Don’t Be An Idiot

Planned Parenthood is not selling baby parts, you idiots

The silence of Planned Parenthood’s supporters in the last few weeks has spoken volumes. It’s been shocking how quiet many of my liberal friends have been in rushing to the defense of one of the greatest bastions of modern liberalism. But there have been a few who have vocally defended them. Most of the arguments they use are similar, so today let’s look at one which is representative of many others I’ve seen.

Apologies for the language this blogger uses, but I think there are a few important observations to be made from her video, and from the wider stream of similar Planned Parenthood defense arguments it represents. Click here for Rebecca Watson’s blog post where this video first appeared.

First of all, it’s important to note that her video came out before the most recent Center for Medical Progress video, which was released yesterday. It was even more damning than the first three, and was the first to explicitly include the word “selling” coming from the mouth of a PP “doctor”.

Three observations for Rebecca Watson, and for anyone else who would like to rush to the defense of Planned Parenthood:


As often as she uses the word “obviously” it’s almost as if she’s trying to convince herself that her assertion is self-evident. We can haggle all you like about the term “selling” (which, as stated, hadn’t been used by PP personnel in the videos released prior to her blog), but it could not possibly be MORE obvious from the footage (whether looking at the “maliciously edited” videos or the full-length versions) that Planned Parenthood is exchanging “fetal tissue” (baby parts) for money. No amount of ignorance or name-calling can change that simple fact.


The blogger compares believing Planned Parenthood sells baby parts to those who believed accusations that Jews or other “marginalized groups” were burning babies to ashes, baking them into cakes, and eating them. “How could anybody believe something so stupid?” she asks. But is this the best historical precedent for comparison to the present Planned Parenthood scandal?

I can’t say I’m familiar with the specific “heresy” she’s referring to (as she doesn’t cite any of her “research”), but the practice of widespread infanticide and child sacrifice is well-documented in many cultures throughout history. I’d be happy to provide citation links in the comments to anyone who cares to challenge that assertion. Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton, advocates for legal infanticide in the US today.

And using this blogger’s own logic, why would it be wrong to eat dead babies anyway? She argues that, since abortionists are going to kill babies anyway, why shouldn’t they use this “garbage” for the betterment of humanity? How is it different to argue that we shouldn’t eat unwanted babies? Is it better to just throw them away? But I digress…

I would argue that there is a much better historical precedent here, and one which is much more recent. In the memory of those still alive today, millions of people WERE slaughtered, burned to ashes. Yet there are those who vehemently deny that the Holocaust ever happened. No amount of evidence can convince them otherwise. And sadly, no amount of evidence seems sufficient to convince some of the Holocaust taking place in our own country at this very moment.

Which leads to the final, and most important, observation…


This blogger KNOWS that what Planned Parenthood is accused of is horrible. She describes the accusations as “obviously stupid and made up,” and accuses people like me of believing “the unbelievable.” By her own admission, chopping babies up and selling their parts would be an unbelievably horrifying thing to do. I agree!

So I ask: As evidence continues to mount that this IS, in fact, taking place, at what point will you join me in demanding that we defund Planned Parenthood? What amount of evidence will it take for you to condemn this atrocity?

Because, rest assured, there is even more incontrovertible evidence coming. So far we have seen four of the twelve videos we’ve been told are coming, and each has gotten progressively worse. I expect that trend to continue! Planned Parenthood does, too, which is why they’ve secured a restraining order to prevent footage being released from other meetings which took place earlier this year. They KNOW what they’ve said and done is going to come back on them in a bad way, and they’re doing everything they can to prevent it. But one way or another, it WILL come out. When it does, will those still defending Planned Parenthood go down with the ship? Will you continue to hide your heads in the sand and pretend everything is okay, or will you finally listen to your conscience? I pray it will be the latter, and eagerly wait to welcome you to the right side of the line that has been drawn in the sand about the most critical ethical issue of our time.

How “Deceptively Edited” Was the Video Claiming Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts?


In the last two days, millions of people have watched this video from the Center for Medical Progress, which asserts that Planned Parenthood has been harvesting and selling aborted baby parts. Several media outlets have rushed to the defense of America’s largest abortion provider in an attempt to “debunk” the video. One such attempt, penned by Alexandrea Boguhn & Hannah Groch-Begley, makes the following claim:

A deceptive video from a conservative group purports to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing prices for the illegal sale of fetal tissue from abortions. But the full, unedited footage and transcript released by the group undermines their sensationalist claims, showing at least three crucial edits that reveal the Planned Parenthood official was instead discussing the reimbursement cost for consensual, legal tissue donations.

