Making John Knox’s Bones Twitch

Rachel Marie Stone wrote an article for Christianity Today urging us to “reconsider” Margaret Sanger. The point was that while Sanger was emphatic about the personal and social good that comes from freely available contraception — contraception that was under the control of women — she was also opposed to abortion.

I learned about this article through a lot of good Christians what-the-helling on Twitter and so on, and so I thought I should go take a look. Having done so, let me acknowledge an important point made by a number of respondents thus far. Sanger was a white supremacist, and she was promoting her methods as a way of keeping the human weeds under control. Her outlook was perfectly appalling, and this illustrates yet again that we shouldn’t really care how good Mussolini was with train schedules, or how disciplined and coordinated the North Korean flag-waving drill team is.

The prefix eu in eugenics was a thin code for those white folks who have now dropped the word eugenics like a hot rock, but who still continue to disproportionately target black boys and girls — with the connivance of black quislings — and it should be pointed out by somebody that they have a kill rate much higher than that of the Ferguson Police Department.

But an additional point about abortion needs be made. Let me grant (for the sake of discussion) that Sanger really was opposed to abortion, and that this was not just a PR stance. Down to our own day, pro-aborts have shamelessly argued that they want to make abortion rare while they tirelessly work to make it not very rare at all. Let me stipulate that, as bad as Sanger was, she wasn’t as ghoulish as her heirs are.

My point concerns that word heirs. Are the current denizens of Planned Parenthood actually Sanger’s heirs? They have to this point conducted, and profited greatly from, tens of millions of abortions. Have they betrayed Sanger’s vision on a massive scale, with it being the same kind of thing as a modern Lesbyterian pastor making John Knox’s bones twitch? Or was it simply a matter of the fruitlessness logic contained within the premises working its way out over time?

If it was the latter, as seems obvious to me, then available contraception doesn’t save lives, at least not the way this article was arguing. Or, put more accurately, it doesn’t save lives net. If there was something in Sanger’s Planned Parenthood that led to this Planned Parenthood, then what we have done is traded in many numerous accidental and tragic deaths for even more numerous deliberate and tragic murders.

If the survival rate for wanted children greatly increases, then we should really be happy about it — unless the price tag for this benefit is the mortality rate for unwanted children increasing even more. This is especially the case if we keep the cause of mortality in mind. There is a non-subtle difference between losing children and throwing them away.

So let us assume that Sanger was against abortion, just like most evangelical Christians currently are. If there was something that she introduced into her organization that turned them completely around on this crucial issue, shouldn’t we inquire into what that might have been before we imitate anything from her project whatever? Before we admire it or her? Before we try to rehabilitate anything about it?

Ukraine #3

We have already noted how complicated things in Ukraine are, and I trust I have cast suspicion on any approach that wants to reduce everything to clear and simple (and therefore ideological) talking points.

To the extent we are involved in this kind of thing at all, our chief job is to stay out of the current pending disaster, and possibly the one right after that. Our first task is not to set up shop to redress grievances going back to the 1300’s. We are not competent to untangle that skein of yarn, and this is why we need a Day of Judgment, with a more competent Judge than anything the Security Council could ever have.

Our task is more simple, which is to keep things from spiraling out of control now. In the medieval period, the Church attempted to restrain the constant violence by means of the Pax Dei and Treuga Dei (the peace of God and the truce of God respectively). The former attempted to establish a permanent set of “off limits” regulations, while the latter restrictions were more temporary in nature. For example, the Pax Dei prohibited making war on women and children. The Treuga Dei did things like attempting to keep the nobles from fighting on Thursdays. Not very effective, but better than nothing.

You play cards with the hand you are dealt. When the Soviet Union was cracking up, Ukraine found herself with a bunch of nukes. The United States persuaded Ukraine to give up their nukes in exchange for our guarantee of their borders, borders which we in fact failed to guarantee. Let that sink in. They succeeded in giving up their nukes; we failed to do what we said we would do in exchange.

One response to this (in the comments on a previous post) was rejoicing over the fact that Ukraine doesn’t have nukes. Yay for no nukes in Ukraine. Right, but did we really want to exchange that “no nukes” benefit for the downside of everybody knowing that our guarantees mean nothing? I know that no nukes sometimes come in handy, but so do believable guarantees.

