Searching for a Lost Morality
an editorial by Paul Lagan
There are times when I believe it is necessary to broaden my reach and declare where I stand concerning various issues that relate to the pro-life movement. This is one of those occasions. Perhaps my words are overdue. Although the intent of this letter, and my responsibility to our supporters, is to inform, not offend, I am not simply going to tell you what you want to hear, nor apologize for what I believe. I realize risk is involved in taking a stand such as this, but I feel our community needs straight talk about tough issues. Concerning the pro-life crusade, do not believe it is possible to walk on both sides of the street. These facts may surprise some of you. Others may be moved enough to act. Whatever the outcome, I hope you will be informed. One thing for certain, this information is not available on the "Six O’clock News." What we consider to be truth is regularly censored, even in Christian circles. You will note that a common thread connects most of the issues contained in this letter, each in its own way reflecting a lack of ethics and a violation of public trust. It’s not a pretty picture, but such is the culture in which we live. If you have thoughts on anything I am about to say, please write me.
Last February, Norma McCorvey, the Roe" of Roe vs. Wade fame, was in town, accompanied by Pastor Flip Benhem of Operation Rescue, who is credited with her pro-life conversion. While in Madison, they attended a lecture at the Union by Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who presented and won the case that made abortion legal in the United States. When Weddington was introduced, she was greeted by a standing ovation from 1300 people. Pastor Benhem’s comments were interesting. He said he was "stunned" by the situation, and he described Madison as a "black dark place, where babies were unloved." Although he had traveled extensively, he added, "There’s a deadness here to the Gospel like no other place."
Do I have your attention? I hope so.
My wife, Sue, tells of the time some years ago when she moved from South Dakota to a town in California. There were stories of killings, muggings and rapings in the news virtually every day. A friend enthusiastically commented to her, "Don’t you just love it out here?" Her friend, like many others, had obviously become desensitized, accustomed to the violence and considered it normal.
Ladies and Gentleman, we live in a community that should be described, from a Christian point-of-view, as a Twentieth Century Sodom and Gomorra, and the scary part is that many of us have also become accustomed to this perversion as normal. Many well-meaning Christian people are simply naive about what is taking place within some of our churches and throughout our community at large. The collision that is occurring is between two vastly different worldviews. What we do now will determine how much we and our children may suffer in the future.
A veteran politician named Pilate once asked a lower class Jewish carpenter, "What is truth?" Ironically, the answer was the very person he was asking. As is true today accustomed to error and desensitized by falsehood, the politician Pilate failed to see who was before him. The result was he not only missed the truth, he ended up nailing truth to a cross.
Truth and moral integrity matter today as much as always. Politicians, preachers and pro-life leaders all have the same responsibility to tell the truth and live by it. Recently, I heard quoted in secular context Christ words, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." But that verse, as many other verses that I have heard misquoted, is out of context. Listen to it in context with the previous verse: "If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
The truth cannot set us free unless we know the truth. We cannot hold to Christ’s teachings unless we now what Christ taught. This requires that churches clearly teach their people what the Scriptures say regarding everyday issues. To know a candidate is for or against abortion, physician-assisted suicide or is sympathetic regarding promiscuous sex outside of traditional marriage is useless unless the church has taught its people the truths of Scripture that make clear what God thinks about these subjects. We must educated before we legislate.
A survey by pollster George Barna shows most people who attend church are out of touch with the basic fundamental principles of their Christian faith. Barna says, "Although they may attend church, own a Bible, give money to a church or pray before meals, all of these are in some way superficial expressions of faith. Most of these people do not have any comprehensive sense of what Christianity teaches or how these principles should be applied to their lives." Barna goes on to say, "If churches embrace fundamental Christian principles we cannot assume people know right from wrong. We must get back to basics." For church and other leaders to do this takes courage – courage to do what’s right despite opposition, mockery and persecution. It’s not easy to buck your peers or today trends of compromise. It's always a temptation to disregard ethics in exchange for staying high in the popularity polls, and by doing so, compromise both character and soul. We, as Christians, regardless of denomination, are instructed to speak the truth in love, but in context of America’s muddled infatuation, which demands we cannot accepts everything and condemn nothing, we draw the line – which brings me to the local level. What you’re about to read may and should disturb you!
