The American Conscience and the Horror of Denial


Anonymous businesswomanJocelyn is in her final year at an Ivy League law school. Though she came from humble roots and didn’t enjoy the birthright of a silver spoon in her mouth, Jocelyn took a can-do approach to life. Valedictorian of her high school class, her establishment  as a 17-year-old of a hospice program in Charleston, S.C., geared specifically for the poor was a deciding factor in her acceptance to every notable university to which she applied. Perfect SATs and an IQ of 142 fast-tracked her for great things post-grad school. You can recognize Joceyln on campus by the designer handbags she indulges in and her winning smile. At 5′ 8″ and 118 pounds, the willowy brunette has the looks to match her intellect, as her offers from international modeling agencies will attest. Several of her professors remarked that with her combo of stunning good looks and brains, Jocelyn could write her ticket anywhere.

In contrast, Jessie didn’t make it past 10th grade, which was a disappointment to upperclassmen at her high school who expected the easy source of a good time to keep producing for another couple years. The hair color comes from a bottle, and the attitude is pure sass—pretty much the only thing pure about Jessie. Looking for more, she left her small town in Indiana and headed for the big city, where’s she’s a common sight in local bars and on street corners. Her weapon of choice is a pair of crimson stilettos she found on sale at DSW, and with her long legs and short shorts, Jessie attracts a lot of attention. Or she did. A couple face-busting fights with that guy who hangs around her, a meth bust or two, and some other hygiene issues have taken the luster off the small town transplant. You’d guess 40, but she’s actually just 26. And if you had to conjecture about her life trajectory, the angle is downward, with the streets looking meaner. The other day, she got bypassed up for a younger girl, with the man tossing off a “skank” after looking her way and deciding no.

Now if I asked you which was a prostitute, would you say Jocelyn or Jessie?

The answer? Both. Sure, Jocelyn’s clientele is more upscale and her prices higher, but law school isn’t cheap.

Which brings us to infamous abortion “doctor” Kermit Gosnell.

The New York Times blog ran a post called “What the Gosnell Case Doesn’t Mean.” I find it telling that the URL slug for that post is “what-the-gosnell-case-doesnt-tell-us,” a surefire sign that even the writer knew better. You see, anyone breathing knows exactly what the case tells us. Better that our enlightened betters now inform us of what that telling actually means. And so goes the media’s infatuation with its own moral brilliance, informing the great unwashed of meaning.

The only difference between Jocelyn and Jessie is the pretense we constructed in our own minds about the virtue of one over the other. Both women made their money selling their bodies to men. Strip away the settings and the details, and the outcome is the same.

The only real distinction between the Gosnell case and the typical abortion mill that escapes our collective judgment is the level of sloppiness.

The great lie of denial that happens every day in America is that seemingly rational people can’t bring themselves to be aghast at the Jocelyns of this world. Same for abortion. The abortion doctor in Beverly Hills is no different than Kermit Gosnell, save for a cleaner operation and better quality K Cups in the waiting room. The outcome is the same: Two people go in, and only one comes out. Context means nothing to the one who doesn’t leave alive.

That Americans, for the most part, can’t understand this is why The New York Times blog writer can get away with the denial he spews all over the monitor. By insisting that Gosnell is NOT the typical face of the abortion industry, he perpetuates myths and salves the conscience of a country. Vilifying Gosnell is our contemporary version of “one man must die for the good of the nation”–except we feel better about our choice over that of the Jews and Romans, because our scapegoat is so obviously guilty.

We tell ourselves how enlightened we are, that we can’t be fooled by mere facades, and then we declare our support for the “right to choose” and ask for Jocelyn’s number.

Epic Fail, Epic Win


In the lexicon of the English language, failure may no longer be an option.

Instead, we English-speakers bring you fail. Not as to fail, but simply fail. (If you aren’t tracking with this, Slate has a fine article explaining this latest twist in the mother tongue.)

Of course, being the the lovers of the extreme that we Americans are, fail is itself a fail unless we can find a way to magnify it. This becomes epic fail. And because all extreme language needs its counter, we have coined the term epic win.

The landing of US Airways Flight 1549 is an epic win.

