The Un-Christian Option

The maker of the videos producing so much outrage about Planned Parenthood conducted an interview with Christianity Today. Among the statements made:

How did you get people to talk to you? There have been other undercover videos about Planned Parenthood in the past, so you would think they’d be more skeptical.

It’s reasonable to think they would be skeptical. We were quite surprised, during the course of this project, how trusting and how willing to talk and negotiate and let us into the inner circle Planned Parenthood was.

All we had to do was say two things. Number one, that we supported their work. And number two, that we wanted to buy their fetal body parts. Those were the magic words. And they were willing to bend over backwards to accommodate that. . . .

There are some critics, who share your beliefs about abortion, who are uncomfortable with the techniques you use. They say misrepresenting who you are and using undercover video is unethical. How do you respond to that claim? And what are the laws about undercover recording in states like California, where you recorded video?

California has a recording law that prohibits the surreptitious recording of what are called “confidential communications,” so California’s recording statute is limited.

I think that there are a minority of people who think that any kind of undercover work is prima facie wrong and unethical. I certainly don’t subscribe to that view. Most people don’t subscribe to that view. Undercover work is a pretty common tactic among law enforcement and journalists. I don’t think the techniques that we use are any more extreme than what is done every day by mainstream investigative journalists.

People don’t realize that it’s a common law liberty in the United States to change your name at will. I think it’s a little silly to say that it’s unethical when it is a common law liberty to present yourself however you want to present yourself. . . .

What are your personal beliefs and how do they inform the work you do?

I am Catholic, and I am a really big fan of Pope Francis. He has been a huge inspiration to me over the past couple of years, especially while doing this project.

Pope Francis’s emphasis on not being closed in on yourself but always moving forward and always being willing to go out towards the margins of human experience—in order to bring the gospel to those margins—was a huge inspiration to me during this project. I don’t think there’s any place more on the existential margins of society than an abortion clinic.

I think that when you have a place like an abortion clinic—which is a place where children are killed on an industrial scale—there is almost a sacramental value in bringing a presence to those places. We were there for good, out of love, and to welcome those children for the brief time that they will be in existence before they die. And to be in contact with and pray for all the abortion workers, the abortion doctors who are there.
As a Christian you are part of the body of Christ. So your presence, even in those darkest of places, can bring the presence of Jesus.

Notice the knots David Daleiden ties himself in. It’s “common law” here to change your name, so deceit is okay, saying exactly what you have no intention of meaning, like “we support your work” and “want to buy fetal body parts.” Well, isn’t isn’t it also legal to have an abortion? Not saying that’s a good thing. But if you use state law to justify violating on of the Ten Commandments, haven’t you given up any claim to moral authority against the other side which could argue in a similar fashion.

Then Daleiden claims the inspiration of Pope Francis and Christianity. Isn’t that a reason not to deceive? Think Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. He could have saved his life if he had lied and taken the oath, right? If you took a 2k view of this and made it less religious calling and more secular vocation, perhaps you could argue that as a journalist you sometimes don’t follow all of God’s laws in order to get a story. But when you want to claim Christian standing for what you do and then violate Christian morality, that’s a violation.

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617 thoughts on “The Un-Christian Option

  1. @cw That’s a good counter example. The work of ten Boom and the Dutch resistance is a more contemporary example.

    If you took a 2k view of this and made it less religious calling and more secular vocation, perhaps you could argue that as a journalist you sometimes don’t follow all of God’s laws in order to get a story. But when you want to claim Christian standing for what you do and then violate Christian morality, that’s a violation.

    I’m not sure I follow this. If I lie to advance my secular career, aren’t I sinning and in need of confession? While I agree that much of life is in the grey and the church doesn’t have much to say about how I conduct myself, I don’t think it is fair to say that everything is gray and the church has nothing to say about how I conduct myself. It seems to me that prohibitions against lust and rage (much less adultery and murder) apply whether I am at work in a secular job or a religious one. That might also mean that there are some jobs Christians can’t do (Christian hitman?).

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  2. Darryl,

    You’re assuming that the Ten Commandments prohibit lying under any and all circumstances, a view that is by no means unanimous in the Reformed tradition.

    And SDB is right, how does viewing your job as a secular vocation make lying okay?

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  3. How is 2K a solution for the very serious ethical problem to which you point? Christ our King has forbidden us to lie. Aren’t believers throwing off His kingship if we say that there is an area of our lives where we may disobey His commands?

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  4. The midwives in Exodus who saved little Jewish boys’ lives…

    Darryl, you are caught inside an infinite circle,a very tiny one that leads to insanity.

    Read Chesterton to understand what I M telling you, if you are able.

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  5. sdb, wasn’t really trying to counter — just raising a question, which is what I think DGH is trying to do. The army of a theocracy with a divine mandate might have a little wiggle room. David seemed to have plenty.

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  6. Maybe it comes down to whether you see Operation Rescue-style groups as having a divine mandate and prerogatives of holy warriors. MW could find many example of papal troops and papal-inspired troops taking similar liberties, I’m sure. If she so chose.

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  7. sdb, all I meant was that in secular vocations Christians do things they wouldn’t do as Christians. Take being a soldier and killing another combatant. I would imagine that as a soldier I might also lie to an enemy interlocutor.

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  8. Darryl,

    sdb, all I meant was that in secular vocations Christians do things they wouldn’t do as Christians.

    But that’s so ambiguous. Does a grocery clerk cease to be a Christian when he puts on HIs uniform and punches the clock. Does he abandon his faith for an 8-hour shift?

    Take being a soldier and killing another combatant.

    Is a Christian soldier committing apostasy right before he pulls the trigger? Otherwise, how is he not being a Christian and only a soldier.

    I would imagine that as a soldier I might also lie to an enemy interlocutor.

    So the ethics depend on some measure on the circumstances. That makes sense and I agree with it. But to say that the soldier is not a Christian or not living as a Christian when doing so seems a tad bit of a stretch, especially if there are circumstances under which a lie is not evil.

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  9. She whose feet are webbed, that was obeying God rather than men. How is willfully lying and deceiving that?

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  10. Darryl,

    I don’t think what Daleiden did was wrong. IOW, the ninth commandment doesn’t prohibit lying or deception in every single circumstance. Others have listed the biblical examples. Hebrews said that Rahab’s lie was an act of faith.

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  11. @dgh
    I agree that there are things one would do in secular employ that one wouldn’t do in church, and perhaps even go a bit further and say that there are certain endeavors that while not generally sinful should not be open to clergy (maybe). But the fact that I wouldn’t sell a used car “as a Christian” (which I take to mean as part of worship or as a representative of my congregation), doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be held to Christian norms when selling a car (would the session be justified in hearing charges against me for cheating a fellow congregant by rolling back the odometer on a car I sold him?). Or perhaps a better example is a football player who doesn’t play for the NFL as a “Christian athlete”. Is he justified in neglecting sabbath observance in pursuit of his career? Or am I still hopelessly misreading you here?

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  12. Darryl,

    “sdb, all I meant was that in secular vocations Christians do things they wouldn’t do as Christians. ”

    So I take it you would give up Jews, slaves, domestic abuse victims, etc. you were hiding in your home when asked upon since that’s not vocation-dependent?

    Also, the precedent of commended OT figures has already been brought up. Is it your contention those examples were reflecting God’s tolerance and accommodation for those times a la polygamy and thus are no longer applicable in ethical evaluation?

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  13. Robert, the biblical examples prove too much. This isn’t redemptive history. This is ordinary human activity. And if lies and deception are kosher in the greater service of burying the abortion industry, I wonder if there’s ever a time that abortion is kosher? It’s part of basic medical training.

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  14. Zrim, spot on. If we start choosing lesser evils, we have become utilitarians. And there are no moral dilemnas, times when we must choose a lesser evil, for “when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

    But maybe could you expound on the reference to redemptive history? Are you saying those lies (midwives, Rahab) were righteous, or simply that they were God-ordained (like Judas’s betrayal)?

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  15. Walton, I’m saying that when instances like Rahab are cited it often seems like Mack trucks are driven right through. It’s not obvious to me what Rahab has to do with this, and it’s unsettling to give a political cause religious approval. But this is abortion and the rules seem to get rewritten for the sake of the collective cause. Instead of reaching for Rahab to justify, it would be refreshing to at least hear it’s a fair point and does raise moral dilemma on the parts of those who want to believe they’re simply the undisputed champions of morality.

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  16. Zrim

    Robert, the biblical examples prove too much. This isn’t redemptive history. This is ordinary human activity.

    Rahab is given to us who don’t live in the era of redemptive history as a model of faith in Hebrews 11. So if anything, she’s the MOST relevant example of those posted. By faith Rahab hid the spies, and that hiding included lying.

    And if lies and deception are kosher in the greater service of burying the abortion industry, I wonder if there’s ever a time that abortion is kosher? It’s part of basic medical training.

    If there is a legitimate threat to the life of the mother, then abortion is kosher in that circumstance.

    Walton, I’m saying that when instances like Rahab are cited it often seems like Mack trucks are driven right through.

    That can be a fair point. One has to do more than cite an example, but it’s hard to do that in a com box. It’s not as if this hasn’t been argued extensively elsewhere.

    It’s not obvious to me what Rahab has to do with this, and it’s unsettling to give a political cause religious approval.

    Rahab lied to save some lives and she’s praised for it, or at least apparently so. Heb. 11.

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  17. Walt,

    If we start choosing lesser evils, we have become utilitarians. And there are no moral dilemnas, times when we must choose a lesser evil, for “when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

    It’s not an absence of moral dilemmas that’s being advocated. There are dilemmas in which there is no easy answer, and it is very difficult to know what to do. Personally, I don’t think this is one of them.

    But I think it is also wrong to say that there are times in which we choose a lesser evil. The situation has an impact on how the law is rightly applied. Even the Mosaic law recognizes that. Deception isn’t always wrong; even God sent a lying spirit on at least one occasion.

    By and large I follow John Frame on this, FYI. But R.C. Sproul takes a similar position, at least on the lying issue.

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  18. Zrim’s point about the biblical examples being set in the context of inscripturated redemptive history is apt. Are they descriptive or prescriptive?

    Also, isn’t a sound reading of the stories of the Israelite midwives or Rahab simply that if a Christian is placed in a situation where the only options are to obey God or obey man, then the proper choice is to obey God? But even then, I guess you would have to elevate one commandment (murder) above another (lying). At a minimum, these investigative journalists placed themselves in a position of being deceptive. It wasn’t forced upon them. So, I don’t see how the analogy holds.

    Before I get blasted by someone, I guess I should add the proviso that I oppose abortion and think PP is an evil institution that should not be funded by the federal government.

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  19. Dare I wade in here? There are all sorts of opportunities in legal engagements and financial engagements where wisdom dictates you don’t engage while showing your entire hand. I don’t share the truth with everyone about everything even when they are materially involved, i.e. your kids, your elderly parents, an unstable participant in proceedings, etc. Even in following the law, there are often multiple opportunities and ‘industry standards’ including enforcement expectations and boundaries, that you operate within. Tolerance limits if you will.

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  20. Maybe it is because I’m a child of the 60s and 70s, I find it difficult to get upset with CMP. When 60 Minutes was in its heyday—whether it was Morley Safer exposing some corrupt (usually Big) business or Deep Throat ratting out the Nixon administration, undercover reporters were presented as heroes. In the 70s particularly we were regaled, in mass media (TV, novels etc), with stories of valiant undercover cops, whose very life and safety is dependent upon deception. Of course the military lies to its enemies necessary and constantly about what it is doing.

    CMP is not the civil magistrate nor the military—but why do they get a pass?—but it is every bit as valid as 60 Minutes or Woodward and Bernstein. Was Dan Rather immoral to go undercover?

    Should one lie to the Nazis when they come to the door looking for Anne Frank? Yes. Neighbor love requires me to protect her even if it means lying to murderous Nazis. Can’t that work for CMP? They are loving their little, unborn neighbors by misrepresenting themselves (“going undercover”) to the equally barbaric Planned Parenthood.

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  21. Walton,

    ” If we start choosing lesser evils, we have become utilitarians.”

    Graded absolutism is still duty-centered rather than end-centered.

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  22. we need to reconcile Daleiden with Calvin’s Christian option, no?

    Of course, Calvin’s Christian option includes:

    ”For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, to spit upon their heads than to obey them.”

    ― John Calvin (Commentary on Daniel, Lecture XXX Daniel 6:22)

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  23. Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink
    we need to reconcile Daleiden with Calvin’s Christian option, no?

    Of course, Calvin’s Christian option includes:

    ”For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, to spit upon their heads than to obey them.”

    ― John Calvin (Commentary on Daniel, Lecture XXX Daniel 6:22)

    At last something around here on Calvin’s commentary on Daniel.

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  24. Robert
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    the ninth commandment doesn’t prohibit lying or deception in every single circumstance.

    Is lying is synonymous with “bear[ing] false witness against your neighbor?” Seems a good point. The “neighbor” is not being lied about here.

    R. Scott Clark
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Should one lie to the Nazis when they come to the door looking for Anne Frank? Yes. Neighbor love requires me to protect her even if it means lying to murderous Nazis.

    OTOH:

    St. Augustine wrote the first extensive treatise on lying (De Mendacio). In it he cites the case of a holy bishop, Firmus of Thagasta, who wished to protect a man who had sought refuge with him. The bishop was so careful of the truth that, rather than lying to the imperial officers who pursued the fugitive, he told them frankly that he would not reveal the man’s location. Firmus maintained this resolve even under torture, with the result that he was eventually brought before the emperor himself. But the emperor was so impressed with the bishop’s virtue that he both praised the bishop and pardoned the fugitive.

    Augustine tells this story to provide a saintly witness for his argument that lying is always morally wrong, regardless of the circumstances, and to note that God is perfectly capable of extricating from trouble those who stand fast in the truth. His treatise has been widely cited ever since, and his viewpoint was endorsed by no less saintly a scholar than Thomas Aquinas. In the monumental Summa Theologiae, Thomas states the same position: “Therefore it is not lawful to tell a lie in order to deliver another from any danger whatever. Nevertheless it is lawful to hide the truth prudently, by keeping it back, as Augustine says” (II:110:3).

    But Augustine and Aquinas were both aware that even many good Christians disagreed with them. In fact, it seems likely that most people throughout history have held that not all falsehoods are morally evil. The issue has been debated intensely by moral theologians for well over 1500 years…

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  25. Tom,

    Is lying is synonymous with “bear[ing] false witness against your neighbor?” Seems a good point. The “neighbor” is not being lied about here.

    Bingo. In its most immediate context, the command refers to the legal sphere. So at a base level, it’s do not bear false witness in a legal proceeding because that will bring harm to neighbor. Lying in general can be extrapolated from that, but clearly there are lies that do not harm. Eg lying about a surprise party. The commandment can’t cover all deception, otherwise Rahab sinned in faith, and that’s incoherent.

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  26. Zrim
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
    She whose feet are webbed, that was obeying God rather than men. How is willfully lying and deceiving that?>>>>>

    Zrim, do you know that Planned Parenthood is selling human body parts, and we the people are subsidizing Planned Parenthood? Does that factor in at all?

    That is what is happening. Does this concern you? Why are you and Darryl changing the subject, here? The ones doing the undercover work are willing to pay whatever price they have to pay to expose this great evil. That is part of what civil disobedience is about.

    Besides, have they broken any laws, human or divine?

    It seems to me that some of you are so anxious to give a black eye to Catholics that you do not even know the teachings of your own religion.

    Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink
    we need to reconcile Daleiden with Calvin’s Christian option, no?

    Of course, Calvin’s Christian option includes:

    ”For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, to spit upon their heads than to obey them.”

    ― John Calvin (Commentary on Daniel, Lecture XXX Daniel 6:22)

    BTW, Mark Van Der Molen, do you have any relatives in So. America? Just wondering…

    ————————–

    Here are some wise words from R.C. Sproul Jr.. :

    That said, the majority report of the church over the ages has been more nuanced. While truthfulness ought to be the order of the day among Christians, there are contexts wherein a failure to tell the truth is actually praiseworthy. The church has argued not that we must always tell the truth, but that we must tell the truth to whom the truth is due. Even if this is correct, and I believe it is, we are left with the difficult task of determining to whom the truth is due. Those who take this position would note that in the context of war, especially just war, the enemy is not due the truth. Thus Rahab, who made it into the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11, lied about the spies she was hiding. Or, one could argue that the Hebrew midwives likewise did well in lying to the Pharaoh. In like manner, the false “camp” established by the allies to trick the axis powers into believing the assault on France would not come at Normandy is also just. The same principle, of course, would give us the freedom to lie when the Nazis are at our door looking for those we are hiding.

    http://rcsprouljr.com/blog/ask-rc/rc-circumstance-righteous-truth/

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  27. Robert, I am actually saying “there aren’t moral dilemmas.” God does not put us in situations where the only options are sin. So, either lying is okay sometimes, or there is a third way (like the Augustine example). I am pushing back against the lesser-of-two-evils argumentation.

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  28. BTW, Mark Van Der Molen, do you have any relatives in So. America? Just wondering…

    Paco Van Der Molen is my cousin. Just kidding. I highly doubt it.

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  29. at least they aren’t strange bedfellows.

    That’s what I was thinking of Calvin contra the predictable cherry- picking attempt to make Calvin a strange bedfellow with Calvin.

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  30. MVD, right. The counselor to the Huguenots, Calvin. Well, I’ll affirm you in the lesser distinction. Not sure about the magistrate part, however.

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  31. Scott, Dan and Morley never claimed to be championing the whole law of God. That’s the point here. I actually can see plenty of room for believers to be selective in their vocations. The problems arise when they want simultaneously to play the right-side-of-righteousness card. Ever heard of the Secularists for Life group? There’s a lot more integrity in not claiming God for your political side and doing what CMP did than in so claiming and doing.

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  32. She whose feet are webbed, gee, no, I missed it. Planned Parenthood is doing something that rattles pro-lifers’ cages? I’m a Christian with a Facebook account, so the cup of outrage porn floweth over. But enlighten me–where does my Protestant religion say I have to bow the knee to political correctness and never ask questions of the hyperventilating bandwagon for life? And you say “civil disobedience” as if it’s a virtue. It’s a vice per the Bible.

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  33. Calvin’s convictions on this subject [civil disobedience] were, on the whole, strikingly conservative. In an extended series of discussions toward the close of the Institutes, he hailed the honor and reverence due to magistrates as a consequence of their appointment by God [ICR 4.20.22-29]. Calvin exhorts Christians that they must “with ready minds prove our obedience to them, whether in complying with edicts, or in paying tribute, or in undertaking public offices and burdens, which relate to the common defense, or in executing any other orders.” [ICR 4.20.23]. He goes on to make clear that this applies to bad rulers as well as good: “But if we have respect to the Word of God, it will lead us farther, and make us subject not only to the authority of those princes who honestly and faithfully perform their duty toward us, but all princes, by whatever means they have so become, although there is nothing they less perform than the duty of princes.” [ICR 4.20.25]. “The only thing remaining for you,” Calvin adds shortly thereafter, “will be to receive their commands, and be obedient to their words.” [ICR 4.20.26].

    David VanDrunen, Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms (pg. 121)

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  34. Mark, did you miss the commentary on Timothy?

    No, but if you put 2 + 2 together, you might see that I specifically had that in mind, hence the red flag on DGH’s cherry picking. And citing the laughable historical sock-puppeteer Van Drunen only digs your hole deeper.

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  35. Zrim
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
    She whose feet are webbed, gee, no, I missed it. Planned Parenthood is doing something that rattles pro-lifers’ cages? I’m a Christian with a Facebook account, so the cup of outrage porn floweth over. But enlighten me–where does my Protestant religion say I have to bow the knee to political correctness and never ask questions of the hyperventilating bandwagon for life? And you say “civil disobedience” as if it’s a virtue. It’s a vice per the Bible.>>>>>

    Planned Parenthood is selling human body parts. You are changing the subject.

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  36. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
    Zrim
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    She whose feet are webbed, gee, no, I missed it. Planned Parenthood is doing something that rattles pro-lifers’ cages? I’m a Christian with a Facebook account, so the cup of outrage porn floweth over. But enlighten me–where does my Protestant religion say I have to bow the knee to political correctness and never ask questions of the hyperventilating bandwagon for life? And you say “civil disobedience” as if it’s a virtue. It’s a vice per the Bible.

    “Planned Parenthood is selling human body parts. You are changing the subject.”

    It is rather bizarre what goes on around here sometimes, Mrs. Webfoot. Who could stand before God and feel they have to apologize for lying to try to save some of His children? In what cosmology???

    The left-wing scum are circling the wagons, attacking the defenders of human life on every front with every lie and sophistry they can find, as though “spying” and exposing Josef Mengele were some sort of ethical breach.

    Human beings–“potential” or otherwise–are being carved up for spare parts. Do some of you have to troll your Bible first before knowing this is hideous? Before saying this is hideous and standing up to defend those with the guts to expose the horror?

    Bloody Pharisees.

    As one fellow put it on the internet today

    Per usual, Darryl Hart takes the wrong side: https://oldlife.org/2015/08/the-un-christian-option

    Afraid of offending your lefty pals in the academic establishment, Doctor? This the best you’ve got? C’mon, dude. Scrotum check.

    2K Radical Darryl Hart gets it wrong, 2K Common Sense @RScottClark gets it right. the-un-christian-option/comment-page-1/#comment-339858…

    ___________

    She whose feet are webbed, gee, no, I missed it. Planned Parenthood is doing something that rattles pro-lifers’ cages?

    You too, Mr. Z. This addiction to callowness and mockery hereabouts is heartbreaking and stomach-turning. Men Without Chests, sitting back condemning better men than yourselves.

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  37. TVD
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 12:01 am | Permalink
    Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
    Zrim
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    She whose feet are webbed, gee, no, I missed it. Planned Parenthood is doing something that rattles pro-lifers’ cages? I’m a Christian with a Facebook account, so the cup of outrage porn floweth over. But enlighten me–where does my Protestant religion say I have to bow the knee to political correctness and never ask questions of the hyperventilating bandwagon for life? And you say “civil disobedience” as if it’s a virtue. It’s a vice per the Bible.

    “Planned Parenthood is selling human body parts. You are changing the subject.”

    It is rather bizarre what goes on around here sometimes, Mrs. Webfoot. Who could stand before God and feel they have to apologize for lying to try to save some of His children? In what cosmology???

    For the record, Darryl, I wasn’t referring to you as the

    The left-wing scum are circling the wagons, attacking the defenders of human life on every front with every lie and sophistry they can find, as though “spying” and exposing Josef Mengele were some sort of ethical breach.

    Your 1-link limit obliged me to cut this Google of the media

    https://www.google.com/search?q=attack+planned+parenthood&oq=attack+planned+parenthood&aqs=chrome.0.69i59l2.5952j0j9&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=0&ie=UTF-8

    which shows how the left-wing scum in the media cannot defend this horror, so they attack those who are sickened by it, and divert attention from this outrage by all means necessary.

    As for you, Dr. Darryl [“MEEeeeeeeeeeee”] Hart, I think once again, you’re helping to do their dirty work, instead of keeping your eye on the ball. I’m not the only one who thinks you’re doing more wrong than right here by shooting at the wrong side.

    Dude.

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  38. I have no issue with sting journalism, PP got its dark underbelly exposed. But, some of the hyperventilating on the right seems disingenuous – I didn’t hear the same loud protests when Bush Jr. allowed stem cell research that opened this Pandora’s box.

    I get that 2k allows us to hold principled positions without confusing politics and church, and that Christians can disagree on how to approach political matters. That said, abortion is a pox on our culture – an indictment on how flippantly we treat life. I support those that seek to forge a more sensible way forward.

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  39. D.G. Hart:
    Notice the knots David Daleiden ties himself in.>>>>>

    He tied himself to the cause of righteousness. Yes, I noticed. Good for him! That took courage and a whole lot of intelligence. I am in complete agreement with his beautiful words about praying for the abortion workers and being there to love and receive those babies. Beautiful, soaring, Christian words. Have you ever participated in a prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic? You might want to do that in order to get a feel for what that is like.

    D.G. Hart:
    It’s “common law” here to change your name, so deceit is okay, saying exactly what you have no intention of meaning, like “we support your work” and “want to buy fetal body parts.” >>>>

    He was role playing in order, for one thing, to expose the potential criminal activity of Planned Parenthood. He did nothing wrong.

    Partial birth abortion is indeed illegal. Is PP performing these illegal abortions, deceiving their patients about the true nature of the procedure, and then profiting from the sale of the very human body parts of unborn babies? Also, is PP deliberately deceiving the woman – mostly poor, young, minority women – into thinking that their babies are not as far along as they really are?

    Then, are they modifying the procedure in order to maximize the quality of the parts they are able to harvest from the unborn child? That is, as one PP rep. stated in one of the videos, do they sign a contract with the woman to do one procedure, and then do a different one, thus breaking contract with the mostly young, poor, minority women?

    I could also ask why the taxpayers are helping to fund this since PP is making money off the abortions as demonstrated by the sale of unborn human beings’ body parts. They don’t need our corporate welfare.

    Besides, even if PP did nothing wrong as far as our laws go, they are certainly involved in some of the most evil activity imaginable.

    It seems that you are, in effect, saying that the taking of innocent human life in violation of the Commandments of God is on a par with a guy pretending he is someone he’s not in order to expose evil. We the people have a right and a need to know what is being done with our tax money. PP is not going to tell us. How are we going to find out?

    D.G. Hart:
    Well, isn’t isn’t it also legal to have an abortion? >>>>>

    Taking the lives of healthy, unborn babies and dehumanizing their mothers is legal. Yes, it is. Playing on the emotions and fears of young, poor, minority women, convincing them that they are not in any position to be mothers is still legal here in the US. Denying that many of these women suffer guilt for the rest of their lives is also one of PP’s specialties, and it is also legal. PP lying to women about their options, about the procedures themselves, about the effects abortion will have on their emotional lives and even their reproductive systems, and about the nature of the unborn child they are carrying is, unfortunately, all legal and all done by Planned Parenthood on a regular basis. They prey on women who feel they have no way out. Often these women are coerced by a third party – sometimes a boyfriend, sometimes a mother or father. Sometimes they are sex slaves, even, and have no choice and no say in the matter – or at least they feel they have none. Sometimes they are underage girls.

    All of this is well known, especially if you spend any time at all listening to women who have had abortions or reading their stories. Are they all lying? Now, I will give you the benefit of the doubt, assuming that you have not studied this issue in depth. I have not always been as sensitive to women who have suffered under the burden of guilt and shame that is caused by falling into the web of deceit that is Planned Parenthood. I had to learn the hard way. So, I believe that you can learn as well. I am doing my best to share with you some of the things that I have had to come to terms with.

    Should it be something that Christians turn a blind eye to? It is certainly not Christian by any definition of Christianity that I recognize. I do not think it should be legal, but it is.

    D.G. Hart:
    Not saying that’s a good thing.>>>>>

    You are not saying it is a bad thing, either. Why not? You are pretending that there is some kind of moral equivalency between a brave, Christian man who pretends to be someone he is not in order to save lives and those who deliberately, without any qualms, and evidently for profit, take lives.

    D.G. Hart:
    But if you use state law to justify violating on of the Ten Commandments, haven’t you given up any claim to moral authority against the other side which could argue in a similar fashion.>>>>

    Let them argue what they want. They are taking the lives of unborn babies and selling their body parts to the highest bidder. PP has no moral authority, and never has had.

    D.G. Hart:
    Then Daleiden claims the inspiration of Pope Francis and Christianity. Isn’t that a reason not to deceive? Think Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. He could have saved his life if he had lied and taken the oath, right?>>>>>>

    St. Thomas More refused to violate his conscience and deny his faith in order to save his own life. It would have been a denial of Christ.

    Daleiden played a role much like an actor does on stage in order to save lives. He may very well pay a price for what he did, but he was very much inspired by his faith in Christ. Your readers have given you several Scriptural examples of those who did not tell the truth and were commended by God. My favorite example is the midwives of Exodus who saved the little Hebrew babies. Rahab is another one. Jael another. There is Biblical precedence for what Daleiden did, even, for you who follow sola scriptura.

    D.G. Hart:
    If you took a 2k view of this and made it less religious calling and more secular vocation, perhaps you could argue that as a journalist you sometimes don’t follow all of God’s laws in order to get a story. But when you want to claim Christian standing for what you do and then violate Christian morality, that’s a violation.>>>>>

    Be careful that you do not implicate God in wrongdoing. Check out the examples that have been given to you.

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  40. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 2:18 am | Permalink
    I have no issue with sting journalism, PP got its dark underbelly exposed. But, some of the hyperventilating on the right seems disingenuous – I didn’t hear the same loud protests when Bush Jr. allowed stem cell research that opened this Pandora’s box.

    I’ll agree with you if you have your facts right, Jed. Do you? Seems the box was open and George W shut it.

    [Then Barack Obama re-opened it? And will a Democrat ever shut it again? Careful with that “pox on both houses” shit, bro. That’s lazy morality.]

    http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/21/legitimate-rape-todd-akin-and-other-politicians-who-confuse-science/slide/bush-bans-stem-cell-research/

    George W. Bush and the Stem Cell Research Funding Ban
    By Alice Park @aliceparknyAug. 20, 2012

    In 2001, President George W. Bush restricted federal funding for research on stem cells obtained from human embryos because the technology required the destruction of human life. “At its core, this issue forces us to confront fundamental questions about the beginnings of life and the ends of science,” Bush said.

    “My position on these issues is shaped by deeply held beliefs,” he said. “I also believe human life is a sacred gift from our creator.”

    Bush’s ban limited government funding for research on embryonic stem cells — which have the potential of curing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s — to already existing stem cell lines. Federal dollars could not be used to start any new cell lines or to conduct research on any newly derived cell lines.

    Because embryos must be destroyed in order to extract stem cells, Bush cited concerns that such research devalued human life. Sane people will disagree over when life actually begins — at conception? at birth? — but either way, the embryos from which scientists obtain stem cells, unneeded embryos created by couples undergoing IVF, would have been destroyed by IVF clinics regardless.

    Experts say Bush’s policy hampered progress in the field of stem cell research by depriving it of government funding, and drove some of the U.S.’s best scientists to set up labs abroad. In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted the restriction, making it possible for federally funded scientists to use excess embryos from IVF procedures to obtain stem cells for study.

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  41. sdb, I’m wondering how you self-identify as a Christian (okay, Roman Catholic) and openly lie. I get it if you’re a journalist and that is your primary identity while lying (I guess). But the former is troubling. And if that troubles a Christian, how do you think the pro-choice people view this?

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  42. vdm, m it’s easy to find that quotation everywhere on the internet. Have you read the commentary?

    For if any one begins his reverence of an earthly prince by rejecting that of God, he will act preposterously, since this is a complete perversion of the order of nature. Then let God be feared in the first place, and earthly princes will obtain their authority, if only God shines forth, as I have already said. Daniel, therefore, here defends himself with justice, since he had not committed any crime against the king; for he was compelled to obey the command of God, and he neglected what the king had ordered in opposition to it. For earthly princes lay aside all their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy of being reckoned in the number of mankind. We ought rather utterly to defy than to obey them whenever they are so restive and wish to spoil God of his rights, and, as it were, to seize upon his throne and draw him down from heaven. Now, therefore, we understand the sense of this passage.

    Daniel was praying. Daleidan was lying. Doesn’t a society require honesty from its members for society to work?

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  43. Mermaid, so what’s to prevent you from shooting officers of PP?

    No problem with taking the law into your own hands? How about taking a law against lying into your own hands?

    Was this the kind of moral reasoning that took you cross the Tiber? Sheesh.

