Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Are Sea Turtles Pro-Choice?: Abortion, Animal Rights, and Our Confused Moral Compass

Everybody with a conscience is appalled by the Gulf Oil spill and the havoc is it reeking on everything.  The economy in the South is ruined and that will affect the rest of America.  Oil prices will likely rise especially is the moratorium on drilling goes through.  The environment has been damaged, beaches and wetlands have been destroyed, and the clean up will not be done over night.  We will be dealing with this fiasco for years ahead.

But one of the interesting things about tragedies like this is how they morally highlight other areas of life that we can easily overlook.  Our sincere and rational concern over the environment and wildlife has forced us to rethink our policies and moral compass especially in comparison and regarding issues like abortion.

Here's the problem:  BP are killing endangered sea turtles.  Well, not on purpose, but at this moment stopping the leak and preventing oil from reaching the coast is BP's and our nation's priority.  As a result, much of the oil has been lit on fire trapping many endangered sea turtles who inevitably suffer and die by being burned alive.  Barbaric to say the least.

But these aren't just any sea turtles, they are Kemp's Ridley sea turtles.  These sea turtles are designated under the Endangered Species Act as Endangered.  Harming or killing such species carries still fines and civil penalties ($500-$25,000) assessed for each violation.  Criminal penalties include possible prison time and fines from $25,000-$50,000.

This is a serious problem on BP's hands.  For every turtle documented murdered by their attempts to clean up the oil indicts them.  Environmentalists and animal rights activists are outraged.  One site argues:

When you consider all of the endangered turtles that have been killed either by the oil itself or being burned alive in the oil, somebody needs to pay for it.  If you or I violated the Endangered Species Acts,getting away with it.  Is anyone going to do anything about it? you can be darn sure we would not get away with it.  Here we have a corporation (BP) trampling all over it and apparently getting away with it.  Is anyone going to do anything about it?   

The article goes on to suggest that evidence be collected and citizens file a suit against the company.

One must admit that the thought of burning an animal alive simply because it was caught in our oil spill is appalling.  Certainly BP never wished that this spill ever happened, but the situation we find ourselves in is not ideal nor pleasant.  But what I find interesting in all of this is how the law protects the innocent lives of animal species and yet at the same time it does not protect the innocent life of an unborn human being.

This is the ironic truth we are faced with anytime animal rights activists enter the news.  Just as the Michael Vick dog fighting ring was front page news forced us to realize that we have more moral indignation over abuse of dogs than we do of the slaughter of humans, so too the fight to save the Kemp's Ridley sea turtles is a reminder of just how backwards our society is. How is it that we shout louder for the deliverance of endangered animals and yet drown out the shouts of those who seek to deliver the unborn from the hands of the abortionists butcher?

It is clear, then, that our moral compass is off set.  We fight for the right of a woman to choose to end the life of the child in her womb and yet deny BP or any other individual or corporation the right to choose whether or not an animal lives or dies.  One must acknowledge that the lost of such turtles is tragic and BP would not do such a thing if it weren't for the serious threat and problem caused by the oil spill.  At the same time, one must also acknowledge the even greater tragedy humans have inflicted onto each other all in the name of choice, sexual liberation, birth control, eugenics, politics, and feminism.

Though moments like this are tragic, and we ought to all pray that the spill ends so that the clean up can begin soon, we ought not ignore the signals that such tragedies send us.  Why do we fight so hard for the innocent animals dying around us as a result of our poor decisions and yet fail to do the same for our own offspring?  If the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle has the right to life, then so does every unborn and unwanted child.

Let us rethink our public policy and legal support of the barbaric act of abortion before we too are placed on the endangered list.

American Thinker - Save the Turtles.  Kill the Unborn

For more:
Gather News - Is BP Burning Endangered Sea Turtles Alive with Oil From Spill?  What Can Be Done to Stop Them
The above picture is taken from UK Reuters

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gulf Coast Governors: Pray for the Gulf Coast

Once in a while the political world will surprise you.  Four of the gulf governors, Alabama's Bob Riley, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Texas' Rick Perry, have called for a day of prayer for the gulf and their states for Sunday June 27, 2010.  Anyone with a pulse realizes the serious damage the BP oil spill is causing in the South and not just to the ocean and beaches but also with the economy.  The gulf has essentially shut down to the point that governors and officials are having to inform the public which beaches are safe and which aren't.

We need prayer and I applaud these political leaders for calling upon the citizens of their states and for all Americans to pray to God for help.

To many who abuse the concept of separation of State and Church these proclamations will be met with anger and resentment, but they are certainly not unprecedented.  The many accounts of Presidents and other political leaders issuing days of prayers aren't new.  It is imperative that at moment like this, at the very least, we as citizens take the time to pray for each other realizing that we cannot conquer nature.  We need God and only God can help us.

So will you pray Sunday?  Will you pray everyday?  This disaster goes far beyond environmentalism, drilling for oil, economics, politics, or religion.  We Americans need to wake up to the seriousness of this threat and pray that god would intervene.  Pray that the spill will be capped in the gulf.  Pray that the wetlands will not be destroyed.  Pray that the beaches will be preserved.  Pray for the families of the deceased.  Pray that our elected leaders will lead in this moment of crisis.  Pray for the local economies and those affected.  Pray for God to be glorified even in the face of such a serious threat. 


Baptist Press - 4 Gulf Coast governors call for Day of Prayer on Sunday  

For more:

Part 1 - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide: The Separation of State and Church 
Part 2 - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  Under God or Under Government?
Part 3 - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Necessity of Government in a Fallen World 
Part 4 - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Birth of the American Concept of the Separation Between State and Church   

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where Politics and the Gospel Collide: The Birth of the American Concept of Separation Between State and Church

Many today believe and are convinced that the firm American belief in the Separation between the State and the Church is a secular idea born out of the Enlightenment.  The argument goes that Christians and religious societies have always wedded the two realms of society.  The Middle Ages is particularly as ammunition for this argument.  One cannot deny that the Church during the Dark Ages clearly linked the two and the Pope was fond of pushing for particular kings and even crowned many kings symbolizing his authority over the political realm.

