Posted in Pro-Life

Kyle Rittenhouse: Provocateur or Defender?

The devising of foolishness is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to humanity. If you show yourself lacking courage on the day of distress, your strength is meager. Rescue those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to the slaughter, oh hold them back!” (Prov 24.9-11; NASB).1
Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; save them from the hand of the wicked” (Psa 82.3-4).
Because I saved the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper…I broke the jaws of the wicked and rescued the prey from his teeth” (Job 29.12, 17).

INTRODUCTION:

Last Friday (11/19/2021) a verdict was reached in the Kyle Rittenhouse case. The eighteen year old had five felony charges2 against him for his deadly use of force during one of last years spree of Black Lives Matter—Antifa riots in Kenosha, WI. On the night of August 25, 2020 Rittenhouse fatally shot two men (Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber), and seriously injured another man (Gaige Grosskreutz), in what he claimed was self-defense. The jury found the defendant Rittenhouse “Not-Guilty” on all five charges. He was acquitted of all wrong doing.

It didn’t take long for the narratives to start flying in two distinct directions:

  • Progressives argue that “self-defense” was not the issue, rather it was a hateful, mean-spirited young man who got away with murder. Racial injustice won again. Whiteness was triumphant.
  • Conservatives on the other hand have claimed that this case is an exemplary model of the 2nd Amendment. They tout Rittenhouse as a hero. A “poster-boy” for self-defense.3

Originally, I had written an entirely different piece that I had wanted to post last Saturday morning (11/20/2020). Like many intentions, however, that one fell through. And so, I have sought to narrow down my original thoughts to get at some of the underlying assumptions surrounding this case.

Contextual considerations first…

If we are going to analyze a situation, along with the questions that arise from it, the first thing that we ought to do is consider the background material that surrounds it. That’s the responsible thing to do. Brashness may make headlines. It may bring you notoriety. But, rushing in to assess a situation before all the information is carefully weighed…in the end just highlights foolishness.

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him” (Prov 18.17).

Much better is the individual who seeks knowledge through discernment (Prov 18.15) than the person who is quick to state their own opinion, turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to all others (Prov 18.2).

What was happening during the summer of 2020? Besides all the COVID hoopla. Race riots. Or, so-called race riots. What various progressive news organizations called “mostly peaceful protests.” As this picture from CNN illustrates:4

The protests that were occurring in Kenosha, WI before the Rittenhouse incident were in reaction to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a young black man on August 23, 2020. Blake was shot by police officer Rusten Sheskey in the back four times leaving him paralyzed. This was in response to a call about an individual attempting to steal a car. Blake, who is seen moments earlier resisting arrest, hurriedly walks around the vehicle armed with a knife, which he claims he was attempting to put in the car.5

Everything over the past year and a half has said to be in relation to racism. After the death of George Floyd many cities witnessed violent rioting, theft, malicious attacks on citizens and officers alike, with the burning of personal property. This is the contextual background for that fatal night of August 25, 2020 when Rittenhouse, along with others of the same mindset, sought to protect their community from the criminal activities raining down on Kenosha.

I’ve heard the arguments offered. I’ve listened to the voices of those that say, “He shouldn’t have been there;” “He shouldn’t have had a gun;” “He should have let the authorities handle it.” On the surface such claims sound intelligent. Why carry a gun in public? Why head to an area where you know trouble is likely to happen; likely to suck you in? Why do something that will, by all intents and purposes, make you seem like a vigilante?

Problematic narrative…

Herein lies the problem with the current narrative surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. Both groups are arguing against a behavior that has been put on display in the civil sphere. The progressives are arguing for justice, for fairness, for the propagation of what is right over and against what is wrong. They see little problem with the demonstrations that we have on record in various cities and towns where truly peaceful protests have been forgotten. The right of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States affords all parties infringed upon to assemble and to address their grievances to the powers that be. Those elected officials have been granted ruling authority, by the people, to do what is right, what is honorable, what is good, while at the same time bearing the sword of vengeance against those who refuse to abide by those things.

In a similar vein, the same argument could be laid at the feet of those whose profession is conservatism. Armed vigilante justice is not justice, but a taking of the law into one’s own hands. A pretense being perpetrated that individual perception, individual authority, individual might and power rule the day. This too is wrong on its face.

The problem with the riots is that politicians do little but talk to their base about the rightness or wrongness of them. They do not actually involve themselves in the “thick and thin” of the matter, so to speak. They give talking points when it benefits their bottom line, but offer little substantive aid to those being wronged.