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  44. vd, t, “It is rather bizarre what goes on around here sometimes, Mrs. Webfoot.”

    Tru dat. A person who doesn’t go to mass and doesn’t believe in the assumption of Mary defends papal infallibility and 12% of things Roman Catholic — the other 88% aren’t really Roman Catholic, like Garry Wills, Michael Sean Winters and vd, t.

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  45. What Mr. Daleiden was certainly ethically questionable. And, yes, God is a God of truth who forbids us to lie. At the same time, in a time of holy war God instructed Joshua to lay an ambush against the city of Ai — arguably a deceptive tactic (as warfare, whether common or holy, often involves trickery, deception, and deceptive tactics, like the use of camoufllage, etc.); see Num. 8:1-23. While I would disagree with Mr. Daleiden’s view of his work as a “sacramental” or holy work, it could be argued that his use of “deceptive” investigative journalism was a form of “cultural warfare” that was conducted for the purpose of ultimately saving human life, and therefore was justifiable. (I’m not saying I would necessarily agree with this form of reasoning, but I can see how some Christians might view it as being within the bounds of a biblical ethic.)

    Whatever one thinks about the ethical pros and cons of Mr. Daleiden’s investigative work, it seems that in God’s good providence these videos are raising public awareness of important issues in connection with the abortion “industry.” (Remember the Bible’s teaching that our sovereign God has often chosen to use even evil and unscrupulous men for ultimately good purposes; so even if Mr. Daleiden was sinning in using deception to get this film footage, God in His providence can use this sinfully-obtained footage for good purposes.) From what I understand, the majority of millenials lean in the pro-life direction, and these videos could bring the abortion issue back into the forefront of our culture, thereby potentially making it an important issue for millenials in the 2016 election. (Mr. Daleiden is himself a “millenial.”)

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  46. I was reading Doug Wilson’s blog while the When Did Christian America End comments were getting out of hand, and a guy in the comments brought up the question of killing abortionists. The argument was basically if you saw someone on the street being murdered, wouldn’t you be obliged to step in and stop them, regardless of the law? And stopping them might entail killing the murderer. So why can’t killing abortionists be justified? Aren’t these both instances of loving your neighbor?

    I don’t have a really well thought out answer to this, but I don’t think the difference is results. There will always be another abortionist, but there will also always be another murderer on the streets. So in one sense, the goal of the action is doing your duty to your fellow man, not necessarily saving their life.

    Thoughts?

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  47. It’s OK to lie to abortionists. It’s OK to compare Obama to Hitler. It’s OK to talk in bumper stickers that conceal as much truth as they reveal. About the other side, I mean. We must win.

    But doesn’t it kinda suck that “we’ve” been doing these for years but still lost every major battle? Let’s just double down and lie more until victory is secured.

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  48. “The argument was basically if you saw someone on the street being murdered, wouldn’t you be obliged to step in and stop them, regardless of the law? And stopping them might entail killing the murderer. So why can’t killing abortionists be justified? Aren’t these both instances of loving your neighbor?

    I don’t have a really well thought out answer to this, but I don’t think the difference is results.”

    I’ve been thinking thinking thinking and I think I have an answer. That’s murder and perhaps revolutionary upheaval. The man who kills the abortionist or bombs a clinic needs to be put away for a long time and Christians need to applaud the verdict against him.

    FYI, I’m seeing Twitter twerps saying “hey, if the American Revolution was justified certainly a rebellion is justified now.” If only we had a modern-day Luther to denounce them.

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  49. Muddy, right. Why is that murder but defending someone from a murderer (and possibly killing the would-be murderer) is not? Or maybe it is. I’m asking.

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  50. a much more highly broadcasted news story to discuss if you want more consensus on ethics would be Cecil?

    The U.S. Senate has rejected a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and transfer its estimated $500 million in federal funds to other women’s health sources. Senate Bill 1881 failed to get the 60 votes required to have debate closed and a vote on the proposed legislation granted, with the results largely falling along party lines. Harry Reid: Here we are once again, faced with another Republican attempt to limit women’s access to ‘health care’.
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/planned-parenthood-defund-bill-fails-in-senate-democrats-claim-baby-parts-harvesting-group-aids-womens-health-142230/

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  51. W, most obviously it’s the law of the land. Period. Enough said.

    But then think of a world in which pro-lifers kill abortionists, animal-rights activists kill cattle farmers, and anti-war protesters kill politicians or generals. One of our blessings in this country is that we can largely go about our affairs without being disturbed. If every man is his own law that’s gone. New Testament Christianity was decisively against civil revolution.

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  52. Darryl,

    Robert, you would sit down with PP officials and say “I support your work” and “I want to buy body parts.”

    Is that what you’re saying?

    If I were a journalist and it was my calling to get the truth of what PP, or any organization for that matter, is doing, then yes.

    Undercover stings, military spying, and other such things are all lawful, from what I can discern from Scripture. I understand that some people may have scruples against Christians participating in such things, but I’m not convinced exegetically that those scruples should be mine.

    sdb, I’m wondering how you self-identify as a Christian (okay, Roman Catholic) and openly lie. I get it if you’re a journalist and that is your primary identity while lying (I guess). But the former is troubling.

    So are Christians forbidden from being police officers or journalists or military spies?

    And if that troubles a Christian, how do you think the pro-choice people view this?

    The hardened pro-choicers don’t have a good enough moral compass to evaluate the rightness or wrongness of whether it is right or wrong to lie under these circumstances. Those whose pro-choice beliefs are more abstract and who don’t know the truth need to know what is going on, and their hearts may or may not be changed.

    As some have already noted, you don’t really get anyone condemning Corrie Ten Boom and her family for lying in order to save lives. For those who aren’t enslaved to the culture of death, I’m not really worried about how they will view this if they see the intent is to save a life.

    There are some people that are simply not owed the truth. God sent a lying Spirit. God gives people over to a spirit of deception. Obviously, there are some things God can do that we can’t, but if lying was intrinsically wrong in every possible case, He could not participate in it.

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  53. Darryl,

    Robert, no Daleiden is lying about himself. That violates the ninth commandment. We’re to preserve our good name.

    But there are people who hate even the kindest and gentlest abortion opponents who would never utter such lies. We can bend over backward to preserve our good name, and people will hate us. Just look at the pro-choice rhetoric against such things as crisis pregnancy centers and others who work more quietly to save babies. They don’t have a good enough moral compass to evaluate us, their minds have been so darkened by sin.

    We’re seeing this in the pro-homosexual movement. The Boy Scout compromise is not enough—all must affirm homosexuality. Gay marriage isn’t enough—now you must reveal yourself as a supporter of all things gay rights. Gay rights parades are known for harassing people who are peacefully trying to share the gospel. Do you really think we should put a lot of stock in what a guy walking around with a sign saying “Jesus had two dads” thinks about us?

    Obviously, we shouldn’t go out of our way to piss people off, but there are some people that will hate us no matter what. We shouldn’t care all that much if they think we have a bad name.

    Jesus didn’t much care what the hardened opposition thought of Him. And He even says things like this:

    ” And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,[d] so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9).

    Go ahead and explain that one in light of the eighth commandment.

    Don’t misunderstand me; this isn’t easy and I understand why some have scruples. But don’t let the extremes of pro-life rhetoric and far-right crazies control all of the 2K thinking on this matter. Whether you all mean to or not, that’s often what it feels like.

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  54. Imagine if URCNA officers spit on magistrates. Then kids would start spitting on school teachers, traffic stops would escalate into spitting arrests, and soon the most influential citizen in your town will be that kid in 8th grade who can hock a loogie 15 feet. Not pretty. Romans 13 better.

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  55. The selective commitments to strict purity and resulting selective outrage on this site, motivated not by jealousy for the name and reputation of Jesus Christ, but by devotion to a certain cherished theology, is truly something to behold.

    Like

  56. “But if you use state law to justify violating on of the Ten Commandments, haven’t you given up any claim to moral authority against the other side which could argue in a similar fashion.”

    But in a sense it’s a bit worse than that.This person appealed to a precedent that doesn’t even work for him. It’s not necessarily a violation of the moral law to change one’s name legally. Therefore, the appeal of this RC reduced to “If people may work within the civil code while *not* violating the moral law, then why should I not break the moral law as long as it’s not illegal?”

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  57. Walton,

    The argument was basically if you saw someone on the street being murdered, wouldn’t you be obliged to step in and stop them, regardless of the law?

    Yes you’re obliged, but in whose place are you going to step in front of? The mother or the doctor? The correct analogy here, if you want to push this logic, is to kill the mother since she is the one making the decision. Would you advocate for that?

    And are you in the clinic? What are you doing about the hundreds of black men and women murdered in the inner-cities every year? How do you propose we deal with that one? Killing the black folks who kill each other? Really?

    The issue isn’t as easy to resolve as the Wilsonites might like it to be.

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  58. Geoff, on the other side, this kind of duplicity does nothing for the name of Christians among pagans. I understand Daleiden’s outrage. He has more reason to be outraged than the pro-choicers. But don’t we need to play by the rules if we want a hearing?

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  59. Walton, stopping a murder is not the same as killing the murderer. Plotting the execution of an abortionist is to me impermissible. And it seems like what Daleiden did is comparable with the 9th commandment.

    Like

  60. But doesn’t it kinda suck that “we’ve” been doing these for years but still lost every major battle? Let’s just double down and lie more until victory is secured.

    @MG Your comment brought to mind this cartoon.

    I know some folks here (tvd? mwf?) seem to think that the failure of social cons to hold back the wave of the sexual revolution is all the fault of the 5 or 6 2k’ers in the world. I think not. The strategy has failed over and over because the strategy is wrong. 90% of RCs reject their own church’s teaching and 90% of protestants have adopted either “liberal” (i.e. mainliners) or “conservative” (i.e. evangelicals) modernism. We confessional protestants and traditional RCs can’t win the argument in our own churches among people who are at least in principle sympathetic to our priorities, yet they expect to transform society.

    I guess pointing that out and thinking our priority should be strengthening the church makes me a cowardly enabler. Whatever.

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  61. Robert, “If I were a journalist and it was my calling to get the truth of what PP, or any organization for that matter, is doing, then yes.”

    So your identity in your secular calling would trump your duty as a Christian before God. That’s my point. But then do you justify your deceit on the basis of your Christian duty? That’s the non-sequitor.

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  62. Robert, my point was simply that the ninth commandment extends to me as much as my neighbor. Does reputation matter? Are public sins worse than others? Can we bring disrepute to the name of Christ?

    Someone could argue that Daleiden is doing that. But he’s Roman Catholic so it’s not my problem (sort of).

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  63. I’m probably late with this, but Hebrews states that Rahab’s faith was demonstrated in her welcoming and hiding the spies. This general commendation does not have to apply specifically to her lie. Someone back a page stated that sinning in faith is incoherent, but certainly all of us have committed individual sins while performing a larger act of faith (for lack of a better term), no? I mean, even our good works are defective and need to be justified.

    I’m not condemning CMP necessarily, just pointing out that Heb. 11 may not justify lying for a “good cause”.

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  64. @GTT

    The selective commitments to strict purity and resulting selective outrage on this site, motivated not by jealousy for the name and reputation of Jesus Christ, but by devotion to a certain cherished theology, is truly something to behold.

    I know. Almost as crazy as Paul, who wrote,

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    Seems to me that worrying that some heathen is doing what heathens do while neglecting discipline in our churches (including God’s commands to keep the Sabbath holy and to worship Him the way he instructs us to worship him) is very unwise. But I guess pointing out that playing Lynyrd Skynyrd as part of a worship service may be more than a bit problematic isn’t as exciting as telling the heathen how to be better whitewashed tombs. I guess I missed the epistles where Paul railed against lax Christians who didn’t do enough to speak out against the sexually immorality of their leaders and the widespread infanticide.

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  65. d-etc, some may point to David’s various deceptions and feigning of insanity, but we’re talking narrative of the life events of sinful man who might not have been (theoretically) in these bad circumstances had he followed the law properly in the first place. All these events were sovereignly ordained/allowed, but not necessarily to warrant us to act or sin in the same ways.

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  66. The behaviour of the Patriarchs and descendents and kings in the “thin red line” preserving Covenant(s) through the birth of Christ is absolutely disgusting.

    Only the promises of God to certain elect individuals has kept the Church intact, it certainly wasn’t for any good they did.

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  67. “I know some folks here (tvd? mwf?) seem to think that the failure of social cons to hold back the wave of the sexual revolution is all the fault of the 5 or 6 2k’ers in the world.”

    The 2k blamers you will always have with you. Statistics and probability are not their strong points.

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  68. But d4, that’s virtually all we know about Rahab, and she is praised. IMO the starting point for that conversation is that her lie was commendable.

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  69. She whose feet are webbed, how am I changing the subject? That PP sells body parts is part of the topic. Or is this the political correctness: PP is selling body parts, that’s all you need to know, so quit asking questions and wave that Nazi card high!

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  70. Walton, so then the open gunning down of George Tiller is morally kosher? But most pro-lifers concede it isn’t because they know it’s not really that simple. But hypotheticals and analogies like that only turn up the heat, which may help the already convinced feel warm inside but it also contributes to the splintering of society. This is the part where some are dinged for caring about Christian witness in wider society (and even the health of society).

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  71. Darryl,

    So your identity in your secular calling would trump your duty as a Christian before God. That’s my point. But then do you justify your deceit on the basis of your Christian duty? That’s the non-sequitor.

    If Christian duty conflicts with secular duty, you choose the Christian duty every time. But what I’m saying is that in this specific case, the Christian duty isn’t opposed to the secular one. Personally, I’m not a journalist and not apt to be faced with this specific problem, but if I were faced with the Nazi situation, I believe my Christian and secular duty would be to deceive the authorities in order to save a life.

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  72. It’s the end of any internet conversation whenever Hitler or the Nazis are invoked.

    So people actually have time and energy to sit there and determine (and then proclaim) how they think they would behave if the Nazis came to their town….

    Wow…. just wow….

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  73. Daniel was praying. Daleidan was lying.

    You still don’t explain that Calvin was talking about defying. Rather, you got Calvin (never mind Beza & Knox) as “un-christian”. Present balanced history much?

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  74. Zrim, no I don’t think it is kosher at all.

    I think it applies to this situation about lying though because if the 9th commandment permits lying (under certain circumstances), doesn’t the 6th commandment permit killing (under certain circumstances – self-defense or defense of your neighbor or defense of the unborn)?

    I want to know how those who justify lying journalists can condemn murderous pro-lifers. The logic seems similar. And if it’s simply because only one of those is legal, then is the only objection to killing abortionists really that it is illegal?

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  75. MVDM, first a footnote and now an outlier statement in a commentary – you sure put heavy loads on slender reeds. You might be more credible if you quoted Calvin’s view of the magistrate in his Institutes, last revised in 1559.

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  76. Zrim
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink
    She whose feet are webbed, how am I changing the subject? That PP sells body parts is part of the topic. Or is this the political correctness: PP is selling body parts, that’s all you need to know, so quit asking questions and wave that Nazi card high!>>>>

    In the first place, I did not wave any Nazi cards. I waved the “defund Planned Parenthood” flag. There is no law that says we have to fund Planned Parenthood. I also waved the “love the abortionist and pray at your local PP outlet” flag. IOW, the “call sinners to repent” flag. The “love the sinners, but hate the sin” flag.

    The subject of the role playing on the part of the journalists is not the main subject. The main subject is the morality of PP lying to women about the baby they are carrying, lying to women about the effects the abortion may have on their emotional lives and on their reproductive systems, coercing women to have abortions, and especially, the taking of innocent human life.

    Now, try to defend that if you are able. Instead, D.G. Hart and you, his faithful follower are quibbling over whether or not the ones exposing PP for what it is are guilty of some sin against God.

    Play-acting in order to expose the fact that PP is selling human body parts is not the same as killing the babies and then breaking up their bodies looking for hearts, lungs, and other useful “tissue samples.”

    Watch the videos, and then get back to me.

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  77. Robert, you just switched the situations, from journalist to German citizen. My point is what you said. To justify deceit, you’d go to your secular vocation’s duties, not to Christian ones not to lie. That’s okay. But you don’t cite Christianity to justify lying, right?

    And here I thought IIIIIIIIIIiiiiiii was the antinomian.

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  78. it seems that arguing for a commitment to The 10, even when a good can arise out of a violation, is a commitment to the sovereignty of the Giver of the commands. On the other hand, I can’t quite see the other sides position as equally demonstrating faith in said sovereignty.
    If a Christian avoids lying, they avoid being undercover agents, vice cops, polititions, statisticians, etc. on the grounds that these endeavor s are not for the believer. At the least, one who has a refugee forcibly removed from their home because they could not protect them without a lie, can still rest on the sovereign and oftentimes merciful act of God, that He is well capable of orchestrating world events without our assistance, especially in the form of violating what he commands.
    The other side, seems to have to say that the Lord is fully capable, and in some cases desires, to use human devised subterfuge and deliberate disobedience to further His sovereign plans.
    Obviously, if it can be shown the understanding of the commands to allow some forms of lying, the point is moot. Apart from that, how can one justify the second position over the first?

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  79. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 6:51 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, so what’s to prevent you from shooting officers of PP?

    No problem with taking the law into your own hands? How about taking a law against lying into your own hands?

    Was this the kind of moral reasoning that took you cross the Tiber? Sheesh.>>>>>

    In the first place, you have to prove that any law on the part of the journalists was broken – of either God or man. You have not done so. You have raised the question, and in doing so, have painted them in the worst possible light.

    If they will lie, then they will also murder. Not only that, but if I think that what they did was noble and right, then I will also be willing to murder. There is no evidence for any of that, yet you freely make that assertion. In fact, Catholics say very clearly that they love the abortionists, pray for them, and hope for them to repent, but in no way condone violence done against abortionists. Does your morality allow for that? Are you able to hate the sin, but love the sinner?

    The fact that the Catholic Church is the main leader, and maybe only true leader in the pro life movement was one of the main reasons I crossed over. Respect for motherhood, the unborn, and life created in the image of God is the greatest kind of moral reasoning.

    Love for women and men – mothers and fathers – who have been victimized by the abortion industry as well as love for the abortionists is another example of the kind of moral reasoning that the Church engages in.

    You should try it sometime. Sure, for you it must be entertaining to try to get your followers to think in tiny little circles. They willingly obey. They must be attracted to your kind of moral equivalency reasoning. Sure, it is logical, but it is also deadly. It kills the soul. It kills morality. It eventually destroys all ability to reason.

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  80. now an outlier statement in a commentary

    Outlier if your are a selective reader, but pretty representative if you read Calvin’s sermons. Theodore Beza thought so.

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  81. Mrs W. don’t mean to take away from your appeals nor deflect from this particular post but this I read this am is very difficult:

    Bringing Jesus to Planned Parenthood Through Mary: Since the angel in the bible reveals that Mary was “full of grace,” she was given extraordinary gifts from God. In this campaign, we call upon Mary to use those gifts to put an end to the reign of terror that is Planned Parenthood. http://www.stopp.org/article.php?id=7034

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  82. I don’t know of a better explanation for the Rahab passage. The following exonerates her without making the passage an example to be followed outside the OT theocracy.
    _________
    According to the fifth commandment, Rahab owed obedience to the civil authorities of Jericho. When information was requested of her concerning the enemy spies it was, by normal standards, her duty to supply it. Nevertheless by faith she united herself to the cause of the Theocracy and so played her part as an agent of the typical Judgment, denying to the obstinate foes of God that respect for their authority which was their due under Common Grace. For so doing, Rahab receives inspired approbation (Heb. 11:31; Jas. 2:25).

    By the same token the enemies of the Theocracy lost the ordinary right to hear the truth as that is guaranteed by the ninth commandment. In so far, therefore, as the theocratic agent did not deny God (or to put it differently, did not violate the immutable principles of the first table of the Decalogue) he might with perfect ethical propriety deceive such as had hostile intent against the Theocracy. There is, accordingly, no necessity from the analogy of Scripture to avoid what seems the plain impression of certain passages to the effect that such deception was practised with divine approval (e. g., the deception of Pharaoh by the Hebrew midwives — Ex. 1:15-21) or even by express divine command (e. g., Samuel’s deception of Saul — I Sam. 16:2).
    – Kline

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  83. SDB, your point missing prowess continues, unfortunately unabated. I made no pronouncements on any side about any view of ANY of this. What I DID express, was the glaring nature of the personally interested indignation regarding selected areas of morality. I may or not agree with anything anybody has said here.I have not as of yet made of those views known.

    Incidentally, just the day before yesterday, I left a detailed exposition of the central points of 1 Cor 5 on this very site HERE

    I had a specific unhappy occasion, unrelated to this site, for writing it and thought it might be interesting to leave it here as well. I promise you. I know what that chapter is about.

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  84. “Incidentally, just the day before yesterday, I left a detailed exposition of the central points of 1 Cor 5 on this very site HERE.”

    Greg, since you’ve shown the decency to be as honest as assault and battery laws will allow, I feel compelled to return the favor. There are people who know the original languages, religious history, and theology. They write commentaries. You don’t have those qualifications. Don’t try to write a mini-commentary and don’t expect people to treat it like a pearl of great price. Now go back to ranting.

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  85. A person is as qualified as the accuracy and reliability of their work Muddy. Also, I had no particular expectations, but as I said, just thought it would interesting to see what if any response I would get. You have, with your sophomoric spitballs, as usual not let me down.

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  86. @gtt I took your point to be that our purported selective indignation was rooted in our commitment to 2k theology over and above our commitment to Christ. If that wasn’t your point, you need to work on your command of the English language. If that was your point, then I didn’t miss it. My response was to point out that while our indignation toward sin is selective, it is so because of what we understand our savior teaches us in the scriptures. We of course may be mistaken, but you are wrong to assert that our selectivity is rooted in our commitment to a particular theological system over and above Christ.

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  87. The subject of the role playing on the part of the journalists is not the main subject. The main subject is the morality of PP lying to women about the baby they are carrying, lying to women about the effects the abortion may have on their emotional lives and on their reproductive systems, coercing women to have abortions, and especially, the taking of innocent human life.

    SWFW, hmmm, nope, the subject of this post is the journalists’ behavior and not PP’s. That’s part of my point about political correctness and how it bullies. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, etc. You’re sweeping the point under the rug and forcing your own to center stage. I get it and along with EJ Dionne and Hilary Clinton find these tapes deeply disturbing. But there are other angles to consider here. Have you considered that you might win more of a hearing if you demonstrated a little more moral dilemma in how the tapes were ascertained, especially by members of your own communion? Or is a hearing not really what you’re after and more an opportunity to wave the collective finger in society’s face, imagining heaven patting you on the back for it?

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  88. Can politics get a soul out of purgatory?

    Rubio toes the Catholic line on a number of important issues of the day. He understands the importance of religious liberty, he’s concerned about the threat of ISIS, and he’s committed to defeating its American ally, Planned Parenthood.

    However, some of Rubio’s positions put him at odds with Pope Francis and other Catholics. Some consider him weak on climate change, privileging economic considerations over ecological ones. And, others imply his position on Cuba puts him at variance with papal diplomacy.

    In a political climate that celebrates gay marriage and passes glibly over the destruction of innocent human life for corporate profit, perhaps those differences and deviations are negligible. Catholics shouldn’t want to make the perfect the enemy of the good, after all.

    I mortal and venial sins really are sins, then shouldn’t Roman Catholics look beyond political usefulness and worry about the state of Rubio’s and Daleiden’s souls?

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  89. From Woodward and Bernstein (vs. Nixon) to Daleiden (vs. PP):

    Woodward and Bernstein lied for four decades in denying their success in breaching the grand jury. And Bradlee knew they had been lying. When Post lawyer E. B. Williams had his ex parte contact with old friend Judge John Sirica, to put the fix in and get the judge not to expose or punish Woodward and Bernstein, Williams almost surely knew the reporters were lying.

    In his memoir, Judge Sirica reveals what he would have done had Bernstein and Woodward gotten a grand juror to violate his oath: “Had they actually obtained information from that grand juror, they would have gone to jail.”

    Thus, Woodward and Bernstein, with the collusion of Post editors and lawyers, got a grand juror to violate her oath and spill secrets. Then Bradlee got E.B. Williams, godfather to Sirica’s daughter, to put the fix in with that compliant judge, and all of them covered up the conspiracy. While pursuing Nixon, the “Georgetown set” was hiding the same sort of mendacities and obstruction of justice that got Nixon’s men prison time.

    Nor does it stop there. As we discovered, a decade ago, “Deep Throat,” whose moniker came from a dirty movie, was FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt. In giving Woodward information from witness testimony to the grand jury, Felt was violating his oath and engaged in criminal misconduct, which, exposed, would have gotten him fired in disgrace and put in prison, and Woodward implicated as the beneficiary of his crimes.

    So it’s wrong even for journalists to lie (at least in connection with the GOP).

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  90. DG – Agreed we need to stay honest. There are a lot of borderline cases, but I don’t see this as one of them. Not sure what his religion has to do with it being ‘not your problem sort-of,’ though.

    Muddy – Agreed Christians shouldn’t be promoting revolution or plotting the deaths of murderers (the State has the responsibility here). Social stability is a good.

    Robert – in this specific case, the Christian duty isn’t opposed to the secular one. Personally, I’m not a journalist and not apt to be faced with this specific problem, but if I were faced with the Nazi situation, I believe my Christian and secular duty would be to deceive the authorities in order to save a life.

    Lots of borderline cases when the government and government-supported orgs do systematic evil. The RCC issued false baptismal certificates to Jews, dressed some in priest’s garb, etc. I’d probably have done the same thing, and been with von Stauffenberg in plotting Hitler’s death were I in a position to assist.

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  91. Mermaid, Daleiden said he supported PP and wanted to buy body parts. Have you become illiterate since converting?

    So he lied.

    Is it okay for him to shoot the PP leaders?

    So you’re one of those converts. What good with the church’s stance on abortion (admirable though it is) do you on judgment day? You never know how the popes are going to spend those treasury of merits. I’d book a meeting with the pope asap.

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  92. Kevin, if your point is about Rubio, isn’t it a mortal sin not to obey the hierarchy? But the article says that in the context of today’s politics, we need to give Roman Catholics a pass if they don’t line up with the magisterium. I get that if you are a Roman Catholic excusing votes for a Protestant, maybe. But how can you turn a blind eye to sin for the sake of political advantage?

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  93. DG –

    I mortal and venial sins really are sins, then shouldn’t Roman Catholics look beyond political usefulness and worry about the state of Rubio’s and Daleiden’s souls?

    At a love-one-another level, sure, but more importantly because personal morality impacts how a person does his job. I wouldn’t vote for anyone with serious sexual morality issues whatever their religion.

    Better a leader who can contribute toward a well-ordered society – whether Mormon, agnostic, secular Muslim – than one who is of unimpeachable personal morality and religious orthodoxy but ineffective or interfering.

    Trying to increase GDP per capita is not at all what I mean by ordering society, btw.

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  94. “know original languages, religious history, theology; write commentaries”

    in all these situations it would be very easy to adopt an attitude of pride or superiority toward others who have not made such a study. But how ugly it would be if anyone were to use this knowledge of God’s Word simply to win arguments or to put down a fellow Christian in conversation, or to make another believer feel insignificant in the Lord’s work(excerpt, Systematic Theology Wayne Grudem)

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  95. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, Daleiden said he supported PP and wanted to buy body parts. Have you become illiterate since converting?

    So he lied.

    Is it okay for him to shoot the PP leaders?

    So you’re one of those converts. What good with the church’s stance on abortion (admirable though it is) do you on judgment day? You never know how the popes are going to spend those treasury of merits. I’d book a meeting with the pope asap.>>>>>

    You are giving tacit support to Planned Parenthood by not saying a word against the killing of unborn children and then selling their body parts.

    You are not really concerned about what you call lies. You then make a moral equivalency argument about how terrible it is to lie, maybe even worse than the killing of innocent human beings made in the image of God.

    But that is not your real reason for presenting this alleged moral dilemma – which is easily answered even on the basis of Reformed teaching.

    You are using this as I said at the beginning, to give a black eye to the Catholic Church. Now who is misrepresenting their true motives? You have blown your cover, Dr. Hart.

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  96. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “It is rather bizarre what goes on around here sometimes, Mrs. Webfoot.”

    Tru dat. A person who doesn’t go to mass and doesn’t believe in the assumption of Mary defends papal infallibility and 12% of things Roman Catholic — the other 88% aren’t really Roman Catholic, like Garry Wills, Michael Sean Winters and vd, t.

    You lie about Catholicism and you lie about me all the time [like now], Dr. Hart. I don’t understand why lying to abortionists bothers you.

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  97. DG –

    Kevin, if your point is about Rubio, isn’t it a mortal sin not to obey the hierarchy? But the article says that in the context of today’s politics, we need to give Roman Catholics a pass if they don’t line up with the magisterium. I get that if you are a Roman Catholic excusing votes for a Protestant, maybe. But how can you turn a blind eye to sin for the sake of political advantage?

    Apologies, I should have quoted to be clear – I was agreeing that the journalist shouldn’t have lied to get a story.

    Catholics cannot vote for any “Catholic” candidate who takes a public stand against any articles of the faith- even if they are otherwise a better candidate. Choosing as a leader an individual hostile to religion is to participate in scandal, regardless of the quality of governance.

    There may be exceptions, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near them.

    It’s a sin not to obey the hierarchy when they are teaching infallibility on the faith. Cuba is a mixed situation – just got back from Miami where I spoke with over a dozen Cubans regarding the Castros. Prudential, not dogmatic.

    My problem with Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan is foreign policy – too many potential wars. Rand Paul if anyone. I’m definitely not a libertarian though.

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  98. Guys, Troll Life is doing important work here in raising awareness about ethics in under-cover journalism that mainstream Christian media outlets are ignoring. And I know a lot of other people in the past have written stuff on the morality of telling lies to try to prevent murder, but until today, such a serious, thoughtful, treatment of this topic has never been made in such detail or with such care. It’s a shame some of you are being so flippant in response to a point that was made in such sincere good faith.

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  99. Mermaid, I’m not sure how this gives a black eye to your church only. It’s hard to go to any Christian website and not find outrage over these videos.

    So the question as it often is at OL is one of selectivity. When you don’t have 2k, you wind up committing yourself to law breakers (lying) in defense of God’s law. Huh?

    There’s a better way. It’s 2k.

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  100. Daleiden is a Romanist who arguably is willing to do evil that good might result, Rom. 3:8 or at least he hopes so and so do I, but I got my doubts.

    (But if Rome is a slaughter house of souls, does that justify shooting up a Roman church? Or just the DVD bros? Hey, just kidding. Calm down. This is an anger free combox. )

    However whack some people think R. Paul is, his recent “Politics Is Not the Path to Pro-Life Victory” in light of the PP expose, is not optimistic. American politics is too compromised.

    While passing legislation may help limit abortion, the pro-life movement will never succeed unless it changes people’s attitudes toward the unborn. This is why crisis pregnancy centers, which provide care and compassion to women facing unplanned pregnancies, have done more to advance the pro-life cause then any politician. By showing women they have viable alternatives to abortion, these centers have saved many lives.

    Still, if abortion is a symptom of godlessness, ultimately the gospel is the only real solution.

    But to return to the real topic. According to Lifton’s The Nazi Doctors, abortion wasn’t a real big item per se. Hitler wanted the Aryans to reproduce; the Jews and others not so much, so being pregnant was an immediate death sentence in the camps. The prisoners who were doctors often aborted babies to try to save the mother’s life.

    Which is not to say PP’s policy on abortion and profiting off dead babies isn’t equal to the barbaric medical experiments of the nazis. But we already knew that even before the Silent Scream video. More than a few pro choicers are more than willing to admit that it is a baby. Except the mother’s life/convenience trumps all. (So much for evidentialist apologetics.)