An epic fail? Think Jan. 22, 1973.

Yes, Roe v. Wade was an epic fail for Christians in this country.

Asleep at the wheel. Knocked out. Comatose. Guard dropped. You name it, the Church of the early 1970s didn’t react to what was happening under its nose. Didn’t stick to the game plan. Didn’t get it. So we got Roe v. Wade and millions upon millions of barbarically destroyed human lives. An entire generation of people culled. Epic, epic fail.

You witness a lot of handwringing over Roe today. What wasn’t big news leading up to that day in January 1973 is now. With a new president who believes Roe was an epic win, Christians are even more alarmed about the course of our country and its attitudes toward abortion. Many frantic calls will emanate from pulpits and burn up the Christian radio and TV airwaves. We will hear a million outlines for courses of action which we have all been hearing for decades.You can almost recite them by heart.

In the language of fail, let’s look at those familiar calls to action:

Voting Republican – FAIL

The Republican Party has done next to nothing to end abortion even though the rhetoric of the party reeks of pro-life talk. But talk is cheap. As long as Christians keep devoting their time and energy to this do-nothing party of talk, we will not end abortion.

Supporting Pro-life Candidates – FAIL

See above. Candidates are often very vocal about their pro-life sentiments. Funny how we hear about this incessantly come election time, then all goes quiet immediately afterwards.

Demonstrating/Protesting – FAIL

I demonstrated with Operation Rescue. I was on the frontlines of protesting at abortion clinics. Another anti-abortion tactic fail...Yes, there were small victories when a child was saved once in a while. But the scale gained is not the scale that will save this country from judgment.

Educating – FAIL

We can show pregnant women pictures of aborted fetuses. We can fire up the 3D sonograms. We can talk and talk and talk about the horrors of abortion. Yet 36 years of pro-life education has given us one thing: the surety of more than a million babies aborted in 2009.

Praying – FAIL

Prayer a fail? How is that possible? How can God not honor our prayer to see abortion end?

Prayer fails under one critical condition. If I am outside on a bitterly cold day and I encounter a destitute man rubbing his chilled hands together while mine remain snug and warm inside my gloves, do I need to pray about what my course of action should be? Haven’t the Scriptures informed my direction? Isn’t the Spirit in me telling me what to do? What is the point of me praying, “God, I really need to know what to do about this man and his cold hands. If it be thy will, let him come over to me and strike up a conversation. Then I will know that I need to do something”? Do I need to pray this? No, I don’t. I need to do what the Spirit and the Word, both of which I claim to know, have already told me to do.

When we use prayer as a means to look spiritual while failing to do what God wills of us, prayer is a fail. Disobedience does not move the heart of God toward us. What should we expect from God when we know what to do but do not do it?

And there is one enormous thing we are refusing to do even though we know we must do it.

This brings us to the most epic fail of them all. It’s an epic fail larger than Roe v. Wade. A million Roe v. Wades combined could not be as epic as this fail. And it is this epic fail that explains entirely the epic fail of the American Church when it comes to abortion.

Making disciples – EPIC FAIL

In the early 1960s, the Church in America abandoned its primary mission to make disciples in the name of Jesus. We got sidetracked into culture wars, fighting the commies, worrying about hippies, looking at every threat in the world while ignoring the fact that lost people were remaining lost because we forgot what we were supposed to be about. I believe that’s the main reason why abortion became the law of the land.

If we have tried every other means to stop abortion in America and nothing has worked, the simple reason comes down to this: When a nation is filled with people who have not been born again, that nation will not honor righteousness.

That is the American Church’s epic fail. We simply stopped making disciples.

Want an epic win and an end to Roe? Make disciples. If every Christian in this country committed to actively sharing Christ with a half dozen lost people this year, just one every two months, I think we would begin to see change. If we stopped toying around with discipleship and got serious about raising up the next God-fearing  generation within our very own churches, we would see change. We would know that epic win that we have craved for 36 years if we dropped all the other skubalon that has distracted us and focused on our primary mission of making disciples.

Because a nation of people filled with the Spirit would have no need for abortion and would abolish it in a heartbeat.