This was also the problem facing Kenosha, WI on the night that Kyle Rittenhouse was present, the night when his life was threatened and two men’s lives were taken in the wake, with a third being severely injured. Rittenhouse and others acted as militia in order to protect the lives/property of those in Kenosha that they knew. This wouldn’t have been necessary if the police had been willing to do their job, if the local officials would have had their backs, and if state and federal officials had been more than mere parrots repeating platitudes to their constituents.

But, they failed. They allowed one group to exercise a form of vigilante justice (as they perceived it) against what those they assumed were guilty—I’m speaking of the Black Lives Matter/Antifa movement. Feeling slighted. Convinced that they are defending those who have been treated unfairly, they demonstrated on the streets. What started out as “mostly peaceful” during the day, had by night time, become anything but.

Comparing to educate…

Why did it get this way? There were (are) several factors, but one glaring reason was due to cowardice.6 The cowardice on the part of those who were in positions of leadership, those who are called to serve their communities, led to Rittenhouse and his group trying to fill in the gap against the one’s attacking the quote-on-quote “system.”

Passages like Ecclesiastes 8:11 warns of the outcome. At least in terms of criminal activity. (Now if I have to convince you that robbery, arson, and assault are in fact crimes, then I am afraid that there is little we shall agree upon).

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of mankind among them are fully given to do evil.”

Some may want to disagree, but I find it interesting that when we take a compare and contrast approach there is a markedly different atmosphere, discernibly so, between what took place last year during the summer of BLM and the winter of January 6 in Washington, D.C.

Two representative perspectives…

The progressives represented by BLM and a contingent of people who felt disturbed with what they had been witnessing (Jacob Blake in Kenosha, but George Floyd as the catalyst) sought to demonstrate their position, to make their grievances known, in the community in which they lived. Even if it may be established that initially these assemblies were peaceful, things radically changed by nights end. A pattern which continued for days.

The conservatives7 represented by Rittenhouse and his band of merry individuals also felt disturbed with what they had been witnessing in Kenosha (after Blake) and no doubt in other parts of the country (after Floyd). And so, they sought to demonstrate their position, to make their grievances known, in the community in which they lived.

Like minded individuals like Rittenhouse did not attack individuals of another color, they did not attack police officers, and they showed respect for their neighbors property/livelihood by standing as a bastion of protection. There is a marked difference in approaches between the two groups, if you are willing to see it. One movement was characterized by aggression, the other took a more defensive posture. Like it or not one group was a provocateur the other was not.

Like it or not, this was what the jury in the Rittenhouse case discerned as well. The evidence in the case, when interpreted correctly, showed that the young man carried himself commendably when the situation called for it. He did not go to Kenosha on the night of August 25, 2020 to incite violence, but to offer protection to those in need if violence came knocking.

Closing Remarks…

As a father with sons about Kyle Rittenhouse’s age this case hit too close to home. In a perfect world fathers would not send their sons out to such battles. I cannot say that if my son were in that same situation I would not have tried to temper him from going where harm was present. It is a sad state of affairs when children are braver than the men who are called to lead. Had the cops and those over them been more concerned about loving their neighbors, by protecting them from harm, instead of being perceived as racists that night in Kenosha, young men like Kyle would not have felt the need to stand in the gap.

That night was NOT about race. I know that’s not what politicians want you to think. I know that’s not what the media wants you to think. And, I know that it’s not what groups like BLM/Antifa want you to think. But the facts are the facts. Kyle did not go to Kenosha armed with a gun and a medic pack to harm blacks. He went there to protect people and businesses (that have nothing to do with injustices committed in our legal system) from harm. He acted the part of the defender when others would not. Period.

There are many layers to this onion that need unraveling, but this should suffice for now.

ENDNOTES:

**Image provided by MSNBC with the caption “If Kyle Rittenhouse was Muslim.” https://media-cldnry.s-nbcnews.com/image/upload/t_fit-760w,f_auto,q_auto:best/newscms/2020_48/3430453/201123-ms-kyle-rittenhouse-main-2×1-an.jpg.

1All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

2CNN, “These are the 5 charges the jury in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial considered,” November 19, 2021, 7 Boston News, https://whdh.com/news/these-are-the-5-charges-the-jury-in-kyle-rittenhouses-trial-considered/.

3Charles Creitz, “Trump praises Rittenhouse acquittal, calls the case ‘Prosecutorial Misconduct,’” The Ingraham Angle—Fox News, November 20, 2021, accessed 11/20/2021, https://www.foxnews.com/media/trump-rittenhouse-acquittal-prosecutorial-misconduct.