I encourage you to read the rest of their article, and the evidence they provide for these “deceptive edits,” here. Let’s take a look at this defense of Planned Parenthood and see where we’ve been deceived.

DECEPTION #1: The goal isn’t to “sell” tissue. Planned Parenthood only does what is reasonable and customary.

RESPONSE: I’m no legal expert, so I’m going to refrain from commenting on the technical legality of what Planned Parenthood is doing. But isn’t the bigger story the fact that selectively crushing certain body parts for the sake of harvesting other, more valuable parts is considered “reasonable and customary”?

DECEPTION #2: Planned Parenthood does not “profit” from the sale of baby parts. They “donate” the tissue, receiving “reimbursement” for their services, and “if they happen to do a little better than break even, and in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.”

RESPONSE: Fair enough. I didn’t “profit” from the trumpet lesson I just taught, either. I “donated” my time and received “reimbursement” for the services rendered, and I’m pretty happy that I did “a little better than break even.”

DECEPTION #3: What’s the big deal? The baby parts were “donated” with legal consent. For “scientific research.”

RESPONSE: I’m an organ donor. It says so on my driver’s license. If I should happen to die, I’ve given legal consent for my organs to be harvested. I’d love for my organs to be used to save the lives of others. But do you know why that’s a noble thing? Because they are MY organs to donate! How many people would come to my defense, do you think, if I were to offer the vital organs of one of my children (be sure to crush their throats so you don’t damage anything important) to be used for scientific research? [FYI, I just about threw up typing that last sentence.] I should hope it would be no one! Not even IF it saved the lives of others, which is certainly debatable in the realm of fetal STEM cell research.

CONCLUSION: Yes, the video is edited. But do you know why what “Dr.” Nucatola says sounds so horrible? It’s because what she—and the rest of Planned Parenthood—is doing IS horrible. The only ones deceived here are those who believe there’s nothing wrong with taking an innocent, defenseless human child and systematically ripping it apart in its mother’s womb.

[Image Source: Media Matters]

What’s Growing in Margaret Sanger’s Garden?

"The greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world." ~ Margaret Sanger

With so much frenzy these days to expunge all vestiges of racism in our nation, perhaps the vigilantes of political correctness can find some rare common ground with social conservatives. Building a consensus on social issues is unquestionably difficult—some might even say impossible—but rather than bickering about cakes, flags, and dead generals, we ought to agree together that Margaret Sanger and the organization she founded have been far more effective at exterminating minorities than the most bloodthirsty Ku Klux Klan member ever dreamed of. Whatever you may think about Nathan Bedford Forrest, he is not the founder of the organization that continues to slaughter nearly 2,000 black and Hispanic children each and every week in the United States.

This despicable organization, founded with explicitly racist motivations, represents an insidious evil against which all who despise racism in any form can rally. And unlike exhuming the bodies of those long dead or tweeting trendy hashtags, there is one action which would make a real difference, preserving life and demonstrating powerfully that #BlackLivesMatter: DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

Still need convincing? Allow me to introduce you to Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.

In 1925, Sanger delivered a rousing speech promoting a vision in which we “would see this old world of ours converted into a beautiful garden of children.” Sounds good, right? But how to achieve this vision?

“Before you can cultivate a garden, you must know something about gardening. You have got to give your seeds a proper soil in which to grow. You have got to give them sunlight and fresh air. You have got to give them space and the opportunity (if they are to lift their flowers to the sun), to strike their roots deep into that soil. And always — do not forget this — you have got to fight weeds. You cannot have a garden, if you let weeds overrun it.” (Source)

Sanger wrote and spoke often of “human weeds” in her quest to promote eugenics (“good genes”), and while abortion supporters frequently deny that Sanger was referring to ethnic minorities and poor people when she described “reckless breeders… unceasingly spawning [a] class of human beings who never should have been born at all,” (Source) and attribute benign motives to her warning that “we do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” (Source) the intentions of some of her colleagues are more clear.

