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Dr. Brown Dialogues with a Former Pro-Life Leader

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
July 20, 2022 5:10 pm

Dr. Brown Dialogues with a Former Pro-Life Leader

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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July 20, 2022 5:10 pm

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. He used to be a prominent leader in the pro-life movement, but now, as a minister, his views have changed dramatically.

Why? It's time for the Line of Fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity.

Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on the Line of Fire. And now, here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. We are going to have a very interesting conversation today, a very candid conversation.

I really have no idea in which direction this conversation will go, but I've been looking forward to having it. This is Michael Brown. Welcome to the broadcast.

I will not be taking calls during the broadcast, so sit back and enjoy every minute. Let me give you the background to this. A few weeks ago, I happened to spot a tweet from Rev.

Rob Schenk. It said this, ending Roe v. Wade starts the greatest moral test for the so-called pro-life movement I helped lead for 30 years. Anti-abortion donors gave hundreds of millions of dollars, endless hours to end Roe. Will they now do even more to help women, children, families, and communities around them?

No. So I took strong exception to this tweet. I don't know that Rev. Schenk and I have really known each other personally over the years, but certainly with his brother Paul, he was a well-known pro-life leader, as he said, for several decades. He is currently president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute and author of the book, Costly Grace and Evangelical Ministers' Rediscovery of Faith, Hope, and Love. So out of my respect for Rev. Schenk, because I was going to differ with this publicly, I asked if he'd come on the air, and he immediately said yes, he would. So here we are, Rev.

Rob Schenk, welcome to the Line of Fire broadcast. Thank you, Dr. Brown. I'm delighted to be with you. All right, so let me ask a few preliminary questions, all right?

And I know a little, but I'm going to ask as if I don't know anything, all right? What are your current views on the Bible, authority of Scripture, salvation through Jesus alone? Where do you stand on those issues as a minister? Well, first, of course, I see Scripture, and I presume you're talking about the 66 books of the canon, although I might allow for a few others in the apocryphal or Deuterocanonical category, so there might be one or two others. But the 66 books we know, commonly as the Old and New Testaments, to me, are the inspired Word of God in print, animated by the Word of God, capital W, the living Word of God in Jesus Christ, and is the final rule for faith and practice for me as an evangelical Christian. Of course, that's all centered around the person of Christ, who is the only means of salvation or lost humanity. All right, so, Rob, you're answering that question, would you say, in a similar way to the way you would have answered it 20 years ago, maybe with nuances, but overall, your esteem for the authority of Scripture and the work of Jesus, would you say that pretty much remains the same today as 20 years ago? Yes, yes, I express it a little differently just because I've studied and learned and reflected on all of this in a deeper way in the last 20 years, but on the whole, yes.

Got it, okay. That's important to lay out initially, from my understanding as well as for the understanding of our listeners, because you were going to say some things, I imagine, as we go on, where people might question that, so that's why I wanted to start there and be absolutely fair. And then, what would you say in short was the great motivation for you to be involved in the pro-life movement, and then, again in short, because this is your life story here, what caused the shift to your position now, and then obviously you can articulate where it's changed.

Sure. Well, yes, those are big questions that I've been wrestling with now for over a decade, so it is hard sometimes to abbreviate it, to truncate those answers, but in an attempt to do so, I'll say first my motivation for being involved and then later taking leadership in the pro-life movement, was first because I thought it was the quintessential expression of the second commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, and I thought of the pre-born child as the nearest neighbor. So of course, we're commanded to love our neighbor. It also factored into my concept of the sanctity of human life, that every human life is sacred, unique, unrepeatable, created by God, and so I wanted to defend that human life. So that was my motivation to get involved. Then, as the years went on, I saw more and more of the focus of the movement gravitating away from that principle and more towards political operations and victories that had to do with everything from scoring points in public disputes and argumentation over this, to scoring victories at the ballot box and on the floors of state and legislatures and the Congress, passing laws, and, you know, consummately at the Supreme Court, winning cases and then getting the right nominees onto the bench who would render the decision that we just got, which was the reversal of Roe v. Wade. That progression away from the moral core to the political outcomes caused me to look at not just the movement, but my whole perception of abortion differently. And then came a crisis, Dr. Brown, and it was actually while I was in jail in Montgomery, Alabama, for protest activity and First Amendment, free speech stuff. And because the jail was overcrowded, I was put on the psychiatric wing of the Montgomery County Jail.