4Paul Joseph Watson, “CNN Describes ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Riots as Kenosha Burns,” InfoWars, August 27, 2020, Published by Auto on 28 August 2020, https://unshackledminds.com/cnn-describes-mostly-peaceful-riots-as-kenosha-burns/.

5Brittany De Lea, “Jacob Blake admits he had a knife when he was shot by police,” Fox News, January 14, 2021, https://www.foxnews.com/us/jacob-blake-knife-shot-police.

6There are other reasons driving the current “chaos” in our society. Civil unrest benefits those who want to tear our society apart, to rip it from the last remnants of its former foundation (the Christian faith) and rebuild from the ashes and dust that remain into a perceived utopia that is Marxism of which a large number of secular humanists enjoy.

7I use the term “conservative” rather loosely here. To be honest I do not know what Rittenhouse’s political affiliations are, if any. Before this year (2021) he wasn’t even old enough to vote. The picture of him carrying a gun squashes the notion that he isn’t a representative of the conservative position for others. Personally, I prefer to use a different designation for the “conservative movement” does not accurately represent my Christian values on all points. Though in normal conversation I would admit to being conservative in light of the Christian character of our original institutions in this nation.

Posted in Pro-Life

Needing a Backbone

americanvision.org/23846/georgia-governor-should-declare-unborn-babies-persons-and-shut-down-all-abortuaries/

Each governor has a limited sphere of influence.

As individuals we govern our own lives not the lives of others. As parents (father and mother) we govern our households and not the homes of others. Elders govern the congregation they’ve been called to, but they do not govern a congregation they have not been called to. A mayor governs the village, town or city that they are elected to, but they do not govern other villages, towns or cities. A state governor has authority to govern their state territory, but not the citizenry of another state.

Each governing body–be they the individual or a magistrate (governing official)–is limited in authority in their own sphere of influence. A “governor” cannot go outside of the boundary of their domain. The application of this truth goes beyond family, church and state. An employer or a team owner or a director or the president of a bank each are responsible for governing their own areas of influence, but not those areas of influence outside they particular sphere. The owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers cannot govern the goings on in Pepsi.

Such things ought to be common sense. We are faced with this reality every day. But what if the Federal Government? Are they limited in authority? Or do they reign over all? They (their various governmental heads) are limited in their authority too, just like all others.

We are living in a time where one class of citizens (in all three spheres of governing influence; family, church and state) are seeking to govern all others. They have no regard for the rule of law. One of the most sacred laws we have, a guiding principle that is universal in scope to all of humanity, is the right to life.

No one not even the federal government has the right to take that life. And while it is true that a certain class of criminals forfeits their right to live (I.e., the death penalty). Babies in the woman do not fit the bill.

It is about high time that those on governing authority grew a backbone! They will trip over their own feet in their way to their knees before wicked people who only want to watch the world burn as they bathe themselves in the blood of our offspring, but they struggle to sag “No, I won’t listen to you. You have no authority here.” This requires a backbone. We need to have one personally. And we need fellow governs to have one as well.

Posted in Pro-Life

All Lives not Some not Most but ALL: promoting New Saint Andrews

wordpress.com/read/feeds/15207328/posts/2790042312

Even if you have no desire to attend New Saint Andrews College their marketing video offers some keen insight on the hypocritical debacle of BLM. All life, All Black, Brown, White, Yellow, Red and any other shade you want to slap on the human race MATTERS. From the womb to the grave life is precious but not all people think so. We need to do a better job of identifying who the HATERS truly are. Perhaps, if college is in your near future New Saint Andrews will be the solution your looking for. If college is not in your future, but you want to watch a slam of a marketing ploy that hits WOKEY McWoke in his teeth…click on the link above.

Happy 4th!!🇱🇷

Posted in Pro-Life

Why the Lamb and the Wolf?

Recently I’ve been writing about the Pro-Life movement. This is not a new fight, but has been going on since the sad episode in the garden. My last post touched on the fact that we might find ourselves, at times, with some (unlikely allies). But this shouldn’t stall us in our fight to preserve life.

What I have come to realize is that there are various misconceptions about what being “Pro-Life” even entails. But before I get into all of that, I wanted to take a few moments about why it is we are so error prone when it comes to the Christian faith. In particular, what that faith entails.

The Christian Faith is…Life

Let’s start off with an easy question:

**From where do we acquire the knowledge and wisdom to live the Christian life?**

“From God!” the ever so eager student answers. “Right on,” responds the teacher, “but how so?” “By prayerfully reading His Word,” a thoughtful student opines. “Exactly.”[1]

We are all responsible to live for the Glory of God, and in so doing enjoy Him forever.

