Planned Parenthood

The Paradox of Freedom and the Christian

The history of the American experiment is making it less possible for Christians to live ignorant of the moral condition of our societal context. The Rev. Bart Day from the Office of National Mission of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, put it this way in his public response concerning the Planned Parenthood atrocities that are coming to light:

Today let us confess life with renewed vigor — to our friends over supper, through letters to the editor of our local paper, by writing our congressmen, in tweets and emails to Planned Parenthood, on our Facebook pages.

Let us pray that our Lord would bring an end to abortion altogether and that He would stop the horrible sale of infant bodies.

And let us pray that He would forgive us, renew us and bolster us to make a good confession in season and out of season: one that is always, no matter what, for life.

As I reflected on the news of the last couple of days while watching Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance speech after receiving the Arthur Ashe Award on the ESPY’s, my mind reeled trying to process the current zeitgeist of America. Then through the darkness, there shined a bright ray of commonality between it all. I do not just mean a commonality between Jenner and Planned Parenthood, but a commonality that traces back to the beginning of time – the idolatry of freedom.

God told Adam and Eve that they are free to eat of any tree in the Garden of Eden except the one that was in the middle. And placing freedom above divine mandate –  fearing, loving, and trusting freedom above God, if you will – they fell into sin as did the whole creation with them. So why are we surprised when the same ideas are expressed within a creation that is afflicted with the same sickness.

Throughout the entire abortion debate, pro-choice advocates cast their arguments in light of freedom. Whenever one opposes abortion, that person opposes the freedom of a woman to do with her body as she wishes. Is there anything that is more “anti-American” than opposing freedom? Whenever one speaks out against homosexuality, transgenderism, promiscuity, fornication, co-habitation, adultery, or anything else the Bible would call sin or a result of sin, that person is opposes the freedom of a person to be happy, love who they love, be true to themselves, etc. Is there anything more hateful than limiting someone’s freedom?

The hard answer to all of these questions is the fact that we are not called to be free or American (in this sense of the word). We are called to be God’s. Our freedom ends where it conflicts with the Word of God. Freedom is not all that it is cracked up to be. Freedom to ourselves means freedom from all that would confine us. Freedom to ourselves means freedom from God, and it does not take long for a Scripturally-minded Christian to see how scary of a place that is. If you want to see what freedom from God looks like, take a look at Christ on the cross. This is where God turns His back on His Son because of the sin of the world that He bears. It is where He turns His back on the one who bears our sins. All of them. It is in submission to God’s Law that we find repentance. It is in repentance that we find forgiveness. All of us. So to deify and laud those who celebrate freedom to themselves above obedience to God, is succumbing to Satan’s old tricks.

We cannot ignore this anymore. We cannot live as if we are of the world. We are not. We are of God. Let us find comfort, courage and peace in His blessings. His Word. His Sacrament. These are for you. Forgiveness and strength are found when we gather, we pray, we praise, and we give thanks. In this forgiveness there is true freedom. Freedom to be the people of God.

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Logical Inconsistency #3: Straw-man argument to the extreme

The way this story is playing out in the media is literally sickening to me. The Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to stop funding to Planned Parenthood. The media has turned its evil eye toward Komen reporting how the funding that was pulled went towards mammograms and breast -cancer screening. Planned Parenthood supporters are up in arms about how Komen could pull funding that allows for such screening. However, what is often not reported is that Planned Parenthood is also the number one provider of late-term abortions in the United States. They are also under investigation in several states for cooking the books and using funding for things that funding is not meant to be used for. However, that is never reported.  Conservatives that support the move by Komen are painted as stubborn chauvinists who do not want women to be treated for breast cancer. However, I support the move made by Komen because I do not believe in killing babies or supporting organizations that do. Make no mistake about it. This is not an issue about breast cancer. This is an issue about abortion. Don’t buy the straw man logic that is put up by the progressive left. Here is an excellent piece by Mollie Zeigler-Hemmingway over at Get Relgion. Check it out!