The Great Reformation did not change this very much.  Many have pointed out that Martin Luther's success is clearly connected to the support he gained from political leaders like Frederick the Wise who "kidnapped" the Reformer and hid him in secret at the Wartburg Castle in order to protect him from King Charles clear implied suggestion that if Luther dies, then so be it.  Likewise, the Reformation in England was purely political.  The King disagreed with the Pope and so broke from the Church.  This set the course for many years that the nations religion was tied to the King or Queen.  This eventually played into the hand of the Protestants, but many on both sides were killed depending on the religious and theological convictions of the monarch.  The Protestants in Scotland were not fond of Queen Mary of Scots and eventually sought her execution and frequently publicly and openly (even to her face) criticized and chastised her as a harlot and a heretic.

This marriage between the State and the Church, even to this day and beyond the Christian faith, has led to countless wars.  Germany fought for decades following the death of Luther over theology.  Ulrich Zwingli, the great reformer, himself died in battle fighting the Catholics.  No wonder secularists believe that the marriage between the State and Church is their idea.  The Enlightenment certainly changed the perception and beliefs of Western society and the call for tolerance began to grow, but religious liberty is not a secular idea.

Though it could be traced back further, perhaps it is best to begin with the Reformation itself.  As a result of the sweeping changes of men like Luther and John Calvin, a number of leaders felt that the Great Reformation didn't go far enough.  Labeled the Radical Reformers by historians, the Anabaptists (or re-baptizers as the word means) took reformed teaching a step further.  Two radical ideas stand out:  believers baptism and religious liberty.

One cannot underestimate the audacity of such beliefs (and they had many others).  Even to the Reformers, the Anabaptists were too radical and they sentenced many of them to death (usually by drowning).  But in spite of the persecution, the Radical Reformation continued and these two ideas never died out.  They affirmed that only believers should be baptized and that one's faith cannot and should not be coerced by a politician or by anyone else (regardless of how big of a sword they wielded).  Faith is a personal issue and a forced conversion is no conversion at all.

Baptists have continued that tradition (though Baptists are necessarily branches off of the Anabaptist movement though they share some of the same beliefs).  The firm belief in religious liberty was carried over to America from its original inhabitants including and especially among Baptists.  Take Virginia for example.  Virginia, many might be surprised to know, had a state church (Anglicanism).  Those who did not espouse Anglicanism were persecuted especially Baptists.  Many Baptists, especially those who preached publicly, were put into jailed.  Eventually the persecution became so serious that many fled to Kentucky seeking religious liberty.  One such group was the Traveling Church.

But while this was happening, pastor and popular Christian leader John Leland met privately with James Madison on the Eve of the final edits of the US Constitution.  Leland had declared the he would run for office against Madison and Leland's popularity made him a serious candidate.  Though we don't know what was said or what political deal was cut as the two met, we do know that shortly after that meeting Leland ended his campaign and the First Amendment protecting religious liberty was inserted into the Constitution and Leland became a major supporter of it.

In other words, the separation of State and Church is a Christian idea that predates the Enlightenment.  One can easily quote Baptist and other Christians like Thomas Hewlys, John Murton, John Spilsbury, John Clarke, Roger Williams, and countless others who laid the foundation for religious liberty long before John Locke and Thomas Jefferson.

The reason this is a Christian idea is because the gospel cannot be coerced.  Jesus' language of being born again and Pauls' language of being a new creature implies this.  One cannot be born again without a regenerating work of the Spirit at work.  A king, monarch, or political leader cannot bring about this change because regeneration is an inward work, not an external one.  Neither Jesus or Paul, or any of the early Christians, made politics a priority (this does not mean that politics isn't important).  Whether it was legal or not to preach the gospel (and usually it wasn't) they preached the gospel.  The importance and centrality of preaching the gospel was of no concern to the polis, but was the Church's command given to them by their Savior.

Christians are fools if they think that having a Christian leader will somehow save our nation.  External laws never saved a soul.  What regenerates a person is an inward work of the Spirit brought about through belief and repentance in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  One cannot force genuine belief and repentance.  The Kingdom of God will not come through legislative passage. 

But there is a danger here.  One can then just say that since the gospel will not spread through politics, Christians then should avoid the public sphere.  To do so robs the Scripture of the clear teaching and limitations of government.  As I have argued in a previous post, government is necessary but government is limited.  To fight for religious liberty does not mean that the gospel says nothing about politics.  Instead, the State needs to avoid meddling in religion.  Instead of meddling, the two need to work together.  Without the influence of religious institutions, the government is forced to do more work.  But if government trusts in the power of genuine faith, then such an emphasis of faith makes the society better.

So is religious liberty and the Separation of State and Church a secular idea?  Certainly not, unless of course it was John Locke who said, "My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over . . ., but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm" (John 8:36).

What follows is the the statement on religious liberty from the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 along with the Scripture references it uses:

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

Part 1 - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide: The Separation of State and Church 
Part 2 - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  Under God or Under Government?
Part 3 - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Necessity of Government in a Fallen World

How To Change the World: The Advantage and Power of the Gospel and the Limits of the Social Gospel

Christianity has changed the world.  To doubt that fact is to ignore and call into question history itself.  One cannot deny that Christianity and its theology has made the world a better place in many ways.  Certainly many over the centuries have fought for worthy causes over the years purely because of their Christian convictions.  Politician and Christian William Wilberforce, for example, fought against slavery in England long before America fought over the issue and won.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian pastor driven by his faith to fight against racism, poverty, and war.

Christianity and social change go hand in hand.  But the real question isn't does Christianity lead us to make the world a better place (as we patiently await the next), but what is the best approach to doing so?  Since the dawn of modernity, Christians have debated over this fundamental issue:  which changes the world more efficiently preaching the gospel and evangelism or by focusing on a certain issue (like nuclear proliferation, abortion, poverty, injustice, war, etc.)?

The question is really about the gospel.  Should we adopt the social gospel and focus only on this world and its many issues hoping that the Kingdom of God will be realized through our efforts and fight against social disease, or should we adopt the traditional gospel of propitiation and be driven toward world missions?