“Now, can anyone tell me what we are responsible for?” inquires the teacher. “To glorify God!” the student quickly chirps confidently from somewhere in the back. (You will find that when someone assumes they have the correct answer, they are quick to speak. Sometimes this gets them the approving nod at other times disappointment.) The correct answer is “to live.”

Seeing the “Before” …

Before we can fulfill the obligations given to us—1) glorify God, 2) enjoy Him forever—we need to live. Our first priority is living. God has given us life in order that those other two necessaries will follow. In short, God is Pro-Life.

Understanding that our first priority is living, the next question is how do we live life well? We have already identified the what’s (i.e., glorifying God, enjoying Him forever), and we have rightly spotted the where (i.e., God’s Word/The Holy Bible) for living. But some very important related questions are “How do I live in order to fulfill my obligation to my Creator? How does the Bible instruct my living?”

How Obligatory Living Works…

When the apostle Paul spoke to the elders of Ephesus, he gave them a charge as overseer’s (elders, presbyters) over the flock of God with a reminder of what he had done:

  • The Charge: “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood…Therefore be on alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years. I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20.28, 31).[2]
  • The Reminder: “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ…Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose [counsel] of God” (Acts 20.18b-21, 26-27).

Paul preached life in Christ. He warned those in leadership in Ephesus to guard that life with their very lives. The life Paul preached is found in the full counsel of God alone.

Where the Teaching of Life Originates

This teaching emphasis did not originate from Paul, but from God.

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish…I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him…” (Deut 30.15-18a, 19-20a; emphasis mine).

It does to apply…

Realizing that some might challenge the application of this particular text saying, “This only applies to Israel, not the Church of Jesus Christ!” I want to nip it in the bud. First, by asking a very important question: “Who says?” If God says this, then show me where. If He doesn’t say this, then why do you open your mouth? “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38.2; ESV).

Secondly, have you not read God’s Word? For Jesus, when tempted in the wilderness by Satan to turn the stone into bread—being hungry—offered the following retort:

“It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD” (Matt 4.4; emphasis in original).

Odds are we have some familiarity with that passage. Many a preacher has made countless points regarding Jesus’ words here. But what is the root to which Jesus points? Is it possible that we are missing something in the Lord’s rebuking of Satan?

Jesus’ words go back to a time in Israel’s infant years; during the Exodus under the leadership of Moses. The message of the Lord delivered to Moses and explained to the people is the same as that which we just saw a moment ago in Deuteronomy 30:15, 20a: “I have set before you life…and death.” Jesus quotes to Satan from Deuteronomy 8:1-3 which reads,

“All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live…You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you into the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut 8.1, 2-3; emphasis mine).

Foundational Issues…

The lesson of the manna was that people will either live or die in response to God’s Word. Torah often translated law means instruction. The author of life gives instructions to His creation so they might live. Living is dependent upon their response to His commandments, statutes, instruction, etc. If we are to learn anything from the incident that occurred in the garden of Eden it ought to be this, to be obedient in humble submission to the Lord above is to eat the blessed fruit of the Tree of Life. Just like the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was not poisonous, so too was the fruit from the Tree of Life not miraculous. They were real trees that produced real fruit, similar to the apple trees growing in my front yard. What made them either a blessing or a curse was the response of God’s chief representative on earth—Man—when God said “Do and don’t.” Do eat of every tree in the garden, don’t eat of the tree that I put a no-trespassing sign on.

It is said of Jesus that He is the light of all men (i.e., people) and that in His light is life (John 1.4). Thus he rightly told His hearers that if they came to Him in faith they would have life—“I say these things that you might be saved” (John 5.34), but many did not (John 5.40). Peter rightly stated that Christ’s words alone have life (John 6.68). Jesus affirmed that those who abided in His word “the truth will make you free” (John 8.32), and that “he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11.25-26). Therefore, the charge that He gave to His disciples before He ascended to the Father’s right hand was that in making disciples of the nations they were to “[teach] them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt 28.20a).

In other words, God is not only the author of life, but His Word is the sustainer of life (eternally so). If one wants to live, then this act of faith is first weighed in response to His commandments.[3] When Jesus taught to obey His Word, to keep His commandments, He was speaking about all that was written. When Paul spoke to Ephesian elders in Miletus his reminder and warning was charged with the life-giving sustenance found in the Word of God alone.

Corrective Insight…

God’s Word not only gives life, but sustains it from the works of sin. And for those of you like Andy Stanley that falsely assume that Old Testament saints did not have a Bible, but is somehow only a New Testament reality…you are wrong. Bible means book. And when believers speak affectionately of the Holy Bible, they mean God’s book. Jesus was sanctified according to all that was written in that book, and it is that same book by which we are sanctified and being sanctified for in it contains the Word of Life (see John 17 ).