Last fall, numerous Catholic supporters of our organization brought to my attention (as the result of an article that appeared in the Catholic Herald newspaper) that a large Catholic church on Madison’s Eastside was promoting a fund-raiser for Dane County Advocates (DCAFBW) to numerous AFLM members of our Board of Directors that "they have referred a lot of women to Planned Parenthood and will financially assist women to get an abortion if she expressed that need."
Now, are you sitting down? It is my understanding that this same church, which traditionally endorsed the sanctity of human life, intends to continue this abortion fund-raiser again this year, under the claim that the money raised would be used to "help" children. Children killed by abortion are not "helped" nor are their parents. One must wonder what kinds of witness this makes. Why would any church want to fund an organization that has stated it could assist in destroying its youngest members? Domestic violence it is perpetrated against women or men it is a grieving offense, but there is no greater act of violence against God, children and all humanity than abortion. It is the responsibility of our Christian churches to fund their own and other pro-life groups in order to truly help these people and their children, and not carelessly refer them to organizations that could assist in destroying the unborn. God – is there any end to our tolerance and lack of responsibility?
If there is darkness in our city and deadness to the Gospel, as Pastor Benhem states, it is because the dust of the heard running in the wrong direction. We have a responsibility before Almighty God not to follow the leader of a church if that leader is leading them in the wrong directions. Our obligation is to God first, not a person or specific church. There are churches in our area from every denomination that teaches truth regarding life issues. Clergy from these churches should be told that they are appreciated. Everyone needs encouragement. If have a tax exempt status causes churches to compromise or leave our certain aspects of the whole counsel of God by withholding information or spiritual truth, then ethics demands that its time to throw off the shackles.
Those involved in the 1996 AIDS walk Milwaukee may be interested in knowing that $61,367 was raised and distributed to 7 agencies, including Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. It is also important to point out that money from this event goes to other organizations which further lifestyles that was responsible, (since AIDS surveillance began in 1982) for more than 77% of deaths from the very disease they are fundraising to eliminate. Injected drug use was responsible for 11%. In the like manner, New York’s 1997 AIDS walk, according to the Associated Press, raised millions of dollars for the "Gay Men’s Heath Crisis." (It may surprise you that a definite link exists between Gay activists and pro-choice groups, nationally and locally.) This year, the Clinton budget has devoted roughly $148 million to develop a vaccine that would combat a disease that is almost 100% preventable by, 1) abstaining form promiscuous sex, namely sodomy between men, and 2) the illegal intravenous use of drugs. For people who abide by God’s laws, the assertion that "everyone is at risk" is nonsense. In the case of AIDS, the risk is predominately self-induced. I suggest you obtain a copy of AIDS, What The Government Isn’t Telling You, by Doctor Lorraine Day, Rockford Press, Palm Dessert, California, 92260 or AIDS, What You Haven’t Been Told, by Jeremiah Films, 1-800-828-2290, or contact Coral Ridge Ministries, PO Box 40, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33302 for further information.
It is interesting to note that in 1996, the Department of Health and Human Services was scheduled to spend $5.35 billion for AIDS research and support, the equivalent of more than $33,000 for each AIDS death, but only $1,201 for each death from heart disease. Yet, heart disease accounts for 730,000 deaths annually, while AIDS accounts for only 42,000. AIDS the highest tax dollar per death total of the ten deadliest diseases in America account for the least number of deaths.
It is obvious that our nation, as well as many of our churches, no longer holds to Christ’s teachings. In fact, we consider His moral beliefs to be antiquated and irrelevant. So, why then, should we be surprised when we read reports and see newscast of children killing children with guns, of teens dying in the streets in an argument over a jacket – and hear people ask "why?" Yet many of those asking "why" continue to pay money to finance the support of the industry that promotes films that glorify "snuffing out" people’s lives.
