In the wake of the disgusting revelation that Planned Parenthood has been trafficking the remains of its victims, and apropos of some thinking and listening I’ve been doing lately on the subject of abortion, a few words seem appropriate.
On this breaking news, there’s not much more to be said that Matt Walsh hasn’t already said volubly and elegantly, so everyone, just go read his columns at The Blaze and thank me later. However, one paragraph of his in particular caught my attention and did seem worth expanding on (emphasis added):
I am incredibly angry as I write this. I try not to be, usually. Writing angry is often like going to the grocery store hungry; you’re bound to make choices you’ll regret later. But I anticipate that much of the media will ignore this story, so I have to write about it. And if I’m going to write about Planned Parenthood selling dead children, or Planned Parenthood doing anything else, it’s impossible to be anything but angry in the process. This is the most wretched and contemptible organization in the world, and I don’t think I ever want to get to the point where they don’t make me angry when I think about them.
It’s unfortunate that some pro-life activists, even wonderful representatives for the cause who are doing great work and saving lives, will distance themselves from the idea of feeling anger at abortion. Without naming names, I recently heard one make an inspiring pitch for his organization in which he still felt a need to explain that grief as opposed to anger is what really saves lives. He described anger as a temptation to resist, something that’s not constructive and not helpful.
I beg to differ. I think Matt gets it exactly right. And so does a friend of mine, who’s a little bit famous (is that a thing?) and very polarizing, so in the interests of avoiding google trolls, I’ll just call him Mike (‘cuz that’s his name).
Let me introduce you to Mike. Mike is what you’d call a character. He’s a conservative professor, pundit and speaker. He’s also a passionate pro-life advocate. Maybe the fact that he’s an adult convert partially explains why he really doesn’t care who’s listening when he calls the culture like he sees it. (I got a bit of a jolt the other day when I realized that I’ve been a Christian longer than he has, even though he’s more than twice my age.) And he knows how to have a good time while he’s at it. But when he’s not joining student protests against himself, skewering feminists, or expanding his gun collection, Mike is doing what he enjoys most: investing in the next generation. His zest for ticking off liberal wing-nuts is matched only by his heart for young people. Put simply, he loves kids, and the feeling is mutual.
In one of Mike’s essays, which he also presents as a youth training talk, he simply collects some of the most popular pro-choice sound bites in one place and swats them down, one by one, in no-holds-barred fashion. In a time when no less than a fellow of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission can enthuse un-ironically about having “fruitful dialogue” with a pro-choicer, Mike’s sharp rhetoric is blissfully free of such time-wasting nonsense.
When I heard him give this talk in person, I was struck by the way he handles one pro-choice line in particular. This is the “What about disabled kids?” line. “Surely you’re not saying parents should be forced to bring children with Down’s Syndrome or other birth defects into the world? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if these children were never born?” I watched Mike’s face tighten into an expression of utter contempt as he responded to this argument, lips pursed, jaw clenched. “This is so disgusting,” he said, “that I still can’t believe people actually make this argument. But they do. They’ll even do it on Facebook, in front of God and everybody!”
As you can tell, Mike was a little upset.
No, scratch that: Mike was angry. As he should be.
I had lunch with Mike later that day, and I specifically thanked him for allowing a little of that righteous anger to come through. I expressed my disappointment in people who discourage anger in pro-life thinking. In reply, he noted that Scripture never says, “Be not angry.” Rather, it says, “Be angry and sin not.”
I believe we must take this to heart, not only regarding the abortion issue, but regarding other societal ills, particularly the recent declaration of fiat “marriage” by SCOTUS. Sadly, when it comes to the latter issue, the pressure from elite Christians on conservative evangelicals not to feel emotions like anger or outrage is quite strong. But that’s a post for another day.
For a good take on the Planned Parenthood scandal and the appropriateness of laying aside “gentleness and respect” when confronted with blatant moral evil, see also this article by Michael Sherrard.