There are many reasons to look forward to the day of resurrection. The foremost of course will be to be with the Lord Jesus, and then after that to be with all the saints — with those I have longed to meet but especially those who will make that day a wonderful day of reunion. Now when faithful Christians make lists of their top ten reasons for looking forward to that day of resurrection, the chances are pretty good that the top five will be very similar to one another. There will be a lot of commonality. But after that, things will trail off a bit. For example, my number 7 is that nobody will be trying to establish a single payer health care system. Just think about luxuriating in that for about five hundred years.
Now hold that thought, because I am actually wanting to talk about the Planned Parenthood debacle. Planned Parenthood is now officially toxic, and our very straightforward and simple task is to keep them toxic. Twenty years from now the two words Planned Parenthood should conjure up the same emotional responses that the one word Chernobyl does. We are not there yet, but it has been a good start. This whole thing has been a Grade-A PR disaster for them and, through them, a disaster for abortion rights and for Roe. And by disaster, I mean ruination, calamity, debacle, catastrophe, fiasco, crash, and cataclysm. In short, they have had a bad couple of weeks.
And as I have already mentioned, the pro-life Christian response has been stupendous. Despite Twitter and Facebook doing their level cussed best to keep this thing from trending, the pressure from our side has nonetheless been relentless and effective. Weeks of #DefundPP and #PPSellsBabyParts and #AnotherBoy and what I get at the top of my feed tonight is #BachelorinParadise. Really? But even though the keepers of the new media are trying to lie about what is happening, it is obviously happening anyway, and politicians are taking notice, and corporations are backing away.
Now the need of the hour is for us to keep this stupendous response just as focused and forceful and effective as it has been up to this point. Hard pursuit is the name of the game.
So here is the caution. I have recently seen two (so far slight) tendencies in the Christian responses that threaten, if tolerated, to derail us. And I would plead with everyone to not let that happen. The two responses are these — one acknowledges the potency of the moment and the momentum, and then tries to hitch that momentum to other issues. The other tendency tries to be a worldly-wise cynicism, trying to explain that this moment will change nothing in the long run, that it is all just a flash in the pan.
So let us deal with these in order. Kristen Powers is an evangelical Christian, and a pro-life Democrat. This means she says things about health care, and defends things in the same realm, that would interfere with my resurrection joy, number 7-wise. But on the Kermit Gosnell case she was magnificent, and she has been the same on this Planned Parenthood fiasco. In short, she is an ally, and an important one. We all agree on this. Let us therefore act in concert so that we can accomplish something worthwhile at this crucial point where we all agree. That’s the principle applied to my left.
To my right, I would say to my Christian libertarian friends that this is not the time to connect Planned Parenthood to foreign policy issues. Leave the CIA out of it. We have broken through the culture of death’s line, and are in a position to actually get something done at this point. Again, we are getting something done where every pro-lifer agrees. Allowing PP chop shops to exist, funding them with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, and doing it all in the name of women’s reproductive health is a moral and ethical farce. Everyone in the country who agrees with that as a stand-alone issue should be taking full advantage of it as a stand-alone issue. Make it stand alone, and why? So that it can fall.
Planned Parenthood has been caught in an egregious position, and they are on the hook trying to defend the indefensible. Our solitary occupation, until they go down, should be to demand that they continue to be required to defend their indefensible behavior. When that turns out to be impossible, as it is impossible, then the undefended point may be taken.
Note that I am not saying that we should abandon integrated worldview thinking. There is a time and place to discuss how all these issues relate together, and there is a place to debate them. But that time and place is not the moment when this city is about to fall. Let’s take it, and then debate what the next city ought to be. Trying to get agreement on these other issues now will only disrupt this alliance. Arguing about the next city now will only prevent the taking of this city.
What is the second distraction? Other Christians are disillusioned. They think that nothing ever changes, and they believe that this episode is no exception. There will be an uproar, they say, and then everything will return to normal — normal being a relative term. Calm down, everybody. It would be wonderful if you succeeded, but there is no way you are going to succeed. Besides, winning a major cultural battle like this would mess with my eschatology.
But there are many reasons to believe that this moment is different. There really has been a true momentum shift. And a central part of the reason for this is the new media environment.
Twitter started in 2006, less than ten years ago. Facebook was launched in 2004, just over a decade ago. That was 30 years after Roe. YouTube started in 2005. GoPro started right about that same time. The introduction of iPhones, which led to every other person in the country having a movie studio in his pocket, happened in 2007. So I personally think it would be the coolest thing in the world if we arranged for the first great social media reformation to be the pro-life reformation. Thanks bunches, you techie pagans!
When Roe was first decided, the national dialog was dominated and controlled by the big three television networks, and by the old guard print media. If they wanted to bottle up a groundswell opposition movement to anything, it was the easiest thing in the world for them to do so. This is what they successfully did with the annual pro-life marches on Washington, every year in January. If those same media conditions were in place now, the chances would be excellent that you never would have heard anything about PP and these dirty deeds of theirs. How many babies were dissected and shopped out in the late seventies? How would you ever know?
We are living in a time that is remarkably, strikingly different. A cynical and world-weary response on the basis of how it used to go for us back in the dinosaur days is a remarkably short-sighted response. In some ways, we have stumbled into this. The Center for Medical Progress produced the videos, but our ability to run with it after the fact was not part of any master plan. It was more like a simultaneous recognition on the part of hundreds of thousands of Christians — “Hey. Look what we can do.”
So let’s continue do it. Let’s see what happens.