We hear statistics of women being victims of sexual crimes, yet we still listen to music that degrades women. We watch television programs and movies that promote adultery, sex between men and sex between women and sex without marriage as natural and common. We pay our money to the industry that floods the market with his stuff, too, and so does our government. The Library of Congress spent $60,000 of our money last year to create a Braille edition of Playboy Magazine.
Do we feel anything when a teenager dies of a gunshot wound? Do we care when an unborn child is killed within his or her mother’s womb? Doesn’t it bother you that the life expectancy of the average heterosexual male today is 75 years, as compared to 42 years for non-heterosexuals, or that less than 2% of sexually active non-heterosexual men will survive to age 65? This statistic is so extreme, no doubt, because of the disparate percentage of non-heterosexuals with AIDS as compared to the rest of society. Men who have sex with men are 5000 times more likely to die of AIDS than "straight" people. Ellen’s coming out episode didn’t disclose that fact, did it? Yet, almost 100% of our governments efforts are directed toward cure, rather than cause. These deaths would be preventable if information was not censored. If we care, why do we add our contribution to those who are responsible for these tragedies or, in other cases, simply look the other way and therefore condone the behavior when they are in a position to do something about it? Is this Christian love to celebrated a lifestyle that is responsible for a segment of our society to die 33 years before their time, or are we simply willing to say with our silence and tolerance, "Let these people go to HELL?" Do you want this philosophy to define the pro-life crusade?
The mission of AFLM is to foster and protect society's traditional respect for life, not only the unborn, but also the defenseless, the aged, the disabled, - all human life! God did not make plant-life in His image. He made man in His image.
People who do not care about the commandments of God, who have no standard but their own culture – they cannot really know. But the believer knows! And, it is much worse when someone who knows suppresses what he or she knows, supports or does nothing to correct the purveyors of death, calls anyone "mean-spirited, hateful or intolerant" that exposes and opposes these evils just as the rest of society does, and then asks in wide-eyed amazement, "What is happening? Why is there so much brutality in this world?" Tolerance for sin is the last virtue of a completely immoral, sin-soaked society.
Let me tell you, thought, what concerns me as much. It’s always been true that social movements can contain internal conflicts that have the potential to destroy the cause. The pro-life movement has never found a way to isolate itself from this kind of nonsense. Since I have been in the pro-life crusade, the majority of my time has not been used to promote the sanctity of life, but to defend AFLM, myself and even my familyagainst vicious attacks from other pro-life people, simply because we were "not doing it their way." Differences involving nothing more than egos, personalities, pride and petty turf often cause pro-life people to be more vicious toward other pro-life people than they every would think of being toward the pro-abortion side, and I, for one, AM SICK OF IT!
There is so much in fighting between, and within, organizations that if often escalated to the point where it’s not even clear that the people involved are on the same side. Some people have been caught up so deeply in perpetuating their group that they have taken on an "us-against-the-world" mentality, not just against the abortion industry but against their allies, as well. If unity is to be achieved, we must be sympathetic to the perspective of our fellow workers. No one organization defines the pro-life movement! I have always believed this in fighting could easily cost us the battle, all by itself. And I’ll tell you something else. If we are not making more progress it is because of what the abortion industry is doing to us, but of what we are doing to ourselves. There is absolutely no defense for this type of activity, whatsoever!
Maybe it’s moral ignorance. Maybe past generations, which clung to nothing of virtue, neglected to pass these ideas along – imagining that our society would somehow derive the principles needed to guide our lives. I don’t know what it is. I only know that it scares me that so many people have become blasé about ethics and public trust and that others, so alert to the personal affront, seen incapable of moral indignation. How long have you watched the moral free fall around you without speaking your mind?
Alabama Circuit Judge Roy Moore, who has been the cause of a great deal of controversy lately due to his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments from a wall in his courtroom, sums it up quiet well. Moore says he sees our nation wandering in a maze, searching for a lost morality. "That’s where we are," he concludes. "We don’t have a distinction between right and wrong. That’s why I see before my court kids committing murder. That’s why I see politicians ripping off the public. That’s why I see education standards plummeting – we’ve lost our morality. We’ve lost a sense of right and wring. We’ve lost a relationship with God."
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