God is Pro-Life, which does not begin and end on the debate that has been raging for a couple generations now regarding abortion. No doubt the fight over abortion is a Pro-Life fight. To fight to preserve the lives of little babies, unborn, in the womb is a holy war. To strike against that which is unprotected in what is supposed to be a sanctuary of safety and love, is to attack the very author of life Himself.

Wrapping Up…

My last few posts on this issue are meant to drive awareness into unknowing hearts. The issue is confrontational because at base it is an issue of life vs. death (Debating Abortion). The issue is not new but old and has already been fought and won in our nations past (History of the Pro-Life Movement). The issue will at times bring together combatants that are polar opposites theologically, but being made in God’s image they know intuitively that life is sacred and must be protected at all costs (Unlikely Allies). Which brings me to my final thoughts for this post.

Perhaps you noticed that I used the picture of a lamb and a wolf in my last post entitled “Unlikely Allies” linked above. I did this for two reasons. As things stand right now wolves and sheep are mortal enemies. They have different appetites and opposing natures. This symbolism is used in Scripture to show how believers are at odds with those in the world. But being the creations of God, this has not always been the case. In the beginning all things were very good (Gen 1.31). Not just in status as God’s creatures, but in function as God’s creatures. The fall in the garden changed all of that. Death, violence, pain and suffering were ushered in as the results of sin. However, God promises that this will not always be the case, and it is demonstrated in the prophetic writings of Isaiah.

“And the wolf will dwell with the lamb…” (Isa 11.6a).

“The wolf and the lamb will graze together…” (Isa 65.25).

Why? What brings about such change in the creatures of God? The answer is found in the root of Jesse named Christ Jesus (Isa 11.1; Acts 13.22-23), the very one who is the author of all things new (Isa 65.17; 2Cor 5.17). Christ brings peace and righteousness and healing in His wings. This is a future hope that is being played out in a present reality. We, who bear the name of Christ, are charged to fight for the very things that He did. And at times this will mean siding even with wolves, in the hope (trust) that our efforts as faithful stewards (i.e., salt and light) will bring glory and honor to our Lord and win others to our side.

For some of you this presents an eschatological problem, but that is a discussion for another day…


ENDNOTES

[1] There is a bit more to “prayerfully reading His Word” but the students answer is appropriate. There is a correct way and a wrong way to do this. Opening the Bible with closed eyes and putting your finger on the page, just because you’ve prayed “God give me insight into this or that situation” doesn’t make your method legitimate. Such behavior will surely lead you into error. A better way and what we ought to be doing (what should be meant by prayerfully reading His Word) is looking into the context of the writing (Historical, linguistic, cultural—who is being written to and why? Are appropriate questions), being observant of what is written, before we attempt to interpret it, and this we do with great care using Scripture to interpret Scripture and even checking what commentators of the past and present have had to say on the particular portion we are studying, long before we try to apply it to our lives (and the lives of others). But being mindful of whose word it is (i.e., prayerfully reading His Word) is a necessary first step in the right direction.

[2] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard (NASB).

[3] Due to various misconceptions that may arise with this statement, I turn the reader to Acts 17:30 where the apostle Paul rightly declares that believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ is a commandment: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.” The gospel is NOT an invitation. That might be a popular way of speaking about it, but it misconstrues the biblical message.

Posted in Abortion, Uncategorized

History of the Pro-Life Movement: We’ve been Victorious Before

The following conversation really took place. The time and the exact location are not given. What is known is that it occurred on a local news network in front of a live studio audience. With the cameras rolling and the host at his station we are privileged to get a brief glimpse into history that has been forgotten. Something we will learn (if we didn’t already know) is far too common amongst those who claim to know so much. Let’s listen in…

Then Director of Planned Parenthood offers the following accusation:

“What I don’t understand about you pro-lifers is where you’ve been all these years…Women have been suffering for centuries. The pro-life movement didn’t even exist until 1973. You’re just a bunch of extremists, opportunists, and Johnny-come-latelies.”

George Grant smiling gives the following rebuttal:

“Ah, but once again, there is where you are very wrong: The pro-life movement is not a recent phenomenon or innovation…It is two thousand years old. You see, the pro-life movement was inaugurated on a rugged old cross, on a hill called Calvary—it is best known as Christianity. Caring for the helpless, the deprived, and the unwanted is not simply what we do. It is what we are. Always has been. Always will be.”[1]

Our Current Dilemma

We live in a generation that has forgotten her past. Some of the blame we might be tempted to lay at the feet of our teachers, at those revisionists of the past. But the fault really ought to be laid at our feet. It is our responsibility to search into such things. To know…before we speak.