And it was coed, weirdly, men and women in the cells. And about three doors away from me was a woman who was in great distress and she was screaming all day long, relentlessly, screaming out, where are my babies? I have three babies.

I have three kids. Where are they? Who's with them?

I need to get to my babies. Nobody came to her aid. Not a single person came to assuage her, to assure her, to calm her.

It just went on all day long. And what happened in that moment for me was suddenly the bubble that I had been living in for 30 years of pro-life movement leadership burst. Because what I always imagined was that when a woman cried out like that, she would be surrounded by Christian people who would love on her, take care of her and her children, come to her aid, support her.

But this woman had no one. And suddenly my fantasy about all of that met very harshly with reality. And as a result, I had to set up a whole different framework.

It was over time. It took me a long time to do it. But I had to look at this whole question with the plight of women in this unique, utterly and completely unique crisis, their children, our society, and even the church. I had to look at them through a framework of reality. And I realized that for 30 plus years, I had demanded that people like her leave her reality and enter my fantasy, instead of what I now see as the biblical mandate, the Christ-like mandate, to leave my comfortable fantasy and enter her reality.

That's the best way I can answer your question. Well, first, I appreciate you doing it in such a concise way. Again, the journey of decades, I appreciate you doing that and doing it in an articulate way.

And Reverend Shank, you understand we're going to have differences here. The key thing is that you understand that I'm speaking to you with respect, that if I push back in a hard way, it's not to demean your position or to despise the journey that you've been on. But I want to be sure that you know that you have the ability to speak to me with absolute candor, all right, and that I want to do the same. So let me raise something here and then we'll get over to your tweet. But I appreciate you being willing to take the time.

I didn't want to rush this. I wanted to be able to speak candidly. But putting aside the prison experience, because I don't know who's going to be there to respond within the setting of a prison as opposed to just in the general community, and putting aside your own experience with politics, interfacing with the pro-life movement, we'll unpack all of those. But I still don't understand how going through that changes in any way the fact that scripture makes very clear that's a child within the womb, that science makes clear that's a child within the womb, and that we have the wholesale slaughter of well over 60 million babies in the womb, most, the great majority simply for elective reasons, not for rape incest or the health of the mother, where cases where people would debate more. So you've got the issue of yes, what can we do to help communities of the living in a more holistic way that's always, Jesus said, the poor you'll always have with you. So what can we do to address that very real issue of caring for children that are here, caring for our friends that are here, caring for kids in the foster care system that are here, so address those very real issues while stopping the slaughter of the unborn in the womb and the shedding of innocent blood, which God so hates.

So we come back on the other side of the break, that's the question I'd like you to address. The Bible's still clear, the Bible hasn't changed in terms of the pictured points of the humanity of the child within the womb. The horror of abortion remains what it is in terms of what's being done to the unborn.

So even if you say, hey, we've neglected other issues and haven't been holistic and failed to love our living neighbor outside of the womb, I don't understand why your position on abortion would change at all. So we'll be right back. That's my question for you, sir. I'm speaking with Reverend Rob Schenke.

Stay right here. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks for joining us, friends, on the line of fire. I'm speaking with Reverend Rob Schenke, author of the book, Costly Grace. So before the break, I had asked the question, even if you said, well, we're getting too political about this, we've lost sight of the real heart of the pro-life movement, we're not caring for the living among us outside of the womb, how would that change your view that abortion is a grave sin in God's sight? Well part of it goes actually back to what, you know, induced me to get involved in defending pre-born human life to begin with, which was the uniqueness of every human being. That the newly conceived human is unique from the parents of that human. Well, that uniqueness carries all through life. Everything human is unique. I think in that way we reflect an attribute of God, because God is unique, and we are created in the image of God. So we are also created in uniqueness.

And the reason that I emphasize uniqueness is because every human experience is unique, and that's particularly true of pregnancy, human gestation, birth, childhood, human development, aging, every part of it. We can't ever say, this person is just like that person. I have an identical twin brother.

You know he and I were both leaders in the movement. So we are clones. We are literally clones of each other.

We have mirror DNA. But he is still very different from me, and he experiences things very differently than I experience them. That's especially true of a pregnant woman, a woman facing pregnancy, experiencing pregnancy, experiencing birth, child rearing of a unique child.

And I used to kind of see this all lumped together. It's all the same, and it's not the same. Just to be clear, though, is that a human being in the womb, a pre-born human being in God's sight? Yes.