    IOW never underestimate human depravity. Herr Wilhelm Gosnell went to jail, but that’s about all the fallout there was from that grisly episode.
    Besides this is Amerika America.
    By definition it can’t happen here.

    Even as it is happening. Grim’s scruples not withstanding, you go with what you’re given. In a day and age when there is no God, no devil, no right or wrong, the National Socialists Nazis are the only thing across the board that everybody, the liberal progressive SJWs included, can agree on as the epitome of satanic genuine evil.

    Only problem is, while the Nazis were racist, sexist and anti-semites, they weren’t really homophobes at all – like Abrams and Lively who wrote The Pink Swastika expose.
    (Hmmm. IOW The Nazis were homosexuals that would be against ssm now, so yeah, they really are bad.)

    But hey, three out of four is good enough and Adolph had a Roman Catholic baptism.
    That works for the rest of us bigots.

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  101. He wasn’t lying. He was performing. Playing a role. In order to expose a murderer. The ethical hoops Christians jump through when common sense might simplify things…. I wonder if it would be ok to lie to keep a child molester at bay while the cops arrive? PP is not a business, it is a predator.

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  102. Tom,

    Sorry, not weak sh*t moral reasoning, honest opinion here brosef.

    Bush’s ban limited government funding for research on embryonic stem cells — which have the potential of curing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s — to already existing stem cell lines. Federal dollars could not be used to start any new cell lines or to conduct research on any newly derived cell lines.

    Where you see a ban, I see Bush legitemizing stem cell research by approving, in however limited a capacity, use of embryonic stems. Like I said it was a Pandora’s Box scenario, once the Federal Gov’t opened it up, there was little legal means to going back and permanently keep that lid shut. By lending Federal recognition of stem cell research, the door was open for a Democrat administration to later re-open the box with little effort. I remember the decision well, it wasn’t an easy one by any means, but anyone who thought that it was going to halt future stem cell research in perpetuity was naive. The better part of wisdom might have been to not open the box in the first place, setting no precedent for later administrations. The pro-life lobby wasn’t happy as I recall, but the protesting was fairly muted as much as I can remember, because GWB was their guy. A little more foresight, and more cycnicism as to the motives of politicians might have served the lobby well – it seems to me (at least at a practical level) that GWB was simply throwing his constituency a bone while kicking the can down the road for a later administration to deal with on a more permanent basis.

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  103. Darryl,

    Humor me here, but I wonder if you aren’t spiritualizing this a bit much from the opposite angle. Investigative journalism has commonly employed such tactics in order to report on a broader concealed truth. Last time I checked journalism, which is loosely what the PP stings were, isn’t a concern of the church. I don’t assume that the PP revelations moved the ball forward an inch in terms of the spiritual Kingdom, which is moved forward by it’s own ordained means. But, the revelations do serve to unmask the civil kingdom actions of PP, that is inserting its own skewed morality into the social and political spheres.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not all up in arms because the OL faithful have not been roused from their alleged moral slumber here. All I am saying is, insofar as this issue is concerned, I think you might be on the wrong side of this one politically. No spiritual indictments, no hyperventilating – I just happen to think that journalistic convention wasn’t violated here, and the revelations are politically useful in shedding light on the abortion industry. To condemn this sort of journalism calls into question all sorts of professional and political activities that necessarily play loose with the truth for clear political and/or moral objectives – such as espionage/intelligence services, political manuvering in the legislative process, undercover policing, etc. I don’t think it is wrong to question the perameters and limits of such activities to prevent overreach, but I also think they all serve important social functions.

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  104. Muddy: Do you do any part time work as a surgeon?

    surgeon, Mud? ok, revised then –

    in all these situations (medical school, internship, research, publications etc.) it would be very easy to adopt an attitude of pride or superiority toward others who have not made such a study. But how ugly it would be if anyone were to use this knowledge of medicine simply to win arguments or to put down a fellow patient in conversation, or to make another patient feel insignificant, (rather than heal)( adapted excerpt)

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  105. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Sorry, not weak sh*t moral reasoning, honest opinion here brosef.

    Easy there, tough guy. You wrote

    I didn’t hear the same loud protests when Bush Jr. allowed stem cell research that opened this Pandora’s box.

    which was wrong. Bush didn’t open Pandora’s Box–he prevented the expansion of stem cell lines, no different than when Lincoln stopped the spread of slavery–eradicating it wasn’t doable. Both did what they could at the time.

    As for the “alleged” moral slumber of those who train their fire on the people trying to do something about abortion instead of the abortionists themselves, there’s your “weak sh*t reasoning.”

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  106. Jed, the thing is, though, when that journalist is religiously motivated to sting PP and seems selective about God’s morality. PP can’t kill babies and sell their parts, but CMP can lie and misrepresent to expose it? Yes, PP’s moral failures can be judged worse in comparison to CMP’s, but that doesn’t mean CMP’s are null and void when compared to God’s law (you know, that thing they want to bring to bear on PP). If CMP wants high standards then how about exposing without lying? It can be done, can’t it?

    Gives new meaning to cafeteria Catholic.

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  107. Tom,

    As for the “alleged” moral slumber of those who train their fire on the people trying to do something about abortion instead of the abortionists themselves, there’s your “weak sh*t reasoning.”

    Sorry, but I think that the pro-life movement needs good questioning. Most of what I have encountered in the movement is a lot of talk, even more outrage, and less meaningful action. I have also met solid, thoughtful people who actually prevent abortions through an alternative pregnancy center that my family business and church helped regularly – these folks have my utmost respect. On the other hand, I have a hard time taking online outrage seriously, since it is rarely productive. I don’t think anyone at OL has damaged ‘the cause’, so much as expressed opinions you don’t like.

    We’re just going to have to disagree on Bush Jr’s role in stem cell research, if he was meaning to end it, there were better ways to go about it.

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  108. Zrim, Is there any pro-life activity that you would condone? Just asking. It seems whenever the abortion subject comes up on this blog you use a broad brush to paint pro-lifers in a something less than favorable light. Having been involved myself, I have seen some of the horrible excesses and some of the damage done to churches that have replaced the gospel mission with their own social causes. At the same time, I can’t say that the pro-life movement hasn’t done a lot of good. Here in Ohio it is becoming harder to find an abortionist because of the political pressure that has put restrictions and limitations on the practice. I honestly can’t say that would have come about if we did nothing. What would you advocate?

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  109. Zrim,

    Look, If you want to say investigative journalism of Daleiden’s sort is wrong I am not going to get my boxers in a bind. I disagree, I think a controversial institution such as PP is worth this sort of scrutiny. I will qualify that by saying I think there are better ways to go about exposing PP practices here, but at the end of the day their practices are odious to a good portion of society and deserve to come to light. Journalists, I think, are well within the constraints of their profession when they use cover stories and identities in order to report on their story. In this case, I am not sure citing a violation of the 9th Commandment would hold up even in church courts.

    Ethics gets sticky sometimes, there are cases when the truth can and should be obscured for higher moral and ethical principles. There are even instances in Scripture, discussed somewhat already, where the 9th Commandment is superseded by other principles (Rahab). I think it is rather simplistic to say that this is a straightforward case of lying.

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  110. Jed, but conservatives get upset all the time when journalists fib. See Pat Buchanan on Woodward and Bernstein. And now the same people who can’t stand CNN or NPR are going to defend the antics of mainstream journalistic practices?

    You don’t see the rub?

    I’m not spiritualizing. Come on, what do you take me for? I’m just spotting one more time the inconsistencies of those who don’t like 2k.

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  111. Darryl,

    I agree that conservatives are disingenuous when they gripe over journalistic standards and practices that grate against them. No problem there. This kid just jumped in the muck and raked it up for the world to see – I don’t have an issue with that, it’s journalistic fair game.

    All I am pushing back on is whether or not this was a violation of the 9th commandment, and whether his journalistic practices constituted a violation that the church should have concern over. The young man’s moral reasoning doesn’t seem too well thought out, but with that in mind I think that he brought valuable information regarding PP practice to light, especially since it receives Federal funding.

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  112. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “As for the “alleged” moral slumber of those who train their fire on the people trying to do something about abortion instead of the abortionists themselves, there’s your “weak sh*t reasoning.”

    Sorry, but I think that the pro-life movement needs good questioning. Most of what I have encountered in the movement is a lot of talk, even more outrage, and less meaningful action. I have also met solid, thoughtful people who actually prevent abortions through an alternative pregnancy center that my family business and church helped regularly – these folks have my utmost respect. On the other hand, I have a hard time taking online outrage seriously, since it is rarely productive. I don’t think anyone at OL has damaged ‘the cause’, so much as expressed opinions you don’t like.

    We’re just going to have to disagree on Bush Jr’s role in stem cell research, if he was meaning to end it, there were better ways to go about it.

    Your online outrage is noted.

    As for attacking anti-abortionists instead of abortionists, that moral inversion can only be defended if public discussion is useless. But I don’t think it is. The pro-life cause is gaining, and it’s done one person and one discussion at a time.

    http://journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/628769/Pro-life-cause-continues-to-gain-momentum.html?nav=5061

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  113. …I’m always with Kline. And don’t forget Misty.

    Well, easy enough to see you aren’t with Kline on weighing the 9th when lives are at stake. As for Misty, maybe you know whether she agrees with you that the Christian reaction to Obergefell and Planned Parenthood is just “outrage porn”.

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  114. Mark,
    FWIW the thing that gets me is the supposed “Christian” reaction to Obergefell and Planned Parenthood.
    I am not saying Christians shouldn’t have a reaction or opinion, but a pagan Hippocrates understood long before video footage was available that doctors were not to be doing abortions. And if homosexuality has been around at least since Sodom and Gomorrah, since when has there ever been any thing like ssm before?

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  115. Darryl doesn’t need to be ‘exposed’, he is rather transparent in his opinions and basically always has been, there is no secret game here. It’s one thing to disagree, and at some point we can all find issues where we could and do disagree, still another to put so much energy into ‘exposing’ others.

    It only validates the need for 2k, so these kinds of political and social disagreements aren’t used as a means to promote disunity in the church, or unduly bind others consciences’. The church will continue on whatever comes of the abortion issue. I hope and pray it does come to an end someday soon, but even if that day comes it doesn’t change the church’s mission at all.

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  116. Bob S.:
    Daleiden is a Romanist who arguably is willing to do evil that good might result, Rom. 3:8 or at least he hopes so and so do I, but I got my doubts.>>>>>

    You have not proven that Daleiden has done anything evil. Did God tell you that what he did was evil? If not, then you are in the dangerous position of judging the servant of another. You have doubts because your sense of morality is being corrupted by the company you are keeping.

    In fact, the men here defending Planned Parenthood – which is what they are actually doing whether they want to or not – are not even representative of good Reformed teaching. The position presented by the owner of this blog is the un-Christian option. Attack those who are exposing evil instead of the evil itself.

    Besides, the verse you reference here has been taken out of context and somehow twisted to make it mean something it does not mean. This is a good example of where sola scriptura can lead.

    ————————————————————-

    Muddy Gravel
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
    I don’t know of a better explanation for the Rahab passage. The following exonerates her without making the passage an example to be followed outside the OT theocracy.>>>>

    How convenient. What about the midwives who saved the lives of little Hebrew babies in the book of Exodus? Did you forget them? The OT theocracy had not been set up yet.

    Besides, be careful what circles you scribe for yourself. Seems like they’re getting awfully tight around you. Again, your version of sola scriptura + some kind of Reformed tradition shows the weakness of your religion.

    You really think that God is angry with the ones who are exposing evil? What is His opinion of those who are deceiving and coercing mostly poor, young, minority women, killing their babies, telling them that they would not make good mothers anyway, and then selling the body parts of their children to the highest bidder?

    Think in those terms, why don’t you? It may change your perspective. Maybe your religion is flawed.

    Exodus 2
    15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews[a] you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

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  117. Jed, technically for Deleiden it’s the 8th commandment. RC’s can’t count.

    And I agree that in some cases a journalist may practice a kind of deception — or at least doesn’t tell the whole truth. Heck, I’m not completely honest in the classroom about my Christian identity — for a number of reasons. But when someone does this in the name of Christ, at least you admit there’s a tension?

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  118. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
    Darryl doesn’t need to be ‘exposed’, he is rather transparent in his opinions and basically always has been, there is no secret game here. It’s one thing to disagree, and at some point we can all find issues where we could and do disagree, still another to put so much energy into ‘exposing’ others.

    It only validates the need for 2k, so these kinds of political and social disagreements aren’t used as a means to promote disunity in the church, or unduly bind others consciences’. The church will continue on whatever comes of the abortion issue. I hope and pray it does come to an end someday soon, but even if that day comes it doesn’t change the church’s mission at all.

    The moral cowardice of Pontius Pilatism won’t get the unity you want. There is only one truth.

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  119. Bob- And if homosexuality has been around at least since Sodom and Gomorrah, since when has there ever been any thing like ssm before?

    ~ How does one consumate a same sex marriage? ~

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  120. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
    Here’s vd t’s moral courage.

    Where’s yours, tough guy? How did she put it?

    The position presented by the owner of this blog is the un-Christian option. Attack those who are exposing evil instead of the evil itself.

    She’s sure got your number.

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  121. Jed said, “To condemn this sort of journalism calls into question all sorts of professional and political activities that necessarily play loose with the truth for clear political and/or moral objectives – such as espionage/intelligence services, political manuvering in the legislative process, undercover policing, etc. I don’t think it is wrong to question the perameters and limits of such activities to prevent overreach, but I also think they all serve important social functions.”

    I think that calling these things into question perfectly acceptable thing to do. When some behavior is proscribed by Scripture, does putting on a different hat change whether it is acceptable? I have no doubt that some would say that chattel slavery is a sinful practice, but at the same time have no problem with military conscription though these seem to be nearly identical practices. That shows the illegitimacy of even using the office to justify actions. The Bible talks about the duties of masters, so shouldn’t wearing the hat of master justify owning people?

    Like

  122. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
    eVaDe.

    Yes, but you’re not doing a very good job of evasion lately, without henchmen to hide behind. They finally saw through you, and now everyone else is, too. Repent.

    “Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!”

    Like

  123. The latest video is even more appalling than the others. On one hand one might conclude they are political geniuses baiting senate democrats into support of PP, then turning up the heat. I wonder what the next five videos hold. I’msure there are more than a few outraged senators who just went to bat for pp who want to know what other surprises await.

    On the other hand, the election is a ways off and nothing is going to happen until the presidency changes hands. Perhaps the public will be saturated on abortion atrocities and the news cycle will shift to sonething else (a transgender man will die from a pregnancy complication because s/he couldn’t get abortion access in TX…or maybe just another spate of shark attacks). Nothing changes, we grow more calloused, and the under cover videos inspire a tit for tat guerrilla war of investigative reporting. This could blow up in our face.

    Given the track record of social-cons snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, I suspect thiswill do little more than keep social-con, economic/military moderate/libs (ala Dreher) voting Gop. I don’t think those 14 votes are swinging elections. But then I’m no poli-sci expert.

    Like

  124. John, you must have missed my point made to Kevin recently about PRCs, which from what I know are charitable works that try to actually help women and their families more than score political points. That might actually mean I also have some sympathy for quarters of PP, though when it comes to that quarter which traffics in elective abortion it’s on its own in terms of defense.

    Like

  125. Jed, I don’t want to say investigative journalism of Daleiden’s sort is wrong nor that this is a straightforward case of lying. What I want to say is that if you’re going to sting an operation because you think you’re doing some kind of grand Christian service (beyond investigative journalism) in doing so then you’d better tread carefully ahead if by doing so means you’re also going to violate another section of the moral code you see yourself serving. One option is to deep six the Christian crusade complex and simply do investigative journalism.

    Like

  126. “How convenient…. be careful what circles you scribe for yourself. Seems like they’re getting awfully tight around you. Again, your version of sola scriptura + some kind of Reformed tradition shows the weakness of your religion.You really think that God is angry with the ones who are exposing evil?… Maybe your religion is flawed.”

    Webster, you assume that what interests you interests me. What interests me is the best way of understanding the Rahab story. You suppose, impute and try to find some leverage for your denomination but it’s all stuff you made up out of thin air. Anyway I think your denomination is no more than baptized paganism so you’re wasting your time on me.

    Like

  127. vdm, m, well if the former is easy enough to see, the latter should be easy peasy.

    Indeed, Darryl, it is clear as a bell where you stand.

    Like

  128. Zrim,

    One option is to deep six the Christian crusade complex and simply do investigative journalism.

    Completely agree. Seeking to end abortion is not a “Christian” problem to be solved, it is a human problem. I think that this is a case of mixed motives, and it does ride the fine line of ethically permissible activities, but so is most of what happens under the sun.

    Like

  129. Sdb,

    a transgender man will die from a pregnancy complication because s/he couldn’t get abortion access in TX

    Amusing hypothetical – or perhaps:

    “Bigamy? In Waynesboro, VA [West of Charlottesville], Keyshana Rae Childress received two years probation for marrying a woman without first divorcing her husband.” Culture Wars, (July 2015).

    under cover videos inspire a tit for tat guerrilla war of investigative reporting. This could blow up in our face

    Do you have potential cases in mind? ‘Exposing hate speech/crimes’ perhaps?

    Like

  130. Newark, polygamy litigation – probably initiated before 2015 is over, although it will take longer for higher courts to hear the case.

    Like

  131. Joel,

    I think I get where you are going, and it seems far too simplistic to me. I am not a relativist by any means but I do think, especially if you examine the Wisdom literature in Scripture, that there is a fluidity to moral and ethical reasoning. The situation we are discussing is a prime example, do you place more moral weight behind truthfulness or behind preservation of life? Both are moral goods, and in this case, to get to the facts of what PP was doing, Daleiden made a judgement call based on the preservation of life (thinking this could in some way do damage to the abortion industry).

    I don’t think the young man was as ethically careful as he could or should be, but those inclined to such reasoning might not be inclined to take the chance that he did. Is there some room for criticism for his tactics? Sure. Can we call it flat out wrong, or conversely morally praiseworthy? That’s where it isn’t so clear-cut.

    I’m sure we can agree that Scripture clearly teaches moral absolutes, however in the ethical realm where those absolutes are applied in the human sphere, things are far less straightforward than they appear at first glance.

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  132. Muddy-

    Newark, polygamy litigation – probably initiated before 2015 is over, although it will take longer for higher courts to hear the case.

    Thanks for pointing that outt, I didn’t even consider motivation. Any predictions on how this is likely to play out and over what period?

    Like

  133. TVD
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
    eVaDe.

    Yes, but you’re not doing a very good job of evasion lately, without henchmen to hide behind. They finally saw through you, and now everyone else is, too. Repent.

    “Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!”>>>>>>

    Yes! See, what really gets to me is that men like Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop – both in the Reformed camp – were pioneers in the pro life movement. I KNOW that the owner of this blog and his followers are not representing the best of Reformed ethics and morality with their gnat straining arguments.

    It breaks my heart, it really does.

    Like

  134. Ali
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
    Mrs W. don’t mean to take away from your appeals nor deflect from this particular post but this I read this am is very difficult:

    Bringing Jesus to Planned Parenthood Through Mary: Since the angel in the bible reveals that Mary was “full of grace,” she was given extraordinary gifts from God. In this campaign, we call upon Mary to use those gifts to put an end to the reign of terror that is Planned Parenthood. http://www.stopp.org/article.php?id=7034>>>>>

    The 5 Sorrowful Mysteries seemed especially meaningful to me today – Tuesday.

    Like

  135. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
    Zrim,

    “One option is to deep six the Christian crusade complex and simply do investigative journalism.”

    Completely agree. Seeking to end abortion is not a “Christian” problem to be solved, it is a human problem. I think that this is a case of mixed motives, and it does ride the fine line of ethically permissible activities, but so is most of what happens under the sun.

    Jed, I think you hit on something key, though not what you aimed at.

    The “human problem” is no less or more than the “Christian problem.” How could it be otherwise? Why did the Creator put us here instead of deposit us in heaven, no muss, no fuss?

    The fact is that modernity has destroyed classical philosophy and “natural law” [Romans 2:14] along with destroying Biblical morality. How many non-[Judeo-]Christian anti-abortion people are there? At democratsforlife-dot-org, there’s only 6 people at their pro-life rally!

    2k “non-political” theology is not a “You say Potato, I say Potahto” dilemma anymore, as if it’s a prudential and debatable choice between 1) evil, 2) a lesser evil, and 3) let’s call the whole thing off.

    3) is no longer an option. Not only Biblical morality but the natural law have only one home and one refuge left against modernity: Christianity. You’re quite the erudite fellow, a scholar, you know what I mean here.

    Thx for the principled discussion, JP, which took me to the above. If only there were philosophers today who could argue Plato and Aristotle against the madness that is modern “philosophy,” but almost all of them are now Christians.

    The court didn’t just overrule Biblical morality in Romer v. Evans, it overruled Plato

    http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1222&context=yjlh

    overruled not just theology but philosophy. Overruled truth and logic.

    Do you want your children growing up in a moral madhouse? Or anyone else’s children? These are the stakes, Jed, not just my neighbor buggering his roommate/wife/husband.

    This is hardly a discussion of

    ethically permissible activities

    because we don’t even know what you mean by “ethical,” ‘permissible’ or even ‘activities.’ If applied to my neighbor buggering his/her/its roommate/wife/husband [or vice versa], well, they seem like nice neighbors and it’s none of my business as long as they keep their sidewalk clear.

    Selling aborted/euthanized/murdered fetal corpses, well, even Mary Shelley was revolted by graverobbers. If you want to get Dr. Hart’s back, why not put your defense in the form of a proper defense? Here, let me get you started, bro:

    I think all this graverobbing is horrible [insert why], but Elder Hart is right because going undercover to expose these scum is against Christianity because

    Floor’s yours. Strain that gnat, swallow that camel, Jed. I know you’re a solid intellectual, but this…

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  136. Newark, my crystal ball sez polygamy will eventually be allowed. It also says the SCOTUS will be hesitant to take a polygamy case so by 2020 there will be a sprinkling of polygamous states. This will hurt the ratings of reality shows based on polygamy so we’ll begin to see I Heart My Robot and the like.

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  137. Jed: if you examine the Wisdom literature in Scripture, that there is a fluidity to moral and ethical reasoning.

    really, examples from there?

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  138. @Muddy

    I don’t understand the conservative objections to polygamy. It’s already legal in all 50 states. Moreover, I think one would be hard-pressed to articulate any cogent biblical case against the practice. It strikes me that the opposition to polygamy is rooted less in Scripture than in a romantic-Freudian construal of marriage. Ironically, that’s the very construal of marriage that Justice Kennedy relied upon in Obergefell.

    Evangelicals can’t seem to make up their mind whether they want marriage to be a traditional institution or a modernist institution. If the former theory prevails, then one necessarily has to remain open to polygamy. If the latter theory prevails, then one necessarily has to remain open to same-sex marriage.

    Or you could simply dispense with the paternalism, get the state out of the marrying business, and allow such arrangements to be governed by common-law contract principles.

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  139. Mrs W: “The 5 Sorrowful Mysteries seemed especially meaningful to me today – Tuesday.”

    those were in the voice of Mary, Mrs W. Was that someone’s speculation of what she said or did she actually speak those words to someone?

    Mary: I am praying for you, my children and I will guide you in loving Jesus for those who will not love Him.
    Mary: Finally He looked at me and at John: He told me, “Woman, behold your Son” and to John, “Behold your mother.” My spiritual motherhood is Jesus’ gift to you: Jesus gave me to His disciples and to the whole Church to be mother and intercessor for everyone who calls himself a Christian.
    Mary:Come, my children,come to the foot of the cross and there I will pray with you and for you that your sins will be blotted out: that you will experience the redeeming power of my Son.

    Mrs W – there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man CHRIST JESUS(1 Tim 2:5)

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  140. Bobby: I report, you decide. But I don’t think the SCOTUS is going to be falling all over themselves to get to the case. Think of the plaintiffs: a bearded white guy from Utah with 5 women who look related and have all the joie de vivre of Russian babushkas. But then I suppose it could be Muslims taking over Michigan, where, lo & behold there are at least two or three 2k’s to blame.

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  141. When trying to follow the nuance and hairsplitting, just keep the overriding interpretive principle for understanding the Old Life faithful at the forefront — they’re liberals.

    Planned Parenthood is a quasi-religious institution for liberals.

    Mystery solved!

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  142. In the history of OL there have been dozens of jerks. Only two have been big enough jerks to be regulated. Of those two, only one is so impoverished in his life that he comes back anyway.

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  143. Muddy,

    If you had any stones (instead of just protecting Darryl’s) you might point out how big of a hypocrite he is for “regulating” me. He needs to get over himself and his ego and recognize a foe who can generate discussion and improve his web site hits.

    The personal b.s. is all out there and is over. Now it’s just about his wounded, fragile pride.

    Darryl needs to get over himself. Let’s debate issues.

    Unless he thinks 2K can’t handle intense scrutiny…

    Also, if I want to oppose you guys, why should I just go away because you ask? What’s next, a slap across the face with your white gloves? Liberals!…

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  144. Erik, your thinking is strictly binary so you try to cram apolitical statements into your left/right categories.

    I’m not going to drag this out but you really need to come to grips with the reality that you are a rung below Doug Sowers. Step back and get some perspective.

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  145. EC: The personal b.s. is all out there and is over . . . Let’s debate issues.

    EC: [Old Lifers a]re liberals. Planned Parenthood is a quasi-religious institution for liberals.
    Mystery solved!

    !

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  146. Jed,
    I don’t think I’m being simplistic about it. Perhaps you reading too much into what I’m saying. I wouldn’t be a politician because of moral scruples, but I also wouldn’t be a slaveholder. On the other hand, if a patient, gentle slaveholder or a believing politician came to church, I wouldn’t act as though they were unbelievers, either. What Daleiden did may be even the right thing to do, you are probably right. It seems beneficial for Christians to not get used to the idea that having a certain title gives you moral license, especially those in a high position. Utilitarian thinking does not make the cut, because both the means and the ends should be blameless. No one should do evil that good may come.

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  147. Darryl,

    Robert, you just switched the situations, from journalist to German citizen. My point is what you said. To justify deceit, you’d go to your secular vocation’s duties, not to Christian ones not to lie. That’s okay. But you don’t cite Christianity to justify lying, right?

    I switched the situation because that is the easy example. But in the case of the journalist or the German citizen, I would say it is my Christian duty not to tell the truth.

    One simply cannot bifurcate his duties in such a manner. If so, then we could have Christian pole dancers, strippers, mobsters, etc. I’m not sure that saying “I’m stripping as my secular vocation but not as a Christian” is going to hold up before God.

    To use a less grievous example, if my 2-year-old hands me a picture and says “look daddy, it’s a picture of mommy, isn’t it beautiful” and all it is is a scribble, I’m going to tell him it is beautiful anyway. Is that a lie? Perhaps. Is it bearing false witness? Not necessarily, because I’m not deceiving in order to cause harm. Now if my son was 20, and he wants to invest all of his money in his art career and I know that nobody is going to want a scribble, I’m not going to tell him that his scribble is beautiful. If I did, it could cause him great harm.

    The situation has an impact on how we apply the law. The old covenant law recognizes this in many ways. Even Paul recognizes it in his teaching on Christian freedom and when we are allowed to eat meat and when we should abstain.

    If one may violate a Christian duty in the course of doing his secular work, then we’re in heaps of trouble. Again, I’m not saying this is easy, and I’m very sympathetic to 2K thought. But I’m reading you—perhaps unfairly—that it is okay to violate a duty to God if your secular vocation demands it.

    Determining whether or not your secular duty is a violation of your Christian duty is the hard part, and there are no hard and fast rules in most cases. At times it is extremely difficult. But if we are to reject Caesar’s demands if they interfere with our duties as Christian citizens, surely we cannot bifurcate our callings in such ways.

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  148. E, I recoil at Wilson and the Baylys (the latter more than the former). Religiously motivated political activism equals conservatism just because some of the pet causes overlap? I’m not so sure.

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  149. Robert, I’m not saying it’s okay to violate God’s law in one’s vocation. I am saying that I act differently as a husband from how I act as an elder from how I act in the classroom. Telling the truth doesn’t require me, I believe, to disclose to students that I am an elder in the OPC or to answer a question about Calvin the way I might in Sunday school. For some Christians that’s dishonest.

    But I thought you were saying it was okay not to tell the truth either as a journalist or as a citizen in some cases.

    So I’m not sure I understand.

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  150. @KiN
    Let’s say an activist from the other side hears that some guy in Newark is pretty selective about who he rents to. This group hears about similar cases around the country (perhaps people sympathetic to something like Dreher’s Benedict Option), and posing as co-travelers schedules meetings with such folks to discuss ways to revitalize neighborhoods by renting only to people who are committed to the community. A handful of such conversations include sound bites that sound like the landlord is comfortable discriminating against some couples and suddenly these guys jare getting the Memories Pizza treatment.

    I’m not saying the PP sting videos aren’t justified or that they might not be successful. They could be justified and they might be successful. But then again, maybe they won’t be. I honestly have no idea whether these videos will be a net positive or negative. I know it may break mwf’s heart to question the wisdom of those fighting the good fight, but good intentions and a couple of bucks will get you a cup of coffee. Conservatives are supposed to be circumspect and ruled by prudence. I’m not so sure the current right-wing enthusiasm for co-opting the tactics of Saul Alinsky’s and Michael Moore’s is prudent (or circumspect). I hope to be proven wrong. I would love to find a strong cultural shift towards valuing life at all stages. I’m not confident these videos will do that and I worry the consequences won’t be all benign as the ubiquity of cameras and social media make privacy impossible.

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  151. Sdb –

    Sounds plausible and sensible to me.

    I don’t see how these videos could significantly impact the legality or (much more importantly) demand for abortion, and am unconvinced the means employed to get them were ethical.

    “Journalistic ethics” may not be ethical. Torture is commonly enough practiced and justified for a greater good, but may not be ethical. I don’t want to imply answers easy in this area, though.

    The only part of your proposed backlash case that seems unrealistic, alas, is getting unity of action amongst those who both see that religion has an impact on the well-being of the community and that there may be value in acting in concert.

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  152. @kevin
    I suspect you are right, though I think this is what the Benedict option is all about.

    I recently came across a quote purportedly by Milton Friedman (the provenance of which I cannot attest),

    I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.

    Whether he actually said this or not, I am inclined to agree with the sentiment. Incentives matter (economic and political) whether we think they should or not. The PP sting is unlikely to shift the political climate in ways that get the wrong people to do the right thing.

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  153. Darryl,

    Robert, I’m not saying it’s okay to violate God’s law in one’s vocation. I am saying that I act differently as a husband from how I act as an elder from how I act in the classroom. Telling the truth doesn’t require me, I believe, to disclose to students that I am an elder in the OPC or to answer a question about Calvin the way I might in Sunday school. For some Christians that’s dishonest.

    Okay, but do you act differently as a husband than you do as a Christian, and if so, how? If there are some things that husbands do that aren’t uniquely Christian, okay. But its one thing to say that and another to say that by doing that it is okay not to do one’s Christian duty or that one has no right to claim that one is doing his Christian duty in doing those common things. I love my wife, which is not a uniquely Christian thing. But in loving my wife, I am also doing my Christian duty in a way that the non-believer is not.

    But I thought you were saying it was okay not to tell the truth either as a journalist or as a citizen in some cases.

    That is what I’m saying. If I know the information will be used illegitimately to harm another person, I have no obligation to tell the truth and I’m not sinning if, for example, I tell the Nazis that the Jews went “that way” down the street even though they’re hiding out in my basement.