“There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after” (Eccl 1.11).[2]

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…hav[ing] forgotten the law of your God…” (Hos 4.6).

A short word on the above passages…

  • Eccl 1.11—The passage taken from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes would appear, I would imagine to most people, to be a no brainer. The writer (who I believe to be Solomon) is saying that people are quick to forget their past. History doesn’t repeat itself because it is cyclical, but because people are ignorant and repeat the same mistakes from the past not having learned from them. How in the world can you learn from the past, if you don’t know it? The problem that Ecclesiastes addresses is the vanity of mankind, which is rooted in sin.

Have you ever tried to catch the wind with your hand and hold it? That is a close equivalent to the vanity that the writer is referring to. The source of this vanity is the unwillingness on man’s part (male and female) to recognize their Creator and live for Him. And so, they chase after this and that to find fulfillment and unabating pleasure.  But nothing in this life ever satisfies but the Lord God who fashioned us for His purpose and pleasure. Being the rebel that we are, we ignore the lessons from the past, and continue in the folly of those who came before us.

  • Hosea 4:6—The passage from Hosea addresses a similar problem. The context—historically speaking—was during the time of “Hosea, son of Beeri” who ministered during the time “of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel” (Hos 1.1). The prophets of the Lord were kind of like His prosecuting attorney’s. They were the ones that God tasked with bringing charges of a sinful (sometimes criminal) nature having broken the edicts of the covenant between them and God.

The charge in Hosea 4 is rather simple. Verse 6 highlights the problem and its effects. God says, His people die or are destroyed for not remembering His law. Of course, those in leadership bear the greater brunt of the responsibility. Those who teach or are called to teach others are held to a higher standard. If they fail to call to remembrance what God has done in the past, what He has instructed His people to do, they will be severely punished. But this does not remove the blame from those under them.

To put it a little more plainly, teachers are accountable for not teaching. But this does not remove responsibility from the people. Both teachers and students are covenanted to God. if the teachers don’t teach God’s Law (Torah/instruction), then the people who are covenanted to God should do everything in their power to learn their past. They will be judged for not knowing God too—who He is, what He has done, and their heritage in Him.  Which is why we see them dying. They are dying for their own sin.

What does this have to do with the Pro-Life movement?

One of the things that Grant noticed as he traveled around the world advocating for the lives of unborn babies is that “People who had been valiant in the battle for life were generally unaware of the fact that the battle had been fought and won—several times—by Christian pro-life stalwarts generations, and even centuries ago.”[3] This coming from a person who has been on the front lines, so to speak, since the beginning of the Pro-Life movement after Roe v. Wade. Referring to the wisdom of “English author and lecturer, John H. Y. Briggs…” Grant points out that “historical awareness is essential for the health and well-being of any society; it enables us to know who we are, why we are here, and what we should do.”[4]

At the close of his introduction, Grant tells the reader from where he drew his knowledge on this issue. Starting with the Patristic period (era of the Church Fathers), through the fall of Rome, the time of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, the Missionary movement of the 18th-19th centuries, to the time of the first World War (1914), till the present, Grant sought to meticulously draw from the well-spring of history on the Pro-Life movement. His treatment is by no means exhaustive (whose is?), but he does provide an ample bibliography for those keen to further build their knowledge through research.[5]

**I am well aware of the fact that this is a blog post. And so, timing is of the essence. Therefore, I have no intention of dealing with all the different periods mentioned above. If you want to know how the Pro-Life movement has been fought and won at various times and on various fronts, then get the book. At the end of this post I will give you a few other recommendations besides this one. They are all free on PDF (Available Here), or if you are like my wife preferring a physical book to an electronic version, then you may buy a hand held copy. I get nothing out of this. I don’t know Mr. Grant, but I do appreciate his work for the Kingdom of Christ. And having tasted his works on my own, I offer you a delectable portion of some much-needed food for thought.

We shall now turn our attention to a time in American history when the Pro-Life movement fought the battle for unborn babies and won. No, I didn’t type that wrong. Our history in the United States tells of a time when abortion was outlawed. When Pro-Lifers united across the country and for a few seasons legalized baby-killing was criminalized. Where the battle was started, fought and won, might surprise you. Let’s go ahead and look into our past…

Where it All Started…

“Like an avowed atheist who sees the devil at night, America awoke in a jolt to the horror of abortion…concern over the scandal of child-killing became…a moral crusade. It became a movement; an outcry against the insidious exploitation of women and children swept the nation,”[6] writes Grant.