[If you want to watch the news stories that she is talking about, click the link to the article and there is video on GetReligion.org]

What we have embedded here is one of the worst pieces of journalism I’ve ever seen. I probably shouldn’t announce this, lest tmatt tell me to pack my bags, but I rarely if ever watch broadcast or cable news. I read my news online. The last time I watched ABC News was probably in the 1980s. But I was notified that the ABC piece was bad and so I searched it out. I almost wish I hadn’t. The performance of the mainstream media over this Komen funding issue has not reflected well on journalism in general.

Let’s set the current scene on coverage of abortion and related issues. You’ll recall that just last week we looked at how some mainstream media outlets handled their reports on the annual March for Life. Though the crowd was large (some estimates were in the hundreds of thousands), the local CBS affiliate published a slide show that featured not a single picture of a pro-lifer. Instead, they photographed and rephotographed the same small handful (maybe as many as a dozen) supporters of legalized abortion. Only after mass outrage (and three days) did they find and include any other pictures. The Washington Post ombudsman chastised his paper’s coverage and the photo editor dismissed “this crowd” as impossible to satisfy.

We recently learned of the significant ruling from the Obama administration that Catholic charities (including educational institutions and hospitals that serve the most needy) would be forced under threat of massive fines to offer health insurance benefits that deeply violate church teachings, including contraception, sterilization and abortifacients. The news was covered, a bit. But none of the networks covered the news when it broke, and, according to one media watchdog, still haven’t! In general, the coverage has been surprisingly restrained, even though 142 bishops (some 80% of dioceses) have vociferously condemned this action.

OK, let’s look at what happened when Susan G. Komen decided to stop giving the country’s largest provider of abortions, the $1 billion Planned Parenthood, less than $700,000 in grants. You can watch, for instance, this “interview” of the Komen founder Amb. Nancy Brinker by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell where Andrea Mitchell just monologues about how devastated she is by the decision and barely lets the woman speak. (It’s embedded below, too) Every time Brinker tries to speak, she is interrupted by Mitchell. She tries to explain that the Planned Parenthood grants weren’t meeting criteria for effectiveness but Mitchell interrupts her. She explains that Planned Parenthood only offers pass-throughs — sending women to other places that can test them — and that they’d prefer to fund groups that directly provide services. She gets interrupted by a deeply hurt and personally offended Mitchell. At one point, Mitchell asks how, if the group is supposed to be bi-partisan, could they hire a pro-life individual who doesn’t love Planned Parenthood. (I’m not joking. Apparently bi-partisan means Democrats and Republicans who love Planned Parenthood.) If you doubt me about how biased this piece is, you can see how the blogJezebel cheers Mitchell on as “completely schooling Brinker on where she and her foundation went wrong. Boom.”

Now the Mitchell piece is really bad journalism — it’s not journalism at all, actually — but it’s MSNBC and I’m not sure how much people expect from that outlet. Which is why this “reported” piece (and yes, I’m using the term loosely) from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer is so shocking. Actually, these are the only two broadcast pieces I’ve seen so maybe they’re all this bad? Perhaps you shouldn’t tell me if they are. I don’t think I could bear it. I literally screamed at the top of my lungs when I watched this. Twice. Outside of sports, I don’t yell at my television.

Remember how much the networks covered the Obama administration’s regulation requiring Catholic organizations (and others) to do things they can’t do in good conscience? Not at all, that is? Well:

@RickKlein:
Backlash at Susan G. Komen over Planned Parenthood move leads @ABCWorldNews & NBC; CBS starts with Afghanistan war

Two things. While Komen reports that their fundraising is “up 100%” since the news (I’m a new donor to them, for instance) and in the interview mentioned above Brinker mentions that the response she’s received has been quite favorable, that’s not the framing for these stories. Instead, the “backlash” is. But what is even more interesting is that this biased framing literally leads the nightly news! Leads it! So again, it’s not that the media are uninterested in covering abortion or related issues. They just prefer some stories over others. Rather dramatically so.

Diane Sawyer begins her ABC report by alluding to people taking one side. Then begins a relentless repetition of Planned Parenthood’s talking point that Komen is putting politics ahead of women’s health.