    That’s a more passive example, but I think it applies actively in cases such as journalism, an undercover sting. A Christian isn’t necessarily violating his duty to keep God’s law if he lies in the course of an undercover sting if the purpose is to get the bad guys. If it is, then Christians can’t be undercover cops, journalists, espionage agents, etc. Maybe they can’t be.

    It would be a stretch to say that what CMP has done is an obligatory Christian duty for all Christian journalists, but I don’t see where what he has done has broken the ninth commandment. I think the error would be saying that all Christian journalists are required to do such investigations. But I don’t think it is an error either for CMP to claim that they are doing this out of a sense of their duty to God.

    In this specific case, I think he has biblical justification for what he has done, and if he doesn’t, he shouldn’t have done it.

    What I am saying is that in some cases, a lie is the way that we keep the ninth commandment not to bear false witness to our neighbors. I respect those that have scruples otherwise, but it’s not so easy to say a Christian is necessarily breaking the ninth commandment and not doing his Christian duty if he tells a lie.

    So if your point is that we act differently in different roles, then I agree. Our roles and responsibilities definitely have an impact on what the Lord requires of us. If you want to say it is the journalist’s duty to lie in some cases but you are not sure if it is the Christian’s duty, I can be okay with that as well. What I can’t agree with is that one may ever violate his Christian duty in the course of his secular vocation.

    These aren’t easy questions; and some situations are more complex than others. But I don’t see this as one of them.

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  154. Sdb –

    Thanks for the quote – This looks like the origin:

    Seems to me an amusing puzzle, a bit cynical, but useful with certain audiences.

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  155. sdb,

    I would love to find a strong cultural shift towards valuing life at all stages. I’m not confident these videos will do that and I worry the consequences won’t be all benign as the ubiquity of cameras and social media make privacy impossible.

    Great comment. I think that while conservatives feel as if they have won a battle in the larger culture war, and are caught up in the momentum of a sort of political bloodlust to defeat the enemy, some circumspection is in order. I don’t think that even if the exercise of the nuclear option (in journalistic terms) was justified that it should be celebrated. The only thing that made such deception permissible was the information, and the information is even more gruesome than the tactics used to uncover it. I think there are appropriate “What now” kinds of social and political questions that need to be answered. The big danger in all of this is to let this turn into a more heat than light scenario that only ratchets up the stakes of the culture war.

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  156. Robert,

    If it is, then Christians can’t be undercover cops, journalists, espionage agents, etc. Maybe they can’t be.

    If these positions contain irredeemable evils, then they ought not to exist. I think we’d have to look at the conditions that make them “necessary” and locate what else can be changed to render them unnecessary.

    Why is international espionage considered necessary? CIA hitmen? Torturing terrorists? Immodest airport security? Extensive domestic surveillance? Drug ring stings? Government financial system bailouts (transfer of wealth)?

    Basically, what did we permit to happen to our society that allowed it to get into the mess it is in – what could have been done to keep these things from being “necessary” – what would we like to be going forward?

    Not 2k to ask?

    Like

  157. If Rubio fails, there’s a Roman Catholic Bush as backup:

    For Rubio, though, something else is happening. “Rubio has an even bigger challenge,” said Castellanos. “Jeb Bush is beer, and Rubio is lite beer. [Bush] has a more mature brand in his category. Many voters see Rubio, charismatic as he is, as Jeb Bush without the experience. In NASCAR terms, Rubio is drafting behind Jeb’s car and only has a chance if Jeb’s car hits the wall and clears the way ahead, so voters can pay attention to him.”

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  158. As an aside to this discussion, I think the issue of abortion is emblematic of the current culture wars in a similar but not identical way that slavery was emblematic of the struggles of antebellum America. There are other issues involved for each side, but abortion seems to be the watershed issue where the sides part. I am not saying that we are going to end up in a civil war, but I do think that this conflict goes down to the heart of the divide in the American republic, and our deeper desires for union might lead to ugly conflict before there is some kind of resolution or settling of the score.

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  159. Robert, I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself. But I’m supposed to love my wife exclusively. There’s a tension (not contradiction). It’s a complicated world out there.

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  160. kevin – Basically, what did we permit to happen to our society that allowed it to get into the mess it is in –

    Gen 3:6 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.

    sorry to put a spiritual perspective on it…

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  161. Kent –

    re: Original sin

    I don’t disagree, but still we can vote for George Bush the 1st despite his participation in the Iran Contra Affair, etc., or decide Rand Paul or Pat Buchanan or another would probably be at least a step away from libidinous government.

    To me what’s important in the political context is recognizing where our own behaviour (e.g., voting, casual conversation) encourages others to bring about unnecessary problems.

    But pursuing this would, I fear, lead back into the same old argument- from my perspective, that the “2k position” looks a lot like dogmatic inaction presented as Biblical and virtuous, unjustly labeling the “responsible citizen” position (as I propose it) an abuse of Christianity.

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  162. Jed, jumping off your point, some have said that the abortion controversy seems to divide those who would champion the right to liberty from those those who would champion the right to life, both of which are deeply embedded American virtues, then asks the general public to decide between the two. Upshot: socio-political schizophrenia and frayed social fabric. Makes one wonder if the champions of either side realize how destructive ideology can be.

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  163. So R.S. Clark joins Kline and mvdm on the side of the journalist exposing the baby butchers. Must be getting lonely in “Old Life” land.

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  164. Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    But pursuing this would, I fear, lead back into the same old argument- from my perspective, that the “2k position” looks a lot like dogmatic inaction presented as Biblical and virtuous, unjustly labeling the “responsible citizen” position (as I propose it) an abuse of Christianity.

    “They are not distinguished from other men by an unusual skill in finding truth nor any virginal ardour to produce her…It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.” —C.S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man”

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  165. Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink
    So R.S. Clark joins Kline and mvdm on the side of the journalist exposing the baby butchers. Must be getting lonely in “Old Life” land.

    “Proudly Straining at Gnats since 2006”

    Like

  166. Tom,

    To your comment from last night, I think we have a fundamental disagreement over what power the church has to shape political realities. I am far more pessimistic than you in what can actually be accomplished on that plane. God is sovereign, if the odious affairs of the world are so awful, he has the power to make changes – yet he has allowed evils like abortion to persist. I won’t even squabble over how bleak the current situation is. I am not particularly thrilled that this is the world I am raising my kids in, however to me it is far more important to show them what faithfulness in a fallen world looks like than to incrementally change its fallenness.

    I am pretty sure you see this as a cop out, and if I thought these matters were of ultimate importance you would be closer to right. But, I think that the realities of the life to come are more important, and I am very confident in God’s ability to bring righteous judgement against all human evil. We just happen to live in an age of suspended judgment, so that men can be afforded the opportunity to repent.

    Practically speaking, the church when she is faithfully present in society does have positive effects, by simply carrying on in the limited things God has truly called her to. These changes are far more organic, often escaping the macro view of world events, but are more than obvious whenever you see Christian individuals faithful in their earthly vocations. I do think that regardless of the means of acquisition these videos are valuable in the abortion debates in society, truly I do. I don’t think abortion will ever be made illegal until a vast majority of Americans demand it. The fact is, opinions are gradually swinging more in pro-life directions, but change will take time. In the meantime, preventing abortions, giving women sound alternatives where abortion might seem like the wisest or only choice is a far more productive way to work for a solution than discussing the matter on the internet. I am not saying there is no value in such discussions, just that they don’t accomplish as much as we think they do.

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  167. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
    MVDM,

    There is diversity in 2k, and how its adherents apply it. Your bigger problem is the inability to countenance dissenting viewpoints, or even probing questions into the sacramental value of political cows. I might be wrong here, but I can’t ever recall you commenting here on anything but matters where you think the church/Christians need to get on board with a political agenda.

    2k is not threatened because its adherents disagree on its application in cultural matters. Inasmuch as we keep these matters out of the affairs of the church, the better chance folks like you have in pursuing political ends that align with your conscience without making the body of Christ beholden to earthly political maneuvering.

    While it’s true some go overboard–either with social gospel politics or [more questionably IMO] divine sanction for free-market economics–the larger portion quite understand the difference between the universal principles of the natural law and the partisan means attempting to achieve them.

    But it’s also inexcusable laziness to put a pox on both houses as though the truth lies squarely in the middle. That’s the issue here. To do nothing about evil, and worse, condemn those who do, is moral imbecility. No harm or injustice was done to these butchers, except to expose their butchery.

    “You cannot go on “seeing through” things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to “see through” first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.”

    ― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

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  168. I’m not claiming the truth is in the middle somewhere, if you think that’s what I am saying, you have really misunderstood me. To riff of of Muddy, you’re assuming that the issue can be reduced to a binary antithesis of pro vs. anti. I reject that. As a Christian I am far more convinced that the truth resides in Scripture and is expounded by the church. I get that it frustrates many, but the role of the church is fundamentally a pilgrim mission – we’re just passing through. Auxiliary benefits to society is gravy, but we can get on fine without it.

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  169. There is diversity in 2k, and how its adherents apply it. Your bigger problem is the inability to countenance dissenting viewpoints, or even probing questions into the sacramental value of political cows. I might be wrong here, but I can’t ever recall you commenting here on anything but matters where you think the church/Christians need to get on board with a political agenda.

    Your memory is faulty, as is your definition of “political agenda”. The discussion is over a moral issue (one that has political dimensions for sure), but I did not bring up what I believe the political resolution should be, nor what the church’s role could encompass. I see no probing question of a “political cow”, but a vacuous moral equivalence that if acceptable within your diverse world of “2k”, then only confirms the trajectory I’ve been predicting for years.

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  170. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink
    I’m not claiming the truth is in the middle somewhere, if you think that’s what I am saying, you have really misunderstood me. To riff of of Muddy, you’re assuming that the issue can be reduced to a binary antithesis of pro vs. anti. I reject that. As a Christian I am far more convinced that the truth resides in Scripture and is expounded by the church. I get that it frustrates many, but the role of the church is fundamentally a pilgrim mission – we’re just passing through. Auxiliary benefits to society is gravy, but we can get on fine without it.

    What is the Church’s duty to the natural law? To its own people? To innocent others?

    You guys get awfully abstract and intellectual about other people’s safety, other people’s lives. This situation is precisely analogous to the ox in the pit.

    Even the Pharisees wouldn’t leave it there, Sabbath or no. Do you people even read the Bible? Are you so morally inverted and apathetic that you put the law above human beings? Do you understand a word Jesus said?

    He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

    “for danger of life drives away the sabbath”

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-12-3.html

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  171. Jed, MVD skipped over your bigger point of not binding the church to his particular political maneuvering. It’s ok, it’s how he does, organic church bleeder that he is. But I got your back, until I don’t.

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  172. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    To your comment from last night, I think we have a fundamental disagreement over what power the church has to shape political realities

    The Church is the only reality. The natural law, God became human, mankind–at least you lucky “elect” 😉 –will have eternal life.

    But it does make one wonder, why did God bother even creating Creation? You’re going to heaven and the rest of us are cosmically f***ed. What’s the point of this kabuki?

    I am far more pessimistic than you in what can actually be accomplished on that plane. God is sovereign, if the odious affairs of the world are so awful, he has the power to make changes – yet he has allowed evils like abortion to persist.

    God does not permit evil, mankind does. We’re into the theodicy thing now, going back to the Book of Job, perhaps the earliest book of the Bible.

    That God permitted the Holocaust made all but 10% of the world’s Jews lose their faith, as near as I can figure. The Orthodox, some Conservatives, “Reform” Judaism [called “Liberal” Judaism in the UK], good luck with that.

    Israel is a “Jewish” state but it’s also a secular one. Perhaps this is the most promising vein [I have no idea of how rich or empty it might be].

    I won’t even squabble over how bleak the current situation is. I am not particularly thrilled that this is the world I am raising my kids in, however to me it is far more important to show them what faithfulness in a fallen world looks like than to incrementally change its fallenness.

    At last someone brought up the moral cesspool that our kids are bathed in. You know, Jed, it’s not worrying about them making mistakes that will get them damned [and you “elect” don’t believe that anyway], but that they will make mistakes that will bring misery upon them and on their children.

    hey, we know how the story comes out–you and hopefully your children and your children’s children’s children will enjoy eternal life so all this

    I am pretty sure you see this as a cop out, and if I thought these matters were of ultimate importance you would be closer to right. But, I think that the realities of the life to come are more important, and I am very confident in God’s ability to bring righteous judgement against all human evil.

    goes without saying, especially to the believer in predestination/election.

    But what of the rest of us? Why were we created? Shall we just sit here waiting annihilation, or worse? Not lift a finger against evil in the meantime?

    Jed, as always, thx for the thoughtful reply. But if lying to fucking abortionists to try to stop the horror displeases God, then bring on your theologizing and your Gospel According to St. Bastard. And that goes for you too, Dr. Hart.

    The Holocaust was man’s doing, not God’s.

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  173. With all the naked assertions and hot air surfacing in this pocket of the internet

    The irony obviously escapes you.

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  174. The upside of the videos:

    If nothing else of value comes from this Planned Parenthood fiasco, I am at least moderately helpful for one thing: that more of my liberal friends will understand why we pro-lifers get so agitated about this issue. I don’t know whether many, or any, of them will change their minds, but maybe — just maybe — the pro-life cause won’t seem to them quite so inexplicably retrograde.

    But will Alan’s liberal friends get past the speck in Daleiden’s eye?

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  175. Muddy: But getting analytical, what was the payoff that justified the lie?

    Faithfulness?
    expose the deeds of darkness Eph 5:11

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  176. “Faithfulness” is merely a descriptive conclusion that can as easily (more so?) be a way to describe truth-telling. By “expose the deeds of darkness” you might mean it is intrinsically good for everyone to know what PP is doing, but if any situation would suggest “tell the truth and trust in providence” it would be the payoff of merely (you did not include any consequences) exposing bad deeds.

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  177. if any situation would suggest “tell the truth and trust in providence”

    not sure all you’re saying Muddy ; apparently ‘the situation’ ‘ suggested’ to him that he must do what he did; the Lord will confirm or not whether it was trusting and faithful.

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  178. Ali, if one believes that God utilizes even our sin for His glory, the outcome(end) doesn’t become the ethical barometer for the evaluation of D’s means. The crux of the discussion, to me, is whether he should’ve traded on his Christianity to justify his means. It would’ve been better, for the sake of the gospel, to have just left it out. It would seem now, he’s muddied the gospel with worldly means( our warfare is not with flesh and blood) so that, the gospel is just another power play, in fact a mere tool in service of a greater end-culture victory, among many other ideologies fighting for position.

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  179. Kevin,

    I’m not sure anything can be done to make these positions unnecessary short of worldwide conversion to Christ, and some of them are more problematic than others. I’m fine with saying there are some jobs that one cannot hold if one is a Christian; it’s just that traditionally journalism and the police force aren’t some of the. For many of the positions you list, I’m not sure how a Christian could hold them, but I could be wrong.

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  180. Darryl,

    Robert, I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself. But I’m supposed to love my wife exclusively. There’s a tension (not contradiction). It’s a complicated world out there.

    Sure. Which is why I find it odd that many commenters are coming out of the gate with “He shouldn’t link his work to his Christianity.” If all we’re doing is asking that question about whether he should, then it’s less of an issue for me. But the assumption that he is automatically giving a bad witness to the gospel or to Christ by appealing to his Christian faith is unnerving to me. If he lies and says, “I’m doing this as a journalist” but people know he claims to be a Christian, is he doing a better service to the gospel than if he says his faith makes his lie justifiable? I don’t think so. If non-Christians believe Christians may never lie, they will see that as two faced. So the only way we avoid the problem is to say “No Christian can be a journalist or ever engage in a profession that requires deceit” (such as undercover investigation). Maybe that IS the answer, but if people are going to be up in arms about him appealing to his Christian faith, it seems to me they need to take the next step and say he shouldn’t be a journalist to begin with.

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  181. Sean :the outcome(end)

    outcome was inserted in the discussion-‘what did/does it accomplish’ was a comment, so I commented on that.

    Sean: the crux of the discussion, to me, is whether he should’ve traded on his Christianity to justify his means.

    and others even here have stated another opinion about journalism ethics

    Sean: our warfare is not with flesh and blood
    and so implication? how many of us are praying much about this really; if we ‘trusted’, we would.

    Sean: the gospel is just another power play,
    That’s what the gospel is – the power play

    Sean:in fact a mere tool in service of a greater end-culture victory
    A greater end-culture victory? the stopping of killing human God image bearers would be a culture victory? sheesh

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  182. Here’s the description of Center for Medical Progress (doesn’t the name traffic in deceit – does a conservative believe in progress?)

    The Center for Medical Progress is a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. We are concerned about contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity, and we oppose any interventions, procedures, and experiments that exploit the unequal legal status of any class of human beings. We envision a world in which medical practice and biotechnology ally with and serve the goods of human nature and do not destroy, disfigure, or work against them.

    Is this really bland enough or does it send enough cues for the Planned Parenthood folks to be trustful? Did “unequal legal status of any class of human beings” and “the goods of human nature” fool PP?

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  183. Btw Sean, who are those who seem often consistently praying outside PP clinics – Catholics; had joined them until their consistent prayers to Mary

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  184. Robert, isn’t it possible to be a journalist and not lie? If a Christian kills, that’s a problem. If a Christian lies, that’s a problem.

    There may be extenuating circumstances. The Christian killing is a soldier. The Christian lying is a journalist. But service in the military inherently involves killing. Journalism doesn’t inherently involve lying — that’s why journalists have codes of ethics.

    So for Christians to defend Daleiden so unqualifiedly is troubling to mmmmmmeeeeeEEEEEE.

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  185. I saw the whole issue as something that made me upset for a few seconds, but not surprised, then life went on.

    I did not see the energy in it to attack theological systems as a whole.

    Back to work.

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  186. Darryl,

    There may be extenuating circumstances. The Christian killing is a soldier. The Christian lying is a journalist. But service in the military inherently involves killing. Journalism doesn’t inherently involve lying — that’s why journalists have codes of ethics. Journalism doesn’t inherently involve lying — that’s why journalists have codes of ethics.

    Service in the military doesn’t inherently involve killing. Many, many people serve in the military without ever killing anyone. Their broader objective of national defense may at times involve killing. So one can actually be a soldier and never kill anyone, but under the right circumstances, (situation), killing might be necessary.

    Journalism doesn’t inherently involve lying. Many, many people serve in journalism without ever lying to get to the truth. But the broader objective of getting to the truth that serves the public interest may at times involve lying in an undercover sting or something like that. One can be a journalist and never lie to get to the truth, but under the right circumstance, lying might actually be required.

    And the Journalist’s code of ethics allows deception in the case of truth that is vital to the public interest. So for CMP to have been unethical, one would have to prove that PP’s actions aren’t vital to the public interest.

    The answer may very well be that no Christian journalist can ever lie even to get a story for the public interest. If that is the answer, make that argument.

    So for Christians to defend Daleiden so unqualifiedly is troubling to mmmmmmeeeeeEEEEEE.

    Defending him without thinking simply because abortion is bad and we should stop at nothing to end it no matter the cost would be bad. But if what Daleiden has done is ethically permissible, then what kind of qualification would you want?

    You have even pro-abortion journalists such as Camille Paglia talking about how good it is that this information has come to light. When that happens, one has to wonder how much of a qualified defense CMP would done.

    Basically, we need to settle whether it is ever appropriate for Christians to lie. If it is, then what Daeldein did needs no defense. We might question the wisdom or at least try to learn how to do something like this more wisely, but we can’t say it’s wrong. However, if it is never appropriate for Christians to lie, then what he did has no defense.

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  187. cw l’unificateur :Ali, English is a beautiful language — try it some time.

    morning cw.not sure what you mean; and wouldn’t there be just a bit more credibility to the ‘2k’ purity absolutes of disdaining ‘lies’, if reviling wasn’t so acceptable here?

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  188. CW, when a dot’s content is at best a nuisance and then he quibbles about being coherent.

    TIME…. TO… IGNORE….

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  189. Ali, as bad as I am with sentence structure in a combox, even I can’t quite follow you. However, yes, even the killing of babies in the womb pales in importance to the sanctity of the gospel endeavor. The gospel isn’t a power play in the culture wars. See, 2k, spirituality of the church, nature of the KOG, and our pilgrim journey as a covenant community.

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  190. aw cw, you guys are so predictable

    sean – tell me what you don’t follow and I’ll clarify?

    gotta go for now though, have a great day.

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  191. Kent –

    [kc:] re: Original sin – I don’t disagree, but still we can vote for George Bush the 1st despite his participation in the Iran Contra Affair, etc., or decide Rand Paul or Pat Buchanan or another would probably be at least a step away from libidinous government.

    [Kent:] Kevin, it was a mean and bad bad world centuries before the first politician you idolized let you down…

    Your statement does not follow from mine. Americans knew the neocons including Bush I were bellicose and underhanded, and yet we have continued to tolerate and even elect them. This needn’t be a permanent state of affairs.

    Rand Paul makes statements suggesting he has compromised with Sheldon A. and will toe the neocon party line, but on the whole I think would be a better choice than the others running. Buchanan I find in a number of ways congenial – but I’ve given no grounds to be accused of unrealistic estimation.

    My position is both principled and pragmatic, as is appropriate for politics (and inappropriate for theology). The principles are Biblical – at heart, love thy neighbor.

    Any reaction to TVD’s quotes above from CSL?

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  192. Robert – Kevin, I’m not sure anything can be done to make these positions unnecessary short of worldwide conversion to Christ, and some of them are more problematic than others.

    I’m fine with saying there are some jobs that one cannot hold if one is a Christian; it’s just that traditionally journalism and the police force aren’t some of the. For many of the positions you list, I’m not sure how a Christian could hold them, but I could be wrong.

    I know quite sincere and serious Christians who engage or have engaged in some of these morally complex law-and-order activities – most acknowledge the issues, some think the good outweighs the bad, some get out.

    We’ll never be free of moral complexity, but we can minimize the alleged necessity of spying on Angela Merkel, overthrowing the government of the Ukraine, assassinating foreign leaders, etc. – to pick a few:

    1) Stop demonizing Iran and Russia and the Vatican (the NY Times “Axis of Evil”) and encourage an Iran-Russia coalition to bring relative stability to the middle east (Obama is doing some good work on this with Iran, and Russia assisted with Syria a few years ago).

    2) In the process, attempt to establish an Assyrian state (i.e., a framework for the protection for Christians) which may well end up a Russian client state- we haven’t had a better opportunity to do so since the end of colonialism;

    3) Abandon Israel (let the UN step in if it so chooses) and perhaps recognize a Palestinian state (as has the Vatican);

    4) Stop promoting worldwide immorality via our embassies (via “anti-bullying programs”, i.e., lgbt “cultural activities”) and foreign aid requirements (e.g., birth control).

    Others will disagree with these positions, of course, but if followed, I believe they would require significantly less covert action on the part of our government.

    I do believe a conversion of hearts is the best or only basis for bringing all of this about (with voting the more proximate cause), and that this conversion has benefits of immeasurably more important eternal significance than minimizing professional immorality. Nevertheless, the latter is a worthwhile good to pursue.

    The answer may very well be that no Christian journalist can ever lie even to get a story for the public interest. If that is the answer, make that argument.

    Let your yea be yea, nay nay? I’m not sure I have an argument beyond that expressed by Muddy plus my earlier comments. It seems to me fundamentally a principle of moral action.

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  193. Hi Tom,

    You said:
    “Basically, we need to settle whether it is ever appropriate for Christians to lie. If it is, then what Daeldein did needs no defense. We might question the wisdom or at least try to learn how to do something like this more wisely, but we can’t say it’s wrong. However, if it is never appropriate for Christians to lie, then what he did has no defense.”

    Usually we lie in order to hide our own wrongdoings, wrong doings that are truths about our behaviors or thoughts and so their is a lack of humility in ourselves when we lie to save face or when we exaggerate to make ourselves look better than we are. So I don’t know that Daeldein did lie. He may have deceived, but then I don’t think all deceptions are lies. If I dressed as Santa Claus and a child asked me if I were actually the real Santa, I could respond by asking them if they thought I was, or something like that without having to tell the truth. I know that if a Nazi asked me if there were Jews hidden in my house, I wouldn’t tell them just because they wanted to know. I don’t owe them a truth if they don’t have a lawful right. They would be sinning against the common good as well as against every individual person they were seeking to uncover and so my silence would be protecting the Nazi perpetrator as well as the Jews. I might respond with something like, “Let your god tell you whether or not this is so”. I mean they are going to search whether or not I give them my permission, since they don’t care about rights in the first place. It would be morally worse that I ratted on a friend. All lying is a sin and I have committed that sin many times to save my own butt because I knew exposure of the truth would reveal my lack of moral rectitude and therefore my dignity( ironic yes?), and I have felt bad afterwards and confessed it. But could you imagine that the one time you felt overwhelming compunction about lying was when asked if you were protecting human persons from evil? May none of us face such a test! It seems to me that if we have a right to kill in order to protect ourselves or another when attacked, that trying to find a way to expose the deeds of darkness without doing harm is less morally egregious than killing an attacker. That’s just my thoughts on it, and I don’t know if I’m right, but man it seems like a diabolical ploy to focus on the “how” than the evil what uncovered being committed by people at Planned Parenthood.

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  194. Tom,

    Thanks for the honest response, it actually cuts to the heart of how I see Reformed orthodoxy in general, and 2k theology specifically places believers in a dynamic tension of sorts. I’ll get to that shortly, but let me address some axillary issues first.

    But if lying to fucking abortionists to try to stop the horror displeases God, then bring on your theologizing and your Gospel According to St. Bastard.

    I don’t pretend to speak for God here, but I think what Daleiden did was ethically permissible. What PP is doing is morally reprehensible, and the lengths that he went to to expose them was warranted. Obviously not everyone here agrees, but Christian beliefs aside, bringing this to light was humane, and I would even say in keeping with solid NL reasoning.

    But it does make one wonder, why did God bother even creating Creation? You’re going to heaven and the rest of us are cosmically f***ed. What’s the point of this kabuki?

    That’s the real question isn’t it? When I survey history, aside from intervening to establish Israel, God has not done much to interfere with human politics. Even that, as the NT teaches was for spiritual reasons, to establish patterns of how he establishes his spiritual Kingdom. There is an eschatological thrust to history, it is moving somewhere, and it exists primarily as a vehicle for God to reveal himself to his people primarily and to the world secondarily; the former for salvation, the latter for judgment. He is offering a solution to the problem of evil, and I believe it is very real, however it will not be solved in the present age. He gave his Son as his final word on the matter, and Christ bore up under the weight of that evil, and is establishing his Kingdom on the basis of his victory over it. Even as he was ascending, the disciples were asking when he would set things right, and his answer was that they were to be his witnesses of that victory which was inaugurated, yet awaits consummation at the end of the age.

    Since its inception, the church has constantly struggled with trying to be a religion for this world, trying to answer the problems that this world presents. However, every time it wanders into this realm, it wanders away from that original mission Christ charged her with. Our solutions are beheld by faith, not sight, for hereafter, not here. Of course there are auxiliary benefits of people in the process of being sanctified in society, but I see no indications in the NT that Christ or the apostles were offering a means for social or political transformation. Quite the opposite, Christians were charged with existing faithfully in the existing political structures, which in their context was the often oppressive and pagan Roman empire.

    Things like holocausts and abortion are clearly evil, and Scripture’s teaching demands such an appraisal. However, the church is not imbued with the authority (i.e. the political authority) to stop this evil. The church can call it evil, Christians can expose such things as contrary to God’s law, but beyond calling men to repentance for such things, there is no mechanism given to the church to stop human evil. I do believe God restrains human evil in his providential rule so that things are not as bad as they possibly could be, and we do have a semblance of order even in the present age. However, I see no indication that God is halting every wicked inclination of either individuals or societies. Of course he will judge these perfectly, but the day of judgment has not arrived, and we exist in a period of Divine forbearance where God is giving men the opportunity to repent before the coming judgment.

    How this relates to the current social and political situation is that we must be prayerful that God can reverse some of the effects of evil through his providential rule. Moreover, as dual citizens, it behooves us to seek the welfare of our earthly home. I do think this means engaging the political process, being good citizens, trying to do our part to ensure chaos is not unleashed. This is not part of the spiritual mission of the Church, or a requisite part of the Christian’s eternal destiny, but it does go a long way toward helping us maintain a good witness to Christ’s saving work, and the church’s mission on earth. However, when we exert ourselves and evil still persists, the temptation is to somehow baptize the cause in the name of the church or God, but historically disaster has almost always come from the church intervening in worldly affairs, since this isn’t her calling. When evil persists, God just might be allowing it for his own mysterious purposes, and as hard as it is for us here on the ground to comprehend, our job is not to understand but to trust and seek to be faithful witnesses in the face of such evil.

    Like I said earlier, abortion is a human problem far more than it is a Christian problem, and as much as those of us who see it for what it is are able, we ought to oppose it, and seek its end. But, this will by no means eradicate the problem of evil on the human plane, no more than the end of slavery solved it a century and a half ago.

    BTW, you might want to compare your view of the problem of evil with your beloved St. Thomas, I think he has a slightly different view than you on the matter.

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  195. Jed,
    Can you elaborate or clarify how it is that “abortion is a human problem far more than it is a Christian problem”? Thanks.

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  196. Susan:
    So I don’t know that Daeldein did lie. He may have deceived, but then I don’t think all deceptions are lies…

    I know that if a Nazi asked me if there were Jews hidden in my house, I wouldn’t tell them just because they wanted to know. >>>>>

    I think that the distinction between lying and deception is a good one and the example of hiding Jews from the Nazis is appropriate.

    Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch woman who, along with her father and sister, hid Jews in their home. They had to engage in a lot of deception in order to pull this off. None of the Jews that they hid were ever discovered, if I remember right, and all of them made it out of the country safely.

    They made the commitment to never outright lie if asked a direct question. However, they were what you could call deceptive in their actions. They role played. They manipulated the ration card system. They pretended that all was normal in their household, even when authorities came to their door. They had to do a lot of things that maybe weren’t exactly following the letter of the law – either human or divine – in order to save lives.

    All of them, Corrie, her father, and her sister were eventually found out and taken to the concentration camps. Her father and sister died there, but Corrie was miraculously set free.

    I don’t see that what David Daleiden did was any different from what the Ten Booms did during WW II. He may pay a price for it, but doing the right thing often comes with a high price tag.

    What I find odd and even disturbing is the silence on the part of the blog owner about the evil of Planned Parenthood. I have no good way to interpret that until and unless he clarifies his own position on the subject of the killing of tiny, unborn boys and girls and then the sale of their body parts to the highest bidder.

    That is what I find indefensible – the blog owner’s silence on the real monstrous moral issue being discussed here – the actions of Planned Parenthood.

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  197. Petros,

    Christianity is, until the return of Christ, endowed with primarily a spiritual mission – the salvation and nurture of souls on their earthly pilgrimage. It is governed by the strictures of Scripture, and will be evaluated on the basis of its fidelity to the revealed Word of God. As such it is apolitical in its aims. The only thing the church can do regarding abortion is to keep her members from participating in or encouraging it, noting that abortion is a very grave sin for which men & women should repent, and by supporting diaconal type activities that could prevent abortions. The church can also (from a Reformed perspective) serve to advise governments on abortion policy in extraordinary circumstances, but even then the church’s power is only advisory.