There's no question about it. Okay, so even if the situation is very unique, it's an unwanted, unexpected pregnancy. A child would be born to a family that's already impoverished, right? As opposed to just somebody's one-night stand that's like, ah, whatever, we'll just divorce the baby. So we recognize that, but is there still a legitimate reason to terminate an innocent pre-born life just because of hardship potentially on the other side of things? No.

Just because of that, no. But I think that cheapens the terror that some women do experience, true terror, fear, panic, anxiety on a level I can't pretend. I remember when I was present for the birth of my children, and on one occasion, I said to my wife in labor, oh, honey, I know it's hard. She said, you don't know anything about this.

She was absolutely right. I knew nothing about that. And I presumed I knew everything about the women facing this, again, unique challenge to their being, to their identity. I can't pretend to know what it is to not be ready to carry another human in my body for that period of time, and then obligate myself to that human being. And you said about the Bible being clear on all of this. I came to see that it actually wasn't. And here's why. It went to those commands of God in Scripture when he commanded his people to slaughter infants.

And I said, now wait a minute, hold on here. Either this is not the same God of the New Testament, or there's something at work here that I don't understand, which is in some instances, there isn't the total protection of human life. And for example, you know, we say about killing, for example, in self-defense, and we will morally justify that. Sometimes we'll morally justify capital punishment, killing someone at age 40 in a gas chamber or with an injection, and we morally justify that.

How do we do that? Because we say every single instance of death is not exactly the same. Right, but... So this is in the mix.

Right, okay. But again, just to push back based on Scripture, you know that the death penalty is because of the image of God in humanity, Genesis 9, 6, that if someone murders, that they forfeit their life. So it is life for life. They have destroyed someone, created an image of God, therefore they forfeit their life. So if someone's making an argument for death penalty, it is someone guilty of this crime, and therefore they forfeit their life.

In the case of judgment where God called Israel to wipe out the Canaanites, yes, there were reasons for it of divine judgment. In other words, at no point did God ever give someone the right to simply terminate the life of someone else because of an inconvenience or a problem or something like that. So you're comparing apples with oranges.

Yes, apples are unique and oranges are unique, but we're comparing apples with oranges. But anyway, rather than get into a more lengthy theological debate, here's what I'm still trying to understand, alright? And by the way, I've written articles before the overturning of Roe v. Wade about let's try to see this through the eyes of a woman that's called pro-choice. And I've made the heartbreaking cases, you know, the 11-year-old that's raped by an uncle and now finds out she's pregnant.

You're going to force that kid to have a baby and on and on. You know, it raised the issues to try to say, hey, whatever we're doing, we have to reach out with compassion. And I've devoted broadcasts to this, articles, post-overturning of Roe v. Wade and say, okay, how do we reach out while we celebrate the lives that will be saved through this?

How to reach out to the women, this has been all they've ever known. This is three generations now. It's almost 50 years. So people have grown up with this. This is their reality. They're in fear. What do we do?

How do we reach out? So that has to do with a large part of who we are. But here's what I'm wondering about, alright? And you can start your answer.

You'll have a couple of minutes, but we got plenty of time on the other side of the break. Okay. When you made the statement that this is going to be the greatest test, moral test for the so-called pro-life movement, and will they do now even more to help women, children, families, communities around them?

No. I'm actually finding it to be the exact opposite. First, on the ground, in the pregnancy crisis centers, those doing outreach in front of abortion clinics, on the ground, every ministry that I've been aware of and work with, they've always been holistic.

They've been doing this from the start. I'm just looking at a fact sheet from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Pregnancy Centers Serving Women and Saving Lives, a 2020 study, and data from 2019 shows that pro-life pregnancy centers serve close to two million people with services and material assistance with a total value of over $266 million. Included in that, 2,525 locations offer material assistance, such as baby items, et cetera, et cetera.

