Survivors of a Genocide

On this day in history 38 years ago, a court decision legalized the genocide which has since killed over 40 million unborn babies.

In 1973, my cousin Danny was a baby. 615,831 of his peers were murdered.

In 1974, my cousin Donna was born (I estimate). 763,476 of her peers were murdered.

In 1975, my cousin Shiloh was born. 854,853 of his peers were murdered.

In 1977, my cousin Judah was born. 1,079,430 of his peers were murdered.

In 1979, my cousins Sarah and Janalynn were born. 1,251,921 of their peers were murdered.

In 1980, my cousin Jamin was born. 1,297,606 of his peers were murdered.

In 1981, my cousin Adam was born. 1,300,760 of his peers were murdered.

In 1983, my sister Anna was protected in our mother’s womb. 1,268,987 of her peers were murdered.

In 1984, my sister Anna and cousin Ariann were born. 1,333,521 of their peers were murdered.

In 1985, I was born. 1,328,570 of my peers were murdered.

In 1986, my brother Joshua was born. 1,328,112 of his peers were murdered.

In 1987, my cousins Joseph, Vicki, and Luke were born. 1,353,671 of their peers were murdered.

In 1988, my cousin Joseph and sister-in-law Debbie were born. 1,371,285 of their peers were murdered.

In 1989, my brother Daniel and cousins Elizabeth, Becca and Christine were born. 1,396,658 of their peers were murdered.

In 1990, my brother John and cousins Matthew and Paul were born. 1,429,577 of their peers were murdered.

In 1991, my cousins Patrick, Joanna, and Jennifer, and sister-out-law Joanna were born. 1,388,937 of their peers were murdered.

In 1992, my brother Tim and cousins Joel, Jesse, Jeremy, and Caroline were born. 1,359,145 of their peers were murdered.

In 1993, my cousin Eric was born. Another cousin, Melinda, was born stillborn and grieved for by a loving family. 1,330,414 of their peers were murdered.

In 1994, my sister Grace, cousins Michael, Aaron, and Naomi, and brother-out-law John were born. 1,267,415 of their peers were murdered.

In 1995, my cousins Dominique and Kyle were born. 1,210,883 of their peers were murdered.

In 1996, my cousins Ben, Joel, Clayton, and Hannah were born. 1,225,937 of their peers were murdered.

In 1997, my cousins Caleb, Bethany, and Susannah were/was born. 1,186,039 of their peers were murdered.

In 1998, my cousin Lauren was born. Over 884,273* of her peers were murdered.

In 1999, my cousins Isaac and Tabitha were born. Over 861,789* of their peers were murdered.

In 2000, my cousins Megan and Brett were born. Over 857,475* of their peers were murdered.

In 2002, my cousin Anthony was born. Over 854,122* of his peers were murdered.

In 2004, my cousin Brooke was born. Over 839,226* of her peers were murdered.

In 2006, Ezekiel was born to my cousins Shiloh and Janalynn. Over 846,181* of his peers were murdered.

In 2008, Lexie was born to my cousins Sarah and Byron. 1,212,350 of her peers were murdered.

In 2010, Mackenna was born to my cousins Ariann and Mike, and Carter was born to my cousins Adam and Theresa. A thus far unnumbered multitude of their peers were murdered.

In 2011, my nephew or niece will be born. How many of his peers will be murdered this year?

Please pray…

and take action

to end abortion

Are you or your children survivors of this genocide? Would you like your name to be listed within these rolls? Please leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I’ll add you/them to the list. And please, please pray for the end of this genocide.

Statistics for 1973-2006 were obtained from The CDCs abortion surveillance project. Statistics for 2008 are from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.

*Statistics were not reported by the states of California or New Hampshire from 1998 to the present. Alaska did not report from 1998-2002. Oklahoma did not report from 1998-1999. West Virginia did not report from 2003-2004. Louisiana has not reported from 2005 to the present. The children in these states murdered through abortion remain unnumbered, but not forgotten.