    The human situation is presently more encompassing than the Christian religion, as it accomodates all sorts of cultures, beliefs, and political arrangements. Broadly speaking the standard by which God will judge the world is the Natural Law, and we see elements of the NL in every human legal institution, even if imperfectly. Abortion is a clear violation of the NL, and a great evil in our time that affects every civilization that allows it. I see it as the responsibility of citizens to address this issue primarily, without baptizing it into a religious cause, to show just how damaging abortion is to society on moral, social, economic, and ethical levels and to seek more equitable legal arrangements. Seeking the end of abortion needn’t be a religious or spiritual quest, and I happen to think the less it is, the more chance it has at being effective. Part of the blowback against the pro-life movement is against its religious motivations, and many see pro-lifers as trying to impose religious standards as a basis for governance. The more secular the pro-life reasoning, the more it can appeal to common human concerns, the more likely it is to gain legal traction, because I firmly believe it is bad for society on a great many levels, and that is without bringing my spiritual convictions into the equation.

    I don’t know if you’ll agree, but do you at least see where I am coming from here?

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  198. Jed: “Part of the blowback against the pro-life movement is against its religious motivations, and many see pro-lifers as trying to impose religious standards as a basis for governance. The more secular the pro-life reasoning, the more it can appeal to common human concerns, the more likely it is to gain legal traction, because I firmly believe it is bad for society on a great many levels, and that is without bringing my spiritual convictions into the equation.”

    Why is that so hard to understand?

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  199. Muddy,

    Again, what kind of book are you writing?

    Historical Christian RomCom fiction. It’s a cool period piece detailing a (sanctified) love triangle between Calvin, Beza, and a buxom Huguenot refugee who fell for Calvin initially, but when Geneva expelled him, Beza swooped in. Hilarity, hi-jinx, and heartache ensue upon the stern reformer’s return to Geneva. I think it’ll be quite the yarn.

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  200. She whose feet are webbed, no difference? I understand the enlisting of anything Third Reich related is designed to invoke the utmost sympathies among 21c westerners as well as as much fear and loathing as possible. But what lives has Daleiden preserved? What risk did he take to his own life and limb? I ask as one as disturbed by the videos as the next gal. Abortion is a great blight on our society, etc., etc. But I still fail to see how Daleiden even comes close to a Frank or Ten Boom.

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  201. Hi Jed,

    I”m reading the exchange between you and Tom, and I don’t understand what moral responsiblites 2K people think Christians have.
    When you say: “Things like holocausts and abortion are clearly evil, and Scripture’s teaching demands such an appraisal. However, the church is not imbued with the authority (i.e. the political authority) to stop this evil. The church can call it evil, Christians can expose such things as contrary to God’s law, but beyond calling men to repentance for such things, there is no mechanism given to the church to stop human evil. I do believe God restrains human evil in his providential rule so that things are not as bad as they possibly could be, and we do have a semblance of order even in the present age. However, I see no indication that God is halting every wicked inclination of either individuals or societies. Of course he will judge these perfectly, but the day of judgment has not arrived, and we exist in a period of Divine forbearance where God is giving men the opportunity to repent before the coming judgment.”

    I wonder how you think God accomplishes moral order. He gave man minds and hearts to recognize right from wrong, a free will to choose this day whom we will serve, and He wants us to work towards peace with all men for all men who are suppose to have inaliable rights, and that means establishing governments that reflect His moral order. Why can’t a Christian preach the gospel that is God’s while also making the moral law, that is also God’s, incumbant on mankind, for the sake of the common and temporal good?
    If you believe in an invisible church then why can’t those invisible members also serve God in this life by trying to make good societies? It seems to me that seeing just laws only glorifies the beautiful justness of our Lord. Abortion may be legal but it sure isn’t just. We have a government that inacts unjust law and that is a moral outrage and we are stupid if we have a way to alter them and don’t even try.

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  202. Jed,
    Thanks. In the broader scheme, I understand the 2K perspective on the church’s distinct role vs the magistrate’s role. And, if, indeed, using secular arguments proves to be more efficacious in the public square than biblical arguments, that’s all well and good, too. But, how does abortion violate NL? How does NL weigh in on the “human-ness” of a fetus versus viewing a fetus as an overgrown toenail to be removed?

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  203. Susan,

    All 2k teaches is there is a distinction between the two kingdoms, it doesn’t say that the Christian has no duties to the earthly kingdom. Quite the contrary, we are supposed to try to do good in and by the earthly kingdom. However, all kinds of problems ensue from blurring the distinction between the earthly and heavenly kingdoms. I constantly see opponents of 2k acting as if 2k is trying to swing the pendulum towards extreme inaction on civil matters, this simply isn’t the case, 2k is trying to balance the Christian’s duties to the church and to the world – they aren’t the same.

    Of course Christians can oppose abortion, but as earthly citizens, who care for the affairs of this world and see the created sphere as still retaining some good even after the fall. Upholding and maintaining that good is worth contending for, but this is something we share with everyone. Christian’s aren’t the only ones who want a good, decent, and orderly world, and the cause needn’t be baptized to be worth pursuing.

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  204. Petros,

    But, how does abortion violate NL? How does NL weigh in on the “human-ness” of a fetus versus viewing a fetus as an overgrown toenail to be removed?

    Whether one employs NL reasoning, or just common sense, the preservation of human life is one of the highest ethical values our species holds, and only trouble ensues from not upholding this value. Whatever level of personhood we want to grant to the unborn, to terminate a pregnancy is to take a human life. Everyone knows this, the question is do we have the right to terminate a human before it is born as a function of a woman’s choice over her body? Of course there’s all kinds of evasions around this question, but it is the fundamental issue at hand.

    God made man with a conscience, we don’t have to consult Scripture to figure this one out. In our legal context, we can’t. We have to us sound human reasoning if we want to see abortion ended.

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  205. Zrim,

    Thanks for the link. If there is any hope for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, these are the kind of folks who are going to be needed in the process. “Because God says so” is a non starter in today’s legal context.

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  206. Jed Paschall: I see it as the responsibility of citizens to address this issue primarily, without baptizing it into a religious cause, to show just how damaging abortion is to society on moral, social, economic, and ethical levels and to seek more equitable legal arrangements. Seeking the end of abortion needn’t be a religious or spiritual quest, and I happen to think the less it is, the more chance it has at being effective.

    Jed: Does this mean you think a Christian should be hide their witness because it might set others against us and also not be ‘effective’? I guess we each need to decide what we understand will burn up and what will remain. Some think whatever you do in word or deed, it is to be done all in the name of the Lord Jesus Col 3: 17… openly

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  207. Ali,

    There’s a time and place for everything, and if you think wearing religion on your sleeve is necessary, by all means go ahead. You’ll just be largely ignored. Christ called us to be wise as serpents, not just innocent as doves. I am not saying “hide” your witness, but I am saying don’t be naive about it either.

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  208. Jed, this last response is a big improvement. It was tighter and more concise and I didn’t almost slip into a coma. Way to suck less.

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  209. It is no doubt proper for the disciples of Christ, surrounded as they are by dangers on every hand, to maintain the strictest caution; but as they are in extreme danger of being kept back by slothfulness, he bids them move forward honestly wherever their calling leads them. This is pointed out by a twofold comparison, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Serpents, being aware that they are hated, carefully avoid and shrink from every thing that is hostile to them. In this manner he enjoins believers to take care of their life, so as not to rush heedlessly into danger, or lay themselves open to any kind of injury. Doves, on the other hand, though naturally timid, and liable to innumerable attacks, fly in their simplicity, imagine themselves safe till they are struck, and in most cases place themselves within the reach of the fowler’s snares. To such simplicity Christ exhorts his disciples, that no excess of terror may hinder them from pursuing their course. There are some who carry their ingenious reasonings still farther as to the nature of the serpent and of the dove, but this is the utmost extent of the resemblance. We see that Christ condemns that carnal wisdom, or rather that trickery, in which the greater part of men are too fond of indulging, while they look around them on every hand to discover how far it will be safe for them to proceed; and thus, from an unwillingness to encounter danger, they renounce the call of Christ.
    Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible

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  210. Sean-

    Do you have an objection to Jed’s Church-State comments? I read back through your own comments on this thread just now.

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  211. Jed-

    On my smartphone, so this isn’t thorough, but I believe I am in agreement with your Church-State thoughts. Seems intuitively correct.

    If the Church has or can have an advisory role regarding legislation and judicial decisions, it is certainly accurate insofar as it sticks to clear Biblical statements and ‘good and necessary inferences’ from them? If so, wouldn’t it be required to make these statements if governments are acting otherwise (as a part of its duuty to proclaim the Gospel)?

    And wouldn’t governments have an obligation to listen, and a duty to God to make law accordingly?

    What is the basis for the obligations of government?

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  212. Jed,

    Thanks for clarifying for me. I too am in agreement about there being a heavenly kingdom and an earthly kingdom, because not everyone will be saved in the end.

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.(Matt 7:21)
    Wouldn’t the “now and not yet tension” of our living include believing in life before our deaths, and thinking about how our temporal deeds can influence people to adopt laws in accordance with natural law, as well as bearing witness of the fact that our God is Good? You know, magnify our ministry to move our countryman to jealousy so that some will be saved.(Romans 11:14)
    Do the Reformed think that making statutory laws that accord natural law is too much of the church trying to make God’s Kingdom being done on earth as it is in heaven? Kevin had a good followup question about governments having an obligation to listen to the church and make positive laws in accordance with God’s eternal laws and so I will just stay out of the way and read your back and forth. Thanks!

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  213. Kevin, mind your own business, unless you’d like me to start having a problem with you too. Just stick to violating fair housing in building your RC commune and I’ll stick to peddling water vouchers to the Paschall chillun.

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  214. Kevin in Newark: “If the Church has or can have an advisory role regarding legislation and judicial decisions… .”

    Well, actually in America ca. 1787 and forward, Churchmen WERE the politicians, and one would be hard pressed to find a better example than Samuel L. Southard, as his CV cited below so well illustrates his Theological and Political career. Typical of the Princeton trained government officers of his day.

    With his knowledge of Civil Government defined by a required study of the Westminster Confession of Faith (ex. Chap. 22, Lawful Oaths and Vows, and Chap. 23, Of the Civil Magistrate), the Larger Catechism questions on the Commandments, (5 through 10 notably) and Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, Southard and his generation governed with a Constitution designed to operate under the concepts of Biblical Christianity.

    Note the Constitution’s closing credit “Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven”. Christ is cited in the Constitution… .

    I have posted some nuggets of his philosophy as given to Princeton Politicians in training in his 1837 speech to the Whig and Cliosophic society there… .

    AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE AMERICAN WHIG AND CLIOSOPHIC
    SOCIETIES [ at Princeton ]

    SEPTEMBER 26, 1837.

    BY SAMUEL L. SOUTHARD, LL.D.

    http://commons.ptsem.edu/id/addressdelivered01sout

    One quote to pique interest:
    “I desire to address, not my elder but my you younger brothers; and to make to them a few suggestions upon a subject of abiding interest in their future career—the importance of the study of the Bible, in forming the character of literary and scientific men, of scholars of every guide and every occupation—suggestions, which I hope, will not be inappropriate to the first literary exercise, in this edifice, which has been reared from its ashes, for the worship of the Author of that Book.” Pg. 7

    About the Author…

    Samuel Lewis Southard, A.M., LL.D.* Presbyterian
    b.1787-d.1842

    Education:
    B.A. Princeton, 1804
    A.M. Princeton, 1807
    LL.D. University of Pennsylvania, 1832,
    M.A P.S. ( Member, American Philosophical Society)

    Boards Served:

    Trustee, Princeton College, 1822-1842
    Trustee, Princeton Seminary,1822-1842
    Vice President, Board of Trustees, Princeton Seminary,1832-1840
    President, Board of Trustees, Princeton Seminary,1840-1842

    New Jersey Government Offices:

    Member, New Jersey, Assembly, 1815
    Judge, New Jersey Supreme Court, 1815-1820
    Attorney General of New Jersey, 1829-33
    Governor, New Jersey, 1832-33

    U.S. Government Offices:

    U.S. Secretary of the Navy, 1823-29
    Acting U.S. Secretary of Treasury and War, 1825
    U.S. Senator, from New Jersey, 1821-1823 & 1833-1842
    President, U.S. Senate, 1841-42

    Any thoughts?

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  215. Sean –

    Kevin, mind your own business, unless you’d like me to start having a problem with you too. Just stick to violating fair housing in building your RC commune and I’ll stick to peddling water vouchers to the Paschall chillun.

    Hmm. Just trying to get additional O.L. perspective on Jed’s comments.

    No idea what you’re getting at in the last clause. We all decide how to spend our time, I suppose. O.L. for me, for now.

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  216. Robert, if you can’t see the difference between soldiers and killing as part of what they are called legally to do and journalists and lying as not what they are called legally to do, then I can’t say much more.

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  217. Any thoughts?

    Yes, Russell. Plenty. How early did 2K theology begin? If as early as St. Augustine, then why did Southard( and any other mainline Protestants) invoke the secular magisterial power?

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  218. Susan, “So I don’t know that Daeldein did lie.”

    Are you reading? He told Christianity Today that he told PP he supported what they were doing and wanted to buy what they were selling. But he’s pro-life and Roman Catholic.

    Black is white, white is black. Didn’t Ignatius say something about that?

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  219. Kevin, I’m just changing it up a bit. Jed and I basically agree, which makes for boredom, so, I find other things to bust him up about. Plus, he’s soft, so, he deserves it. As for the last part, California is in a nasty drought and in Texas our water tables are full, so, I’m selling Californians, like Jed, water vouchers they can redeem in Sacramento. It’s a good deal.

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  220. Susan:
    Any thoughts?

    “Yes, Russell. Plenty. How early did 2K theology begin? If as early as St. Augustine, then why did Southard( and any other mainline Protestants) invoke the secular magisterial power?”

    Actually, all the Founders WERE the secular magisterial power, as established by every State Constitution, which required office holders to affirm to the basic Bible doctrines.

    This alone is a shocking and foreign concept to modern Americans, who should ask why they weren’t taught the original doctrines in HS/College/Las School/Grad school… .

    I chose Southard’s Discourse as it reflects the status quo on this subject, and it is a worthwhile read.

    A perusal of the State Constitutions can be made here, at Yale, if one wants actual proof… .
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/18th.asp

    Also, John Maclean’s History of the College of New Jersey, Vol. 1 + 2 (1877) covers the time period up to 1854. Just a study of Dr. Witherspoon may prove a challenge to a dichotomized 2k view, where the “worldly secularists” are supposedly in charge, and Christians…only tolerated, at best.

    Nope, not in Dr. W’s time, or for the first 300 years beginning with the Mayflower landing is that a valid historical view of American civil Polity, and I spent many hours perusing hundreds of books and pamphlets typically on file at the old Universities seeing the proof that now is freely available via internet.

    Maclean’s History is here:
    http://commons.ptsem.edu/id/historyofcollege01macl
    http://commons.ptsem.edu/id/historyofcollege02macl

    After reading the above , any thoughts ?

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  221. “Susan, again I ask, do you read? Do you comprehend?

    How about 2kers defending telling the truth? Did that ever occur to you?”

    Why does that keep getting asked? Of course I read. But no, I’m sorry, I didn’t read that Daeldein lied. I’m pleased that you defend telling the truth. You also defend observance of the Sabbath, and that is, of course, good. I believe that you are on my side( and the Pope’s) and are appalled over the murder of , dismemberment of and selling of the parts of human children too. I think the ethics that you bring up are worthy of discussion, but only because I think all morality and ethics are worthy of discussion. Is there a reason why you focus on lying, while I focus on abortion? Doesn’t common sense and human decency demand that our cooperative focus and effort be on stopping murder and, or( at least) solidarity with that cause?

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  222. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, with all your concern for the truth or not, please recall that I wrote this just the other day:

    None of this means that Daleiden doesn’t deserve some credit for exposing a truly despicable aspect of American society.

    You’re just an anti-Calvinist bigot.>>>>

    What is that “truly despicable aspect of American society? Please describe it.

    I have said that your position does not represent the best of Calvinist teaching. I praised Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop for their pioneer work in the pro life movement.

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  223. Susan, remember James O’Keefe and Acorn?

    There is awash in the world today a kind of idealism that’s loosed from its moorings. I suspect this is because the cynicism against which the idealism reacts is so strong and entrenched that it’s provoking reactions that are unrealistic.

    A case in point is James O’Keefe, a young man who spoke at this year’s American Chesterton Society Conference. O’Keefe is best known as the video journalist who brought down ACORN and who exposed the racism inherent in Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda by means of undercover videos in which he posed as a pimp or a racist, and elicited responses that were shocking enough to cause a few tremors. He struck us at the Conference as a quixotic idealist carrying on against the windmills of corruption while under assault from the mainstream media, lawyers and other nasty bugbears.

    However, it was a bit disturbing when, in the Q & A session following his speech, O’Keefe was asked, “How do you justify your technique? You lie to people in your undercover videos. You pretend to be something or someone you’re not, and they react to you based upon that falsehood,” and O’Keefe answered, in effect, “the end justifies the means: I am lying to bring down a greater lie.” – which, of course, is consequentialism – poison to any society, any individual, or any attempt at reform.

    I later spoke publicly before our performance at the conference, and tried to give a better defense of O’Keefe’s activities. “It’s a kind of guerilla theater,” I said, “in which, as in all theater, masking is used to reveal the truth.” In other words, as in Candid Camera we get to see how people would react in a given fictional situation, but not simply (as in Candid Camera) for cheap laughs, but as in Shakespeare, the fiction, the mask, the pretense, serves to reveal a greater truth that would otherwise remain hidden. But I was not entirely satisfied with this defense, which seemed to be perhaps a bit Jesuitical to me. For one thing, in actual drama the participants and audience are all aware of the charade and no one is victimized by being deliberately fooled. In O’Keefe’s videos, there is a kind of victimization going on, even though the victim might himself be a victimizer, and even though O’Keefe’s guerilla theater might be doing a good by revealing that.

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  224. DG-

    Black is white, white is black. Didn’t Ignatius say something about that?

    Think the Scintillating Grid Illusion:

    If even our faculties of perception can be deceived, how much more so theological speculation.

    Typically it is pride which has us commit to initially-plausible false positions. The cure is being teachable / docile.

    While Ignatius didn’t know this illusion in particular, I wouldn’t sell short anything associated with the (Jesuit) University of Salamanca- from international law to economics, Suarez’s psychology / philosophy of mind included.

    the Lingelbach illusion or the scintillating grid illusion, was discovered in 1994 by Elke Lingelbach, the wife of a German mathematics professor, and has not yet been fully explained.1 Curiously, the effect of the scintillation is lessened by tilting the head through 45°!

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  225. Russell-

    Well, actually in America ca. 1787 and forward, Churchmen WERE the politicians, and one would be hard pressed to find a better example than Samuel L. Southard, as his CV cited below so well

    This is an extremely distinguished individual. He looks prima facie to be a model statesman. Thanks for choosing a New Jerseyan, btw, he was born and raised about 30 min from Newark.

    I have no problem with Presbyterian clergymen going into governance, particularly if (hypothetically) their educations should fit them particularly well for honorable service.

    My main questions are with regard to 2k principles behind “the church” providing Biblically-based moral teachings to the government.

    If the OPC missions were so successful as to convert, e.g., most of St.Kitts-Nevis (soveriegn state in the Caribbean), would 2k principles interfere with a popular vote endorsing a constitutional amendment stating that no laws can be in conflict with OPC teachings on morality? (perhaps with Woolley and anyone who thinks ssm is a step or two forward set aside).

    How about a formal structure such as an advisory body made up of Presbyterian ministers which provides either justices or the legislature with clarification on basic principles which are acknowledged to be determined in the Bible?

    I’d prefer to set aside the argument “no, this will probably lead to abuse” if possible.

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  226. I realize that some recoil at 2k because they really are committed theonomists. But I wonder if the problem others have getting their head around 2k is just that the category doesn’t apply to their church experience. Conservative P&R churches take discipline pretty seriously – certainly more so than your typical evangelical megachurch (in my experience), mainline church, or RC parish (from what I hear). If the consequence of a church extolling members to take up this cause or that is that you simply have one more thing to tune out in church, well maybe 2k doesn’t make much sense.

    The other challenge I see is that a lot of folks seem to confuse 2k with the anabaptist approach that specifically prohibits political action. 2k just says that the church can’t compel such action and should restrict its activities to what the scripture prescribes. That doesn’t limit what individual church members can do though. This is different from say the Mennonite approach.

    I get that this can frustrate activists who see churches as convenient recruiting grounds for their causes and zealots who just can’t understand why everyone doesn’t want to respond to this issue or that just like they do.

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  227. Thanks again for the verse (Matt 10:16), AdD… still reading on it this am

    “How do we respond? be wise, be harmless, beware, be calm, be real, be gone.”

    “What is the sum of our Lord’s instruction to us? This: we have no right to provoke animosity or destruction. There is too much work to be done and too many places to reach. Life is too precious. Every one of us matters to God’s Kingdom. We have to move to the receptive places and keep moving, knowing that God is with us all the time. In the power of the Spirit, He will help us to say the right things and have the effect that He wants us to have.” gty.org, sermon 2279-80

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  228. @KiN

    I think it is really helpful to think about 2k in light of Paul’s discussion of the morality of eating meat sacrificed to idols. Of course it is wrong to sacrifice animals to an idol. No question. If you do, the church should discipline you accordingly (in short – call you to repentance, bar you from the table until you repent, remove you from church membership if you persist in your sin and treat you like an unbeliever). But what about buying the meat sacrificed to idols? Here Paul is really interesting. It isn’t sinful in and of itself to eat such meat, so the church cannot forbid you from doing so. But if your conscience accuses you, then it is sinful for you to eat that meat. So the sinfulness of subsidizing idolatry by purchasing meat sacrificed to idols is left up to the conscience of the individual believer. Of course there is an ancillary concern about what this might do to your fellow Christian’s conscience that you should be cognizant of. Here the church does have the authority to advise you on that.

    Now you might ask, should the church call on you to work to ban animal sacrifice? I don’t think this would be appropriate. Part of church discipline is binding the conscience of believers by preaching the word of God. Going beyond God’s word is inappropriate. That doesn’t mean that you can only recite bible verses – expounding on the implication of certain principles in light of contemporary circumstances is certainly legit, but the minister should always keep other bounding principles in mind.

    That being said, if you were in a community dominated by P&R guys (~*shudder*~) who dominated the government (double ~*shudder*~), it may not be surprising that their political priorities would be heavily influenced by their religious commitments and they would be free to pass laws banning animal sacrifice if they thought it good for society, but they shouldn’t be compelled to do so by the church. In principle, one could be a faithful P&R strict subscriptionist and politically be a socialist (perhaps a bit dim, but there isn’t any thing wrong with that), libertarian, anarchist, communist, republican, democrat, green, etc…. The fact that something is wrong doesn’t mean that it is wise to outlaw it. One’s priorities on what should be outlawed, how to balance trade-offs, etc… is not determined in scripture. Paul did not speak out against the evil of slavery, despotic governors, human sex-trafficking, or infanticide (though his teaching for the church certainly had implications for all these things). Indeed, his response was that the church has no business judging those outside the church. We should follow his example. Our political activities should be secular in orientation in my estimation. Not every thing that is sinful should be dealt with by the state, the existence of a problem no matter how severe does not entail a solution, and “just do something, something is better than nothing” is a terrible approach to activism.

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  229. I don’t know how to help you get your head out of the sand, D.G. Hart, but please research the issues more. You are dreadfully uninformed, or misinformed about what Planned Parenthood is doing – all that it is doing. Many Christians – I am sure even in your own beloved denomination – are sucked into this. If for no other reason than to be a more effective elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, giving leadership to church members who may be confused about the nature of PP.

    Forget the 2 Kingdoms for a moment. Focus on your kingdom. Focus on your people. As far as I can tell here, if some of those who are posting – Jed is an exception – they are woefully ignorant or willfully ignorant of the threat that PP is to your little kingdom. If you don’t protect the flock, who will?

    By focusing on the alleged lies of those who are exposing PP instead of the very real threat that PP is to your churches, you have tacitly given approval to their policies. As TVD likes to say, you may not be interested in government, but government is interested in you.

    “Five seconds before the baby emerges, it has no moral worth. Five seconds after — all moral worth. That is untenable logically and pitiless psychologically. No one who has a passing familiarity with man’s inhumanity to man can be completely surprised that people who consider themselves humane can pull bags of body parts out of the freezer and pick through hands, eyes, lungs, and hearts on a light tray.”

    ———————————————————–
    “For decades, I’ve believed that displaying grisly photographs of aborted babies was the wrong way to make the pro-life case. Disturbing images, I thought, would only repel viewers, not persuade them. I now think I was wrong.

    There are many ways to make an argument. The Center for Medical Progress has demonstrated that a two-by-four has its uses. These videos, precisely because they are graphic, shatter the complacency and denial that are essential for a regime of mass violence to proceed. They undermine the reassuring fiction that birth is a bright moral line.

    Five seconds before the baby emerges, it has no moral worth. Five seconds after — all moral worth. That is untenable logically and pitiless psychologically. No one who has a passing familiarity with man’s inhumanity to man can be completely surprised that people who consider themselves humane can pull bags of body parts out of the freezer and pick through hands, eyes, lungs, and hearts on a light tray. As the footage was released, defenders of Planned Parenthood rushed to explain that many medical procedures are grisly.

    Writing in The New Republic, Dr. Jen Gunter protests that “These are not ‘baby parts.’ Whether a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, the tissue specimen is called ‘products of conception.’” Oh. If they’re not baby parts, why are they valuable for research and sale? CNN’s Errol Lewis insisted that, “Most of us would freak out if we listened to professionals . . . discuss details of how a dying person’s request to have their body parts donated . . . actually gets carried out.” No, we wouldn’t. It isn’t the gore that that causes us to recoil; it’s the intentional killing. It’s knowing that if the abortionist’s hand were stayed for just a few more weeks, that child could live out his whole life.

    Following the release of the first video, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, blindsided and unaware of what was still to come, apologized for Dr. Deborah Nucatola’s tone. Nucatola is the Director of Medical Services who spoke of “less crunchy” techniques and getting intact “calvariums” (heads) and other organs. Euphemisms are as critical to Planned Parenthood’s work as forceps, and as the other videos are demonstrating, pretty much everyone in that business adopts the same breezy tone about “products of conception.”

    They are so callous that they don’t recognize the gut-punch impact of a clinic worker casually noting that one of the samples was “a twin” or “a boy.” Another key fiction these videos retire definitively is that second-trimester abortions are vanishingly rare. As a Planned Parenthood employee assures the filmmakers, one clinic alone does 40-50 “procedures” (euphemism again) per month on 16-to-22-week-old fetuses. At 23 weeks’ gestation, according to the March of Dimes Foundation, the chances of survival outside the womb are about 17 percent. By 26 weeks, the chances are 80 percent.

    Just three weeks’ difference. When a pregnancy ends in miscarriage after 20 weeks, many states require a fetal death certificate. These rules do not apply when the death is intentional. Strange. The logic of Planned Parenthood is that human dignity and membership in the human family is completely contingent on the feelings of others. The most hardened abortion supporter (and we see that they are very hard) agrees that when the mother or both parents of a “product of conception” wants that “product,” the loss of a pregnancy is a tragedy.

    Who would be so cruel as to deny that the parents of a 23-week-old baby should have a funeral and burial if they request it? The logic of Planned Parenthood is that human dignity and membership in the human family is completely contingent on the feelings of others, specifically mothers. Never mind that millions of couples wait impatiently for the chance to adopt infants.

    (There are even waiting lists to adopt Down Syndrome children.) MORE PLANNED PARENTHOOD MITCH MCCONNELL: NO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN OVER DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS LEGAL, BUT DON’T EXPECT THE COURTS TO ACT LIKE IT HOW THE FIGHT TO DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD COULD LEAD TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

    Well, reply the abortion absolutists, such as the Reproductive and Sexual Health and Justice group, adoption is not a “universal alternative” to abortion. Some women who place their babies for adoption do so with a “heavy heart.” Yes, and some women who have abortions grieve for years. But subjective feelings are irrelevant to human decency. People who care for parents suffering from Alzheimer’s and other disabilities also have mixed feelings. They would not be human if they didn’t sometimes wish for the ordeal to come to a rapid end. Such feelings, however intense they may be, do not justify violence. Planned Parenthood’s defenders, including Hillary Clinton, stand exposed for their radicalism and evasion.

    Abortion, as Senator Elizabeth Warren put it last week, is “the most difficult decision a woman will make in her entire life.” There’s the core dishonesty: If it’s a “product of conception” and not a baby, why is it so difficult? — Mona Charen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. © 2015 Creators.com

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422181/planned-parenthood-videos-defense-logic?utm_source=jolt&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Jolt&utm_campaign=MorningJolt08072015A

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  230. @MWF I’m confused I guess. You wrote,

    I don’t know how to help you get your head out of the sand, D.G. Hart, but please research the issues more. You are dreadfully uninformed, or misinformed about what Planned Parenthood is doing – all that it is doing.

    So you’re saying that Darryl was wrong to call abortion and Planned Parenthood’s actions a “truly despicable aspect of American society”?

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  231. Darryl,

    Robert, if you can’t see the difference between soldiers and killing as part of what they are called legally to do and journalists and lying as not what they are called legally to do, then I can’t say much more.

    I think you’re moving the ball. Soldiers are legally called to kill in the right circumstances. But they are also legally required to refrain from killing if the enemy can be stopped another way without harming the objective. It’s why we typically frown on soldiers randomly killing civilians or prisoners of war/

    Journalists are permitted legally to lie in certain circumstances, and in light of the Constitution’s reasoning for having a free press, it is arguable that they are called to legally do so when there is a legitimate public interest. Which is why we don’t often see journalists thrown in jail for undercover investigation. The only reason to have freedom of the press is to keep the governing authorities from hiding the truth and ruling via propaganda.

    If the journalist’s mission is to uncover truth that is legitimately being hidden from the public and there is no other way to uncover it besides deception, then he’s failing as a journalist AND as a Christian for not doing his job. He is supposed to submit to his editor is he not? His editor isn’t calling him to do anything that violates the journalist’s code of ethics. And if he truly is permitted under some circumstances to lie by Scripture, then he’s obligated to follow his editor if in fact the occasion warrants a lie that Scripture would sanction.

    The situation might be more murky with CMP, and I accept that, because CMP isn’t a journalistic outfit. But when the “real” journalists collude with the authorities to hide the truth, what else are people supposed to do? Does not the 1st amendment permit the formation of a new press that actually makes good use of its freedom?

    So it really all comes down to this: Are Christians ever permitted to lie, and if so, under what circumstances? If they are but non-Christians get offended when they do lie, that’s mostly the fault of the non-Christian for not knowing Christian ethics, especially when most of them would have the very same ethic for the causes they favor. The pagans don’t get to define what being a good witness to Christ means. I’m all for being sensitive, but let’s not be foolish.

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  232. John,

    No longer a student-waiter, now substitute teacher working on teaching credentials. I do feed my family occasionally – last night was my favorite tri-tip recipe.

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  233. Webfoot: I don’t know how to help you get your head out of the sand, D.G. Hart… ou are dreadfully uninformed, or misinformed about what Planned Parenthood is doing – all that it is doing.

    Webfoot isn’t even pretend to give the square root of sweet beggar all to what we are saying on here.

    This is just beyond pathetic, we are into mental patient rambling from Webfoot now.