The spark that fanned the flame that enveloped the nation was started in the New York Times. That is not a typo. I know, I know, unbelievable right?!? The New York Times is where the Pro-Life movement began in the United States of American in the 19th century. For the kids of today that are confused by century references that means the 1800’s. Specifically, 1871. That is the date that ought to be remembered in history, but time has eroded all knowledge of it. And boy, oh boy! are the Pro-Choicer’s of today glad!

Augustus St. Clair…

An investigative reporter for the New York Times named Augustus St. Clair “on July 1871…was given an extremely dangerous undercover investigative assignment…he was to infiltrate and ultimately expose the city’s prosperous and profligate medical malpractice industry—the common euphemism for the abortion trade.”[7]

Grant retells how Mr. St. Clair “and a ‘lady friend’ visited a number of the most heavily trafficked clinics in New York, posing as a couple facing a crisis pregnancy. [And] they were shocked with what they saw.”[8]  Bear in mind what shocked them was not that they were dark and dingy rat-holes. Dirty, rusted metal coat hangers were not drying on the line dripping bloody remnants of the last back alley “surgeries.” Actually, quite the opposite.

What shocked Mr. St. Clair and his friend was the high-end elegance that these facilities garnered. Not only that, it was also what Grant describes as

“the smug complacency of the poisonous proprietors—men and women who had made quite an opulent living out of dying—contrasted so sharply with the dispiritedness of their patients. It was that the frank and forthright commerce of the death merchants—advertised openly in all the magazines, newspapers, digests of the day—contrasted so sharply with the secretive shame of their customers. It was that the dens of iniquity were simultaneously dens of inequity.”[9]

Snowball that started an Avalanche…

To say that Augustus St. Clair’s indignation had been stirred by what he saw would be somewhat of an understatement. In August of that same year, just one month after getting the assignment, he “wrote a hard-hitting three-column article which the Times published…entitled ‘The Evil of the Age….”[10] In the opening of this article, published in the New York Times mind you, was a polished, yet scathing reality check for the readers. St. Clair put a spot light on what he called “the murder…of thousands of human beings…” not to mention the “thousands upon thousands more of adults [being] irremediably robbed in constitution, health, and happiness.”[11]

Personally, I find the honest tenacity of St. Clair’s position refreshing and enlightening. We are often told today that the best way to address abortion is by making it about science or philosophy or proper education, but St. Clair put a spotlight on it by calling it what it is…MURDER!  He didn’t hem and haw around the subject like so many Pro-Lifer’s do today. He wasn’t ashamed he was outraged by the barbarism of it; especially, the way those of the movement try to put a false veneer of beauty on it. He ripped the lying shroud right off of the Pro-Choice movement. And the result, while it may seem surprising to our modern ears, is nonetheless exciting.

Once St. Clair started his snowball roll at the top of “Press Hill” others joined the fray and it grew and grew and grew. Eventually,

“…a number of courageous journalists, following St. Clair’s lead in the Times, began to expose the awful practices of heretofore respectable and upstanding physicians, who traded on the misfortunes of others. Before long, the dam of self-interest broke and a flood of articles began to appear in several other New York papers—the Tribune, the Herald, and the Police Gazette. Soon, all around the country, the same newspapers, magazines, and digests that had previously accepted advertising from abortionists began to throw the searchlight of truth on their detestable deeds of darkness….”[12]

Even the Medical Community Jumped on Board…

Grant points out that

“the Journal of the American Medical Association, published a scathing critique of abortion’s death ethic noting that from the moment of conception: The unborn child is human, and at all periods differs in degree and not in kind from the infant and the adult. Therefore, we must regard it as a human being with an inalienable right to life, and that its destruction is homicide.”[13]

The Politicians Finally answer the Call…

Yes, if there is one way to get a politician on your side, it is to make your voice heard. There is a reason that a kid screaming will often kid their way. But this issue is about saving the babies, so that they can scream!

Grant explains, “Even reticent politicians and barristers began to take notice and take action. Tougher restrictive legislation, more efficient local enforcement, and strict sentencing guidelines were put into place all around the country, and the prosperous physical-killers were driven to desperate resources. Eventually every state in the Union passed laws making their morbid arts illegal. Many went so far as to affirm that the abortion of ‘any woman pregnant with child is an assault with intent to murder.’”[14]

The Chief Instigators of the Movement…

Without reading the book and looking into the history of the movement I can see where the reader might assume that it was the journalists, politicians, and some courageous members of the medical community that led to the national illegalization of abortion. That would be incorrect. Earlier I had stated that St. Clair is the one who started the snowball’s descent down “Press Hill” that sparked national concern. This is true, but before St. Clair formed the snowball someone else had caused it to snow. Or, to switch metaphors, someone else had dug away earth and laid the right foundation for St. Clair to build upon. The fact of the matter is that “it was the church that led the pro-life movement toward a consummate victory.”[15]

How so? The same way the road to victory is always paved over sin, hell and the grave by preaching and teaching the Holy Word of God. Immediately, when the dust had settled after the Civil War ministers and churches of all stripes began preaching, teaching and writing against this atrocity that had festered into the soul of American soil.[16] We shouldn’t be surprised that abortion found a foothold in this nation. For far too long we had festered another form of hate on fellow man—chattel slavery.