Grammar Geek

I considered majoring in English in college because I love words. I love reading words. I love writing words. I love speaking words. I even love grammar.

I am a grammar geek. I don’t try to hide it.


I enjoy diagramming sentences.

How much more geeky can you get?

But it isn’t in diagramming sentences that my grammar geekiness is most seen. It’s in how annoyed I get when people use improper grammar.

My latest frustration?

Using words as a different part of speech than they are intended to be used as.

Perhaps the most frequently heard example of this is using the word invite as a noun (instead of the verb it is intended to be.)

No, you should not send out an invite. That’s just not right. There’s no such THING as an invite. Invite is a verb. You CAN invite someone to your function. You CAN send out an invitation. But you CANNOT send out an invite.

Likewise, invite is not an adjective. You cannot send out an invite card. Again, you CAN send out an invitation.

And then there’s the one I started hearing recently from an organization I’ve gotten involved with.

Using the word timely as an adverb.

“You need to get this done timely.”

No, no, no!!!

You need to get this done in a timely manner.

Timely is an adjective and should only be used to modify a noun. If there’s no noun to be modified, there’s no use for the word timely.

Get it right already!

Do you have any grammatical pet peeves? Do you use either of these words improperly? Or do you think I’m just too picky and should get over myself?

***As a side note, I recognize that I have my own grammatical foibles, particularly as it concerns punctuation. I use commas much more liberally than most modern editors prefer and, when blogging, I frequently use dashes to avoid having to actually use proper grammar. I occasionally put apostrophes in the word its when I DON’T mean it is and I’m sure I have even more errors that I have failed to notice. If any of those are your pet peeves, feel free to let me know so I can correct them :-) But at least I try to be grammatically correct. It seems like half the world couldn’t care less whether they’re actually speaking English or not!

WiW: A “Christian” Nation?

The Week in Words

I’m still working my way through Greg Boyd’s Myth of a Christian Nation with my Monday night book club–but as so often happens, one book spawns another. When I saw Jon Meacham’s American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, I was curious to hear what he had to say about religion in America. I’ve only read the introduction so far, but it appears that this could be a VERY interesting treatment of the topic.

Meacham clearly sees the United States as unique and exceptional (I’m a bit of an American exceptionalist myself), but attributes this exceptionalism neither to a Christian founding of the nation nor to a non-Christian founding of the nation (as many might). Rather, he seems to attribute this exceptionalism to the interesting balance that the founders merged between secular government and religious freedom. I’m most intrigued by the potential of this book.

On America’s early years:

“America’s early years are neither a golden age of religion nor a glowing hour of Enlightenment reason. Life was shaped by evangelical fervor and ambitious clergy, anxious politicians and determined secularists. Some Christians wanted to impose their beliefs on the rest of the country; other equally committed believers though faith should steer clear of public life. In the fulcrum stood the brilliant but fallible political leadership of the new nation. The Founding Fathers struggled to assign religion its proper place in civil society–and they succeeded.

On opposing claims made regarding the Founding Fathers:

“The right’s contention that we are a ‘Christian nation’ that has fallen from pure origins and can achieve redemption by some kind of return to Christian values is based on wishful thinking, not convincing historical argument….Conservatives are not alone in attempting to appropriate the Founding for their own ends. Many Americans, especially secular ones, tend to stake everything on Jefferson’s wall between church and state….The wall Jefferson referred to is designed to divide church from state, not religion from politics.

On how religion has shaped America:

“Taken all in all, I think history teaches that the benefits of faith in God have outweighed the costs….Guided by this religiously inspired idea of God-given rights, America has created the most inclusive, freest nation on earth. It was neither easy nor quick: the destruction of Native American cultures, the ravages of slavery, the horrors of the Civil War, and the bitterness of Jim Crow attest to that. And there is much work to be done. Yet while the tides of history are infinitely complex, other major Western powers have had a worse time of it than America, and our public religion, with its emphasis on the supremacy of the individual and its cultivation of moral virtue, is one reason why….Religion alone did not spare America, but the Founding Fathers’ belief in the divine origin of human rights fundamentally shaped our national character, and by fits and starts Americans came to see that all people were made in the image of ‘Nature’s God,’ and were thus naturally entitled to dignity and respect.