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  234. Darryl,

    I agree with the author of the article about O’Keefe practicing a guerilla theater type of journalism. Please understand that I do not think that lying is okay and that I do not agree that the end justifies the means. But I also keep in mind that O’Keefe is a kid growing up in a nihilistic culture where the family as a bedrock is broken and where the campus authority promotes activism antithetical to Christian morality( Vagina Monologues, abortion, LGBT…), and so kids are desperate for their lives to have meaning beyond the naturalist and materialistic. Nothing new under the sun. This is why they cut themselves, they want to “feel”. His methods are more activist than professionally journalistic, that’s for sure( thanks to or no thanks to his professors, pastors, parents, or mentors), but as misguided and quixotically idealistic as he is, his aim is at least toward the good. He’s interested in justice and is not shooting people in theaters, schools and churches…..or promoting abortion. His parents may not be proud but they aren’t having to issue apologies to victims or visit their son on death row.

    But I’m not here to be defending the means, because I don’t, I just want to promote that we all have responsibility to care about the importance of every human life, and that should cause us to have a righteous indignation, leading us to pray more, get involved more or address it through our writings if we own blogs and so forth. IOW’s I do not believe that you are pro-abortion, I just think your radical 2K belief has made you indifferent about this life. You restrict Christian values to be only within the church because it is the community of the church where people are expected to have Christian values and I agree with you that people who profess Christianity are expected to follow the ways of our Savior. However, if all good actions are manifestations of God then moral injunction is not restricted to professing Christians( the world is in danger of judgement). Professing Christians have the same injunction plus some for we are suppose to be intimate with the Master, and growing in holiness as we take up our crosses) Its tougher, not easier, although we do not do it alone, being aided by supernatural grace. That’s why we have to count the cost of being a disciple(Luke 14). It is possible to walk away and leave Him.

    In other words, when a pagan does a good he, unbeknown to himself, nevertheless manifests a Godly/Christian good. The inverse is true for him( as well as for us). Our actions are our profession. You don’t believe that we participate in our own salvation or of that of others, so you have a sort of temporal nihilism, and that affects how your view Christian involvement in this world. This is the result of the theology that you have been given. Whether the proponents are right or wrong is the question that needs to be asked, rather than asserting that Rome is Pelagian or semi-Pelagian, snce the Church clearly condemns both.
    I assume if you (or anyone else) wants to understand these things better and not simply regurgitate what you’ve been taught, you will be diligent to do your homework.
    .http://principiumunitatis.blogspot.com/2009/02/monocausalism-and-temporal-nihilism.html

    Anyways, I have a busy rest of the day. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  235. Susan, nor am I debating abortion. I am wondering out loud why the pro-life side is so willing to overlook flagrant disregard for truth telling. Can’t you be anti-murder and anti-lying? What is that hard?

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  236. Robert, I don’t think you have journalism right. I know we don’t like them, generally. But it’s not as natural for them to lie as it is for sailors to swear:

    There is no ethical canon or tradition that would excuse such deception on the part of a professional journalist. Robert Steele of the Poynter Institute argues that undercover journalism can only be justified on matters of “profound importance” when “all other alternatives for obtaining the same information have been exhausted.” This may excuse posing as a worker at an unsanitary meat-packing plant or as a mental patient in an abusive asylum. But it is hardly a matter of life and death to expose the conventional liberalism of a radio executive.

    O’Keefe’s defenders contend that he is not really a journalist but a new breed of “citizen journalist.” This can be defined as someone who simultaneously demands journalistic respect and release from journalistic standards, including a commitment to honesty. The profession of journalism counts many biases, challenges and failures. But citizen journalism has a problem of its own. Do we really want private citizens deceiving, taping and exposing the foolish weaknesses of their neighbors, with none of the constraints imposed by responsible professional oversight? Modern technology makes such things possible. Human nature makes them enjoyable. Neither makes them ethical.

    These tactics are not a new brand of gonzo journalism. They are a sophisticated version of the political dirty trick. Would it be citizen journalism to fool a senator’s psychiatrist into revealing demeaning information about his or her patient? Or to befriend a prominent conservative pastor, goad him into making homophobic statements, then edit, exaggerate and put them on the Internet? What ethical or professional standard among citizen journalists — in many instances, really political activists — would rule out such deceptions?

    The ethics of lying, of course, are complex. The prohibition against bearing false witness made the Ten Commandments cut. But I suspect that Moses would allow for lying to hide a Jew hunted by the Nazis. This does not make the prohibition against lying minor or relative. It is a recognition that competing moral duties can be more urgent and compelling — in this case, the moral duty to save a life. A spy tells lies to protect his country. A general engages in deception to defeat an enemy.

    But there can be no moral duty to deceive in order to entrap a political opponent with a hidden camera.

    So says Michael Gerson.

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  237. Darryl,

    Sure, and you should be anti-murder and anti-lying. I don’t think that everyone is overlooking flagrant lying. All sin is bad, but not all sin is equal. It’s worse to commit murder than to have a murderous thought( that we desire; sometimes because of concupiscence we get thoughts that we don’t want and so we can resist it by our will). If all we did in this life was to have bad thoughts, that would still be condemnable, but it would still be a nicer world to live in.
    If a love one of yours was held hostage for ransom, strapped with bombs and some brave person broke in and told the hostage takers that the place was surrounded with police and that there was no way of escape and so the bad guys gave-up, would you talk be upset that the rescuer told a lie? No, you would rejoice that your loved one was safe. Easy-peasy.
    Maybe lives will not be saved because of what David Daleiden did, but now the responsibility falls on everyone else since ignorance is no excuse.

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  238. Susan, has it ever dawned on you that just because I am against Daleiden’s tactics, I’m not pro-choice.

    This is where we are as bad as the Soviet Union. Group think. If you raise a question, your guilty of free markets. So much for the home of the brave and the land of the free.

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  239. El Unificatoro,

    As far as I know, no-one named Blaise in the family. We do have a cousin named Blaine if that scratches your itch. If you recall from Waiting for Guffman if you jumble up the letters of Blaine, it spells Nebali, which is a planet way far, far, far away.

    The Paschall’s are of Huguenot stock out of the Auvergne region in France, where Blaise Pascal was from. During the Reformation, my part of the family made the trek across the English Channel, and added an “H”. We added an “L” around the time my first American ancestor made his way to Philadelphia in the 1680’s in the region that became known as Paschallville (don’t know if it still exists in Philly today). Pascal was a somewhat common last name in the Auvergne region, so I don’t know if there are any family ties to Blaise, but many in my family have claimed that he is related in some way.

    You’re welcome for the history of the clan Paschall – I am off to the beach for the day with the family, which means I’ll be cleaning sand out of the minivan until October.

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  240. Darryl,

    But my point has been that this isn’t the “normal” practice of journalism but that it is permissible in exceptional circumstances. I just happen to think this is one of them. Do people really know that babies with arms are being chopped up or have they just been told its a clump of cells? Do they know that PP haggles over the price of these baby parts and that it views them only as line items? No, and there is no way that any of the other media out there would actually try and figure out whether PP’s statements are true.

    So if your point is that maybe we should think about the ethics of this thing, then I agree. We shouldn’t endorse an ends justify the means response. But neither should we be hard on CMP because they’re right wingers and right wingers are inconsistent and do stupid things sometime. Welcome to life.

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  241. Robert, the more I think, the more I wonder if CMP is journalism. Can you appoint yourself editor? Is “gonzo” journalism journalism? And are Christians consoling themselves that Daeleiden’s lies are okay because he’s a journalist (even when most Christians aren’t fans of journalism)?

    Not expecting you to answer this. Just throwing out more evidence of my guilt.

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  242. And the question about this episode is SO WHAT? Nothing will come of it, and ammo is given against the pro-life movement for AGAIN being untruthful, just like they messed around with frames of that documentary back in the 1980s (and lied about that as well.)

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  243. It’s a common lament that things have changed so much so fast, with the reference being to things like “their” gay marriage. But things have also changed quickly with “our” truth-telling as well. It seems like 20 years ago there was a strong presumption that truth should be told with one of the few exceptions being lethal situations. Now truth-telling is, like, whatever, as long as it’s for “us.”

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  244. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
    Susan, nor am I debating abortion. I am wondering out loud why the pro-life side is so willing to overlook flagrant disregard for truth telling. Can’t you be anti-murder and anti-lying? What is that hard?

    Because it’s morally obtuse if not juvenile. Murder is 100 on the meter and “lying” in this case is about a 2. Further, the “lying” serves the truth–exposing this horror–far more than “truth-telling” can.

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  245. @TVD So what do you think the end result of this expose is going to be? I would love for it to mean that society turns more against abortion and we see a lot less of it. But I doubt that will be the case.

    To be sure, telling a lie is not nearly as bad as killing a defenseless baby. No argument there from anyone I would think. But that doesn’t mean being dishonest or that everything done to stop the killing of babies is a good idea. It might be that your favored tactic doesn’t save any babies and makes something else worse.

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  246. sdb
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink
    @TVD So what do you think the end result of this expose is going to be?

    Defunding Planned Parenthood, either now or after the 2016 elections. Even if its effect were not as palpable, it wouldn’t support Dr. Hart’s argument. No false witness was borne against anyone’s neighbor, and a blanket condemnation of undercover journalism–which by definition requires deception–is very questionable theology, the case for which that has not been intelligently made here.

    Like

  247. kent
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
    Webfoot: “I don’t know how to help you get your head out of the sand, D.G. Hart… ou are dreadfully uninformed, or misinformed about what Planned Parenthood is doing – all that it is doing.”

    Webfoot isn’t even pretend to give the square root of sweet beggar all to what we are saying on here.

    This is just beyond pathetic, we are into mental patient rambling from Webfoot now.

    With all the respect due to you, sir, you’re the one who is rambling here.

    Like

  248. Hi Darryl

    “Susan, has it ever dawned on you that just because I am against Daleiden’s tactics, I’m not pro-choice. ”

    It has dawned on me, in fact, I told you that I know you do not defend abortion.

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  249. @tvd huh? Pretty sure Darryl’s point was that 2k gives room for folks to do things like deceive your neighbors (which of course includes all of humanity) accomplish undercover journalism without falling into the trap of baptizing lying or playing pharisuitical games about who is really your neighbor and whether lying and decieving are really lying.

    As noted in the comments a few of us are unsure whether 2k really implies this, others wonder if it is ever ok to lie, and others seem to think the ends justify the means. Not sure what you are disagreeing with in the post unless it is to adopt mwfs position that anything other than all cheerleading all the time makes one complicit in selling baby parts.

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  250. sdb
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink
    @tvd huh? Pretty sure Darryl’s point was that 2k gives room for folks to do things like deceive your neighbors (which of course includes all of humanity) accomplish undercover journalism without falling into the trap of baptizing lying or playing pharisuitical games about who is really your neighbor and whether lying and decieving are really lying.

    I didn’t get that. Are you sure he said that? Or means that?

    Further, I think your parsing of me and the actual commandment are faulty. the commandment reads

    King James Bible
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

    Bold face mine, because you don’t seem to get the point. The whole passage needs to be read. Nobody bore false witness against the abortionists.

    As noted in the comments a few of us are unsure whether 2k really implies this, others wonder if it is ever ok to lie, and others seem to think the ends justify the means. Not sure what you are disagreeing with in the post unless it is to adopt mwfs position that anything other than all cheerleading all the time makes one complicit in selling baby parts.

    I don’t think 2k is actually the point here except that’s it’s irresponsible to use bad Biblical interpretation against anti-abortionists. Abortion is 100 on the immorality meter; pretending to support abortion to get the bastards to reveal themselves is a 2, if not a 0.

    This was undercover journalism, bringing out the truth in a way no other means could, getting the guilty to convict themselves. Dr. Hart needs to argue that undercover journalism is intrinsically a violation of Biblical morality since it by its nature depends on deception. I think his argument fails on every level, as theology, ethics, or logic.

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  251. @tvd that was my reading, but Darryl can correct me of course. That’s why I asked the questions I did right off.

    “Bold face mine, because you don’t seem to get the point. The whole passage needs to be read. Nobody bore false witness against the abortionists.”
    Yeah. You are misreading the text. Note that the point of the parable of the good Samaritan was to answer the question, “who is my neighbor”. The implication of the parable is that your parsing is incorrect. The moral cretins at pp are our neighbor too. When you lie to them you are breaking one of the 10 commandments. Darryl indicated that this is ok in the 2k schema bc you aren’t lying as a Christian. I don’t think this works but maybe I am still reading him wrong.

    Agree abortion is much worse than fibbing about your identity to pp as part of investigative reporting.

    It seems lying can be justified in the same way say working on sabbath can if ox is in ditch. That doesn’t mean any work is justified (like building a fence on Sunday to keep out oxen).

    Who have the guilty been convicted by? Like I said, I hope I’m wrong but I predict that this will make no difference on abortion rate. It might make things worse for privacy moving forward. But that’s just speculation.

    I’m curious though, of abortion is a 100 and lying a two, where does birth control fit in? A 50? Colorado has a program to give long term reversible bc to teen moms and it seems to have caused quite a drop in teen births and abortion. Would you support a nationwide condition that single moms have option of iud (other fave reversible longterm method ) as condition of welfare benefits? Would certainly cause pp problems!

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  252. sdb
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Permalink
    @tvd that was my reading, but Darryl can correct me of course. That’s why I asked the questions I did right off.

    Perhaps we should leave it there and leave it to you parse Dr. Hart’s text–or for him to speak for himself–for some proof he’s not a Pharisaical moral imbecile who loves the letter of the law more than its spirit.

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  253. vd, t, you think the Washington Post publishes theology?

    There is no ethical canon or tradition that would excuse such deception on the part of a professional journalist. Robert Steele of the Poynter Institute argues that undercover journalism can only be justified on matters of “profound importance” when “all other alternatives for obtaining the same information have been exhausted.” This may excuse posing as a worker at an unsanitary meat-packing plant or as a mental patient in an abusive asylum. But it is hardly a matter of life and death to expose the conventional liberalism of a radio executive.

    O’Keefe’s defenders contend that he is not really a journalist but a new breed of “citizen journalist.” This can be defined as someone who simultaneously demands journalistic respect and release from journalistic standards, including a commitment to honesty. The profession of journalism counts many biases, challenges and failures. But citizen journalism has a problem of its own. Do we really want private citizens deceiving, taping and exposing the foolish weaknesses of their neighbors, with none of the constraints imposed by responsible professional oversight? Modern technology makes such things possible. Human nature makes them enjoyable. Neither makes them ethical.

    These tactics are not a new brand of gonzo journalism. They are a sophisticated version of the political dirty trick. Would it be citizen journalism to fool a senator’s psychiatrist into revealing demeaning information about his or her patient? Or to befriend a prominent conservative pastor, goad him into making homophobic statements, then edit, exaggerate and put them on the Internet? What ethical or professional standard among citizen journalists — in many instances, really political activists — would rule out such deceptions?

    The ethics of lying, of course, are complex. The prohibition against bearing false witness made the Ten Commandments cut. But I suspect that Moses would allow for lying to hide a Jew hunted by the Nazis. This does not make the prohibition against lying minor or relative. It is a recognition that competing moral duties can be more urgent and compelling — in this case, the moral duty to save a life. A spy tells lies to protect his country. A general engages in deception to defeat an enemy.

    But there can be no moral duty to deceive in order to entrap a political opponent with a hidden camera.

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  254. vd, t, “Nobody bore false witness against the abortionists.”

    How is telling PP you agree with them when you don’t not bearing false witness against the abortionists?

    Did you go to a Jesuit school?

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  255. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, you think the Washington Post publishes theology?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
    Susan, decent, I hope. Nice, no.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
    b, sd, “2k gives room for folks to do things like deceive your neighbors”

    ding ding

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “I didn’t get that.”

    no kidding.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “Nobody bore false witness against the abortionists.”

    How is telling PP you agree with them when you don’t not bearing false witness against the abortionists?

    Did you go to a Jesuit school?

    Dr. Hart, please put your point in the form of a point.

    How is telling [Planned Parenthood] you agree with them when you don’t not bearing false witness against the abortionists?

    Dr. Hart, that’s not just moral but logical imbecility. Even your defenders like “sdb” have no idea how to defend you.

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  256. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink
    Greg, behold!
    I wasn’t directing my remark to you only and actually not with any animosity Darryl. It was a sincere and honest observation.

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  257. Mrs. W,

    You’re making an error in reasoning. DGHs silence (in this post) on abortion does not imply approval or condoning. It simply implies that, whatever the ethics of abortion, he does not believe that lying in the course of investigation is justified. I happen to disagree, but I also understand what he is and is not saying.

    Beware of reasoning from silence. It’s an attractive move, but very unreliable.

    I assume this was an honest mistake on your part, in which case the simple remedy is to retract your accusations above.

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  258. @ DGH,

    After chewing on this for some time, I disagree with your scruples about undercover investigation. I do have reservations, which I will address below. In the main, however, I think that Daleiden’s investigation meets criteria. The need to preserve others’ lives, thus fulfilling the sixth commandment, trumps the need to scrupulously represent who you actually are for the same reason that a psychologist must deceive a human subject in order to achieve a double-blind experiment. D had to get candid remarks from PP execs, and that was not going to happen any other way.

    However, the permissibility of lying for undercover purposes is limited. D does not have license to misrepresent his results. So if it turns out that he has exaggerated the importance of PPs fees, then he deserves censure. (One of my progessive friends and I have been vigorously debating whether the edited videos are fairly edited or not.)

    Let’s dispose of a simple objections. One does not need to be an accredited journalist. Journalism is as journalism does.

    Why is his behavior justified? Ultimately, because he is caught between two commandments and has to come to some way of prioritizing. These things happen. In Acts 4, the apostles are caught between obedience to God (commandment 1) and obedience to authority (#5). In Exodus, the midwives were caught between complicity in murder (#6) and obedience to authority, as well truth-telling.

    It is often the case that it’s possible to thread the needle and satisfy both commands with sufficient wisdom. But that’s not always the case, and sometimes one has to pick, by faith, trusting that we are justified by faith and not perfect obedience.

    His way of prioritizing is unclear, but if I were he, I would reason that the potential to save lives in the future outweighs the harm done to the individuals and institution BECAUSE the goal is to get candid statements from those individuals in order to force a proper legal investigation. That would be my game plan.

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  259. vd, t, exactly, this is my point. Daleiden’s rationale is morally and logically incoherent:

    We were quite surprised, during the course of this project, how trusting and how willing to talk and negotiate and let us into the inner circle Planned Parenthood was.

    All we had to do was say two things. Number one, that we supported their work. And number two, that we wanted to buy their fetal body parts. Those were the magic words. And they were willing to bend over backwards to accommodate that.

    A big OL thanks!

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  260. I have some significant reservations about my own position.

    (1) There is a slippery-slope potential. If lying about yourself is legitimate for undercover ops, what about lying about others? Where does it stop? This concern is related to Noble Cause Corruption, in which any malfeasance is justified for the sake of the cause.

    (2) As Kant observed, once you know that I am willing to lie, you will no longer trust my words. In other words, I pay a price in credibility for my undercover ops.

    As a practical example of this, the advice often given to ordinary citizens is to NEVER talk to police without a lawyer present. Among the reasons is that while it is a crime to lie to the police, it is no crime for them to lie to you. The trustworthiness of police is undone.

    (3) Once we begin prioritizing commandments, we now have to ask, On what basis? Pretty soon, we end up philosophically in utilitarian land, either on the basis of least harm (Popper), greatest happiness (Mill), most satisfied preferences (Bentham, Singer), or the more amorphic “love” (Fletcher, Bonhoeffer). I don’t have space to argue it here, but I view utilitarianism as incompatible with obedience to God’s commands.

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  261. Jeff, those biblical analogies don’t really work well. D wasn’t compelled to do anything. He did it of his own volition, etc. He was not caught between two commandments because he wasn’t compelled to harm another.

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  262. Minor point, but another question is whether D can truly be considered a journalist. What makes one a journalist? D set up his own organization and called it a charity, then set up a fake name and org. to go after PP. While I think his intentions were good, in that he seemed to want to expose an evil more than garner attention for himself, I’m not sure he should be rightly called a journalist. (Without a clear definition of journalism, pretty soon everyone who blogs will consider themselves journalists.)

    http://www.wannabehacks.co.uk/2013/02/27/what-is-a-journalist/

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  263. I don’t always agree with Curt or DGH, but the word “imbecile” never enters my mind to describe them.

    But I’m just a mere mortal sinner.

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  264. So if Webster is bright-eyed about lying for the cause of embarrassing PP, surely she would lie if it would promote the greater good of persuading someone to join her church. And for others, if this is a good lie then so is lying about candidates (pro-abortion, pro-SSM) and being so sloppy in talking about stories and court cases – in the service of promoting Great Causes – that the slop spills over into slander and lying.

    This is pretty big: if the cause for this lie is enough, you guys will lie about all kinds of things. And guess what? Your causes will probably lose anyway. Let’s talk about gaining the world but losing your soul. Or at least your credibility.

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  265. @ Zrim: I would say the “just defense” and the “preserving the life of others” of WLC 135 are in play as obligations.

    The point of that specific OT example, which is praised in both Exodus and Hebrews, is that “lawful means” may include lying in extremis.

    In other words: Both midwives and D have obligations under the sixth commandment. If lying was not an obstacle to the midwives, it is therefore possibly not for D as well.

    Put yet another way: your position would seem to entail that if lying is necessary, then the obligation to preserve the life of others is null (else, there would be a conflict of obligations, which you seem to deny)

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  266. Jeff, I think you are going the right direction here, sometimes ethical reasoning requires sifting through competing moral demands. The case of preservation of life, or exposing barbarism versus telling the truth to the perpetrators of this barbarism is an apt example. I do think there is some room for conscience in the Daleiden case, however, there would be cases where telling the truth when individual lives are on the line (e.g. harboring Jews in Nazi Germany, Israelite midwives in Egypt, Rahab in Jericho) would actually be morally wrong.

    Your slippery slope warning is also important. I would say that only in extraordinary cases would deception be the right moral choice. We have already seen how Reformed churchmen have driven semi trucks through the extraordinary exemption in WCF 31.4. I think it is important to have a high criteria for what constitutes extraordinary cases where deception is permissible, and which cases it is necessary.

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  267. I’ll throw this one out there:

    Was there any way that Daleiden or others could’ve obtained this information from PP without deception? Did he take the path of least resistance?

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  268. Jed, what was the good effect of this action?

    Nobody changed their opinion about PP one iota from this, if you support PP you squashed the story or forgot it within 3 seconds, especially when it was proven that the “lunatic fringe” person getting the story lied (even a little bit) to obtain it. Fruit of a poisoned tree.

    I guess people who don’t like PP got to stew in their juices a little bit more.

    Yippeeeeee…………………

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  269. Jeff, if you and I don’t go gonzo on our own local PPs then are we guilty of not preserving life? No. Nobody is telling you, me or D to toss first borns into rivers. The mid wives are praised but only because they were obeying God rather than men, while we aren’t even in a similar situation to begin with. Your position would seem to entail something similar to the BBs who tell us that not to protest clinics is to be complicit. Boo, hiss.

    Again, I’ve no interest in defending PP’s little shop of horrors. But as I told she whose feet are webbed, reaching for the mid wives example just doesn’t work here. In fact, most biblical examples seem dicey.

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  270. I find it difficult to get worked up over PP. Partially because it’s legal, partially because I’m just not shocked that they engage in unethical practices. Everybody seems to want to protect ,at the very least, their individual conscience on such issues. Most of those attempts are mere matters of self-deception. I don’t have that particular log in my eye. God, thank you that I’m not like that sinner. I’ve lived long enough to know if you put me in the right position and apply enough pressure, I might just fail. My honest take away from this and discussions of violations of the ninth and prioritizing one command over another, is that I’m glad Jesus died for all my sins. And that’s not to ‘shame’ anyone here because they want to parse this out, I just find myself unmoved by most of it. And the posters and FB videos and pictures just cause me to tune it out even more, while thinking if we just went about this quietly and dignified and stayed out of the red meat aspects, we’d accomplish a lot more and garner a lot more credibility.

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  271. Sean, the thought I keep having when seeing all the outrage porn is that there are lots of awful things happening in the world. Why does this grip conservative Christians specially in ways all the other outrage porn worthy things just don’t? Why do the sound 2k-ish when it comes to the varied and awful plights of ex utero children around the big bad world but all of a sudden turn outrage-y when it comes to the in utero?

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  272. Jed (and Jeff), would you tell PP execs that you support them and want to buy fetal organs? I’m not trying to bait you. But that’s what Daleiden did and I find it hard to believe that anyone here (except if they’re wearing moral beer goggles) would actually do that in real life.

    If you wouldn’t then what are we debating? This isn’t Rahab. It’s Daleiden’s own admission of telling a bald face lie. That’s not undercover and going to some parking lot to meet Deep Throat.

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  273. Jeff, I think you provide a useful analysis, although I’m not sure I agree with one conclusion.

    PP is evil: PP and its supporters are very evil people engaged in massively sinful behavior on a scale difficult to conceive of – it is international in scope, with impacts on the long-term fate of nations – they absolutely must be stopped by any just means. I’ll presume almost all commenting here agree.

    PP’s evil was already known: it was already common knowledge that PP takes money to murder children. That’s the major crime – the selling of dismembered corpses is secondary. I suspect the potential moral difficulties you point to indeed come into play in this case without the over-riding need for lying to uncover a heinous crime.

    Possible cases where such a lie might be warranted?: If abortion were illegal and all PP did was sell corpses of baby’s naturally deceased, I think it likely the lie would be warranted- this is a grotesque practice. If no one knew PP performed abortions, I believe it almost certain the lie would be warranted. But in the actual case at hand perhaps it isn’t – since there is no necessity to uncover the well-known fundamental crime.

    Other cases: If PP as a corp or senior PP leadership cheat on taxes, would that warrant a tax lawyer or accountant leaking info (I suspect yes)? Hacking in to steal records? Posing as officials to try to get privileged info?

    What about developing personal friendships with PP workers in order to find out unsavory details of their personal lives and publishing them? What about spying on them to take unflattering pictures and creating internet sex site accounts including their contact info? Stealing their identities and creating financial and legal difficulties?

    “Pro-Life Movement” Code of Ethics: Perhaps “the prolife movement” needs (or already has?) a detailed statement of ethics as to what can and can’t be done and why? Groups then could sign on to it (or not), and we might get some clarity here.

    I hope I do not bring the wrath of the well-intentioned on me (I’m trying to be very straightforward and accurate with my words), and nevertheless hope some good may come from D’s work, although I fear for the evils you (Jeff) and Muddy have pointed out.

    Social stability is not a given, is precious, must be valued and fought for. It is very much under attack, and the only potential source of renewal I see (religion) is not likely to be given adequate widespread practice anytime soon – we need to keep alive what remains as best we can.

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  274. Zrim, I think I remember reading about no one less than Carl Henry, before 1970, admitting that discerning what was right and wrong about the abortion possibility was a difficult opporutnity. Meaning it wasn’t cut and dry and was, rather, personal and private and already wrought with emotional distress for the participants and the whole situation was needful of a great deal of compassion and discretion. From that perspective, I understand women clamoring to reclaim ownership and priviilege and privacy, along with the father, for this decision.

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  275. “How is telling [Planned Parenthood] you agree with them when you don’t not bearing false witness against the abortionists?”

    Dr. Hart, that’s not just moral but logical imbecility. Even your defenders like “sdb” have no idea how to defend you.

    @tvd Truly you have a dizzying intellect…a regular Ignatius J. Reilly!

    Just to clarify though – I agree with dgh that deceiving the PP folks was lying or “bearing false witness against their neighbors”. This is pretty basic stuff. I also agree with Darryl that 2k provides justification to engage in activities that you would be unjustified to do in the name of Christ (going to war is one – think Luther’s criticism of the Crusades. It wasn’t that going to war was the wrong thing to do, but it shouldn’t be done under the cross). However, I don’t think that sinful behavior (e.g., lying) is acceptable just because it isn’t being done in the name of Christ (I’m not a nomian in church and antinomian in the world). My questions at the start of this thread were asking about just that point as that was one way one could read the implications of this post. If that had been what dgh meant, I would disagree.

    Yes killing little babies and selling them for spare parts is really, really evil. Much worse than lying. No one is disputing that. Not sure why you insist on repeating something utterly irrelevant to the point here. There is an interesting debate going on. If you took a break from your effort to score points that no one cares about, you might actually learn something. I know, I know, you’ve learned everything you need to know about Calvinism from your interaction with six calvinists on a blog. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

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  276. Kent is right,

    The greater evil than what PP does with the bodies is abortion itself. And abortion is all about sex without consequences. Conservatives can target doctors all they want, but just as complicit are mothers who abort their children. Both should be prosecuted. Very few mothers who abort their babies are scared victims as the movies suggest (though it does happen). The majority are women who want to keep having sex without consequences, included getting heavy with a pregnancy. Yet how many religious conservatives, if their 16 year old daughter has an abortion, would be supportive of a prison sentence for their daughter? My guess is not many. But you cannot call something murder, or even manslaughter, then be afraid to support prison for women who get abortions, along with the doctors. The state’s job should be to prosecute mothers who murder their babies, the church’s job is to tell them there is forgiveness for their sins in Christ. I have no confidence the state will ever do its job on this, and less confidence the church can keep on her message, and even less confidence so-called religious pro-lifers will remain consistent on either when abortion hits their own homes.

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  277. @kent I recall one pundit quip that all americans oppose abortion with three exceptions: rape, the health of the mother, and my own personal issue.

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  278. @Todd “And abortion is all about sex without consequences.” I don’t think so or the proliferation of IUDs would kill demand. Another big driver is to avoid having to raise a special needs child,

    An estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies, according to Skotko’s review of research worldwide.

    People may talk a good game about abortion, but when push comes to shove, their stated preference is not aligned with their revealed preference. I suspect this is why the pro-life movement underperforms despite polling that indicates they should be more successful than they are. We aren’t sufficiently honest with pollsters (or ourselves).

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  279. And Republican nominees for the Supreme Court can stealth onto the bench by giving the impression they’ll be “conservative” and then from the first decision show they might have been too extreme for the Democratic Party to even bring before a GOP stacked Judicial Committee.

    Would be nice if for once it went the other way for betrayal of stated judicial thinking…

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  280. @ Kent: Actually, visuals turn out to shape opinions a lot. But more importantly, this is the third inning. I’ll go out on a limb and predict an eventual conviction on charges of altering surgical procedures to obtain tissue.

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  281. @ all: I was stupid to rely memory. The Hebrew midwives don’t make it into Hebrews. Moses’s parents do.

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  282. jeff, i’ll posit that 96% of North American society doesn’t care at all about the issue, unless it becomes of consequence in their life. And the other 4% split evenly on the spectrum of never to anything goes.

    The story was gruesome, seeing that old bag’s smirking photo on Drudge for a few days was depressing enough.

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  283. Kent,

    Besides asserting that no-one changed their minds about PP, do you have anything to validate this?

    There has been progress made in terms of legal pressure on PP, poor public image, and there is a growing group of secular millenials who are against abortion, this may have had some affect on that segment. I am not saying this is the harbinger of PP’s downfall, but every bit helps.

    I really have no desire to disabuse you guys who have an issue with Daleiden’s of your opinion. That kind of deception is bound to rub some the wrong way. But, with that said, I just don’t agree with the position that what he did was morally impermissible. You guys aren’t evil for holding that opinion, just wrong I think. I can live with that.

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  284. For what it’s worth, it seems to me St. Augustine would have given a “nay” to Daleiden.

    I’m no Augustine scholar and I don’t have any more time to spend on it, these are no more than carefully selected extracts intended to be faithful to his main thrust. He addresses many of the cases raised here, including hiding-the-Nazis-from-the-Jews.

    Indeed, his argument and considerations are quite comprehensive – set aside a couple of hours, be forever the better for it, and share your thoughts.