In a recent interview with ABC News, some young Evangelicals (described as "the New Face of Evangelicalism") are asked a series of questions.  From the beginning it is obvious that these persons are driven to social action by their faith.  Some are more focused on nuclear proliferation, others on the sex trade, and other social issues.  These are leaders who are making a difference and raising awareness.

But will such a approach really bring real change?

The question regards the power and limits of the social gospel.  Beginning with leaders like Walter Rauschenbusch and others, the social gospel movement became purely this world and focused on issues like poverty, injustice, war, environmental damage and disaster, and bigotry.  Rauschenbusch sought to bring the Kingdom of God down to earth through economic, political, and social justice.  The gospel became nothing more than humanitarian aide where Jesus simply wants us to serve the poor, love our neighbor, and break down dividing walls.

The social gospel of a hundred years ago came under a lot of fire from the Christian community.  Evangelicals argued that the gospel was being undermined and trampled on.  The gospel deals with our relationship with God and being reconciled with Him, not with poverty and justice.  This does not mean that the gospel does not have social ramifications or implications, but that the gospel is primarily concerned with being reconciled with God in light of our separation (as the result of our sin and rebellion) from Him.  Christ's atoning work is substitutionary that satisfied the full wrath of God on the repentant.  

The social gospel is alive today and "The New Face of Evangelicalism" only proves it.  Nowhere in the interview is Christ's atoning sacrifice mentioned or hinted at.  Everything regards how corrupt the current church is, how we need to focus on social needs, how hated Christians are by the rest of the world, and how Jesus loved the poor and has called us to love our enemy.  Certainly the Church has many warts that it must work on, but is abandoning the gospel the best way?

My concern in this post isn't, what is the gospel?  Rather, I am concerned with what changes the world best - the social gospel or the pure gospel?  I am convinced that fully understanding the gospel demands we accept that the gospel changes the world in ways that the social gospel can only dream.

There are a number of reasons to adopt this thesis.  One major reason is that the gospel changes the internal where the social gospel only affects the external.  This is the problem with passing laws.  The social gospel has always been on the forefront of political engagement and the call to pass laws to eradicate injustice and poverty.  The problem with laws and mere morality is that it only changes (imperfectly) human pattern and the external.  Though laws can be passed, citizens wills still break them.  One can raise the minimum wage in hopes of eliminating poverty, but that doesn't mean that it will work (as it will force companies to raise prices hurting everybody) because sinful man will do what he can to get around the law.  The rise of illegal immigration is case in point.  The advantage of immigrants is that they are willing to get paid under the table for less than the minimum wage law.

The external doesn't bring lasting change.  What we need to do is change the internal something that only the gospel can do.  The gospel is concerned about changing man as he is.  The problem with man isn't his upbringing or wealth (or lack there-of), but his very nature.  If we really want to see change in behavior it will only happen through the change of one's nature.  When one is not selfish, but selfless and sacrificial.  When we look to Christ, we look away from ourselves.  As a result, our new nature forces us to serve the poor, stand against injustice, and seek peace not because we want to be applauded as humanitarian, but becuase we want the same gospel that changed us to change others and we want God glorified, not our policy and favorite politician.

If we spread the gospel, we will change men which will then change society.  If we spread the social gospel, we will change society (if we are successful) for only a generation.  What we need above all else is a change of heart.  We need a new nature, not just new policies.

Therefore, our priority should be missions, evangelism, and preaching the gospel free from political and social causes.  We might be able to lower the number of abortions via legislation, but until one's heart is changed, there will still be abortions.  We can fight and fight, but unless God regenerates us, all our work will be in vain.

So if we want to see change, we will continue the work of the early church.  There were many social, political, and economic injustices in the days of Jesus, Paul, and the generations that followed.  But instead of fighting for justice, they called for men to repent and be reconciled with God.  That message is what changed Rome and it is that message that will change America.  When we live in light of the gospel, the world will change.  If not, expect some change, but very little.  Until man's nature is dealt with, we will be stuck on square one.

ABC News - The New Face of Evangelicalism

For more:
Denny Burk - The New Face of Evangelicalism?  
Commentary - Have We Forgotten the Gospel?:  Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ  
Commentary - Who Isn't One?:  Brian McLaren and Social Christians 
Commentary - What Would Jesus Vote?:  Jesus, Health Care, and the Gospel 

Monday, June 21, 2010

What the Book of Galatians Taught Me About Politics: The Importance of Freedom, Personal Responsibility, and Community

Paul's letter to the Galatians in the New Testament is about freedom.  Freedom from legalism and freedom from the flesh (that is, antinomianism).  In a recent Bible Study on Paul's two thousand year old letter, a thought occurred to me regarding how Paul's argument in the book applies to the current state of politics.  One must admit at the outset that there is nothing political in the book.  This does not mean that the gospel does not affect our approach to politics (because it does), but that Paul isn't concerned with political issues and political causes.  Paul never raises concerns over global warming (or cooling), drilling for oil, raising taxes, lowering taxes, national security or foreign policy, or the State's responsibility in helping the poor.  No such thing is found in the book.

However, the books overarching theme of freedom is foundational to our approach to American politics.  When the history of America is written (and hopefully that will not be completed soon), America will likely be remembered as a beacon of freedom and rightfully so.  The American experiment is centered on the idea that a free society is a better society.  Freedom will not equal perfection, but freedom allows every person the equal opportunity to live the lives that they want apart from tyranny and obstruction.

Galatians is about a similar, and yet more important and foundational, freedom.  Paul is writing in response to the Galatians' abandonment of the gospel.  They seem to be under the trap of legalism:  the belief that one must do certain things and rituals in order to earn salvation.  Paul's message is reinforced throughout the letter usually personal experience, testimony, narrative, and didactic reasoning that the gospel is centered on justification by faith alone (thus why Galatians was Martin Luther's favorite book in which he called his Katy).  One cannot earn God's salvation, but must fall on their faces before God in repentance begging for forgiveness.  If salvation is based on works then Christ died needlessly.