Quoting Robert Ingersoll (in what I view as the most provocative statement yet, especially in light of our discussion group):

“Our fathers founded the first secular government that was ever founded in this world….our fathers were the first men who had the sense, had the genius, to know that no church should be allowed to have a sword…

I’m interested to see how Meacham develops these thoughts throughout the book!

Collect more quotes from throughout the week with Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”.

WiW: Patriotism and the Christian

The Week in Words

I’ve been reading and discussing Greg Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation with a book group here in town. The reading–and the discussion–has been intellectually and spiritually stimulating. Some of my assumptions have been confirmed–but far more have been challenged, forcing me to think through how being “in but not of” the world informs a Christian’s political involvement.

Boyd on the calling of the church to be “set apart”

“We utterly trivialize this profound biblical teaching if we associate our peculiar holiness with a pet list of religious taboos…No, the holiness the New Testament is concerned with is centered on being Christlike, living in outrageous, self-sacrificial love. If you make this your life aspiration, you will certainly be peculiar–about as peculiar as a Messiah dying on a cursed tree! You will be a ‘resident alien.'”

Although I might disagree with Boyd over how involved a Christian can be in politics, I sincerely appreciate Boyd’s emphasis that the kingdom of God is not about promoting a certain political or social agenda but about being Christ-like (the culmination of course, of Christ-likeness being exemplified in the cross.)

Boyd on Patriotism, at Relevant Magazine via Becky S. on Facebook

“So over the Fourth of July weekend—and all year—be appreciative of your country. Be patriotic. But make sure your patriotism pales in comparison to your sacrifice, commitment and allegiance to the Kingdom of God.”

I was glad I saw this article linked by a friend on Facebook. From where I’m at in The Myth of a Christian Nation (Chapter 4), Boyd appears to be bashing any “proud to be an American” sentiment. I’ve been relatively cautious about making conclusions based on just these few chapters, but I’m glad to have this notice that Boyd doesn’t have a problem with patriotism in general, just overemphasis on patriotism at the expense of the Kingdom of God. :-)

Collect more quotes from throughout the week with Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”.

The Secret Socialist (Part 3)

I have heretofore described the Scriptural role of the government to administer justice and the Scriptural call to the church to be agents of mercy. Here, I shall attempt to describe what I see as the union of the two.

We are aliens in this world.

Whenever a Christian enters into the realm of politics, he must realize that in doing so he is stepping out of his native land into the affairs of the land in which He is a sojourner.

A Christian belongs to the kingdom of God–a kingdom firmly established on mercy, love, and nonaggression. This is the kingdom whose people decry self-defense, instead offering their cheeks to be struck. This is the kingdom whose citizens give to those who steal from them. This is the kingdom whose people would much rather be cheated than go to court.

The kingdoms of this world, on the other hand, are kingdoms (established by God) for the carrying out of justice. They are responsible, first and foremost, (at least inasmuch as Scripture reveals God’s plan for the kingdoms of this earth) for the punishing of wrongdoers and praising of the righteous.

The two kingdoms could not be more different.

The kingdom of God recognizes that Christ has borne the whole punishment for all sins–against God and against mankind–and therefore demands that citizens extend mercy to all. The kingdom of the world still labors under the fallenness of sin–and must punish wrongdoers lest injustice prevail.

The question, then, is how a Christian is to go about dealing with the political world. How is a Christian to navigate these opposing worlds of justice and mercy?

There are three common “takes” on a Christian’s involvement in politics.

