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Archive for June 14th, 2008

Doug Phillips Pro Life Stance

Doug Phillips’ particular view of the pro-life ideology is not new to me. I discovered an article last October that I wrote about on another website. With a growing understanding of VFM and Doug Phillips, I’ve decided to discuss the article again, here.

The word “Ministry” literally means service. Therefore it would make sense to think that the job of Vision Forum Ministries would be to serve people in some capacity led by their particular vision. When Jesus was on earth, His service was to the people. He took the gospel forth, healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the broken, and preached the truth of the Kingdom of God. Jesus had an amazing way of seeing those in pain, and reaching out to them in love. In Luke, chapter 7 we read of a woman who cleansed the Lord’s feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Those in attendance didn’t feel that she was worthy to be there. They sat in judgment of her. But Jesus forgave her sins and sent her away in peace.

In this very real world where life is not simple, and finding the right thing to do can be difficult when presented with complicated sets of circumstances, I don’t believe that I would receive any ministry from VFM. Certainly not the kind of ministry I think I would receive from Christ.

The article by Mr. Phillips begins by painting a picture of a mother and small child afloat in a life raft with only enough supplies for one, so the mother makes the decision to throw her child to the man eating sharks that she might make it home to her husband and other children. Bear in mind that I made the decision to induce labor with my precious daughter at 22 weeks gestation because she could not live and continuing the pregnancy could kill me. Then imagine how I felt reading the following.

Thanking God that she did not have to watch her son’s death or hear his screams, Susie wipes the tears from her eyes and resolves to move on. She knows that her decision was a valid choice and an act of self-protection. Further, she is comforted by the fact that Johnny is probably better off to have died a quick death with the sharks than to be put through the agony of long-term starvation and dehydration. All things considered, her actions were merciful. Susie manages to survive the next two weeks, is rescued, and returns home to serve as the mother of four healthy children.

What shall we think of Susie? Shall we bless a mother who kills her own child to save herself? Are we proud of such a woman? Shall we sing of her virtues? Perhaps we should just chalk-up her decision to feed her son to the sharks as “an unfortunate, but necessary evil.” After all, she was just acting in self-defense. It was either the mother or the child. One would live and the other would die. Who could blame Mama for wanting to fight for her life, even if it meant that her son would be torn to pieces in the darkness of night?

It was insulting to me that someone could think that what many women like myself endure is so easy that we simply wipe our faces and move on. Our child has died. Even when it’s truly an act of self-preservation and necessary to prevent both our deaths, it is something that is undertaken with prayer, council, grief, and regret. The inflammatory imagery of a child torn to pieces only serves to further the feeling of disgust for the mother who would terminate the pregnancy. Yet my truth is that my labor was simply induced and my daughter delivered whole. No tearing her to pieces. Just a horrifically silent birth followed by the cries of my husband and myself as we wept over her tiny body.

This brings us to the question at bar. Is there any substantive difference between Susie’s actions and that of the mother who orders an abortion “to preserve her own life?” Count on the fact that the blade of the abortionist is every bit as bloody when applied to the skull and chest and legs of an unborn little boy or girl as the teeth of the sharks were to young Johnny. Does this description offend you? Infanticide is offensive.

Did it ever occur to Mr. Phillips that this is often not the case? Many I have come to know since my own loss have stories like mine. Babies born whole. Even in ectopic pregnancies I most often hear of the baby removed intact. The result is the same, mind you. The baby dies. But he misleads his readers with the idea that the only way to end a life-threatening pregnancy is with a D&C or D&E. These are sometimes performed, however, when the danger to the mother is so imminent as to not allow time for anything else. And I do know one woman who lost her baby that way. And she will always feel her baby’s loss. I’m not going to judge her for that.

Mothers may not kill their babies as an act of self-defense because an unborn child intends the mother no harm and lacks the mental capacity to pose a willing threat to a mother. Furthermore, child-sacrifice as a means of self-preservation is universally condemned in Scripture as one of the most wicked crimes imaginable.

I have said elsewhere and will repeat here that the intent of the baby is irrelevant. Even in the Common Law that Mr. Phillips so highly values. The intent that is considered is the intent of the mother. And no mother intends the death of her wanted and loved baby. I find the use of the word “sacrifice” to be unnecessary and not at all applicable to the issue of terminating a pregnancy to save the life of the mother. But if the idea of termination in this context is so universally condemned in scripture, why has Mr. Phillips offered no evidence of that? I did a number of bible searches and came up with nothing scripturally that speaks to this issue. Child sacrifice to false Gods, I found, but I think we can probably all agree that it’s hardly comparable to this issue.

Rescue the perishing.

Care for the dying.

Sometimes it is the mother perishing. Sometimes it is the mother dying. And yet, Mr. Phillips would have us withhold the treatment that might save her life. No rescue, no care. The unspoken idea being that if she is to die, it is God’s will. But couldn’t it also be God’s will that she encounter the medical staff and understanding that might preserve at least one life?

I believe my story is much more comparable to a mother and child both drowning in the ocean. When suddenly overhead is a rescuer who can reach the mother. He can’t reach the baby, but he can reach the mother. Should she drown because he cannot save them both? Or should she go, knowing that she will forever grieve the loss of her child, but still be there to care for her other children? Going is not the easy choice, and she will forever be grieved by the what-if’s. I know I always will be. But that doesn’t mean that I was wrong.

Whether a woman is like that in my story or Mr. Phillips’, we all need the love of Christ which brings grace, healing, and hope. Even the Suzie of Doug Phillip’s story is in need of ministry, of service. She needs to know that there is hope and that sins can be forgiven. Mother’s who have lost their babies are scarred and broken. Our babies take a piece of hearts with them to heaven and we are no longer whole. But our God offers us strength, comfort, and will grieve with us, never leaving us alone.

Mr. Phillips sells himself as the head of a ministry. So far what I’m seeing is a group focused on teaching women their place, limiting their opportunities, teaching them a law with no grace, and then offering them on the sacrificial alter of their principles when they’re in trouble. Which is easy for Doug Phillips. After all, his life will never be in danger from pregnancy.

But where is the ministry? Where is the service? With whom are they sharing the gospel? And where is the good news?

Article quoted by Doug Phillips and found here.

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