This frees us from the bonds of legalism.  Legalism, as pastor Mark Driscoll has argued eloquently in his sermon "Examining Two Enemies of the Gospel," always leads in one of two directions:  pride or despair.  Legalism can lead to pride by convincing us that we are good enough for God.  It convinces us that God must think well of us because we are good people and have done all the right things.  Ask the average person in America today, and they will tell you that if they were to die today, God will let them into heaven because they have lived a good life (whatever they mean by "good").  The other end of legalism is despair.  Despair is rooted in our frustration that we cannot be good enough for God. This is the problem that Martin Luther found himself in as a monk.  He believed that if ever there was a monk that could have been saved by his monkery it would that been that monk.  And yet Luther never found the assurance that he hoped for.  One must admit that legalism and work righteousness can never fully offer assurance because we never know if we have done enough.

The gospel frees us from the burden of legalism.  It admits that we are not good enough and all that we do only makes the situation worse.  Our good works will never out weigh our bad works and if God simply ignored our bad works (even on account of our good works) then He would cease to be holy.  God cannot overlook evil and sin regardless of any acts of righteousness or charity we might do.  We find ourselves in a pickle.  How can we be made right with God?  The gospel says that we can't forcing us to admit that salvation is solely a work of God by which He came down to redeem man.

And if we are not saved by our works, neither should we turn the Christian life into a ritualistic religion by which we become more attached to our traditions than to our Savior.  Many of us fall trap for this deception.  Christianity becomes a religion of "do this," and "don't do that."  As a result, we suffocate the gospel and convince lost souls that they must look like a Christian before ever being forgiven and redeemed.

The temptation at this point, and Paul realizes it, is to take the gospel to the other extreme.  If the gospel isn't legalistic, then is it libertarian?  If the Law cannot save us and we are saved by the grace of God (apart from our works) then does that mean that we can and should live in debauchery and sin?  Or as Paul put it to the Romans, "where sin abounds, grace abounds more.  So then, should we continue to sin in order that grace may about and give greater glory to God?" (see Romans 5-6).

So, can we continue to live in sin and still refer to ourselves as Christians?  The answer is a decisive no.  Christians have been regenerated and we do not live as we once were.  We have been, as Jesus put it, "born again."  We are not the same person but have been given a new nature by God.

This is the part of Paul's letter to Galatians that he gives us the infamous Fruits of the Spirit language.  If we live by love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control, etc. then we should not have to worry about the Law because there is no law that contradicts these (see Galatians 5).

But then Paul makes an interesting turn in chapter 6.  Paul takes this understanding of the gospel, as being neither legalistic or libertarian, to discuss how we are to carry and deal with the burdens of our transgressions.  He writes:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.  -Galatians 6:1-5

Interesting.  Paul seems to contradict himself here.  Clearly Paul sees the local church and each individual as being both responsible for their own actions and yet each person needs to help other believers carry the load of someone else.  In other words, we must help and serve one another within the community of faith and the church and yet at the same time, the consequences and burden of our sin is ultimately our responsibility.  Sin and committing sin is our responsibility.

This message has got me thinking more about our current society and especially our approach to politics.  I believe in freedom.  But freedom without a universal belief in God and community will not work.  This is why societies that abandon belief in God grant government more power and that government becomes tyrannical.  When there is no God, government is more than willing to take His place.

Freedom can only work when citizens not only strongly affirm a transcendent, personal, and providential God (who bestows transcendent values) and seeks to be united in community can freedom work.  These two beliefs affirm personal responsibility, civility, and looking out for the common good.  A free society must be a society that looks out for the common good and yet affirms personal respnibility. 

Our current drive towards blaming someone else instead of taking personal responsibility is a cancer in our society.  The cult of victimization (I'm not a drug addict, I'm a victim; I'm not homeless, I'm a victim) has convinced us that our incompetence, poor decisions, undesired consequences is someone else's fault.  "Its not fault the coffee burnt me, McDonald's didn't warn me that it was hot."  "Its not my fault I'm a sex offender, my father abused me as a child."  Blame shifting corrodes freedom by turning us inward instead of outward.  Freedom says, "even though I disagree with your opinion, I will defend your write to espouse it."  Victimization says, "because your opinion offends me, I am going to sue."

The cult of "I am a victim" and self-gratification only encourages government to grow and every inch that government grows is an inch that freedom shrinks.  We now debate hate crime and hate speech laws because we fear that somebody might get offended by what we say.  And so instead of looking out for the common good with our words, we cry for the government to intercede on our behalf.

Just as spiritual freedom rooted in the gospel depends on personal responsibility ("For each will have to bear his own load") and community ("Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ") so too society must depend on personal responsibility and community.  Until we look out for the common good, freedom will not survive.

But at the end of the day, we must admit the profound application of the gospel.  Many today seek to turn the gospel into a political platform thus weakening its power.  But by taking the gospel at face value, and avoiding the dangers with misunderstanding it, we can apply its principles to every avenue of life including politics.  So as a Christian I want to use my freedom to God's glory and not turn grace into licentiousness (Jude 4).  So too, as a citizen of a free nation, I do not want to abuse my freedom, but rather seek the common good by serving other citizens.

*  The above picture is of Wordle done of the entire book of Galatians.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can One Be Pro-Life and Support Abortion?: A Serious Argument is Foolishly Proposed

"Life" is under assault, but not by who you would expect.  For over thirty years now, those opposed to the culture of death have claimed to be "pro-life."  But that is about to change at least that's how one supporter of abortion sees it.  In a recent article published in USA Today, Alice Eve Cohen suggests that by hijacking the word life anti-abortion advocates have robbed pro-choice supporters of their mark on the protection and defense of life.

And she is serious.

Cohen's article was published on the year anniversary of the tragic murder of later-term abortionists Dr. George Tiller.  Tiller's murder received a lot of press and he has been granted the status of sainthood by abortion supporters.  Cohen claims that Tiller is the very definition of pro-life.  She writes:

[Tiller] rescued countless women who would otherwise have died as a result of medical complications. He saved the lives of girls as young as 9 years old, who were victims of rape and incest, and whose child-sized organs would not have survived childbirth. He saved the lives of women who might otherwise have taken their lives, and in so doing, he saved the lives of babies, including mine.