Some take the conservative view, demanding justice on this earth–politically and personally. People should get what they deserve and nothing more. This is the view of the harsh disciplinarian, the uncompromising taskmaster, the down-with-the-welfare-state-up-with-the-military-state politico.

Others take a liberal stance, arguing for mercy at all costs. These are the bleeding hearts, the fairness police. They want redistribution of wealth, equal access to everything, a mother state who babies her citizens, and a non-aggressive foreign policy.

Still others urge avoidance. Best to stay out of politics, they say, lest you forsake the kingdom of God in your involvement with the kingdoms of this world.

But are these the only options for Christian involvement in the world?

My personal take lies outside of each of these. I believe that inasmuch as God’s revealed will for the governments of this world is that they be ministers of justice, I as a Christian should work to promote justice in political affairs. And inasmuch as God’s clearly revealed call to His church is that they be ministers of mercy, as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, I should seek to live a life marked by mercy.

What does this mean for me?

In my political involvement, I fight for justice–laws that reflect just practices, punishments that befit crimes, honest court systems. Yet as a citizen of the kingdom of God, I would never dream of making use of these courts to demand justice for myself. I am called to extend mercy to those who misuse me.

As an American citizen, I support just war (of course, the definition of just war is fuzzy and must be considered carefully) entered into by the state, whether preemptive or retaliatory. But as a citizen of the kingdom of God, I clearly recognize the call to never take justice into my own hands and wage war on my own accord. I could never bomb an abortion clinic or assassinate even the most evil of characters.

I disapprove of the governmental redistribution of wealth in order to secure social programs as an injustice to the deserving and the undeserving alike (punishing those who have earned their money justly and rewarding those who have failed to justly earn money). But as a citizen of the kingdom of God, I seek to liberally give my own money, goods, and services indiscriminately.

From my conception of God’s plan for the kingdoms of this world and for the kingdom of heaven, I am politically conservative and personally liberal. I work to promote a political system that is founded on justice–and seek to always live a life marked by mercy.

Of course, I like all people, am fallen–and regularly fail to live up to this goal. Too often, I demand justice for myself when I ought to extend mercy to others. And too often I request mercy of the political system, when I ought to accept and promote justice. But the above is my ideal–and I pray that by the grace of God, I might grow more and more to walk mercifully as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven–and to promote justice in this nation in which I am an alien.

The Secret Socialist (Part 2)

Social justice.

It’s the catchphrase that’s taking the American church by storm. Maybe it’s taking the entire nation by storm.

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to define.

Clearly, it’s involved with social issues. Social justice is applied to social issues from poverty, hunger, homelessness, sexual exploitation, and lack of access to medical care.

And it’s somehow related to justice. At least, that’s what the name implies. It implies that it seeks to apply justice to these social issues.

The problem is, the name “social justice” is often misleading.

Sometimes the things that are lumped under “social justice” are truly justice issues. Sexual exploitation is the result of someone doing a wrong to another. Justice argues that the one who does the wrong be punished. Justice–wielding the sword to punish wrongdoers. In other cases, people are unjustly denied things they rightly deserve. Justice says that they should be given what they deserve. Justice–rewarding the one who does good.

But many of the things considered to be “social justice” are not justice at all. “Social justice” argues for feeding the hungry, giving homes to the homeless, providing money to those without money. Truly, some of the hungry, the homeless, and the impoverished are there because injustices have been done to them. Others are there because circumstances outside of their (and any others’) control has placed them there (medical conditions, children born into poverty, etc.) Others are there because they have placed themselves there via drug use, laziness, or lack of discipline.

Justice demands that we work to ameliorate the suffering of those who suffer unjustly–those in the first category. But justice does not argue that we make any effort to improve the conditions of those in the second and third categories.

Does this mean that we should not interest ourselves in the social concerns of the undeserving?

Absolutely not!

As Christians, we are called to live lives not of justice but of mercy.