The first error is that Diane Sawyer exaggerates what Planned Parenthood does with regard to cancer treatment. As Brinker noted in the interview mentioned above, Planned Parenthood offers no direct services for cancer treatment and Komen would like to allocate its scarce resources to group that actually deal with cancer treatment. Sawyer describes Planned Parenthood as the place where “so many women get free tests for cancer treatment.” What tests? Certainly not mammograms, which are not offered by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood acts as a pass-through agency, a place where women can be given prescriptions for tests. But “free tests for cancer treatment” sounds so much better than “place that doesn’t even offer mammograms,” I guess.

Claire Shipman reports with lots of war language about firestorms erupting and the like. She says:

That ubiquitous pink ribbon for decades uniting women in the greater good is sporting a black eye today. Thousands of women saying they will no longer support the Komen foundation or buy pink. Women like Monique Benoit who benefited from a Komen Planned Parenthood mammogram.

See that? Women such as myself who couldn’t in good conscience support Komen while it funneled money to Planned Parenthood are completely invisible to the mainstream media. We don’t exist. We don’t matter. We are never mentioned in this report. We are never pictured in this report. We are invisible to ABC News and others. That pink ribbon “united women” so long as it was associated with an organization that terminates 330,000 pregnancies a year. But now that it’s not, it’s not uniting women? In what world does that make sense?

And about this Komen Planned Parenthood mammogram … how is that possible when Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammograms? Great reporting, ABC! Of course, you’ll note that the woman who received this mammogram is stationed in front of Planned Parenthood signage offering the exact same talking point as everyone else who launched this public relations campaign against Komen. That line, again, is that a decision to cease funding the country’s largest abortion provider is “becoming” political. Funding that abortion provider? Just ask Andrea Mitchell, it’s as apolitical as the day is long! Can’t we all be bipartisan Planned Parenthood fans and champions?

The piece quotes Komen CEO Nancy Brinker who “spent the day in combat-style crisis management” (thanks to the mainstream media having the exact same line of attack as their Planned Parenthood cobelligerents). She denies it was political pressure and speaks against “scurrilous” allegations. What are those? Who knows? But ABC sums it up:

Brinker says there are simply better and more streamlined mammogram providers.

For instance, mammogram providers! MAMMOGRAM PROVIDERS WOULD BE BETTER AND MORE STREAMLINED MAMMOGRAM PROVIDERS THAN ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE NO MAMMOGRAMS! (And now you get a feel for my screaming at my computer screen when I first watched this.) Then we learn how great this has been for Planned Parenthood’s fundraising. Perhaps a journalist might look into, I don’t know, whether that was the plan all along for how Planned Parenthood leaked this news and took the ABC-approved spin that Komen’s decision was a disappointing politicization.

There’s a brief mention of conservative support. Very brief. Then Mitchell remembers an email she read earlier today where a woman said she couldn’t support Komen anymore. Why? Well because they’ve “politicized women’s health”! The PR team that developed that slogan and got the MSM to lede the evening news with it is worth every penny you paid them, Planned Parenthood. You usually can’t get this many repeat mentions in a 3-minute story without some heavy wrangling. ABC speaks to no one who supports the decision, no one who is pro-life.

Anyway, Shipman can’t explain Komen’s confusing decision. She says that when Komen was funneling money to Planned Parenthood, it “always prided itself on being apolitical.”

It’s like Planned Parenthood is a church and most of the media are communicant members ready to defend its teachings and faith at all costs. Check out how the one pro-lifer who Komen hired last year is given the scarlet letter in this caption “Anti-Abortion Stalwart.” Heretic! This ABC News headline gives two options for what’s going on with Komen’s decision to give money for breast cancer research and treatment to groups that do breast cancer research and treatment: “Witch Hunt or Policy Shift?” The story continues the backlash theme, completely oblivious to that portion of the country that doesn’t love Planned Parenthood. I’m not even going to watch the CBS report at this point but it’s headline? “Backlash grows over Susan G. Komen-Planned Parenthood flap”

Force Catholics to choose whether to violate their consciences or stop serving the poor? Ho hum! Who cares? Let’s put “religious liberty” in scare quotes and move on already, ok? Focus funding on groups that actually provide breast cancer treatment and resources instead of the Most Holy Planned Parenthood? We will lead the nightly news and if we have to misrepresent what’s going on, we’ll do that.

Here is another piece that they did on this topic that is worth a read as well.