She then goes on to add:

For three decades at his besieged Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, he offered services to women in desperate circumstances, women facing nearly impossible choices. He heroically risked his life on a daily basis, and ultimately gave his life to protect women's right to choose. His murder was a national tragedy. The closing of his clinic in Wichita after his murder is a second terrible loss, robbing pregnant women and girls of essential, life-saving medical services — a sorrowful response to the threat of continued violence by the "pro-life" fringe.

You see her argument.  In all of this talk about pro-life, abortion defenders like Cohen complain that pro-lifers (if I can use the word) seem to forget about the mother involved.  Cohen argues that by ignoring the emotional and even physical needs of the pregnant mother as she makes this difficult choice and chapter in her life, anti-abortion advocates place the mother in harm.  And to place the woman in harm is not pro-life especially when she characterizes all pregnant women as suicidal.

Perhaps Cohen has a point in that defenders of the unborn should remember the needs of the mother, but at the same time is she really serious?  Is she even familiar with pro-life ministries that ministers to the woman and defends the life of the child?  Does she not realize that apart from a healthy (and living) mother, there will be no child to give birth too?  Furthermore, her claim that the life of the mother is oftentimes the reason for late-term and partial-birth abortions is ludicrous.  One writer pointed out that if the life of the mother was at stake, then it would be best to remove the baby immediately, but instead, partial-birth abortion pulls a baby out of the woman's body leaving the head in, in order to allow the doctor to remove the child's brains.  If the life of the mother was really at stake, then why no rush?

Cohen wants us to believe that pro-lifers only care about the life of the child and not the mother but that is simply not true.  However, if we were to take her argument to its logical end, can we not easily assume that pro-deathers (if I can use the word) only care about the life of the mother?  By making a woman's choice and wants trump that of the right to breathe for the one that was conceived and has no say in the manner, are those who support abortion forgetting about the life of the child in the womb?  Cohen wants us to believe that she is pro-life simply because she chose to have her child (even after consulting with Dr. Tiller's office).  Does she really think that we're that foolish?  What about the millions of children legally slaughtered in the name of choice, convenience, and wealth is pro-life?  Certainly the needs of the mother are important, but so are the child's.  Are those mothers and the doctors that destroy the life of the child pro-life?

Perhaps it is necessary at this point to review what the partial-birth abortion process.  Anne Morse adequately describes it in her article:

In case anyone has forgotten how Tiller made his living, let me refresh your memory. In his partial-birth abortion practice, Tiller started off using ultrasound to locate one of the baby’s legs. He used forceps to pull the baby’s leg into the birth canal. He then proceeded to deliver the living baby’s entire body—except for his or her head.

And then, this great humanitarian picked up a pair of scissors and stabbed the baby in the skull.
No anesthesia.

He then opened the scissors to make a bigger hole.

No anesthesia.

He then inserted a suction catheter into the baby’s head and vacuumed his brains out. After the child’s skull collapsed, he pulled the head out of the birth canal.

Tiller had his very own crematorium. Following each baby’s brutal and extremely painful killing, his corpse would be thrown into the flames, like the thousands who went before him.

Can anyone with a straight face call this pro-life.  Is killing any innocent person ever pro-life?  And what about the barbarity?  Is that pro-life?

Cohen says that everybody is pro-life and to a certain extend that is true.  We are pro-life every minute that we breathe because by breathing we acknowledge that we want to live.  But let us not fall for the trap in believing for one minute that one can support the murder of the voiceless because we weren't ready to be a parent (but we were ready to have sex) and still consider ourselves pro-life.  Cohen wishes to have it both ways.  To be pro-life is to be completely pro-life.  We can cherry pick our way through it.

Cohen seems to believe that for many people today, childbearing and child-rearing is a burden that many should avoid.  The Christian worldview begs to differ.  If every human being is made in the image of God, then every child is a gift from God regardless of how the child was conceived or its condition.  Whether one is the product of rape or is handicap, one is still under the sovereign control of God and is uniquely made and carefully designed by God. 

Just because one is depressed gives us no right to execute someone we don't want.

To execute an innocent creation of God made in His image is the farthest thing from pro-life.  Cohen can convince herself otherwise but she is a fool if she continues to believe it.  Depression and desperation is no excuse for sucking the brains out of the unborn.  To turn a child into trash is not pro-life.

USA Today - Dr. George Tiller Was Pro-Life 

For more:
Anne Morse - A Brutal Choice:  Partial-Birth Abortion is Not Pro-Life
Commentary - The Anti-Choice Sinner and the Abortionists Saint:  One a Martyr, the Other a Saint 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

From Darwin to Hitler and Beyond: Making the Connections and How They Affect Us Today

What does modern racism, infanticide, euthanasia, abortion, the extinction of an entire races, eugenics, and Hitler Nazism have in common?  According to author Richard Weikart, the answer is Darwinism and I believe he is right.  This is not to say that all naturalists, materialists, Darwinists, or believers in evolution are necessarily Nazi or fans of Adolf Hitler.  However, it does mean that Darwin's theory of origins was used as a moral, ethical, and political basis for Nazism and similar worldviews.  The Nazi's practice eugenics (in an effort to speed up the evolutionary process seeking Frederick Neitzshe's Ubermensch) and eugenics as is practiced from the twentieth century to today is rooted in Darwinism.

This is a reality that everyone must face.  Evolution devalues human life and becomes a major basis and defense for a culture of death.  One can easily trace this throughout our own history.  One of my major rejections of evolution is moral in that evolution, when taken to its logical conclusions, promotes immorality and murder.  With that said, one must admit that morally (coming from an evolutionary worldview) Hitler was not necessarily wrong.  The survival of the fittest (what he believed were the Arians) was a big motivation for the many atrocities he committed.

In an important lecture (based on a book by the same title) professor Richard Weikart presents how Darwinism led to Hitler and the Nazis.  It is an important lecture that we must take seriously.  Weikart does not limit his discussion to just Hitler, but applies it to even today with people like Daniel Dennett and Peter Singer.  Wikart makes a historical argument, not necessarily a philosophical one.  But certainly the historical evidence gives proof to the philosophical argument.  Darwinism devalues human life which opens the doors to all kinds of atrocities and worldviews.