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

Luke 6:27-36

Every Christian has received a great gift that he is completely unworthy of. While we were squandering our lives, abusing every gift that God had given us, God chose to give us grace upon grace–salvation of our souls, right standing before God. God poured out the judgment His justice demands on His own Son, while pouring out His mercy and grace on us.

We have been called to live in the same manner–absorbing the costs, pouring out the benefits. We have been called to live lives marked not by social justice, but by mercy.

Read my thoughts on justice and the purpose of government and continue checking back to hear me wrestle with how the issues of justice and mercy should inform a Christian’s political and non-political life.

The Secret Socialist (Part 1)

Last night, my siblings were discussing the apparently dead-in-production film version of The Hobbit and Peter Jackson’s lawsuit against New Line.

Several siblings remarked that Peter Jackson didn’t really NEED more money.

Their remarks struck me wrong for whatever reason and I added my comment: “The question isn’t whether Peter Jackson needs more money, but whether he deserves more money.”

It’s not an issue of who needs what or of “fairness”. It’s a matter of justice.

(Please realize that I know VERY little about this particular court case–I cannot even begin to answer the question I posed. That’s not the point.)

The point is that even in some of the most conservative of us (my family is pretty conservative as a whole), there lurks a secret socialist.

Now, it may well be that I am completely blowing this out of proportion. My siblings weren’t necessarily saying that Peter Jackson shouldn’t win this lawsuit because he didn’t need the money. Rather, I am almost certain that they were asking why he was pursuing the lawsuit, as though he needed more money.

But the conversation (along with my reading of Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation) got me to thinking about the purpose of government.

The governments of this earth have a God-ordained role to administer justice:

” Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”
Romans 13:1-7

The God-instated role of government is to reward the one who does good and punish the one who does evil. In other words, governments are intended to administer justice.

The problem is that justice…well, justice isn’t always very NICE. Justice is often pretty “unfair”. Justice means that the poor man who steals from a rich man–even if he’s stealing just so that he and his family can eat–is punished and required to repay what he has stolen–even though the rich man has no need for the stolen money.

“People do not despise a thief
If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house. ”
Proverbs 6:30-31

The mercy of the onlooker means he does not despise a thief who steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. The justice of the law demands that he restore sevenfold, regardless of the personal cost to himself.

Sometimes, even we conservatives look at the law and desire for it to be merciful–but that is not the purpose of government. The purpose of government is not the administration of mercy but the administration of justice.

Please don’t write me off as a hard-hearted conservative yet! I’ll be exploring this issue further in the upcoming week. Stay tuned to hear my thoughts on social justice and the role of the church in society (which is quite different from the role of the government in society.)

Universal Rights?

Reading My LibraryDisclaimer: The book I describe and rant about within this page was read during my endeavor to read every book in Eiseley library and while following along with Carrie’s Reading My Library project. However, the contents of this post are more a political/social rant than a book review. Just letting you know.

I’d never heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the UN in 1948) until I found a children’s version published in my local library. The book was entitled We are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures.

I had relatively low expectations of the book. After all, it’s an ideological children’s book written by a committee (Amnesty International). That doesn’t exactly make for soaring prose or beautiful language. In fact, it usually means it’ll be boring as all get out and clunkier than your first car. And so it was.

But that wasn’t what bothered me. What bothered me was the ideology contained within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which I have now taken a look at, thanks to this book.)

We are all born free

I didn’t have a problem with statements 1 and 2, dumbed down for children as “We are all born free and equal. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should be treated in the same way. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.” Okay.

So too, the third statement: “We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.”

The fourth statement, against slavery? Statement five against torture? Yep.

A right to equal protection under the law? Sure. I’ll allow habeas corpus for all. (Statements 6-11)

After this, the statements get a bit sketchier. A few I don’t mind (although I’m not sure they’re followed anywhere–even in the US). Equal rights for males and females. Right to your own property (and against seizure without good cause.) Right to believe whatever we’d like. Right to make up our own minds. Right to speak our minds. Right to peacefully assemble. Right to vote. Okay. I’ll grant these.

