Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

My mother said it so often when I was a kid that I’d roll my eyes as soon as I heard the first two words. I knew what would follow as sure as I knew my own name.

“Two wrongs…don’t make a right.”

I wish Robert Dear had learned that lesson at his mother’s knee.

For those who aren’t familiar with his name, Robert Lewis Dear is the man who attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last month. Authorities noted that, in custody, he had rambled about “no more baby parts.” His apparent concern over the atrocities occurring at Planned Parenthood locations seems to be the motive for the attack. He is charged with killing three people and wounding nine others.

Dear has since called himself “a warrior for babies.”

Which brings me to one of my mother’s favorite adages. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The fact that someone has done something wrong doesn’t give us the right to respond in kind.

At least, that’s what Jesus taught.

We say: “You hurt me, I’ll hurt you.”
Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek.”

We say, “I’ll make my enemies pay.”
Jesus said, “Love your enemy.”

Remember the account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane? When the guards came to arrest Him, Peter drew a sword…and drew blood. But Jesus stopped him and healed the injured man.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I have no doubt that in the name of health, Planned Parenthood deals in death. It breaks my heart, because the parents will be dealing with the effects of their decision to abort for decades, apart from the healing that only Jesus can bring.

Is Robert Dear a Christian? I doubt it, despite his public stand against abortion. True believers in Christ don’t kill those who disagree with them. We love them.

Photo credit: Nancy DeMott

Photo credit: Nancy DeMott

Which is why I so appreciate crisis pregnancy centers such as Care Net. You see, it’s not enough to be against abortion. What the world needs to see is the fruit of our moral position. In the case of organizations such as Care Net, staff and volunteers serve in practical ways to meet the needs of women and couples in crisis.

By doing so, more than a life is saved. Two lives are saved—mother and baby. A marriage is strengthened. A family is encouraged. A community is blessed.

And it’s all done without anyone firing a single shot.


Euphemisms

When I worked in the corporate world, we rarely said we were firing an employee. We said they were being “let go.” The euphemism didn’t alter the reality that the person was no longer employed.

Euphemisms are often used to make us feel better about what we’re saying. They take the sting out of painful terms. Euphemisms can also help us avoid facing the reality that we’re making wrong choices. Slap a pleasant—or at the very least, neutral—label on something, and it becomes easier to support.

There’s a quote floating around the Internet attributed to Chuck Norris that illustrates this:

“Instead of baby, we say fetus; instead of killing, we say aborting; instead of dissect, we say research; instead of extermination chambers, we say abortion clinics…”

Sigh. More euphemisms.

Which brings me to the recent news reports of Planned Parenthood’s sales of body parts such as hearts, lungs, and livers from aborted babies. Upsetting, to say the least. Outrageous would be a better word. Our culture’s callous disregard for human life seems to have spiraled out of control to an unimaginable extent.

It also has me shaking my head in confusion. For decades, supporters of abortion have refused to call the unborn child a baby. Women seeking help are told their fetus is not alive; it’s merely a “clump of cells.”

But “clumps of cells” don’t have developed hearts, lungs, and livers. Living beings—people—have hearts, lungs, and livers. So which is it? Are these living human beings with identifiable human organs or are they unidentifiable clumps of cells?

No matter what euphemisms are used to help us hide from reality, the truth is our society has created and established a business whose goal is to kill children at alarming rates. Now it has found a way to generate even greater profits.

This despicable practice is an eerie reminder of a horrifying period in our not-so-distant history we’d rather forget. A time when body parts were also harvested with complete disregard for human life. Julius Hallervorden, a Nazi medical research official, once said to those managing the death camps, “If you are going to kill all these people, at least take the brains out so that the material could be utilized.”

How quickly we’ve forgotten.

Truth & ErrorEuphemisms and short memories make it easier to avoid reality. But no matter how much our culture tries to avoid truth, it cannot change truth. And someday, Jesus Christ, the One who called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life, will bring a judgment that cannot be evaded.

Still, as Christians it is not for us to rejoice in their judgment. Rather, it is for us to speak of this judgment with aching hearts and tears in our eyes. To speak with the hope that those who practice these horrific deeds may come to know the Savior who died for their sin and ours.

Until that day, may we never grow comfortable with euphemisms that make it easy to tolerate the intolerable.

These are my thoughts. What are yours?


Science and Morality

Remember the Six Million Dollar Man television program? Lee Majors played a former astronaut with bionic implants. Among other things, he could run faster and see farther than any other human being (until the advent of the bionic woman!).

FrankensteinOr maybe you’re familiar with the classic movie, Frankenstein.  Upon learning his experiment is a success, Dr. Frankenstein exclaims, “It’s alive! It’s alive!” However, you may not be familiar with the following line, cut by censors when the film re-released in 1934: “Now I know what it feels like to be God!”

What was once science fiction, fantasy, or even horror less than 100 years ago is now being implemented in laboratories and hospitals around the world. Yes, science has developed wonderful advancements in our medical care. Many illnesses which shortened life have been eradicated. Surgical procedures stem the progression of diseases once thought to be terminal. Organ transplants have provided hope for millions who once had no hope.

Still, while science gives us the ability to do some things, morality tells us whether we should do them. For example:

  • Scientists in Oregon have created embryos using the genes of one man and two women. The stated goal is to prevent babies from inheriting certain incurable diseases.

But could this DNA alteration be the first step to “designer babies,” where parents choose their child’s sex, height, or eye color?

  • Embryonic stem cell experimentation is being conducted to see how embryonic cells might cure diseases. But in order to collect these cells, the embryo – a baby – must be destroyed. Embryonic stem cells have yet to provide successful treatments.

But adult stem cells, which can be obtained from bone marrow, blood, and other sources, has already been used to provide treatment for people suffering from more than 70 different conditions. Even better, no one has to die in order to harvest these cells – unlike embryonic stem cells.

  • The emotional debate over abortion has divided our country as both sides argue over when life actually begins. Bible verses such as Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” are ignored by our society or dismissed as the rantings of fanatics.

But what about babies outside the womb? According to a Planned Parenthood representative during a hearing in Florida, the fate of babies born through botched abortions should be left up to “the woman, her family and the physician.” When a lawmaker noted the baby would then become a patient, just as the mother, the representative responded, “That’s a very good question.  I really don’t know how to answer that.”

How could anyone say the status of a baby born alive is the equivalent of an unanswerable question?  For those who would protest that killing babies born alive would never happen, the ongoing trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell proves otherwise. His charges include the murder of seven infants who had the temerity to be born alive.

Has it really come to the point that we should do something just because science says we can? Or because society says we can? Just because someone dressed in a white coat or with a string of letters after his/her name says something is right doesn’t make it right. Leaving such determinations up to individuals eliminates an objective, absolute standard of right and wrong. The result is a society much like what is described in the book of Judges where “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

Without a moral standard established outside of ourselves, our society will descend into moral chaos…and that’s just not right.

What do you think?