For more:
Commentary - Which Will We Choose:  A Theology of Life or a Theology of Death - Peter Singer, Evolution, and the Ethics of Extinction
Commentary - John Lennox:  The New Atheism and the Gospel  
Commentary - Is What is Natural Moral?:  Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom 
Commentary - Eugenics in the Present Tense:  The Reality of Eugenics in America Today - Part 1 
Commentary - Hitler is Alive and Well:  Repeating the Mistakes of the Past 
Commentary - Expelled:  A Movie We Must Take Seriously

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Which Will We Chose: The Theology of Death or the Theology of Life? - Peter Singer, Evolution, and the Ethics of Human Extinction

There are only two worldviews/theologies that exist:  (1) a theology of death and (2) a theology of life.  Though many try to synchronize the two, if we take our worldview to its logical conclusions, we are left with despair and meaningless (the theology of death) or hope and purpose (the theology of life). No one illustrates this better than bioethicists Peter Singer, famously known for his support of animal rights (by which he wishes to grant some animals the rights and status of personhood) and infanticide (by which he denies some humans the rights and status of personhood).  I believe that taken to its logical conclusion, Singer makes more sense than other ethical arguments because he clearly sees and rightly affirms the clear implications of his theology of death.  There is no synchritism here.

The theology of death is rooted in an evolutionary worldview by which death is viewed as a necessary and well-received process.  This means that with every new life the promise of a new stage of human evolutionary development is granted.  Death, then, is the ending of one stage of evolution welcoming the next generation to progress the species even further.  Evolution is built on death. In order for the next generation to flourish, the weakest among us most be eliminated.  This is the motivation behind the eugenics movement wherein it is argued that evolution can be sped up if the weak and feeble among us are not allowed to breed.  Frederich Neitzche called this next stage of evolution the Ubermensch (the "Superman").

The theology of death only offers two options:  (1) the hope that evolution will eventually bring with it purpose and meaning to life after reaching a greater (and perhaps final) stage.  As a result, eugenics should be practiced to speed this practice up.  Or (2) we should eat, drink, and be merry without reproducing for tomorrow we should all die and life has no meaning.  To welcome life into this world is inhumane and only increases human suffering.  Sterility gives us meaning because it prevents future generations from suffering.

The latter is the point set forth by Peter Singer in a recent New York Times Opinionator article entitled Should This Be the Last Generation?  Singer points out that the seemingly contradiction between those who seek to grant life to those who have the promise of living a good life (free from any foreseeable handicap) and those who actually do.  Currently our culture argues that those with the promise of living a good quality of life should live thus forcing many women to abort babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome and other syndromes.  The quality of human is a major motivation for terminating pregnancies and helping seniors and the dying end their lives.  Since we don't want people to suffer, death is viewed as a positive alternative. 

Singer, however, rightly points out that such a distinction between the quality of life between the handicap and the "healthy" is ridiculous.  He argues that every child, healthy or not, will suffer in some way in life.  We all have.  Every human has.  And we can be certain that every child born into this world will suffer.  If we are truly honest with ourselves, Singer is right.  Every life we welcome into this world will suffer and most will suffer greatly regardless of race, sex, or socio-economic life.  We all suffer and all of our offspring will suffer.

If, therefore, we believe that termination is the best alternative to human suffering, then why should we not all become sterile and eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die and that is the end of it. I believe that this is a logical conclusion of the theology of death rooted in evolutionary thought.  Either we seek to speed up the process and hope to find purpose found in a Utopian world full of Ubermesch humans or we simply admit that life is meaningless and all suffering is unnecessarily and voluntarily end our species.  And by putting an end to human suffering once and for all, we will then uncover meaning.  After all, there is no one in the skies to tell us any different right?  If there is no God, then we become gods and it is best for us to indulge our god-like impulses.

The theology of death turns us inward where we become the center of the universe.  Any discussion of evolution is centered on the next stage of humans.  What we will become?  What we will accomplish?  And yet if the age of Darwin, the 20th Century, taught us anything it was that man is not progressing towards a better society, but towards a more chaotic, hopeless world.  That stark reality forces us to admit that Singer is on to something.  Instead of waiting for the next stage of the evolutionary process, perhaps we should give up and admit that things are only getting worse.  If we truly want to eliminate human suffering, then let us eliminate humans.  Otherwise, human suffering will continue. 

Clearly, our natural impulses turns us against such an idea.  There is something in us that wants the human race to continue.  There is something in us that tells us that there is meaning and purpose in life.  The empty darkness of Darwinism just doesn't seem right.  Opposite of the theology of death is the theology of life.  If evolution leads us towards death, eugenics, and/or sterility, then the theology of life leads us towards life, love, purpose, family, and procreation.

The Christian worldview is at its root a theology about life.  Where evolution sees hopelessness and purposelessness (we're just here to survive and continue our species and nothing else), the gospel sees hope, meaning, and love.  The gospel says that though we are flawed (as a result of our own nature and actions) God Himself has come down and brought atonement.  This means that God is not distant, but near.  This means that God has invested Himself in His own creation and thus has given His creation purpose.  Man's purpose is seen in God, not in himself.  As comedian Brad Stine rightly put it, "when the Creator of matter tells you,' you matter,' then your have purpose."

Where the theology of death turns inwards towards the self, the theology of life turns outward vertically (God) and horizontally (man).  Our relationship with the God of the universe who has brought forth redemption and propitiation commands us to mirror Him in our relations and interactions with each other.

Philosophers and ethicists like Peter Singer force us to come to grips with the inconsistencies of our culture's worldview.  If we really affirm the theory of evolution and its implications, then he is right.  All life is meaningless.  Suffering is bad and should be prevented.  Thus, death is not necessarily a bad thing, but a release from the sufferings from this world (ergo euthanasia).  Sterility, then, is both liberating and gives us some meaning in our limited lives:  no more suffering for the human race.  Evolution finds hope in sterility, the gospel finds hope in life.

So I must admit.  If evolution is true, then Peter Singer is right.  He is not a crazy academic who has lost his marbles, but a prophet ahead of his time.  But if the gospel is right, then death will not bring about the end of suffering we are all trying to escape.  So which will we embrace:  the theology of death and sterility, or the theology of life and hope?