But right to a home? Right to enough money to live on? Right to medical care? Right to ART? Right to a job? Right to a vacation? Right to a good life? Right to a free education? Right to learn a career?

Are you serious? In my mind, these things aren’t RIGHTS–these things are things you earn. You work to own a home. You work to earn money. You work to get medical care. You enjoy art because you choose to and you pay for it. You take a vacation when and if your employer allows it–or you quit your job and live with the consequences. You pay for your own education. You choose to do whatever it takes to learn a career. These things aren’t rights. They’re privileges that are earned. Who comes up with this stuff?

We often excuse such blather as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because we’d love it if this Utopian society it describes existed. We’d love it if everyone had a free education, if everyone enjoyed the good life (Come to Nebraska–we are “The Good Life”), if everyone had access to art, if everyone had a roof over their heads and enough money to live on. We’d love it. We want that to happen. I want that to happen.

But just because something is desirable does not make it a right.

The noun right means something due to a person or community by law, tradition, or nature. If we are to modify the noun right with the adjective universal (which means of, relating to, or affecting the entire world or all within the world), then we must strike out the words “law” and “tradition”, since there is no universal law or tradition. We must define a universal right as something due to a person or community by nature (although I would argue that the modern “nature” is less appropriate than America’s founding father’s explanation of the source of inalienable rights: our Creator.)

In other words, universal rights are things that are due to people for the sole reason of their being people, regardless of who they are or what they do. Notice that term “due”? Universal rights are things that are owed to every person, regardless of their condition. They are the things that we all have a moral obligation to give to one another.

Most of these things listed as “rights” by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are nice things. Wouldn’t we all love to have a free education? Wouldn’t we all love to have a roof over our heads? Wouldn’t we all love to have a job? Wouldn’t we all love to have enough money to live on? Wouldn’t we all love a vacation? Sure. (At least, I would love to.)

But the question is, do I have a moral obligation to give everyone else in the world a free education? Do I have a moral obligation to give them a roof over their heads? Do I have a moral obligation to give them a job? Do I have a moral obligation to give them enough money to live on? Do I have a moral obligation to give them a vacation? If those things truly are universal rights, than I am morally obligated to do all those things for every other person.

But I’m not. I don’t have to give everyone else an education, a roof over their heads, a job, enough money to live on, or a vacation. Those aren’t universal rights–things owed to everyone for mere virtue of their existence.

Universal rights means that I have an obligation to not kill anyone else (they have a universal right to life). I have an obligation to treat others justly (they have a universal right to equal protection under the law and habeas corpus). I have an obligation to not enslave or torture others. I have an obligation to not steal others’ property. These are universal rights–things due to all people by nature.

The rest? Many are nice to have but not necessarily defensible from a natural or moral point of view. It’s nice to belong to a country–but do I have a moral obligation to give another belonging in a country? It’s nice to have a “good life”–but do I have a moral obligation to give you a “good life”? No, not really. (I might, however, have a moral obligation to not give you a bad life–or to not interfere with your pursuit of a good life.)

Others are not only indefensible from a natural or moral point of view, but are actually contrary to other, clearly defensible universal rights. If everyone has a right to a free education, who pays for it? If everyone has a right to a home, who provides it? If everyone has a right to enough money to live on, who gives them this money? If everyone has a right to medical care, who provides this care? These things are not free. They all have a cost, either in time or in money or both. If these are universal rights, that indicates that they are due to all people REGARDLESS of what they do or do not do. Which means that the only way to ensure that everyone gets what is “owed” to them under this definition of universal rights is to compel another person to give it to them either by laboring under compulsion (slavery) or by giving up their possessions under compulsion (a form of stealing). Yet, slavery and stealing are clearly recognized as violations of true universal human rights.

In the midst of feel-goods about free medical care and education and homes and jobs and money, we forget that for every privilege we wrongly define as a right, we take away another true right.