Assuming that the evil was vanquished, the light of the gospel was shown on another area. What may be surprising to the youth of our nation (I know of many adults who do not realize it), is that the principles, laws, and convictions that originally settled in the footer of which would become this great precipice the United States of America was the conviction that the God of the Bible is Creator and that His law is the final governing Word on right versus wrong. Life is precious because God gave/gives it. And only the Giver has the sovereign right to take it.

With such reminders,

“In less than two decades, the church was able to marshal hostile journalists, ambivalent physicians, reticent politicians, and even radical feminists to the cause of exploited mothers and their helpless unborn. They succeeded overwhelmingly. And they restored the foundations of a glorious legacy of freedom and justice that had always been at the heart of the remarkable American experiment.”[17]

Closing Remarks…

For those interested I offer a brief appendix and the promised link and references to the book cited above, as well as a couple others. I hope you enjoyed this brief history of the Pro-Life movement here in the United States. The victory has been won before. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. But we must be resolute in defining what the practice of abortion truly is (MURDER). Understand the root that drives it (Sin of Pride). And then, give the only remedy that will heal the wounds that have scarred our land (the Gospel of Jesus Christ).

Appendix

Who is George Grant?

I have no intention of giving a bio of the man, that is something you may research for yourself. I will however, tell you what he has done (and still continues to do). He has written many books for the Pro-Life movement. In particular, he has written some works specifically geared toward pulling back the shroud that enshrines Planned Parenthood and their notorious founder Margret Sanger.

Sanger was about as hateful a woman as you could get. She was a eugenicist that believed, very similar to the Nazi party, that the best way to make sure life went forward properly in the best possible way was to control the breeding of the human population. She was akin to the modern-day fanatics that believe the earth is going to die within a generation or so if we don’t get a hold of an exploding human population. She was also a notorious racist, hater of the lower class in society, and those of religious faith. In particular, she was an ardent opponent of Christianity, and her lifestyle promoted everything that was contrary to biblical teaching. Though she is well known for promoting contraception, what she really favored was the killing of the offspring in the womb using any means necessary. The popular Plan-B pill or morning after pill, as it is sometimes called was one of her chief desires to create.

Here are a couple more works written by George Grant. The first is a biographical analysis of the famed feminist Margret Sanger who I lovingly spoke of above. The second was written on the legacy she left in her wake—Planned Parenthood. The third title is the one that I have used for this post.

    • Grant, George. Killer Angel: A Biography of Planned Parenthood’s Founder Margaret Sanger. Franklin, TN: Ars Vitae Press & The Reformed Library. 1995.
    • __________. Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood. 2nd Edition. Franklin, TN: Adroit Press. 1992.
    • __________. Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-Life Movement from the First Century to the Present. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers. 1991.

I would highly recommend that you read all three ( Again, Available Here)if you are at all interested in learning the history of the Pro-Life movement from a purely Christian perspective. Which I believe is the only consistent and effective way to address the murder of babies in the womb; as, it is gospel-centered and unabashedly unashamed of identifying sin and the only remedy found in the life-giving sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord.


ENDNOTES:

[1] George Grant, Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-Life Movement from the First Century to the Present (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, 1991), 1-2.  Italics in original.

[2] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).

[3] Ibid, 2-3.

[4] Ibid., 4.

[5] Ibid., 4.

[6] Ibid., 95.

[7] Ibid., 91. Italics in original.

[8] Ibid., 91.

[9] Ibid., 92.

[10] Ibid., 92.

[11] Ibid., 92. Quoted in Marvin Olasky, the Press and Abortion, 1838-1988 (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1988), 26.

[12] Ibid., 95. Italics in original.

[13] Ibid., 96. Quoted in James Macaulay, Current Heroes: Examples of Faith for our Time (New York: American Tract Society, 1879), 42. Italics in original.

[14] Ibid., 96.

[15] Ibid., 97.

[16] Cf. pp. 97-100.

[17] Ibid., 100.