Others are supplying various things for ongoing life thereafter. One of the organizations that I've worked with and helped support in Charlotte, North Carolina, now it's moved through all of North Carolina and other states, Love Life. Love Life is uniting and mobilizing the church to create a culture of love and life that will result in an end to abortion and the orphan crisis, and they work with families in a holistic way or mothers before pregnancy, after pregnancy, and then I'll throw out this last thing. I'm throwing out a lot, but Brandi Swindell just testified on Capitol Hill, and one of my colleagues was at this movement. She said, at this meeting yesterday in my home state of Idaho, Stanton Healthcare organized and led a symposium called Supporting Women in an Abortion-Free Idaho. Political, faith, and community leaders, educators, and organizations came together in a nonpartisan way to find creative and life-affirming solutions as we unite to support women with unexpected pregnancies. We're excited that other states are following Idaho's lead. So this is happening in a number of states, and we're, okay, now we're in this environment where states can be abortion-free. What are we going to do to serve the women? What are we going to do to help those that will agree to have their baby either in adoption or ongoing care for them? So I'm seeing the opposite.

I'm seeing that on the ground, yeah, people have been involved politically, but that hasn't been the emphasis. The emphasis has been caring for women and babies and children. Women evangelicals actively involved disproportionately in adoption, many getting more involved in foster care. So we're trying holistically to do what we can, and it seems, from what I can tell, that there is now a definite spike in churches saying, and we've been preaching this, now we have to step forward even more. Now we have to say, okay, you are important to us, the baby in your womb is important to us, and we want to help in a long-term, holistic way.

Okay, last thing, I'm going to tell you what, I'm just going to come back on the other side of the break and turn it right over to you so you can speak in an uninterrupted way. In sum, everything I've seen over the years has been holistic life care. What I'm seeing now is a spike in churches and organizations saying we have to step forward and really be pro-life in the most holistic way, the opposite of what you predicted.

And then churches on the ground, that's what they've been known for for years, helping their local communities. Okay, RiverShack, you get to push back without interruption on the other side of the break. Thank you. That's the Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown.

Thanks for joining us, friends. I'm speaking with Rev. Rob Schenk. He is the author of Costly Grace, and before the break, at length, I pushed back on his tweet that the pro-life movement will not do more in a holistic pro-life way in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade. And I said that's exactly what I've seen him doing for years in terms of being holistic in pro-life on the ground, and I'm seeing an increase now state by state as this is happening. Now, Rev. Schenk, I would hope that what I'm sharing with you is good news, but either you're going to differ with what I shared or find it the exception to the rules, so the floor is yours. Well thank you, and thank you for the invitation to push back, Dr. Brown, but I don't want you to. I have no interest in pushing back on what you said because, frankly, I know Brandi Swindell very well at Stanton in Idaho. I know some of the other groups that you named and that you alluded to, and they are doing the most important pro-life work that can be done.

So they are to be nothing but applauded and supported in every possible way. If only it were close to enough. And this is why I say that, because a very conservative annual estimate of abortion might be 850,000. It's probably a little bit more than that, but let's go with 850,000.

If by rolling back Roe we see, let's say, a whopping one-third reduction, that would be roughly 600,000. There are 3,000 crisis pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. That would mean each of them have to take on 200 clients each. If you count the babies born to them, that's 400 clients each. And not just clients, but possibly other children are in the mix, a spouse, a partner, other family members, maybe others in their community, all with their attendant needs.

So if you list those needs as, of course, immediate maternal health care, supplies, formula to furniture, transportation, child care, job training, employment for mom, early childhood ed for the child, mental health care, maybe for both, maybe for other children, for the partner, for the spouse, and all of that has to be within doable access to that facility or that center of help. CPCs just can't do this. Now, you mentioned churches. Theoretically, in a fantastical scenario, there might be enough churches to take all of this on. But again, you're talking about poor women in urban centers or in sparsely populated remote rural areas. Most churches with enough people, enough volunteers, enough money to take on something of this mammoth scale are exclusively in vehicle accessible only suburbs. I was an itinerant minister for 40 plus years visiting churches all over the US.

I think I stopped counting after 1,001 of them in all 50 states. And I can tell you, the vast majority of those churches are not doing this and are not poised to do this. This requires an all of society government response, but the overwhelming number of pro-life Christians are Republican. And there's a problem there, because Republicans on the whole, overwhelmingly, are not only not for spending on the kind of social programs to support these women, their babies, their children, their families, their communities.

But the GOP normally works to reduce and eliminate those programs. This is why I say we're poised to fail this moral test. The relatively easy part was organizing politically to bring down Roe. We did that. But the human outreach and the helping parts are far, far more demanding of us, and they are unending.

And we did not prepare for that in any way. And the result will be, I think, sadly, that our pro-life efforts will likely bring about much more suffering than was eliminated. And that's my case. Got it. All right, all clear. So let me give you my candid response to that. So we care about life holistically, and that's important to God, that's important to you and to me. So we embrace that value together as followers of Jesus.