    Extracts from Augustine’s De Mendacio = On the Subject of Lying:

    let us inquire, whether it be sometimes useful to utter a falsehood with will to deceive. […]

    he acts contrary to a true thing who says that a thing is so or not so, whereof neither his mind nor senses nor his opinion or belief gives him any report.

    Whether therefore he does not hurt himself in so profiting another, or in that compensation not hurt himself in which he profits the other, is a great question

    If it be so, it should follow that he ought to profit himself by a lie which damages no man. But these things hang together, and if you concede that point, it necessarily draws in its train some very embarrassing consequences. […]

    [Defenders of the position to ever permit speaking falsehoods argue] that he lies with the heart who approves a lie; yet that man may possibly not lie with the heart, who utters other than is in his mind, in such sort that he knows it to be for the sake of avoiding a greater evil that he admits an evil, disapproving withal both the one and the other.

    […But] the only point to be attended to in this question is, whether a lie be iniquity […] whether a man ought to tell a lie for the safety of another, is just the same as asking whether for another’s safety a man ought to commit iniquity. […]

    [Even when seeking to make converts – save souls, the highest good – lying is not permissable e.g. teaching falsities as doctrine, giving false justifications for doctrine, ]. For, once break or but slightly diminish the authority of truth, and all things will remain doubtful: which unless they be believed true, cannot be held as certain. […]

    18. This being from the very first and most firmly established, touching other lies the question proceeds more securely. […]

    [Augustine then addresses the type of lie] which is commonly attributed to well-meaning and good people, when the person who lies not only does no harm to another, but even benefits somebody. Now it is on this sort of lies that the whole dispute turns, whether that person does harm to himself, who benefits another in such sort as to act contrary to the truth. […]

    [For the argument, link below, but here is the conclusion:]

    42. It clearly appears then, all being discussed, that those testimonies of Scripture have none other meaning than that we must never at all tell a lie: seeing that not any examples of lies, worthy of imitation, are found in the manners and actions of the Saints, as regards those Scriptures which are referred to no figurative signification, such as is the history in the Acts of the Apostles. […]

    For in these words it is most plainly written, The mouth that lies slays the soul. How then can it be said without the greatest perverseness, that to the end one man may have life of the body, it is another man’s duty to incur death of the soul? […]

    unto eternal salvation none is to be led by aid of a lie. […]

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1312.htm

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  285. @ Zrim: Let’s call the Bayleys “Fundamentalist Progressives”, as in “This cause is your cause, this cause is my cause…”

    We agree that neither Bible nor WLC is a Fundamentalist Progressive document.

    But nor are they libertarian documents. Take a look at WLC 99. We have obligations to be perfect in the performance of positive duties, and even to see that others do so.

    Where D and I differ is that he seems to have much more specific knowledge about the doings of PP. He knew, for example, whom to talk to, and what kinds of crimes were being committed. I don’t have that kind of knowledge, and I don’t think you do either.

    Question before us is, given D’s knowledge, was it permissible for him to lie in order to fulfill an obligation to protect life? I think it’s entirely possible. That’s not the same as saying that everyone is obligated to do so.

    In other words, his obligation is both general (according to the 6th) and specific (according to the situations he’s close to).

    Back at you: Would you prosecute him in a church court for lying?

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  286. Jed, most people don’t want to talk about it at all, so the repugnant (to everyone) story was ignored if one didn’t want to be bothered with it. Or excused away in two seconds, often in the name of “higher principles for humanity….”

    And if you dwell on it, you are already in the pro-life camp to begin with.

    I would welcome whatever legislative or criminal action is forthcoming, I won’t hold my breath waiting.

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  287. Jed, not to be a jerk about this, but would you say to PP execs what Daleiden did? I want to know if you are comfortable with that kind of deceit. If you’re not, then I don’t think you’re that far away from mmmmeeeeEEEEE.

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  288. @ Kevin: Couldn’t be. He who is neVer in Doub,T has already declared that lying only pegs a 2/100 on the morality scale. Don’t confuse us with your “quotes” from “primary sources” who are obviously “moral imbeciles.”

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  289. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink
    Susan, has it ever dawned on you that just because I am against Daleiden’s tactics, I’m not pro-choice.>>>>>

    I guess you are saying that you are not pro choice. You are anti lying. Just because I support Daleiden’s methodology doesn’t mean I am in favor of lying. I am certainly not in favor of murdering abortionists or any other kind of violence to abortion facilities.

    Let’s revisit the example of the Hebrew midwives. I think there is a clear parallel to what Daleiden did. This can even be considered a sola scriptura argument.

    God rewards the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1. Does He reward them for lying? Well, He doesn’t even call what they did a lie, now does He? If you say that they lied, then you are going beyond what God Himself says in this instance.

    They were saving lives – Hebrew lives. God was pleased.

    Maybe your definition of lying is flawed. Maybe your understanding of the 10 Commandments is as well.

    DGH:
    This is where weare as bad as the Soviet Union. Group think. >>>>

    Well, group think is bad, but no think is not so great, either.

    Exodus 1
    15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews[a] you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

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  290. @ DGH:

    I would steal parts from a terrorist, or supply him with bogus parts. I would set up a honeypot for a hacker. And I would seriously consider lying as the only forseeable alternative to letting someone be killed.

    Does that help?

    Are you suggesting that the Ten Commandments never conflict with each other, or just that they obviously don’t here?

    And, same question to you as to Zrim. Would you bring charges against Daleiden?

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  291. Jeff, are you suggesting that God would inspire/lead a believer to deliberately sin, or give out “rebates on such sin” if it worked out for some kind of good?

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  292. Jeff, if DD were a church member, I would pay him a visit and see how such disregard for honesty comports with his striving for holiness and with Christ and his body’s reputation. We’ll go from there.

    Yes, the commandments conflict.

    But in this case, it’s not like DD saved any lives — say, like lying to the Nazis looking for Anne Frank. The benefits to the 6th commandment in the videos is indirect at best. I think DD wanted to make PP look bad. Not sure that’s wrong, though another commandment about loving our neighbors does come to mind. But by lying DD didn’t obey the 6th commandment. And if you throw in that he used the Lord’s name to justify his actions, he might have violated the 3rd (2nd for the Tiber River challenged).

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  293. ” I don’t think so or the proliferation of IUDs would kill demand.”

    That is exactly the point sdb. Very few married women get abortions. If singles do not want a baby, why are they not using birth control? This includes the male. A small percentage of single women do use contraceptives and get pregnant anyway, but I am speaking of the majority, which all studies show the majority who get abortions did not use birth control. Given the amount and variety of birth control available there should be very few abortions. So why were they not using it? The passion of the moment and a culture of hedonism. And almost half of those who get abortions get more than one. Very unlikely they are using birth control in all these circumstances. My point is that if you are going to use the rhetoric of calling abortion murder, then be consistent, murder should have civil consequences, even when done by a member of your family. If not then maybe tone down the rhetoric.

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  294. @ DGH,

    I think (hope) the point was to force an investigation. He’s not accusing PP of bad taste.

    But I see and respect your point.

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  295. Jed, the entire matter hasn’t brought up a whiff of comment on a few key websites of the Reformed faith.

    I guess these people do not slavishly follow the internet media or gotcha journalism?

    I wouldn’t have known anything about it except for Drudge and Old Life.

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  296. Zrim,

    Sean, the thought I keep having when seeing all the outrage porn is that there are lots of awful things happening in the world. Why does this grip conservative Christians specially in ways all the other outrage porn worthy things just don’t? Why do the sound 2k-ish when it comes to the varied and awful plights of ex utero children around the big bad world but all of a sudden turn outrage-y when it comes to the in utero?

    Because people are inconsistent.

    Because many Christians are Republicans.

    Because people in this country are more likely to affect things in this country than they are around the world.

    Because many leaders have said this is the number one issue Christians should be concerned with.

    Because Christians don’t like murder.

    Because Christians see how abortion cheapens human life and dignity.

    Because they’ve known people personally who have had abortions and regret it terribly.

    Because some of them have had abortions themselves but haven’t personally had to deal with pirates, pillagers, rapists, famine, and other things people endure all around the world.

    Some of these reasons are more valid than others perhaps. And there are more, but it’s not all political.

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  297. Jeff,

    It’s actually around 83% unmarried.
    http://prochoice.org/wp-content/uploads/women_who_have_abortions.pdf

    Pollsters have also found that most women who claim financial reasons for getting abortions actually could afford a baby and were already on gov. assistance that could have provided for the birth. It makes sense that few women would not tell the truth as to why they are seeking an abortion so stats in this area are unreliable. But generally to separate abortion from the sexual revolution is a mistake. Even Hollywood, with all their talk about teaching young people birth control, rarely want to show people actually using it the moment of their passion. Ruins the image.

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  298. Darryl,

    Robert, the more I think, the more I wonder if CMP is journalism.

    A legitimate question, I think. Based on what they’ve done so more, I would guess that they are more journalistic than anything else.

    Can you appoint yourself editor?

    In the age of new media, yes. Start up a website, and you become the de facto editor. Whether that’s good or not is a legitimate question. But maybe if real journalism was being done elsewhere in this country, it wouldn’t have happened.

    Is “gonzo” journalism journalism?

    This question is ambiguous. Depends on what you mean by “gonzo” journalism. I don’t think this is “gonzo” journalism. He’s not getting information on the personal lives of PP clinic organizers (at least not in what is being done so far). He’s exposing activity that seems to be criminal even in our legalized-abortion-on-demand setting.

    And are Christians consoling themselves that Daeleiden’s lies are okay because he’s a journalist (even when most Christians aren’t fans of journalism)?

    Most of them are probably consoling themselves that Daeleiden’s lies are okay because they are exposing the dark underbelly of the already dark abortion industry. So at most they are guilty of not thinking things through carefully enough before approving the action. But that doesn’t have any real bearing on whether CMP is acting properly or not.

    Not expecting you to answer this. Just throwing out more evidence of my guilt.

    Guilt? I think you have some legitimate questions. I’m just convinced that the questions actually have answers in this case and that they are in favor of what CMP has done.

    I mean, let’s just speak pragmatically. Does the U.S. voter have the right to know if his tax dollars are being used to fund an organization that is actually breaking federal law? If no traditional journalistic outfit is willing to expose these illegalities—and to be sure, PP is followed as blindly by traditionalist journalist outlets as GWBush was by many evangelicals—then are we just supposed to throw up our arms if we are essentially certain that they are going on?

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  299. We don’t have to agree with Augustine, but from another work on the same subject Contra Mendacium (to be fair, he is in this section talking about heretics):

    12. But, you will say, we more easily penetrate their concealment if we pretend to be ourselves what they are. If this were lawful or expedient, Christ might have instructed his sheep that they should come clad in wolves’ clothing to the wolves, and by the cheat of this artifice discover them: which He has not said, no, not when He foretold that He would send them forth in the midst of wolves.

    But you will say: They needed not at that time to have inquisition made for them, being most manifest wolves; but their bite and savageness were to be endured. What, when foretelling later times, He said that ravening wolves would come in sheep’s clothing? Was there not room there to give this advice and say, And do ye, that you may find them out, assume wolves’ clothing, but within be ye sheep still?

    Not this says He: but when he had said, Many will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but within are ravening wolves; He went on to say, not, By your lies, but, By their fruits you shall know them. […]

    15. And as for that saying of the Apostle, Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another, far be it that we should so understand it, as though he had permitted to speak a lie with those who are not yet with us members of the body of Christ. […]

    18. It does indeed make very much difference, for what cause, with what end, with what intention a thing be done: but those things which are clearly sins, are upon no plea of a good cause, with no seeming good end, no alleged good intention, to be done. […]

    34. But some man will say, Would then those midwives and Rahab have done better if they had shown no mercy, by refusing to lie? Nay verily, those Hebrew women, if they were such as that sort of persons of whom we ask whether they ought ever to tell a lie, would both eschew to say anything false, and would most frankly refuse that foul service of killing the babes.

    But, you will say, themselves would die. Yea, but see what follows. They would die with an heavenly habitation for their incomparably more ample reward than those houses which they made them on earth could be: they would die, to be in eternal felicity, after enduring of death for most innocent truth.

    I’d be interested if someone could demonstrate Augustine provided for Daleiden’s action, but I don’t think he does. We still of course must act by our own lights as we think best if we have tried to understand the arguments against our proposed action with sincerity.

    Augustine isn’t here to comment, so I’ll let my vivification of him rest.

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1313.htm

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  300. For the record, I don’t think Augustine makes a satisfactory argument that the midwives were praised merely for taking a step in the right direction (he says more than I posted, if you open the links and search “wives” and “women” you’ll find it).

    But for him to admit an exception here would overturn a position held consistently in two longish works which are ostensibly well-reasoned. Perhaps he didn’t know how to deal with the midwives, the alleged injustice of whose lie he mostly addresses through presenting the arguments of others.

    He was confident of his position, however.

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  301. Jeff, or perhaps the question is, Why can’t it be conceded that while lying in this case pales in comparison to what the lie helps expose, it doesn’t make it any more permissible? It would go a little further to instead of so much effort to white wash it.

    But I still don’t see how DD’s special knowledge in some way compels him more than you and me, nor how our relative ignorance gets us off the hook per your reasoning (is ignorance really a justification in this high stakes reasoning?). Knowledge is one thing, but doesn’t accountability actually require a little more than that, i.e. having some degree of actual responsibility in real situations? DD doesn’t have that.

    Back at you: Would you prosecute him in a church court for lying?

    Not wanting to dodge, but is there good reason to overlook a church member who publicly admits to bearing false witness? This would be part of admitting lying’s immorality, i.e. bearing its responsibility. I imagine it’s worth it to a DD, to take spiritual admonition for moral trespass. But overlook it? Can’t think of a good reason.

    Like

  302. @ Todd:

    Your number is more up to date than mine, so I’ll accept it as a reasonable measure: 83% by unmarrieds leaving 17% for marrieds.

    My point is just to nudge back against “very few.” 17% of 1.06M abortions in 2011 (Guttmacher 2014) is 180,000 abortions by married women. How does “sizeable minority” work for you?

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  303. Kevin, the midwive’s disobedience led to some interesting situations when notes were included with scripture.

    Like

  304. Kent,

    Can you elaborate or post a link? Not sure what you are getting at or even how I would go about figuring it out.

    Like

  305. Jeff,

    Yes, I may have overstated that. My point is more general. Legal abortion is likely here to stay (not being a post-millennialist). It is part of our (America’s) sexual ethos unfortunately. And most conservatives don’t really want true enforcement against when it affects their own daughters.

    Like

  306. Jeff Cagle
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink
    Mrs. W,

    You’re making an error in reasoning. DGHs silence (in this post) on abortion does not imply approval or condoning. It simply implies that, whatever the ethics of abortion, he does not believe that lying in the course of investigation is justified. I happen to disagree, but I also understand what he is and is not saying.>>>>

    I know what DGH thinks about lying. I want to know what he thinks about Planned Parenthood.

    How can you understand what he is not saying, Jeff?

    Jeff:
    Beware of reasoning from silence. It’s an attractive move, but very unreliable.>>>>

    DGH should beware of being silent – or nearly silent – on such an important issue. How about just one little post about PP? Is that too much to ask? Plenty of material can be gleaned from their own website and from what is public knowledge. There have been plenty of whistle blowers as well – people who have worked for PP in the past and then have exposed what goes on in a PP clinic.

    If DD’s material is hopelessly flawed, there are plenty of sources that can be used.

    Jeff:
    I assume this was an honest mistake on your part, in which case the simple remedy is to retract your accusations above.>>>>

    I am asking for clarification. I think that Dr. Hart’s statements about abortion are incomplete at best. Is he ignorant of what PP does? Is he misinformed or uninformed? I am giving him the benefit of the doubt by assuming that he does not know much about them at all. I have asked him what they do, and he said “abortion.” That was his one word response.

    That is not all they do. A visit to their website will explain more of what they do. Does anyone from the OPC ever get their information on human sexuality from Planned Parenthood’s website? Does he know? Should he know? What would he do if a member of his congregation were found to be using PP materials even privately?

    Would he make it his business?

    It seems that on such an important subject a leader in the OPC needs to be informed. Now, maybe Dr. Hart is fully informed and has even written about PP in some other venue or at some other time even on this blog. Maybe you can direct me to that material. I would be more than happy to be proven wrong. That is, that Dr. Hart is fully informed and that he has indeed written about it so as to warn his people about the dangers of being caught up in PP’s web of deception.

    Being insulted that he be asked to clarify is not the same as actually clarifying his position. Now, if I made a mistake, that would be where I erred. He may have written whole books, even, exposing the dangers of Planned Parenthood and I have not seen them. Please direct me to his more complete statements about the abortion industry here in the US and how even Christians have been caught up in it.

    I could demand that he apologize for insinuating I would condone the murder of abortionists, but I do not expect any apologies, nor do I demand them. I mean, who here on this blog would ever apologize to a Catholic, especially a female Catholic? Not gonna’ happen. I don’t expect it. I do notice, and I do forgive it, though, Brother Jeff. I used to be anti-Catholic as well, so I do understand.

    I also know that the standard Reformed view is more like what you have written. I would hope that DGH’s personal views are similar. I am perplexed. I really am. No, I am no longer Protestant, but like I have said numerous times even on this blog, I still have a great respect for many of the Protestant teachers who have meant a lot to me through the years.

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  307. Todd:
    The greater evil than what PP does with the bodies is abortion itself. And abortion is all about sex without consequences. Conservatives can target doctors all they want, but just as complicit are mothers who abort their children.>>>>>

    Well, I disagree with you. It is much more complex than that. Often mothers are convinced that they will not be good mothers. This could be because they are young, or single, or poor – or all three. In fact, it is likely that a woman who seeks an abortion is all three. It is hard to post links to articles here in this format, but what I say is not too hard to prove.

    You do indeed have many scared young women who do not know what to do. So along comes an organization like PP and tells her what to do. They lie to her about the true nature of the child she is carrying.

    Often a parent – either mother or father – or a boyfriend pressures, even coerces her to have the abortion. There are many pressures that come to bear on the young girl. I was ignorant of all that at one time. That is why I have pressured DGH to become better informed. There is a lot to be considered, especially for someone in a pastoral role.

    So, my focus here has been the defunding of PP. Sure, what they do is legal, but should it be publicly funded? There is no law that says we have to fund them. If a person is not concerned about abortion, what about the whole issue of corporate welfare? PP has plenty of private donors. We do not have to be helping them.

    Todd:
    Both should be prosecuted. >>>>

    Well, I think that someone like Gosnell surely had to be prosecuted. There are many abortionists like him, too, but he was certainly extreme. He did not work for PP, but there is some evidence that PP referred patients to him.

    The back alley abortionists are still in business, only now they do it legally. In fact, IMO, PP is the back alley abortionist all cleaned up with a pretty public face.

    I certainly do not think that women who have abortions should be prosecuted. That is crazy talk.

    We need to pray – which, yes, I do and so do millions of Catholics as well as Protestants that the killing of the unborn will end. We need to show mercy. We need to share the fact that Christ can bring abortionists to repentance and faith. There are numerous cases of that.

    We need to share the fact that there is forgiveness in Christ for the woman who suffers under a weight of guilt after she realizes what she has really done. There are support groups in many churches, both Catholic and Protestant, for women who are struggling with post abortion stress syndrome.

    BTW, Planned Parenthood denies that there is such a thing as PASS.

    We need to realize that we are all sinners in need of grace. Why am I pressuring D.G. Hart to be better informed about the evil that PP is? I KNOW that there are women in his church that are victims of PP’s lies. How do I know? Well, if the statistics are true, then there have to be such women that he is called on to care about since he is one of their elders. They are his responsibility.

    He has to be informed. I doubt that he will even read this, though, but I still hold out hope.

    Like

  308. Kevin… old hat to us Calvinists…

    The Geneva Bible had notes that stated the midwives were “lawful to disobey.”

    Royalty of that day did not approve of praise for disobedience of royalty or the question of Divine Right.

    Some argue it led to King James not allowing notes for the KJV…

    Like

  309. Mrs. Webfoot,

    “Well, I disagree with you. It is much more complex than that. ”

    Of course it is. It always is. The interviews do show that the majority are not getting abortions out of fear of anyone or lack of financial help. It’s available. Now a minority is still many women, and each needs to be dealt with according to where they are at, but the high return rate for second and third abortions reveals how the common scared to death scenario doesn’t quite work.

    “You do indeed have many scared young women who do not know what to do. So along comes an organization like PP and tells her what to do. They lie to her about the true nature of the child she is carrying.”

    Yes, but I’m not comfortable with treating mothers as the victims. Do they not know instinctively (natural law) that what they are doing is wrong?

    “Often a parent – either mother or father – or a boyfriend pressures, even coerces her to have the abortion. There are many pressures that come to bear on the young girl. I was ignorant of all that at one time.”

    Yes, that certainly happens.

    “So, my focus here has been the defunding of PP.”

    Yes, that would be nice.

    “I certainly do not think that women who have abortions should be prosecuted. That is crazy talk.”

    So doctors should go to jail but women who have their children aborted should not be held responsible? Even those who get multiple abortions? In ancient cultures the mothers were also held responsible.

    “As we observed at the outset, induced abortion was so abhorrent to the Israelite mind that it was not necessary to have a specific prohibition dealing with it in the Mosaic law. The Middle Assyrian laws attest to an abhorrence that was felt for this crime even in the midst of the heathendom around Israel, lacking though it did the illumination of special revelation. For in those laws a woman guilty of abortion was condemned to be impaled on stakes. Even if she managed to lose her own life in producing the abortion, she was still to be impaled and hung up in shame as an expression of the community’s repudiation of such an abomination. It is hard to imagine a more damning commentary on what is taking place in enlightened America today than that provided by this legal witness out of the conscience of benighted ancient paganism!” (Meredith Kline)

    Not suggesting we should return to such punishments, but again, if you are going to call something murder, there is little consistency in saying there should be no penalties for the parents who arrange for the murder of their children in the womb, but only for the doctors who perform the act at the parent(s)’ request.

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  310. Mrs W: “The back alley abortionists are still in business, only now they do it legally..”

    I go to church with a lady who is a few years older than I am who almost died from a botched illegal abortion. You are wrong.

    Like

  311. Todd, the tactic in the “fragile, scared mother” angle among the outrage minded seems to be at once to come across as sympathetic and portray PP in the worst light possible light, i.e. we’re only trying to help victims who are so weak as to be easily manipulated by blood-thirsty (and apparently money grubbing) choicers. Reality has a way of being less inspiring and sensationalist.

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  312. Kent-

    Kevin… old hat to us Calvinists… The Geneva Bible had notes that stated the midwives were “lawful to disobey.”

    Ok regarding civil authority, but how do you account for the apparent approval of lying? That God made an exception to moral law (lies are iniquity) or that it didn’t meet the criteria for a lie?

    If the latter, do you define a lie differently than Augustine does- knowing one thing but saying another with intent to deceive?

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  313. Kent, sorry man, it’s still a situation where you say nothing has changed because you say so. I would be more comfortable saying time will tell if this leads to positive change.

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  314. Darryl,

    I don’t think it would even occur to me to do something like this. I am pro-life, and it is something that is a political and moral concern to me, however I would hardly say that it is an issue that is as absorbing to me as it is for others. I have lent support to the cause in more basic ways in the past (donating time and labor to alternative pregnancy centers), and a pro-life stance is an important factor I consider when voting.

    So, practically, no we aren’t that far apart, and I get the questions you raise. I don’t entirely share your conclusions on this one though.

    Like

  315. Z: Not wanting to dodge, but is there good reason to overlook a church member who publicly admits to bearing false witness?

    The point wasn’t to overlook, but to check for consistency. And you and DGH are consistent.

    Z: But I still don’t see how DD’s special knowledge in some way compels him more than you and me, nor how our relative ignorance gets us off the hook per your reasoning (is ignorance really a justification in this high stakes reasoning?). Knowledge is one thing, but doesn’t accountability actually require a little more than that, i.e. having some degree of actual responsibility in real situations? DD doesn’t have that.

    Lots of clarification needed.

    (1) Do you agree that the 6th commandment requires the just defence of the lives of others?

    (2) If yes, does that just defence requirement apply only to deputized authorities?

    (3) Are we equally obligated to all cases, or are we specially obligated to some? Which ones?

    (4) On what ground does one decide cases when commandments are in conflict?

    Like

  316. sean
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
    Zrim, I think I remember reading about no one less than Carl Henry, before 1970, admitting that discerning what was right and wrong about the abortion possibility was a difficult opporutnity. Meaning it wasn’t cut and dry and was, rather, personal and private and already wrought with emotional distress for the participants

    It sucks even worse for the guest of honor.

    Since there is no shame these days at being an unmarried mother, neither is there shame for letting the baby be born and live with an adopted family. Damn right killing your own baby is “wrought with emotional distress.” It should be.

    And once again, the gutless contribute to the acceptablity of the unacceptable with their excuse-making and silence.

    (A different) Dan
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
    Mrs W: “The back alley abortionists are still in business, only now they do it legally..”

    I go to church with a lady who is a few years older than I am who almost died from a botched illegal abortion. You are wrong.

    Do keep in mind that the back-alley argument was largely a lie.

    http://www.nysun.com/new-york/abortion-myth-perpetuated/60958/

    <blockquoteThe myth of the origin of Roe v. Wade has been perpetuated by feminists and abortion advocates either willfully or out of ignorance. There is no convenient catch phrase that can be put on a billboard on behalf of a storage company because the truth requires deep thinking, not sensory amusement.

    The "Jane Roe" whose case went before the Supreme Court was not a victim of rape. She never had an abortion. Her real name is Norma McCorvey and she now adamantly opposes abortion.

    She wrote about the truth of her involvement in the historic 1973 decision in her 1998 book, "Won By Love." Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a cofounder of NARAL, blew the myth wide open in his 1997 book, “Confessions of an Ex-Abortionist.” He admits that early abortion-rights advocates totally fabricated the number of women dying from back-alley and wire-hanger abortions. The 10,000 figure they used to affect public opinion was actually closer to 250, he writes. The actual figure in 1972 for deaths from illegal abortion was 39, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

    Dr. Nathanson also admitted to fabricating polls that indicated public support for abortion rights.

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  317. Okay Jed, since you have chosen this useless argument, start showing me that anything has changed at all, please keep it to less 1000 items of actual change.

    I look forward to all the BIG CHANGES you are trumpeting after a mater if mere days

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  318. @mwf Quit being mendacious. The “woe is me because I’m a nice Catholic lady” schtick has worn thin.

    dgh wrote,

    None of this means that Daleiden doesn’t deserve some credit for exposing a truly despicable aspect of American society.

    and then highlighted it for you. You assert that either “despicable” is somehow ambiguous or that the context didn’t make it clear he was talking about abortion. What do you hope to accomplish other than the total shredding of your credibility? Now the problem is he didn’t provide a litany of all the wrong things PP does. Is there anyone who doesn’t know that they are famous for being an abortion provider, something like 95% of the women who use their services are getting an abortion, or that they are among the most effective abortion rights advocate in the country? Is this news to you from the these videos? Do you really think this is some kind of epiphany? Give me a break. Yeah, PP is really, really evil. But guess what? 95% of moms who find out their baby is likely to have downs get an abortion. PP isn’t causing that – this is happening in “respectable” OB-Gyn offices. People talk a good game, but in the Pew Poll, they asked,

    In 1973 the Roe versus Wade decision established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, at
    least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe versus Wade decision, or not?

    Only about 1/3 of respondents said yes (RCs matched the overall fraction). The only group with a slight majority was evangelicals (54%). Still not likely high enough to give the abortion issue traction even if they convinced everyone else to agree. But like I said before, everyone opposes abortion except in cases of rape/incest, life of the mom, and my own personal really important exception. This isn’t planned parenthood’s fault. And it certainly isn’t going to turn around by engaging in guerrilla journalism.

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  319. @mwf
    By the way, only about half of RCs even think abortion is morally wrong – same stat as weekly church goers (it is about 75% for evangelicals who the conservative prots are likely lumped in with…sorry Zrim). So maybe you can save your outrage for the half of the people at church with you tomorrow taking communion who don’t think abortion is a morally problematic rather than a guy who thinks it is merely a “despicable” aspect of our society. Perhaps you can pin down your fellow parishioners with all the zeal you employed here for why they aren’t camped out in from of the local pp affiliate…you know because unless you meet some random blog commenters expectations you don’t really believe how utterly and totally evil pp really is. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Like

  320. sdb
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
    @mwf Quit being mendacious. The “woe is me because I’m a nice Catholic lady” schtick has worn thin.

    dgh wrote,

    None of this means that Daleiden doesn’t deserve some credit for exposing a truly despicable aspect of American society.

    and then highlighted it for you. You assert that either “despicable” is somehow ambiguous or that the context didn’t make it clear he was talking about abortion.

    But what lame praise it was, sdb. The nice Catholic lady found its pro forma lameness despicable especially since the main thrust was a questionably defensible Biblical argument against undercover journalism [which by its nature requires deception] and the outrage at Planned Parenthood selling babies’ bodies for spare parts conspicuous by it absence.

    Like saying David’s fingernails weren’t clean when he rocked Goliath. I mean get real, Darryl.

    I’m not quite at “despicable,” although some of the even more lame defenses of Dr. Hart’s inability to shoot straight at the real enemies of God and man certainly are. There are those making excuses for abortion, or, Pilate-like, washing their hands of the whole moral dilemma, abandoning it as a “personal matter.” That sort of gutlessness certainly is despicable.

    Like

  321. Jeff, yes. No. Specially obligated to some, those in which we are personally involved to greater or lesser degrees. Not sure on 4.

    If I watch all DD/CMP videos and more or less have all the essential knowledge DD/CMP does, am I then obligated to critically engage my local PP in some way?

    Like

  322. “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

    I think “for” can be safely put in here for “to,” Mr. Z. [Unless you want to argue “who is my brother,” which I personally find despicable.]

    Like

  323. sdb –

    By the way, only about half of RCs even think abortion is morally wrong – same stat as weekly church goers (it is about 75% for evangelicals who the conservative prots are likely lumped in with…sorry Zrim).

    ~ Did Latin Mass attendees get their own category? ~ If researchers and journalists really wanted to share useful info with the public, they’d be sensitive to such things as that and the churches most of O.L. readers attend when conducting these types of polls.

    Weekly Mass attendance is under 50% in basically every country outside of Africa (Nigeria’s at 92% according to CARA) with a handful of middling exceptions like the Philippines, Malta and Colombia (e.g., Poland just dropped under 40%). In Western Europe & North America, more like 5%-25%.

    You’re right there’s a strong correlation between holding orthodox beliefs and being practicing: lex orandi, lex credendi.

    Further, by various estimates 95% of RCs in the US dissent from basic RC doctrine

    ~ You mean the estimate I posted 2 weeks ago on O.L.? ~ Or I’d be interested to know which source you’ve chosen. I wouldn’t say 95% dissent from basic doctrine – 95% is more like the combo of the non-practicing and the unfaithful, although it is a bit high.

    To divide them in 3 categories:

    Not-in-Grace: There are a great many who act contrary to the RCC’s teachings (e.g., birth control) while nevertheless affirming the immorality of their actions- that’s not dissent from doctrine, it is being in sin. If they attend Mass (not receiving without Confession and amendment), they remain Catholics.

    Non-Practicing: There are plenty who don’t deny truths of the faith but don’t go to Mass- (on a given Sunday, 36% attend; but only 23% or so go every week- that 13% difference includes those absent for legitimate reasons, not sure I or others always account for that properly, but it is hard to estimate). This is also not dissent from doctrine, although I think their behavior raises doubts as to how Catholic they are. (70-75% of US Catholics are non-Practicing, many or most of whom are also dissenters).