In foreign affairs, we often believe that we are heading in one direction, when we are actually going in a direction directly opposite. One of the characteristics of the progressive mind is the tendency to believe that nobody in the world has any memory at all, and that we can do the “Lucy and the football” thing indefinitely. We give a despot assurances that if he cedes power, then he will be okay. We then double cross him after he relinquishes power, and we think that (magically!) we have somehow not encouraged every remaining despot in the world to fight until the last dog is hanged.

So back to Ukraine. If we say, soothingly, that “the Crimea” was historically Russian anyway, then mark that word “historically.” How much history are we allowed to bring into this? Once we start appealing to history, when do we stop? What has Russia, that regional hegemon, ever done that might make Ukrainians wary? Use of the word wary is, by the way, a colossal understatement. Maybe we should bring up the famine that Stalin imposed on Ukraine, in which twenty-five percent of the entire population was starved to death, something like 7 million in real numbers. That happened in 1932/33, within living memory. And we are not yet counting all those put on the trains to Siberia.

The Prophet Sober and the Culture Drunk

Well, it is Monday morning, so let me write something outrageous. We can sweep up the pieces later. But also keep in mind the fact that just because something is outrageous, it does not follow that it is untrue or unnecessary. In fact, now that the cultural headquarters of our republic has been transferred to the National Zoo’s central monkey house, every day that goes by makes normality more and more outrageous. So there’s that.

Worldview thinkers know that everything is connected. The world is all of a piece, and in the final analysis, the long war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent is an interpretive war over the whole. The seed of the woman seek to understand the world as the Creator of it understands it, and the seed of the serpent seek to understand it in evolutionary terms, which is to say, on its own terms.

The cosmos is here because God put it here. Or, taking the other route, the cosmos — in some form — was always here. Either God is eternal, or matter/energy are. In the former scenario, there was nothing material and then bam, there was everything that is. In the latter, you have constant, everlasting, unrelenting change. No hope, but lots of change.

The seed of the woman understand that the foundation of all wisdom begins with the Creator/creature divide. In the beginning, God . . . before the beginning, there was God. And God spoke, and “not God” came into being. And this triune God declared “not God” to be very good. Cornelius Van Til called this rudimentary fact the Creator/creature distinction. Peter Jones calls it Two-ism. But whatever you call it, the foundation of all true wisdom rests upon it.

The seed of the serpent insists that everything that is here morphed out of something else that was already here, and somehow, in some way, everything that is used to be something else. There was no ultimate beginning. All is One. This worldview exalts evolution of necessity; the whole thing is necessarily a protean, shape-shifting inchoate mass.

Now the worshipers of the Creator God have a Word from their God, and they also have the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The worshipers of Change have a faith also, and a sacrament to go with it, which turns out to be the multi-directional orgasm. They testify to their faith in evolution by insisting that anything be allowed to have sex with anything else. In case you were wondering, this is why that creepster transgender dude is in the women’s showers at the fitness club. It is also why discipline in such situations, when it is applied, is applied to any person who has a problem with the creepster being in there.

And besides, any woman who objects to showering with a dude who currently self-identifies as a woman is probably a woman who has a deep problem with Pharisaism.

Ukraine #2

Back in the old days, when Americanism was more robust than it is now, it used to be said that “politics stops at the water’s edge.” What this was supposed to mean is that our domestic disagreements paled in comparison to whatever it was the Nazis were doing. Now there was a time when this was at least plausible, whether or not it was correct. When there was, or seemed to be, a more cohesive cultural unity tying us all together domestically, it was easier to present a united front to the world, and it was easier to get Americans to all pull together in order to do so.

But at home that cohesive cultural unity is now long gone, and it is taking conservative Christians some time to recognize that it is long gone overseas as well. In short, if Obama is creating so much wreckage here at home, as we all recognize, then why should we believe that he is somehow spreading sweetness and light abroad? If Hillary is as corrupt elsewhere as she is here, then we have every reason to believe her flights around the world were simply an International Shakedown Tour. Why should I unite behind that?

We need to get loose of the simple binary formula that has America in the automatic white hat, with the baddies being anyone we identify as such. However, some critics of American foreign policy don’t want to let go of the standard binary system — they have kept the system but simply switched their default sympathies. But America shouldn’t get the automatic black hat either. It ain’t that simple.