Lothrop Stoddard, appointed by Sanger to the board of directors for the Birth Control League (later renamed Planned Parenthood), wrote in his book, “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy,” that the “white race” which had “pressed to the front and proved in a myriad of ways their fitness for the hegemony of mankind” was in danger of being overrun by races less fit to breed. He wrote, “Unless man erects and maintains artificial barriers the various races will increasingly mingle, and the inevitable result will be the supplanting or absorption of the higher by the lower types.” The lowest “type” of man in Studdard’s book? “Negroids.” (Source)

This influence is seen in Planned Parenthood today, where nearly 80% of clinics are located in African American and Latino communities (Source), with such a disproportionate number of black babies being aborted it’s nearly impossible to NOT see them as being intentionally targeted. Sanger’s disdain for immigrants, the disabled, and large families also fueled her desire to achieve “a cleaner race” through Birth Control (Source). “Equality” is an incredibly ironic buzzword to be bandied by those who also vociferously defend the organization which has carried out Sanger’s vision for the last 99 years.

Defunding Planned Parenthood on a federal level wouldn’t necessarily shut the organization down (and even if it did, it would merely put a dent in the atrocious U.S. abortion rate), but removing all taxpayer dollars from the organization would be a tremendous first step in reducing the complicity of all American people in the wholesale murder of the unborn. I call on those who truly value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL people to urge your representatives to join the fight to defund Planned Parenthood immediately.

I welcome civil discourse in the comments. And because of the preponderance of falsely attributed “quotes” on the Internet, I encourage you to fact-check what I’ve written above by clicking through the provided “source” links.

Is It Okay to Criticize Pastors?

In the last couple weeks, there have been several stories in the news and in the Christian blogosphere about Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Matthews, NC. He’s certainly no stranger to criticism, for everything from his unorthodox ecclesiology to his association with prominent “Word-Faith” pastors to his 16,000 sq. ft. mega-mansion. For a run-down on the most recent brouhaha—involving the methods used by Elevation Church to engineer mass baptisms—check out this post by Jeff Wright, pastor of Midway Baptist Church here in Cookeville.

As I’ve seen Jeff’s post and many others like it appear on social media in recent days, there has been one response that seems to insert itself into every comment thread. It goes something like this:

Paul wrote in Philippians 1:18 that we should rejoice whenever the gospel is preached, no matter the motive, so what gives you the right to criticize any Christian pastor?

First of all, let me applaud those who have asked this question. I appreciate arguments made from Scriptural authority, even when I may disagree with someone’s conclusions from that Scripture. But the question for today is, does Philippians 1:18 mean that we are never to call out pastors who we believe to be in error?

Let’s turn to J. Gresham Machen, who addressed this very question in his book Christianity and Liberalism (my review) way back in 1923:

In short, the rival preachers made of the preaching of the gospel a means to the gratification of low personal ambition; it seems to have been about as mean a piece of business as could well be conceived. But Paul was not disturbed. “Whether in pretence, or in truth,” he said, “Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, ye, and will rejoice” (Phil. i. 18). The way in which the preaching was being carried on was wrong, but the message itself was true; and Paul was far more interested in the content of the message than in the manner of its presentation. It is impossible to conceive a finer piece of broad-minded tolerance.

But the tolerance of Paul was not indiscriminate. He displayed no tolerance, for example, in Galatia. There, too, there were rival preachers. But Paul had no tolerance for them. “But though we,” he said, “or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. i. 8). What is the reason for the difference in the apostle’s attitude in the two cases? What is the reason for the broad tolerance in Rome, and the fierce anathemas in Galatia? The answer is perfectly plain. In Rome, Paul was tolerant, because there the content of the message that was being proclaimed by the rival teachers was true; in Galatia he was intolerant, because there the content of the rival message was false. In neither case did personalities have anything to do with Paul’s attitude. (p. 22, emphasis mine)

So whether it’s Furtick or any other pastor, the real question is whether the Jesus he preaches is the real one. If so, then our task is to correct with gentleness whatever errors may be present in his teaching. If not, our task is to warn sheep about the wolf in the fold.

The Soul With Its Pants On

I enjoyed this quote by the title character in Wendell Berry’s novel, Jayber Crow:

I took to studying the ones of my teachers who were also preachers, and also the preachers who came to speak in chapel and at various exercises. In most of them I saw the same division of body and soul that I had seen at The Good Shepherd. The same rift ran through everything at Pigeonville College; the only difference was that I was able to see it more clearly, and to wonder at it. Everything bad was laid on the body, and everything good  was credited to the soul. It scared me a little when I realized that I saw it the other way around. If the soul and body really were divided, then it seemed to me that all the worst sins–hatred and anger and self-righteousness and even greed and lust–came from the soul. But these preachers I’m talking about all thought that the soul could do no wrong, but always had its face washed and it’s pants on and was in agony over having to associate with the flesh and the world. And yet these same people believed in the resurrection of the body (p. 49).