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,  20by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days . . . -Deuteronomy 30:19-20a

Peter Singer - Should This Be the Last Generation? 

For more:
Lifesite News - Princeton Philosopher: ‘Why Not Sterilize the Human Race and Party into Extinction?’ 
Second Hand Smoke - Peter Singer: Is Human Extinction an Acceptable Way to Avoid Suffering? 
Commentary - The Personhood of Animals:  The Argument is Made Again 
Commentary - The Real Solution to Global Warming:  Human Extinction 

Immigration and Sweatshops in America: Are the Two Connected?

In spite of recent, unforeseen national events (like the BP oil spill), immigration still remains a touchy subject to most Americans.  The Arizona immigration law remains controversial and several states are currently debating passing similar laws in their own state.  The President's administration is vehemently against the law while most polls show that Americans are in favor of it. 

Those who question the laws ethics raise the issue that America has always been a land of immigrants and we should welcome those who come to America seeking a better life.  Those on the other side counter that though we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a land of law-abiding citizens.  Immigration is a national security issue and in a post-9/11 world, we must consider our current immigration policies (and unforced laws).

But there is one other aspect of this debate that isn't being mentioned at all.  As it stands right, it seems that America is allowing the equivalent of sweetshops wherein we hire cheap labor with very little to no benefits that keeps people in poverty. 

Lets be honest.  The reason immigration is so popular today and why many employers are hiring immigrants is because it is cheaper.  Immigrants have a reputation of working harder for less pay than the average American worker.  Or as the public puts it (recall the 2006 debate):  they do jobs that Americans won't do.  The argument in favor of illegal immigration goes, then, that if we want "these jobs" to be done, we must allow (and create) a culture where a particular group of people are relegated to doing "those jobs" for "us people."

Is this not the same motivation behind sweatshops in China and other countries?  If we criticize them for their crimes against humanity and against the companies who have shipped their jobs overseas in order to take advantage of their looser worker laws, how can we not be against the treatment of human beings (legal or illegal) as lesser than us?  If we are against sweatshops throughout the world, should we not be against it in our own nation? We have created a culture that has tolerated sweatshops at the cost of our security.

At the end of the day, Americans need to seriously reconsider illegal immigration putting this reason at the top of the debate.  America is a place of opportunity and by arguing that we should hire immigrants because they'll do the job that most Americans won't is simply immoral and dangerous.  At the same time, those in favor of immigration reform that begins with sealing up the border should make the moral argument that sweatshop-like jobs in America is intolerable to the American way.

Immigration, then, is not only a nation security issue, it is also (and equally) a moral issue. The issue isn't one primarily of racism, but of humanity.

America must do all that it can to emphasize respectable wages, without government intrusion, that still produces less-costly products without resulting in American sweatshops.  This is not a call for government intrusion regarding minimum wage laws (which I'm not a huge fan of) and similar intrusive acts, but a call for Americans to realize their own hypocrisy.  Unless we deal with out own sweatshops, we should not criticize others.

Christians must push for security for our citizens, opportunity to those who wish to join us, and freedom and equality for all. Christians ought not use "cheap labor" as an excuse for inhuman treatment of others.  Certainly immigration is an issue of national security and freedom, but at the end of the day, inhumane treatment of fellow humans is immoral.  This is an issue that America needs to take more seriously that unfortunately is being ignored by most in our culture today.

Is America the land of opportunity to all or is that just a slogan?  The debate on immigration will tell us.

For more:
American Thinker - Supporting open borders is supporting sweat shops in the US  
Shortblog - That's Why Its Called 'Illegal' Immigration   
Commentary - Christianity and the Border Crisis:  How Should We Respond?  
Shortblog - The Arizona Law is Racist But the Same Law in Mexico Isn't? 
Commentary - Thus Says the Speaker of the House:  Every Person Has Dignity 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being the Messiah: Is Reality Finally Hitting America About the Messianism of Politicians?

There is a difference between campaigning for the presidency and the office of the presidency.  On the campaign trail one can make any and every promise in the world and if unelected, those promises can remain unfulfilled.  But if a candidate makes promises during a campaign and is elected, he/she better keep those promises.

Remember President George H. W. Bush and his bold promise to "read my lips, no new taxes?"  Within his first (and only) term as President, he raised taxes thus breaking his promise to the American people.  His hold on the Reagan legacy was over and such a broken promise allowed a smooth politician from Arkansas to remove him from office.  Whatever one says on the campaign trail, they better be willing to do what they said.

This is the problem that President Barack Obama finds himself in.  Many are pointing at the President as a failure, but we must be cautious here.  His problem isn't just with the lack of progress or the utter chaos throughout the American economy, American society, and the world.  His problem is the image he allowed himself to be portrayed as cannot be met.

For two straight years, then Senator Obama convinced the world that he was the Messiah, the promised one, the one with all of the answers.  Obama was portrayed as our savior who would usher in world peace, economic stability, and justice for all.  In his speech following his primary victory against now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the President suggested that if elected Utopia could be reached.  He said:

Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

Such promises that the planet would heal, global warming would be resolved, our nation would be secured, war would end, jobs would be available in abundance, and cheap health care would be provided for all are much bolder and grander than anything a politician had said before.  President Bush got excoriated for breaking his promise about taxes, what will happen to Obama now that it seems all of these grand promises may not come to pass?

Obama finds himself in a complete mess and one he seems unable to lead America through.  The oil crisis, in the eyes of the public, seems to have been a low priority for the Obama administration.  As one who described himself as a protector of the environment, the public feels that the President completely ignored the worse oil disaster in our nations history with no end in site.  The President seems unable to do anything about it and instead of action, he seems to be campaigning again by threatening to sue British Petroleum (BP), putting an end of off-shore drilling (after declaring he would increase off-shore drilling), and reading off of his teleprompter.

So much for the messianic promise of the planet healing.