    Unfaithful: And then there is the truly reprehensible category of those who go to Mass every week but do indeed dissent from doctrine (50% of the 25-30% practicing)- that is being unfaithful (i.e., maintaining heresy). These people profess something other than Catholicism, and quite warrant the word “despicable” – literally “worthy to be looked down upon” I believe; oddly with no cognates in French, Italian, or Portuguese. (13%-15% of US Catholics)

    There are variables in the stats – but by my methodologically imprecise count, around 80-90% of those who identify as Catholics are not both faithful and practicing.

    Important Exception with Hispanics- In fact the numbers are probably slightly less bad (depending on the polling methodology employed), as Spanish speakers are:
    -more likely to have only cell phones, which have historically often not been included in such polls;
    -More likely to be working when pollsters call;
    -Less trustworthy of strangers given their frequently irregular immigration status;
    -Much less likely to be registered at the parish they attend.

    Keep in mind Hispanics make up 50% of Catholics (not sure the measure) in many populous dioceses, including New York and Newark, much more I assume in Miami, with Mexicans in particular in LA, throughout Texas, etc.

    [kc:] Would you consider Reformed someone who similarly denied defined fundamentals?

    To me this is a key question- I asked it of you just earlier this evening (alongside advice regarding what-to-do-if-your-parish-priest-preaches-falsehood) at:
    https://oldlife.org/2015/07/when-did-christian-america-end/comment-page-27/#comment-341293

    Like

  324. TVD
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
    sdb
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
    @mwf Quit being mendacious. The “woe is me because I’m a nice Catholic lady” schtick has worn thin.

    dgh wrote,

    None of this means that Daleiden doesn’t deserve some credit for exposing a truly despicable aspect of American society.

    and then highlighted it for you. You assert that either “despicable” is somehow ambiguous or that the context didn’t make it clear he was talking about abortion.

    TVD:
    But what lame praise it was, sdb. The nice Catholic lady found its pro forma lameness despicable especially since the main thrust was a questionably defensible Biblical argument against undercover journalism [which by its nature requires deception] and the outrage at Planned Parenthood selling babies’ bodies for spare parts conspicuous by it absence.

    Like saying David’s fingernails weren’t clean when he rocked Goliath. I mean get real, Darryl.

    I’m not quite at “despicable,” although some of the even more lame defenses of Dr. Hart’s inability to shoot straight at the real enemies of God and man certainly are. There are those making excuses for abortion, or, Pilate-like, washing their hands of the whole moral dilemma, abandoning it as a “personal matter.” That sort of gutlessness certainly is despicable.>>>>>>>

    TVD, there is no outrage about Planned Parenthood’s actions. That is what is so shocking about this whole conversation. The guys may as well be discussing Tom Brady and deflated footballs.

    In all that DGH has written in the last few days on this subject, all that sdb could fine were the same 2 lame comments I found. Yet there is comment after comment about the alleged lying, and whether or not Susan knows how to read.

    Seriously? Not good enough. Not good enough at all for an elder of the OPC who has pastoral oversight of the women under his care.

    Like

  325. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    dgh wrote,

    “None of this means that Daleiden doesn’t deserve some credit for exposing a truly despicable aspect of American society.”

    TVD:
    But what lame praise it was, sdb. The nice Catholic lady found its pro forma lameness despicable especially since the main thrust was a questionably defensible Biblical argument against undercover journalism [which by its nature requires deception] and the outrage at Planned Parenthood selling babies’ bodies for spare parts conspicuous by it absence.

    Like saying David’s fingernails weren’t clean when he rocked Goliath. I mean get real, Darryl.

    I’m not quite at “despicable,” although some of the even more lame defenses of Dr. Hart’s inability to shoot straight at the real enemies of God and man certainly are. There are those making excuses for abortion, or, Pilate-like, washing their hands of the whole moral dilemma, abandoning it as a “personal matter.” That sort of gutlessness certainly is despicable.>>>>>>>

    TVD, there is no outrage about Planned Parenthood’s actions. That is what is so shocking about this whole conversation. The guys may as well be discussing Tom Brady and deflated footballs.

    In all that DGH has written in the last few days on this subject, all that sdb could fine were the same 2 lame comments I found. Yet there is comment after comment about the alleged lying, and whether or not Susan knows how to read.

    Seriously? Not good enough. Not good enough at all for an elder of the OPC who has pastoral oversight of the women under his care.

    Apparently, Dr. Hart depends on the readers of his blog not actually reading his blog.

    Those who do actually read Dr. Hart’s blog have noticed that Dr. Hart [and his shrinking circle of supporters] have minimized Planned Parenthood’s selling of fetal body parts to no more than a yawn, as though sneaking in the word “despicable” somewhere amounts to anything more than moral lip service.

    How brave.

    Like

  326. Tom,

    What I’ve noticed is that two of the four Catholics posting here are remarkably uncareful with the truth. How not careful with the truth?

    * You don’t do your homework.

    You blasted DGH for claiming that the ninth commandment forbids lying. You stated that the ninth commandment forbids false witness, but not lying. Yet here is the CCC, to which you nominally subscribe:

    2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.

    You can read the rest, but will you?

    * You and Webfoot both are willing to engage in logical fallacies in order to detract from DGH and others.

    It is obvious to everyone here that arguing from silence is poor reasoning. Yet you both persist, even after being warned. That is rash judgment on your part.

    The CCC again: 2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

    – of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

    – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

    – of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

    * You (Tom) fail to correct the record when you are wrong. Instead, you invariably double down on even the least defensible of positions. This was true in your bizarre take on natural law, in your absurd discussion of “highly favored”, and so on.

    Repent, Tom and Webfoot. Learn to love truth-telling. The Sabbath is a good day for it.

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  327. Robert, to be clear, it is legal to use fetal body parts for research, right? What PP does that is illegal is to profit from the sale of such parts, right?

    Is that distinction clear to those who parade these videos? Was there outrage about the Bush administration approval of such research?

    Like

  328. vd, t, according to you, God has no enemies. Universalism.

    According to me, you are an enemy of God (if you don’t trust Christ and repent of sins). I shoot pretty straight at you.

    Like

  329. Kevin, “Did Latin Mass attendees get their own category?”

    Sorry, that’s really lame. It’s the bishops who approved the vernacular mass and its the bishops who make Roman Catholicism what it is (magisterium, truth, and all that). It’s also the bishops who don’t teach Roman Catholics.

    You are in the position of evangelicals in the PCUSA, which means, you have an incoherent argument. In 1961 your point might make sense. It’s not pre-Vat II any more, Toto.

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  330. Mermaid, “all that sdb could fine were the same 2 lame comments I found.” That’s two lame comments more than Pope Francis. And he talks about a lot of stuff.

    Don’t hold me to a higher standard than you hold your pope, you trafficker in outrage.

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  331. been a helpful discussion, for the most part, and ’cept those usual personal attacks, which fortunately will never be happening later 1Cor 6:2-3

    Like

  332. I currently have a situation at my professional employment where I want to perform a very simple task in order to gain what could be valuable information for a client.

    It wouldn’t be against the law for me to use an anonymous email account to find out. It is a very basic and routine and harmless procedure, might even find out my info by a bounce-back of my email request.

    My profession frowns upon this behaviour, the IT gurus blanched in horror at my suggestion, demanded I not do it on the company email without writing an Affidavit first.

    The evidence garnered would be tossed out if it came to light that I performed this very simple and perfectly harmless procedure on the sly.

    So there has to be even a higher standard as a Christian than what the rules of evidence for criminal evidence and accounting boards deem, right?

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  333. DG-

    Kevin, “Did Latin Mass attendees get their own category?”

    Sorry, that’s really lame. It’s the bishops who approved the vernacular mass and its the bishops who make Roman Catholicism what it is (magisterium, truth, and all that). It’s also the bishops who don’t teach Roman Catholics.

    You are in the position of evangelicals in the PCUSA, which means, you have an incoherent argument. In 1961 your point might make sense. It’s not pre-Vat II any more, Toto.

    My only “argument” (just a claim, so far) is that the traditional liturgy correlates very strongly with traditional morality. Do you have any reason at all to think otherwise?

    And what’s lame about mentioning it? If anything, I would think you could co-opt it for your own purposes in describing Reformed worship or attacking the PCUSA or much post-VII Catholic worship.

    The Bishops have established numerous regular Latin Mass sites. A number themselves publicly celebrate it. It is taught (usually as an option) in the seminaries. More than half of NYC-area seminarians are learning it (I know the young men in formation), and the hostility of past generations is not being passed on.

    Around half of practicing Catholics in France usually attend the Latin Mass.

    Sure we’ve still got liturgical-renewal-related problems, but your attempt to break the RCC in two isn’t in accord with reality.

    FYI, there’s still time for the drive from Hillsdale to St. Mary, Star of the Sea in Jackson MI (12:15) if you’re interested in acquiring first-hand knowledge today.

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  334. @Kevin, re your comment: “I would think you could co-opt it for your own purposes in describing Reformed worship”. You are right. DGH (and crew) frequently do use that very argument, and launch it at not only the lib PCUSA but also at the more conservative PCA. To wit, that the trendiness of much of presby worship styles today ignores or softens their doctrine of the “regulative principle of worship”, which in turn begins the slippery slope to modernism/liberalism. Presby adherence to exclusive psalmody is, among other things, a safeguard against going liberal. Seems analogous to your advocacy for traditional liturgy in the Latin Mass.

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  335. we Reformed take full cannon shots at others in our denomination.

    Seems to me Catholics just accept anyone who says they are Catholic and deem all their actions as holy and perfect just out of sheer knee jerk prejudice. There are too many variations to accept everyone automatically if you use 1% of your brain, and more than a few of you on here clearly have a brain…

    We are used to this with Evangelicals proclaiming anyone that “prayed a prayer” to be an admirable public figure, even when they kind of prove they are living worse than the devil.

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  336. Kent, Petros, DG, Jeff, Sdb, everyone really-

    Seems to me Catholics just accept anyone who says they are Catholic and deem all their actions as holy and perfect just out of sheer knee jerk prejudice.

    I think there is some truth here which touches the heart of American culture and is crucially misunderstood. Might you describe it as ethnic solidarity?

    Petros-

    Presby adherence to exclusive psalmody is, among other things, a safeguard against going liberal. Seems analogous to your advocacy for traditional liturgy in the Latin Mass.

    I very much agree, and was listening again to Covenanter psalms earlier today- such a sincere spirituality, gorgeous, it really ought to be more widespread.

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  337. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink
    vd, t, according to you, God has no enemies. Universalism.

    According to me, you are an enemy of God (if you don’t trust Christ and repent of sins). I shoot pretty straight at you.

    You shoot yourself in the foot with lies like this.

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  338. Jeff Cagle
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    What I’ve noticed is that two of the four Catholics posting here are remarkably uncareful with the truth. How not careful with the truth?

    * You don’t do your homework.

    You blasted DGH for claiming that the ninth commandment forbids lying. You stated that the ninth commandment forbids false witness, but not lying. Yet here is the CCC, to which you nominally subscribe:

    2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.

    You can read the rest, but will you?

    * You and Webfoot both are willing to engage in logical fallacies in order to detract from DGH and others.

    It is obvious to everyone here that arguing from silence is poor reasoning. Yet you both persist, even after being warned. That is rash judgment on your part.

    The CCC again: 2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

    – of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

    – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

    – of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

    * You (Tom) fail to correct the record when you are wrong. Instead, you invariably double down on even the least defensible of positions. This was true in your bizarre take on natural law, in your absurd discussion of “highly favored”, and so on.

    Repent, Tom and Webfoot. Learn to love truth-telling. The Sabbath is a good day for it.

    If you’re going to attempt to argue God bans undercover journalism [which by its nature requires deception], then do so. But spare us fatuousness like this, Jeff.

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  339. Petros, stretch.

    When have I argued that exclusive psalmody is the key to conservative Presbyterianism? You wouldn’t find that in Machen.

    If you want to say that Lord’s Day sanctification is important for maintaining the church’s witness here at OL, you might have a point.

    But even then, it’s the BBs who argue that the PCA is tolerating feminism and abortion. OL? Not.

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  340. vd, t, that wasn’t Jeff’s point.

    And if you’re going to argue that undercover journalism is the way to resist tyranny, try reading Aquinas. Or try reading your boy, Edward Feser:

    1. Lying is always wrong, even if not always gravely so.

    2. Broad mental reservations are not lies, and neither are obvious jokes nor polite expressions such as “You look nice today,” “I’m fine, thanks,” and the like, because the linguistic conventions governing these expressions entail that they are not generally intended to convey one’s actual thoughts and feelings in the first place, but function as mere pleasantries. Certain kinds of stratagems in war, certain deceptive moves in games, etc. do not necessarily count as lies either.

    3. What is essential to lying is deliberately speaking contrary to one’s true thoughts; whether the listener has a right to the truth is irrelevant.

    4. Hence it is wrong to lie even to the murderer who comes to your door demanding to know where to find his intended victim. It is not wrong to refrain from telling him, or to speak evasively, or to use a broad mental reservation. But if these ploys do not work, it would be wrong to lie to him. Not gravely wrong, but still mildly wrong.

    5. It is also wrong to lie in wartime. That certain deceptive practices are justifiable in war does not show otherwise, because lying is not the same thing as deception. Broad mental reservations, evasive speech, feints, etc. during wartime are fine, but deliberately speaking contrary to one’s true thoughts is always lying and thus always wrong.

    6. It is also wrong to lie to children about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, etc. Not necessarily gravely wrong, but still wrong, and unwise too insofar as children who find that they’ve been lied to about these matters might reasonably wonder whether their parents have been lying to them about other matters too (religion, morality, etc.).

    7. To the extent that Live Action’s methods in their sting operation against Planned Parenthood involved broad mental reservation, evasion, and the like, those methods may be defensible; to the extent that these methods involve actual lying, they were wrong (even if not gravely so) and should not be used.

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  341. I once took position #6 during a church book study on Murray’s overview of the 10 commandments. Like Captain Willard’s crew after he shot the civilian, one woman never looked at me the same way again.

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  342. Mermaid, “all that sdb could fine were the same 2 lame comments I found.” That’s two lame comments more than Pope Francis. And he talks about a lot of stuff.

    Don’t hold me to a higher standard than you hold your pope, you trafficker in outrage.>>>

    Brother Hart, with all due respect, your blog seems to be an extended exercise in misplaced moral outrage, you ol’ trafficker, you.

    How about a little of that moral outrage you are famous for being directed towards the dismemberment and sale of the body parts of unborn human beings made in the image of God?

    You would not have to lie to di it, even.

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  343. <i.D. G. Hart
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, that wasn’t Jeff’s point.

    And if you’re going to argue that undercover journalism is the way to resist tyranny, try reading Aquinas. Or try reading your boy, Edward Feser:

    Arguing people you reject is BS, Dr. Hart.

    What your moralizing and theologizing means is that God bans

    undercover journalism
    undercover police work
    spying to defend your country
    counterspying to defend your country
    counterterrorism if it involves deception

    &c. Stop trolling the internet for other people’s opinions to hide behind and try defending your own point of view, which you haven’t.

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  344. MG, I’ve never understood that one. Seems to me tales of St. Nick fall under the same rubric as #2 and calls for a little more English on the ball. They’re called folk tales and to call them “lies to children is just plain clumsy. That some kids take them literally (and are eventually undone by the truth) doesn’t prove the folk tale is a form of lying and wrong, but rather that part of maturing is learning the difference between innocuous make believe and outright lying. Though I am partial to Norwegian Nisses:

    https://confessionalouthouse.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/we-need-more-norwegian-nisse%E2%80%99s-this-year/

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  345. Z, folk tales are stories you read to your children at bed time and everyone knows it’s fanciful. Big difference. Beyond that I’m not spending any more of my remaining time on this earth in a Santa Claus discussion.

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  346. @Kevin
    No doubt that pockets like those who are committed to the Latin Mass will be different on many issues – similar to the difference between confessional protestants and evangelicals more broadly. But to be fair, these polls are looking at national trends and Latin Mass attenders and confessional protestants (and Eastern Orthodox) are just insignificant.

    This is all really beside the point I was making though. MWF is quite hot over the fact that she perceives dgh to be insufficiently outraged and that he has the audacity to consider the implications of his 2k understanding of church on activities like using deceit (bad) to undercover despicable aspects of our society (good). My point in response to mwf’s calumny is that her outrage is misplaced – she is a recent convert from evangelicalism, and has moved from a group of people who were far more opposed to abortion to a people who are far less so (as a group). My suggestion was simply that she work at cleaning her own house before complaining about the decorations at someone else’s.

    The 95% is a round number that convolves the various items you mentioned – I won’t quibble with 85-90%. I’m not sure why you think Hispanics are going to be better on these numbers than others. Latin America is to the left of us on a number the hot button sexual issues and syncretism has been a much larger problem suggesting that there are issues with orthodoxy on doctrinal matters. But then maybe those immigrating are not representative of their homelands? I do see that a huge share of immigrants are now protestant (pentecostal). I’m not sure what to think about it or whether it is a positive development. I worry that the shift in Latin/South America over the past 40yrs is akin to what the various 19th century revivals did in the US. When they burnt out, it wasn’t so good for the health of the church. But now I’m way off topic..

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  347. @kevin
    “[kc:] Would you consider Reformed someone who similarly denied defined fundamentals?”

    Well I’m not sure there analogy quite works… it is like asking who is really conservative. Is Andrew Sullivan a conservative? These kinds of discussions always strike me as somehow pointless. Now if you want to ask who is a member of the GOP? Or who is a member of the PCA? Or what would one have to deny to be denying something fundamental that would bring one up on charges, that is something that is answerable.

    I posted the membership vows for the PCA in the other thread. I think these are helpful to an extent, and you’ll notice that there is nothing like the requirement that comes with joining the RCC that one believe all that the church teaches. To be an officer in the PCA (and I think to be reformed in any meaningful sense), one would have to hold to the westminster confession & catechism or three forms of unity (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dordt). I hear that there are differences between these, but I find them really quite subtle and haven’t found anything that I couldn’t affirm in both.

    It gets confusing, as you’ll hear Baptists talk about being “reformed” Baptists. Generally what they mean is that they hold to the soteriology summarized in the canons of Dordt. This is a really truncated view of the reformed movement. It gets even more confusing as much of the mainline was reformed and they still officially hold to these standards (Reformed Church in America, United Churches of Christ, and the Presbyterian Church USA), but in practice they are merely museum pieces. They are descended from the reformed, but some would even question whether they are legitimately Christian at all any more (think Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism).

    Does this answer you question? I’m just a layman here, so there may be officers here that could do a much better job explaining this than I do.

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  348. Tom,

    Asking you to repent was fatuous? I’m sorry you feel that way. I thought it a worthwhile risk. “If he repents, you have won your brother.”

    Someday.

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  349. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, rejecting people you cite is fatuous the way vd, t rolls.

    Not atall, Dr. Hart. You’re not making the narrow argument Feser is, and I doubt you even understand it.

    because lying is not the same thing as deception

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  350. Sdb-
    But to be fair, these polls are looking at national trends and Latin Mass attenders and confessional protestants (and Eastern Orthodox) are just insignificant.

    Broadly speaking, agreed. I am simply looking for Pew (and others) to provide information of use in reforming (not Reforming, of course) the RCC. Providing such data for the OPC (for example) would I think be useful for others for similar reasons. I’m also at heart a data guy, the more the better.

    I’m not sure why you think Hispanics are going to be better on these numbers than others

    Attendance stats seem to be a bit better (40%) than non-Hispanics. This may fade as older generations die and the younger are Americanized. With the Irish, roughly 1/3rd each left the RCC, remained faithful to it, and maintained a nominal/occasional attachment to it. They largely came to a land with a weak parish system in place, though, and much social pressure to leave the RCC.

    I think it is more likely Hispanics will affirm the truths even if they don’t live by them, which would have some affect on the categories I laid out. Temporary and generational? Perhaps.

    Loads of Hispanic Pentecostalists in my neighborhood. The Brazilian Protestants here are mostly Assemblies of God (they heckle our feast day processions- ‘Why do you believe that Mary nonsense? I don’t’ but cruder and in Portuguese).

    Lutherans and Presbyterians (PCA) as well, not sure on the Brazilian v. Portuguese breakdown.

    The only prediction here I think is sure is Benedict’s: a smaller, more faithful RCC. I admire zeal, particularly when it is addressed to fundamental internal solutions within my own RCC.

    http://www.pewforum.org/2014/05/07/the-shifting-religious-identity-of-latinos-in-the-united-states/

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  351. sdb-

    [kc:] Would you consider Reformed someone who similarly denied defined fundamentals?

    [sdb:] Well I’m not sure there analogy quite works… it is like asking who is really conservative. Is Andrew Sullivan a conservative? These kinds of discussions always strike me as somehow pointless. Now if you want to ask who is a member of the GOP? Or who is a member of the PCA? Or what would one have to deny to be denying something fundamental that would bring one up on charges, that is something that is answerable.

    I don’t see a significant parallel with ‘conservative’ – which to me can mean 1) a quality of mind; 2a) a tendency to affirm the importance of that quality, 2b) often with intent to influence public policy; 3) someone who calls himself “conservative.”

    So you see membership in a religious body to consistent solely in whether they’ve officially signed up as long as they haven’t been crossed off the rolls, independent of personal opinions or behaviour in contrast with the tenets of their professed faith?

    What if someone rejects PCA vow #1? – “Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save [except] in His sovereign mercy?” – This person says he disagrees that all are sinners, some do nothing immoral from birth to death (he himself has never committed a sin, he claims); he acknowledges that he could in principle sin, and indeed believes membership in the PCA would help them continue in perfection. If this is too extravagant, how about something more pedestrian – Jesus was 100% God or 100% man, not truly both.

    I don’t have the canon law chops to make my point elegantly, but I believe a Catholic who knowingly rejects the RCC’s teachings has become (to use an old-fashioned word) a heretic – this person is no longer a part of the RCC, whether or not he calls himself Catholic, goes to Mass, receives the Eucharist, or goes to Confession yet fails to repent sincerely of error and make a commitment to amend.

    He is also no longer a Catholic regardless of whether or not he is excommunicated (which is a declaration of the status one has put one’s self in, not an act that actually breaks communion; although it obviously changes how the RCC is obliged to act in response).

    So it seems to me there is an analogue – the RCC gives clear requirements permitting a reasonably-accurate judgment regarding many who are Catholic-in-Name-Only. The Reformed bodies have at least some level of requirement (e.g. vows, agreement that God created the world) based on the standards you named.

    A certain % of those identifying with the OPC or PCUSA are faithful to those in-common standards (or at least some basics). A remainder – it seems to me – should not be called Reformed Christians.

    I think this is a better way to look at it than ‘To be consistent, the RCC should excommunicate all who don’t follow its tenets’ (when the teachings are clear and well-known) – ‘The Bishops are to be blamed for not excommunicating tens of millions of people’ (logistics?). Note that I would love to see more discipline.

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  352. Kevin: A certain % of those identifying with the OPC or PCUSA are faithful to those in-common standards (or at least some basics). A remainder – it seems to me – should not be called Reformed Christians.

    DUH……….

    haven’t you been reading what we say? We have no trouble stating that certain theological stances and lifestyle red flags are indicative one isn’t in “our camp.”

    That’s how you thin out the herd. And pray for those who can be dragged out of sitting there and getting their ears tickled.

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  353. Fair enough, Jeff

    I’ll try to live my life in a manner that doesn’t facilitate the need for this abomination, and donate to those who provide crisis care.

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  354. And I think I’m up to the 10,000 opinion column by liberals who for at least until the item was printed made a feint to the right but still ended up going left as they always do.

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  355. Another problem with all the focus now being on PP is that technology will likely make PP and abortion clinics obsolete in a few years. Abortion pills will be readily available over-the-counter and legal. I wonder if those who protest clinics have thought ahead to what their strategy will be when that occurs.

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  356. Kent –

    [Kevin:] A certain % of those identifying with the OPC or PCUSA are faithful to those in-common standards (or at least some basics). A remainder – it seems to me – should not be called Reformed Christians.

    [Kent:] DUH………. haven’t you been reading what we say? We have no trouble stating that certain theological stances and lifestyle red flags are indicative one isn’t in “our camp.” That’s how you thin out the herd. And pray for those who can be dragged out of sitting there and getting their ears tickled.

    Just trying to ensure a clear understanding- does your statement reflect the same position Sdb enunciated and which I was responding to?

    Take the case of someone who is officially a member of (e.g.) the PCA- attends, affirms the vows, but holds incommensurate beliefs (God did not create the world, Jesus was 100% man, it is possible that I personally have committed no sin at all). If this person is not by some key criterion “Reformed,” aren’t they more properly Reformed-in-Name-Only? Shouldn’t statistical discussions account for this?

    E.g., are there more Reformed Christians in the OPC than the PCUSA in the sense of being faithful to the standards of the Reformed faith?

    This is analagous, I argue, with a Catholic who says the RCC is incorrect regarding abortion, the Real Presence, or indeed the same incommensurate beliefs just listed in the PCA case above. I don’t see how rejecting known required teachings permits one to maintain “Catholic” as a self-identifier, despite other ostensible indicators of communion (listed in my prior comments).

    I think it would help discussions if we acknowledge “Catholics-in-Name-Only” (“cultural Catholics”) aren’t in any meaningful sense Catholic. Likewise PCUSA members who have departed from the Reformed faith, if you like.

    And wouldn’t there also be value in being able to tabulate the individuals across denominations who count as ‘faithful Reformed Christians’?

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  357. Kevin, the report that took all weekend is signed and delivered, let me try a Zapruder effect on your post, looks like it will be worthwhile, while I decompress…

    Kevin: Take the case of someone who is officially a member of (e.g.) the PCA- attends, affirms the vows, but holds incommensurate beliefs (God did not create the world, Jesus was 100% man, it is possible that I personally have committed no sin at all). If this person is not by some key criterion “Reformed,” aren’t they more properly Reformed-in-Name-Only? Shouldn’t statistical discussions account for this?

    Me: The PCA is a part of NAPARC, which I will accept has decent standards for office bearers and less for members. I believe that the PCA is the most likely member of NAPARC to have those who would severely wander off the range. They are most likely to get the ball rolling on finding officers guilty of (near) heresy, with the most reason to.

    A NAPARC background in the most succinct way… the top 20 or so are in, those below have been booted or left on an ice floe or never entered the conversation… http://www.tateville.com/churches.html

    I would highly doubt an officer in the PCA would publicly declare those views, it could happen though, members might hold these views, it would be exposed in any decent due diligence for office holding. If someone wigs out and loses their stated views then the mechanism is in place to get them removed, some of NAPARC would move a little quicker than others.

    Kevin: E.g., are there more Reformed Christians in the OPC than the PCUSA in the sense of being faithful to the standards of the Reformed faith?

    Me: We have to take it on their word and life example how their “heart” is in relation to vows taken before the church. All we can know is what we are told directly (in a personal chat), and what those given permission (explicitly or with authority of office) to speak on behalf of the denomination send out to the public (usually in well thought out statements or publications.) Non-office members (like me) are more free to fly off the handle on chats like this. Adiaphora, or areas of which honest differences are not in the heresy realm, make up most of the squabbles fretted over on the internet and real life church hassles.

    I would expect that there are very few officers in the OPC that would publicly declare serious theological travesties and last very long. In terms of officers and members keeping what I would view as “critically important Reformed views of theology” I would expect the OPC has a much higher % in it than the PCUSA. Prayers and thoughts are with those in the PCUSA who are still present and holding on for whatever reason they take, it looks really bad there, with all due respect.

    Kevin: This is analagous, I argue, with a Catholic who says the RCC is incorrect regarding abortion, the Real Presence, or indeed the same incommensurate beliefs just listed in the PCA case above. I don’t see how rejecting known required teachings permits one to maintain “Catholic” as a self-identifier, despite other ostensible indicators of communion (listed in my prior comments).

    Me: We both know the RCC fails in allowing people to continue playing the “RCC card” when they clearly do not have any “religious” bearing in their life at all, even to the point of committing the worst of atrocities.

    (I’m going out on a limb when I say that) I fully believe there are members of the RCC who have a justifying faith in Jesus Christ. I know and knew a few personally, and have attended funerals where I mourned their death and look forward to seeing them again in glory at the Resurrection.

    Kevin: I think it would help discussions if we acknowledge “Catholics-in-Name-Only” (“cultural Catholics”) aren’t in any meaningful sense Catholic. Likewise PCUSA members who have departed from the Reformed faith, if you like.

    Me: It’s harder for you to do the CINO thing, good luck. For Reformed, we have jumped through hoops to earn the right to membership and many more hoops for office holding. We have a more accepted and reliable standard of “perfect pitch” in theology, even for the simplest of laymen, and higher expectations than you can honestly meet. At least we do on a site run by an officer of the OPC whom I believe holds to proper theological standards.

    Kevin: And wouldn’t there also be value in being able to tabulate the individuals across denominations who count as ‘faithful Reformed Christians’?

    Me: NAPARC is a rule of thumb for us, it isn’t perfect and is subject to change each year, there will always be exceptions proving the rule in every place where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name.

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  358. @kevin

    I don’t see a significant parallel with ‘conservative’ – which to me can mean 1) a quality of mind; 2a) a tendency to affirm the importance of that quality, 2b) often with intent to influence public policy; 3) someone who calls himself “conservative.”

    Many would say the same thing about reformed. Are the puritans reformed? Is the Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler “reformed”, is the independent baptist preacher John MacAuthur “reformed”? What’s the criteria?

    Perhaps a better analogy with “reformed” is “traditionalist”. Lot’s of folks in the PCA argue over who is “truly reformed”. In fact, “truly reformed” has become an epithet of sorts – generally understood to mean cantankerous over minutia.

    So you see membership in a religious body to consistent solely in whether they’ve officially signed up as long as they haven’t been crossed off the rolls, independent of personal opinions or behaviour in contrast with the tenets of their professed faith?

    I think this gets at a major difference between the RCC and conservative confessional protestant denominations. In the PCA (following the reformers), church discipline is believed to be one of the marks of a legitimate local church. If a church member were to write a book called “Why I am Presbyterian” and in it stated that he did not believe that we are all sinners, that person would be called up on charges and eventually given the boot assuming he didn’t repent. If some Baptist were to write a book called “Why I am Reformed” and in it rejected paedobaptism, the regulative principle of worship, and the presbyterian form of church government, there isn’t anything the PCA could do. I guess he would be “reformed” if he says so and other people agree…kind of like Andrew Sullivan is “conservative”. Language is funny that way.

    But membership in a body that exercises discipline results makes your “as long as” above problematic. If they are allowed to remain members regardless of their behavior or personal opinions, then the church is failing in a serious way. Don’t get me wrong – none of us get it right all the time. I see it more of a difference in intent of the churches.

    ‘The Bishops are to be blamed for not excommunicating tens of millions of people’ (logistics?). Note that I would love to see more discipline.

    To be sure. But when leaders in your church (public intellectuals, theologians, clergy, Bishops) are living or teaching in open defiance of what your church teaches, there is a pretty big problem it seems to me. No one expects any body to get it right all the time, but when the overwhelming majority of your church doesn’t believe the fine print, this is a major problem.

    I realize that the reality of the RCC is very different from the protestant denominations, but that is the lens through which I can’t help looking at this. The mainline presbyterian church still has the official Westminster standards on the books, but no one in the PCUSA still believes all that stuff. I’m not looking for a pure church or to separate the wheat and tares on this side of glory, but our witness in the world is severely compromised when “Christians” act publicly in our name doing things that bring shame on us. More importantly, it is bad for the souls of those who stray – discipline is meant to be restorative. I had an RC buddy in grad school who was quite proud of the fact that if