Polishing Off the Old Blog One Last Time in 2013

*Cough* Wow, it sure is dusty in here! *Cough*

A few months ago, I mentioned that I’d be posting less frequently here because of a new hymn-related writing project. (Which, by the way, has been a lot of fun! Check out Systematic Hymnology and follow along on Twitter and Facebook if you haven’t already.) But “less frequently” became “not at all” pretty quickly, so I wanted to squeeze in one last blog post in 2013 to catch up those interested with the twists and turns life has thrown our family in the last few months.

The biggest adventure by far has been learning that both of our daughters were born with moderate hearing loss. When our first daughter was born, she failed her hearing screening at the hospital, and went on to fail hearing screenings scheduled about every 6 weeks until her second birthday. While we noticed that her speech was not developing, our local doctor told us there was nothing to be concerned about and that she would probably catch up on her own, so we didn’t think too much of it. Maybe we should have.

When our second daughter also failed her newborn hearing screening, we began to suspect that there may actually be something wrong. We scheduled an appointment with a different audiologist for a second opinion. Her opinion was that our older daughter should have gotten a referral for hearing aids a year earlier. She referred us to an ENT at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, who seconded her opinion.

Suffice it to say that we aren’t very happy with the local doctor… but I don’t want to dwell on that part of the story. We won’t be back to see him, but we have been extremely pleased with the care we have received from our new doctor, and the entire team at Vandy. They’ve been very accommodating in fast-tracking both of our girls through all the various tests and procedures it took to get their hearing aids, which we received a few weeks ago. We’re still adjusting, but the difference already is amazing! I continue to marvel at the gifts God gives to the world through scientific progress and the development of new technologies that make life easier. The prognosis for both girls is that, while they will likely need hearing devices for the rest of their lives, they should quickly catch up with their peers in all the areas they are delayed. And even though they won’t “need” sign language in order to communicate, we have found that learning ASL has been incredibly beneficial as well as a ton of fun! (If you have kids, I can’t recommend the Signing Time series enough! Some episodes are available on Netflix, and many of the DVD’s are at our local library.)

Blessed as we’ve been through this process, it has been exhausting in many ways. For the last several months, we’ve had appointments at Vanderbilt nearly every week. It has seemed at times that every day we are either making a trip or recovering from one. There have also been hours of research into hearing loss, and the various procedures the girls have been undergoing, and hours more working through tough financial decisions as we adjust to our new reality, and the necessary adjustments it has meant for our family budget. This is definitely the #1 reason for my reduced writing capacity recently!

Added to all this, though, is the fact that our house is currently on the market. It has been showing well and frequently (which certainly doesn’t help with the exhaustion, but we’re not complaining!), but no sale yet. It’s not an ideal time to sell a house, but we have had several very interested potential buyers, and are hopeful that the house will sell quickly after the holidays are over. While we love our current house and location, our desire is to purchase land outside Cookeville, so that we will be able to raise some chickens, goats, and who knows what else, as well as starting a large garden. We have also felt a strong desire to downsize and simplify our lives… which probably should be a separate post at some point soon. We’re excited to see where the Lord will lead us as this process is completed! If you know anyone in the market for a home in an ultra-convenient Cookeville city location, we’d appreciate you kindly directing them to our listing!

One last thing:

As many readers follow this blog for book reviews (of which there have been none for months, sadly), let me assure you that I’ve not stopped reading, despite everything else! I can’t guarantee that I’ll get reviews written for some of these books, but I can at least share what I’ve read recently, along with a brief thumbs-up or down:

Recent Reads

Clash of Titans: Atlas Shrugged, John Galt & Jesus Christ, by Chad Brand and Tom Pratt — Big thumbs up for this one, though it won’t appeal to everyone. If you enjoyed (or hated) Atlas Shrugged, this book will give you a deeper appreciation/understanding of it. It’s the best  critique from a Christian perspective I’ve seen, pointing out Ayn Rand’s merits (of which there are many) while not hesitating to also warn against her flaws (which are profoundly dangerous).

