Sunday, January 20, 2019

Defending a Culture of Life in a Culture of Death

“God already thought of us before the creation of the world. Not one of us is extra. All of us are desired by God.” Dr. Jose Maria Simon Castellvi

  Are you like me? Sometimes I feel like I am living in the midst of the Holocaust. Just when I think that I’m shockproof at the hardness and rationalization of evil in hearts, I find I’m stunned again.
  Recently, Breakpoint shared this posting. It took my breath away. The physician responsible is now being investigated. In 2010, 38-year-old Tine Nys was one of approximately 1,000 people euthanized in Belgium, but Nys was not suffering from a terminal illness. In fact, she wasn’t sick at all. Despite how it’s sold around the world, inevitable death isn’t a requirement for euthanasia in Belgium. The standard for eligibility is “unbearable and untreatable suffering,” which now includes psychological suffering. 
  Between 2005 and 2014, 124 people diagnosed with a “mental and/or behavioral disorder” were euthanized in Belgium. These included conditions such as depression and dementia. But in Tine Nys case, it’s wasn’t even clear that she was “suffering” at all, much less in an “unbearable and untreatable” sense. Nys had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism.
  If you’re familiar with the Autism Spectrum, you know that Asperger’s is characterized by, among other things, difficulty in social situations and restricted interests. It’s also characterized by “remarkable focus and persistence,” “attention to detail,” and an aptitude for recognizing patterns. If that doesn’t sound especially unbearable, you’re correct, and most people agree. In fact, Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has called Asperger’s a possible “big advantage” in places like Silicon Valley. My son, Ben, was diagnosed with Asperger’s many years ago. I know that we have others who are somewhere on the Autism Spectrum in our church family and nearly all of us know someone who is on that spectrum.
  In the midst of a “culture of death,” the Church of Jesus Christ must, as it has since those early days of a “culture of death” in the Roman Empire, be committed to a “culture of life.” And it will become more costly and require more sacrifice on our part. We must speak graciously, kindly and in a Christlike manner BUT we must speak. We must remember, too, that our mission is first the gospel and heart change, then social change. We must also be aware that politicians are first pragmatists. At the end of the day, they’re usually more concerned about the next election than pro-life issues in spite of the rhetoric, campaign promises and political saber rattling.
  For example, during the last two years, in spite of a “conservative majority,” Planned Parenthood was not defunded. Frequently, you’ll hear someone make the ludicrous statement that abortion is merely 3% of what Planned Parenthood does. Can you imagine though if someone defended sexual predator, Bill Cosby, suggesting that sexual assault is only about 3% of what Bill Cosby did over his long and illustrious career, and thus his egregious offenses should be overlooked, and that you can’t paint him with the broad brush of “sexual offender,” just because a very small percentage of his activities were horrifying and abusive?
  The silence of Black Lives Matter supporters when it comes to abortion is inexcusable. Abortion is the biggest killer in the black community. In New York City alone, thousands more black babies are aborted than born alive each year. The abortion rate among black mothers is more than three times higher than it is for white mothers. Nationally, 36% of all abortions were performed on black women though they’re only 13% of the female population. The little-discussed flip side of “reproductive freedom” is that abortion deaths far exceed those of cancer, violent crime, heart disease, AIDS and accidents. Racism, poverty and lack of access to health care are the typical explanations for these disparities, yet black women have much higher abortion rates even after you add in a statistical control for income.
  More died in 2018 from abortions than any other cause of death worldwide. Nearly 42 million abortions were performed last year. That means that nearly a quarter of all pregnancies worldwide (23%) ended in abortion. For every 33 live births last year, 10 children were aborted. Because it’s debated on whether to even call abortion what it is: death, and unborn babies what they are: humans, the nearly 42 million lives that were lost last year to abortion aren’t even recorded in the global death toll of 2018, which was 59 million.
  Human life is a wonderful thing. There’s nothing else like it. Every human being, no matter how small, is fearfully and wonderfully made. Every human being, no matter how disregarded, bears the image of God. Every human being, no matter how weak, will keep on living forever.
  And that’s why we can offer hope! Jesus offers forgiveness for women who have aborted a child and hope to men who have encouraged a wife or girlfriend to abort. Jesus offers hope to employees of abortion clinics and hope to those who are apathetic about this great evil in our society.
  So, what can we do? We can pray and we can proclaim!
  We may think our prayers are small in relation to the magnitude of the evil of abortion, but God is not small. Hearts are changing toward abortion, even among those who don’t know Christ.
  We will only see true life and cultural change through proclamation of the gospel! Our main calling and greatest gift to this world is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the only message that gives pardon for the agents of death and power for the agents of life. Since we have all at one time been children of darkness (Ephesians 5:8), the blood-bought pardon of Jesus is precious to us all. That’s where we must start, by offering the free gift of salvation – God’s grace, forgiveness and eternal life!

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