And then there is the international scene.  Obama promised an end to war, a peaceful resolution to the dangerous desires of rogue nations like Iran and North Korea, and an increase diplomacy without military action, and yet the opposites are happening.  North and South Korea appear to be heading to war and Americans have no idea what the President intends on doing about it.  Israel is under attack from the entire world and their one trusted ally (America) seems unwilling to defend her.  Will we see yet another war between Israel and the Palestinians?  Afghanistan remains in the news as the President increased the number of troops in that part of the world.  And let us not forget the numerous terrorist attacks (most, thankfully, have failed, but not all have) here on our own soil.

The President promised a lot on the international front and all of them seem to not be coming to pass.  The world seems to be in a worse mess than it was when he took office (and the world was in a mess then too).  The Presidents diplomatic strategy to the Islamic world and especially to Iran seems to be failing miserably. The President is learning that a speech alone cannot resolve all the world's problems and apart from speaking, the President seems unable to actually deliver on any promises of hope and change for a better world.

As a voter, should any of this be a surprise?  The President set himself up for this sort of disaster.  It is hard to live up to the stigma of messiah.  The world embraced Obama believing that he was the answer we needed and yet those wonderful promises and resounding rhetoric appears rather empty at this point.

Let this be a word of warning to any future politician who try to set themselves up as the best and only answer to our problems.  Government and/or politicians cannot bring Utopia and will not resolve our problems.  This does not mean that government is useless, but that government cannot change human nature and deliver on its promises of peace, tranquility, justice, and economic prosperity.  In other words, government cannot roll back the Fall.

Likewise, let this be a word of warning to every voter in America.  The majority of Americans fell for the messiah-ism of President Obama truly believing that he could deliver us from evil.  How could we have been so easily duped putting so much trust in a limited man.  This isn't an attack on Obama as a person, but on the fact that Obama is a human, not a messiah.  No politician is a savior and no politician can truly fix everything.  None of us have all the answers and solutions and shame on us for falling for the belief that if we elected a particular person, we could sit back and enjoy the Utopian they would bring us.

And let Christians in particular take note of this.  Anytime we put all or most of our trust in a man, we undermine the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Presidents are important and government is critical to society, but politicians and the polis are not the answers we need.  Government can only regulate the exterior, but the gospel reforms the interior.  If we want to see real hope and change for a better future, then we will turn to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to empty promises from an articulate politician.

So what will the future hold for the Obama presidency?  Only time will tell.  But we can be certain that the one occupying the White House is not our promised messiah we've all been waiting for.  Neither will anyone who occupies our nation's highest office ever be a savior worthy of such honors.  At the same time let us not forget that our hope isn't in a future messianic politician, but in the one and only Messiah who has already conquered the sting of sin and will one day bring down heaven.  Jesus Christ is not on the ballet.  He is on His throne.

For more:
Commentary - Prophet, Priest, and President:  Is Obama the Messiah? 
Commentary - Politics is Thicker Than Promises:  Lessons Learned From Obama and the Gay Community 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Challenge of Frozen Embryos: South Korea Undefines Human Life

Sad news from the South Korean Supreme Court.  The Court has ruled that human embryos left over from fertility treatment are not life forms and can be used for research or destroyed.  Though unfortunate, it is not surprising.  The Court simply affirmed existing law allowing the use of leftover embryos for research. 

In other words, the Court has only upheld what was already the law of the land that human embryos, consisting of a fertilized cell, do not have the rights of humans prior to being placed inside the mother's womb.  This means that such embryos, according to the law of South Korea, are not human life forms.  As a result, if an embryo remains frozen for five years after it has been fertilized, then it can be discarded as trash.  Furthermore, the law allows fertilized eggs to be used for research including embryonic stem cell research.

The law was challenged by a group of pro-life activists.

One can see the challenges that biotechnology in a secular culture creates.  Throughout the West, and in nations like South Korea, there are millions of frozen embryos waiting to be born.  America has millions of such frozen embryos itself and thanks to an executive order by President Barack Obama, many will be turned into research.  Embryonic Stem Cell research involves taking a fertilized human, destroying it, and using it for research.

This is a serious challenge for Christians and pro-life proponents.  The ethical issue of what to do with all of the frozen embryos in the world is a major issue that most have not thought about.  Many Christians, including myself, propose adopting the embryos and giving them the opportunity for life.  In other words, many are opting to use the technology of in vitro fertilization as a way of adopting human life.  This option is particularly attractive to infertile couples as it would allow the parents to experience pregnancy and birth.

But the ethical argument being made by South Korea and other culture of death societies is rather unfounded.  I assume in South Korea, as it is in the United States, that a drunk driver that hits a mother in any stage of pregnancy and loses the baby will be prosecuted as a murderer.  And yet if that child had simply been frozen and destroyed for research (or to be simply thrown away), no crime would have been committed.

The secular worldview has no logical explanation founded on any transcendent principles that defends their understanding of when life begins.  In America, rights are bestowed on an individual at birth, not at conception.  Now it seems, at least in South Korea, the limited "rights" of the unborn are limited to those who are in a mother's womb meaning that unborn individuals are given rights and protection through a third party (namely the mother) rather than in their inherent right to live.

This is shaky ground we are standing on and it will only likely get worse.  As more continue to argue that destroying human embryos for science, the number of discarded lives will only increase.  Even though adult stem cell research (which does not involve the destruction of human life) has shown more promise for curing diseases, science will only want to continue to push the limits.

For Christians and other pro-life activists, our concern for frozen human embryos should be elevated.  For too long this crisis has been ignored.  Just as we like to present the statistics of the number of humans killed via abortion, let us not forget the cost of human life currently being destroyed in the name of science and the lack of space.  Our culture of death goes beyond abortion and euthanasia, but also enters us into the scientific debate of biotechnology.  Certainly we can celebrate the advancement of science and health, but not at the cost of millions more innocent human lives.

Though it seems that the ethical issues of South Korea is nothing to be concerned about as it is a world away, let us not forget that America and other Western nations are debating the same issue here and now.  Will we ignore those humans left in freezers, or will we too cry out for their defense.  At the same time, will we as Christians consider adopting them giving them the opportunity that many in the culture wish they never would have.

Breitbart - Frozen human embryos 'not life forms': S.Korean court 

For More:
Commentary - "No We Won't":  Obama and the Lie of Abortion Reduction