For the sake of preserving human rights, let’s let our list of rights be short–but strictly observed.

Christian Conspiracy Theory?

Yesterday, I linked to this article on Facebook (HT: Vitamin Z.) The article discusses the “Endagered Species” advertising campaign sponsored by the Georgia Right to Life.

Endangered Species Ad

I later saw this same article linked to by another person, who had a rather different take on it than mine. This other person suggested that this was a “Christian conspiracy theory” and an example of playing the “race card” while overlooking the true underlying theme–poverty.

I couldn’t help but mull over the suggestion. Is an injustice being done to black children in particular, or is poverty the only thing we should be worried about in this issue?

Yes, the data behind this campaign and the information shared in this campaign is fodder for conspiracy theorists. And some are taking hold of it in that way:

As the Los Angeles Times reports, “An increasingly vocal segment of the antiabortion community has embraced the idea that black women are targeted for abortion in an effort to keep the black population down.” Similarly, from The New York Times: “Abortion opponents say the number is so high because abortion clinics are deliberately located in black neighborhoods and prey upon black women. The evidence, they say, is everywhere: Planned Parenthood’s response to the anti-abortion ad that aired during the SuperBowl featured two black athletes, they note, and several women’s clinics offered free services — including abortions — to evacuees after Hurricane Katrina.”

“Planned Parenthood is out to kill blacks,” the conspiracy theorists would say.

I don’t really believe that. While there probably are some people who want to wipe out the black race, I do not believe this is the goal of the average (or even not so average) Planned Parenthood employee. But regardless of intent, Planned Parenthood is killing a disproportionate number of black babies. Regardless of intent, they are doing a remarkable job of carrying out their founder Margaret Sanger’s eugenic image of utopia.

In the public health world, we get worked up over things that disproportionately kill one population over another. We get worked up over sex differences in morbidity from heart attacks. We get worked up over racial differences in morbidity from diabetes and related disease. We want to know why these disease discriminate.

A huge goal of public health in the US is to eliminate health disparities. We don’t want death to discriminate. We don’t want one subset of our population to be dying off at a disproportionate rate.

So we work to understand and modify the factors that lead to these health disparities. Of course, much of our work is made more different because genetics plays a role in many diseases. Abortion is a different matter. There is no innate inborn difference between blacks and whites that causes black babies to be aborted at a higher rate. The factors responsible for these deaths are much more straightforward. People are killing those babies. And people are killing more black babies than white babies.

This should not be.

If we were to learn that people were giving out free baby formula in a black neighborhood–and that kids were dying because the baby formula was tainted with melamine (as in last year’s China scare)–that wouldn’t necessarily mean that people were intentionally killing black babies. But they were doing it nonetheless. Maybe the distributors of the free formula intended the distribution to be a mercy (and I believe many abortion providers believe that they are doing their clients a service by “relieving” them of another mouth to feed.) But their good intentions don’t change the fact that they’re killing babies in general and black babies in particular.

And if someone wanted to stop babies from dying, I think they’d focus on the population that is having the most children die. They’d say “Black people, pay attention. Your babies are dying from this tainted milk. Take note. Adjust your lives accordingly.” That’s what we do in health promotion–we target the population that’s most at risk. Because that population would do well to know the risks–and to say to the well-intentioned killers “Thanks, but no thanks. Take your free formula elsewhere. We don’t want you killing our babies.” Just the same, I think it is valuable for blacks to be awakened to the silent genocide of their children (whether said genocide is a result of design or happenstance.)

To use the campaign’s example, let’s think about endangered species. Say there’s a certain species of animals that is being destroyed by, say, fertilizers being used on farmland. The population of this type of animal is dwindling. The farmers aren’t intentionally setting out to kill this animal, it’s just a consequence of what they’re doing to help them achieve their goals. But when an environmentalist becomes aware of this, they lobby for endangered species status for the animal and seek tighter regulation of the fertilizers that are killing it.