Moral Apologetics for Contemporary Christians: Pushing Back Against Cultural and Religious Critics, by Mark Coppenger — Like the last book, this was written by one of my seminary professors. I loved their classes so much, I figured I’d love their books too, and I was right! Dr. Coppenger has a unique take on apologetics, in which he bases his defense of Christianity on the moral fruit it has brought to the world (e.g., hospitals, universities, ending slavery, etc.). He also does a “fruit check” in the lives of Christian leaders contrasted with the lives of leaders of rival world religions and philosophies. Quite interesting!

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung — This book seemed fitting given my recent circumstances, and it was tremendously helpful. I’d say more, but I really don’t have the time.

Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry — Ever since I read Hannah Coulter (my review), I’ve been looking forward to another visit to the fictional town of Port William, Kentucky. As much as I enjoyed HC, I enjoyed this one even more!

Reading Now

Symphonic Theology: The Validity of Multiple Perspectives in Theology, by Vern Poythress — Admission #1: I bought this book pretty much based on the title alone. That said, it has been really interesting! Poythress (an author I’ve read and enjoyed before) encourages Christians to be open to differing perspectives on the interpretation of Scripture. While the Bible is infallible, our understanding and interpretation of it is now, and it is good to acknowledge that no one perspective gets everything right. We have much to learn from those who view things differently, and from attempting to look at Scripture in a fresh way ourselves. Admission #2: I set this book down a few weeks ago and haven’t picked it back up, mostly because I decided I wanted to use my vacation time to indulge primarily in fiction reading… I’m hoping to get back to it soon.

Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel — This is the second book in the “Thomas Cromwell Trilogy”; I finished the first book (Wolf Hall) last week. The trilogy is historical fiction based in the court of Henry VIII, told from the perspective of his Master Secretary, Thomas Cromwell. I’ve wanted to read this series ever since I heard an interview with the author on NPR earlier this year, and it hasn’t disappointed. Go pick up a copy and read it!

Up Next

Other than finishing the Mantel trilogy, I’m most looking forward to reading The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down With the Titanic. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book, and am glad it’s finally staring at me from the very top of my “to read” pile. After that, I hope to be getting back into seminary classes (I’ve had to take a lengthy break for both financial and schedule reasons), which means my reading will once again be dominated by textbooks.

Many blessings to you this New Year!

The Hayekian Book of Revelation

Gregory Alan Thornbury, the new president at The King’s College, recently gave a fascinating convocation address to begin the school year. In it, he made reference to Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek, and encouraged students to think about philosophical ideas that have stood opposed to some of the philosophies that dominated much of the world during the last century: “totalitarianism, fascism, and a century of holocaust.”

Jerry Bowyer of Forbes magazine interviewed Dr. Thornbury on this and other matters—ranging from economics to Harry Potter to Dr. Who to Christian eschatology—and I thoroughly enjoyed it! For those who don’t want to listen to the entire interview, Bowyer has transcribed the portion of the interview devoted to Hayek and John’s Apocalypse. Here’s an excerpt:

I think that when you study the texts of particularly the New Testament, although it has its origins in the Mosaic Law, I think what you see there is the seedbed of freedom of conscience. You see democratic religion in the pages of the New Testament. So whereas some people in Acts chapter 5 see some kind of nascent socialism, actually what you’re seeing is free people electing to gather together in solidarity around key principles and ideals and goals, and the people who joined in that were people like Lydia. There was a mercantile aspect to the early Christian movement. When I read Hayek and I see his argument for the link between private property and freedom, I see a direct line going all the way back to those pages of the New Testament, because what the Apostle Paul and others were representing was an alternative to totalitarianism. When you look at the Apostle John – and whatever else you think the Book of Revelation says about the future—what it definitely was, was the greatest political protest letter ever penned in the history of the world, because he was saying, “The state has no business telling us how we should govern our own life together.” And when I say “society” or “culture”, here’s how I’m defining that, Jerry: I take a nineteenth century definition by Johann Herder, who many recognize as the founding father of modern sociology. He said, “Culture is the lifeblood of a civilization. It’s the flow of moral energy that keeps a society intact.” So, when I see Hayek talking about making sure that we stay free of tyranny, I see the entailments of that going all the way back to the emperor and Domitian and the Apostle John.

This article is definitely worth your while! Read the rest here.

[Image credit]