On Defunding and the Diversity of Gifts: Some More Thoughts on the Planned Parenthood Outrage

Last week, in response to some heated discussions I had observed on Facebook, I tried to weigh into the whole discussion over the Planned Parenthood videos with “Seven Thoughts on the Planned Parenthood Outrage.” My post was more a reflection on how we in evangelical communities have responded, and should respond, to the Center for Medical Progress’s revelations, than it was a reflection on the revelations per se (others having already written many fantastic articles on that front). For me, the particularly pressing question is how we, as individuals and communities, can handle this strategic opportunity to unmask evil without blowing it by poor tactics, and without dissipating our energies in internal dissensions, as we are so often prone to do.

I have been wrestling with these thoughts further since my initial post, and two things have prompted me to reconsider, clarify, and elaborate some of the points there, though in rather different directions. There are really two separate posts here, but given the polarizing nature of this subject, I am going to keep them together in one, imploring the reader to have the patience to read through to the end.

First, my friend Jake Meador posted (as something of an indirect response to my post), an excellent “3 Points on #PPSellsBabyParts,” which induced me to rethink some of my cynicism and pessimism, particularly about our political objectives. Second, however, another friend posted this article, which, among many very good points, carries the unfortunate implication that we all have a moral duty to take to social media’s virtual streets and yell and wave our posters. This, together with some other things I have observed, led me to feel that my main concern in my original post—to raise some alarms about our headlong leap onto the Social Media Outrage Bandwagon—needed to be reiterated and elaborated. Read More


Seven Thoughts on the Planned Parenthood Outrage

So we’re now about two weeks into the whole furor over the revelations that “Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts.” Whether or not you think that that description is precisely accurate, it is not after all really the point of the furor. To anyone convinced that abortion is the wicked and callous ending of a human life for convenience, it is really only natural that those performing the procedure would try to get the most out of it, up to and including generous compensation for the body parts. The revelations of the past couple weeks, to that extent, should not really be that shocking to most of those most professing their shock. The outpouring of outrage within the conservative blogosphere and social media, then, can easily provoke a counter-outpouring of cynicism: is anyone really listening? If they are, are we really just making ourselves look worse, like obsessed right-wing crazies? If we really cared so much about the problem to begin with, why don’t we shut up and do something about it, rather than just sounding off in an echo chamber? In the current case, I have followed the story closely and with genuine outrage, and have tried to repress my natural predilection for cynicism, especially given my sense that this time, at least, there was the potential to pierce the walls of the echo chamber and affect a broader cultural change of heart.

When a friend, however, last night voiced these cynical worries on Facebook, I collected my thoughts into six points in response. Here they are, fleshed out a bit and with a seventh added, in deference, of course, to good biblical precedent: Read More