That’s what we do for animals. But when it is babies–precious black babies–whose population is dwindling and who are being threatened, are we to sit back and say “but they’re not intending to kill black babies”? No way! We should be outraged by the inequalities and injustice we see and should seek to do all we can to stop the slaughter.

And what can we do to stop the slaughter? I think the Georgia Right to Life is making a good first step. They’re raising awareness–letting people know that black children are being killed by abortion at appallingly disproportionate rates. We can also pray and vote and work towards increased regulation and eventually closure of the clinics that perpetuate this murder. We can work to change the circumstances that make people feel that it would be better to kill their babies rather than let them live–circumstances like poverty, promiscuity, and lack of male responsibility. We can pray that God would change the hearts of people. Yes, we can pray that God would change the hearts of politicians, but also of abortionists, of people who seek abortions, and of the silent masses who just don’t care about the brutal genocide of the unborn–those who don’t care because it hasn’t touched them.

We must awaken to the fact that the slaughter is real–killing just under half a million black babies a year. This should be a startling statistic, a cause for alarm, a call to action.

It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned the murders are–or whether they have anything specifically against blacks or not. The point is, they’re killing blacks–and killing a lot more blacks than they are whites. And if we are a church who is truly interested in social justice, we should be ringing the alarm and calling for and working toward an end to this silent genocide.

The ads I love

Your left hand plans ahead. Your right hand plans for anything. Your left hand gets it done. Your right hand shows the world how it’s really done. Women of the world, raise your right hand.

Little known fact about me: I love printed advertisements. Some printed advertisements, that is. Mainly, the ones that use words. The ones that use words well.

Your left hand likes evenings at home. Your right hand loves a night out. Your left hand reads stories before bed. Your right hand lives a story worth reading. Women of the world, raise your right hand.

For instance, I loved the Diamond Trading Company’s right-hand ring advertisements. I have copies of half a dozen of them in a file in my cabinet (I guess it’s good I have paper copies, because I’m having a hard time finding photos online.) They’re poetry, they’re empowerment. I love them.

Your left hand dreams of love. Your right hand makes dreams come true. Your left hand lives happily ever after. Your right hand lives happily here and now. Women of the world, raise your right hand.

Right hand ring ads

Your left hand says you’re taken. Your right hand says you can take over. Your left hand celebrates the day you were married. Your right hand celebrates the day you were born. Women of the world, raise your right hand.

Some from the most traditional camps might complain about the feminism found within these ads. I don’t.

Sure, they’re emphasizing the right hand–but the point is that both the “right” and the “left” hands of women are powerful. Woman’s identity is not found merely in the ring found on the left hand ring finger–women are so much more.

Right hand ring ads

Note that I DON’T have the above in my collection. I don’t really like this one.

Your left hand sees red and thinks roses. Your right hand sees red and thinks wine. Your right hand believes in shining armor. Your left hand thinks knights are for fairy tales. Your left hand says “I love you”. Your right hand says “I love me too”. Women of the world, raise your right hand.

You see, that one–that one’s not quite right. That one trivializes the left hand–and makes the right hand into a selfish being. It makes the left hand about fairy tales and the right hand about self-love–cheapening both hands, in my opinion.

So I’m not indiscriminate in my love of printed advertisements.

Well, today I found a new ad to love. This time, it’s a men’s empowerment piece:

Wear the pants ad

Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone. Men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny. But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble. Children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of manhood. It’s time to wear the pants.

It puts shivers up and down my spine and a prayer in my heart. Not that Dockers would make money (although perhaps they deserve it for this campaign), but that men would hear the call and respond.

“Yes,” I say. “That’s what we need. That’s what we want. Pay no attention to the feminazis who would say we prefer men to be weak, to be feminine. Stand up for a manhood that’s beyond lust, for a manhood that’s powerful in its own right. Men of the world, it’s time to wear the pants.”