact is “very simple and straightforward” when you believe the Bible means what it says. Only by reinterpreting it or by trying to make the Bible (God’s Word) fit with science (man’s interpretation or understanding) does any complexity come into the matter. Speaking for myself, a “small…theological box” is exactly where I would want to be, and want my school to be, assuming that box is the one claiming the Word of God to be inerrant. After all, Jesus Himself created a “theological box” that could not be any smaller–when He said “no man comes to the Father but by Me” he was not leaving any room for discussion.

Apparently the student government at Bryan has objected to the clarification because the school’s charter says that its statement of faith cannot be changed. An open letter from the student government appearing in a February issue of the school’s newspaper said, “We believe that it is unjust that professors who gained tenure, published research, and served faithfully under this old statement of faith will be either fired or be forced to choose between violating their consciences or providing for their families.”

I would suggest that what is unfair is the very need for the clarification in the first place. After all, fiat means “an authoritative decree, sanction, or order” or “an arbitrary decree or pronouncement, especially by a person or group of persons having absolute authority to enforce it.” The original statement of faith asserts “the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God.” To suggest that fiat, act of creation and was created allow for some understanding other than that being made clear in the recent clarification is simply absurd. The reality is that Bryan has apparently been lax in enforcing its own statement of faith until this recent clarification and some faculty members have not felt troubled by the fact that they were annually signing a statement of faith with which they did not really agree. If someone consistently drives ten miles over the speed limit without getting a ticket he cannot then cry foul when a law enforcement officer finally does pull him over and issue the ticket. Getting away with something in the past is no justification for eliminating consequences for it in the future.

In the May 3 issue of WORLD Marvin Olasky, with whom I do not always agree, made a poignant and powerful statement about the importance of this issue. “Many Christian liberal arts colleges assert that their goal is to teach students how to think and not what to think. That is laudable in most areas, but should it mean that colleges do not care if students graduate with the belief that the Bible is merely a book compiling man’s fallible teaching rather than God-inspired wisdom?” Olasky asks. He answers his own question thusly: “In such an environment, a Christian college that proclaims it will just throw out to students a variety of theories and let them decide, is abandoning the battle for the Bible.” Olasky is exactly right, and his point is precisely why it is so imperative that Bryan College, as well as other Christian colleges, Christian schools and churches establish clear and accurate statement of faith and insist wholeheartedly that they are adhered to; anything else is a surrender to man’s reinterpretation and is inconsistent with Scripture.

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