And this is part of loving God and loving our neighbor as ourself. But here's where I really take exception to several things that you said. First, on the face of it, your tweet, I really differ with, because the people that I know that have been on the front lines of the pro-life movement, they are doing more and seeking to do more.

But here's why I differ. Number one, the great majority of abortions are still purely elective. They are not absolute hardship cases. And therefore, in many instances, no, we don't need government help or subsidy or even the church to step forward. We need people to embrace having children more and saying, okay, we can't just use this as a form of birth control. Look, men are having vasectomies at a higher rate, according to reports I've read, in the immediate aftermath of the overturning of Roe, because abortion is not an option.

So hey, this was a simple method of birth control for many. So let's put that in a separate category, aside from the very real needs that are out there. But what I don't get is, this is the same with pretty much every area of life where we're trying to help.

We can't help everybody, but you do what you can. And therefore, you don't say, okay, let's keep killing babies in the womb, because we can't care for all of them. No, no, stop the killing of babies in the womb and overturn this unrighteous bad law edict of Roe in the sight of God to make a statement in his sight, because his favor is what matters the most. And let's keep doing what we can, creating a culture of life, encouraging people to embrace children, and not to just look at them as a clump of cells. Let's try to get pro-life Democrats, because I do not put my trust in the political system. I've largely voted Republican for years, but I'm a registered independent as a matter of conscience before God. So I'm not looking to Republicans to change the world or Democrats, but let's get the Democrats to shift their view, because they're so aggressively pro-abortion in their platform and their stance in action.

And then let's remember what Reverend Jesse Jackson said. You probably know this quote, 1977, politicians argue for abortion largely because they do not want to spend the necessary money to feed, clothe, and educate more people. Here arguments for inconvenience and economic savings take precedence over arguments for human value and human life. Psychiatrists, social workers, and doctors often argue for abortion on the basis that the child will grow up mentally and emotionally scarred, but who of us is complete? If incompleteness were the criterion for taking life, we'd all be dead. If you can justify abortion on the basis of emotional incompleteness, then your logic could also lead you to killing for other forms of incompleteness, blindness, crippledness, old age. It's like you could say, hey, we have a crisis in America where we really don't care for the elderly properly, so let's keep killing babies in the womb so we have less people that will grow up to be elderly and uncared for. We could pull this argument any direction which then completely paralyzes us from doing anything. It would be no different than the logic if the mother killed the baby one second after birth. Your logic would be just the same. Hey, that's a more realistic and compassionate outcome than whatever else we're facing.

So that's what's still not lining up. Amen to the need for the church to be the church and step forward. That's what the early church did that opposed abortion and fantasized.

They stepped up. Let us step up and let this not be a one party issue. Let both parties be pro-life. But I don't mean to be obtuse here, but I'm still not getting the logic behind what would justify abortion. I'm not sure, Dr. Brown, that it comes down to logic. So much of our lives are not governed by logic. Certainly our passions, our love for one another is often illogical. To this day, you know, I'm grateful that I married the woman that I'm still madly in love with after 45 years, but we married at age 18 right out of high school. It was absolutely illogical.

It was preposterous, and everyone advised against it. But we loved each other. We were committed to each other. We married.

I wouldn't advise any young person to do it, but we did. But it was wholly illogical. And so much of what we do in life, individually, collectively, as a race, as a human race, is illogical. And in this instance, I don't think we can always map what a person feels, experiences, or chooses to do in a logical progression. If that were the case, then even faith, for example, our trust in an invisible savior who died on a cross would be utterly illogical and preposterous. So I don't necessarily see it as a logical equation here. For me, it's looking at the individual, her unique experience, her unique pain and circumstance, and I'd like to believe that I could be her and face those things in a better way than she might face them. But that, too, is illogical.

So for me, this is a question of empathy, of sitting with a person, and simply being a companion to them in their anguish. And here's where I'll respectfully object. And again, you know, I don't want to belittle your position on this. I may not, I certainly don't think I have the last word on it.

I'm still very much exploring it. But here's, here's something, you know, when you say, Tell you what, hold your thought. We've got a break. I want to be sure you can get this out. All right, so we'll come back.

And perhaps instead of logical, I could have said morally consistent. All right, so Reverend Shank, you get to continue this point on the other side of the break. I want to make sure you can get it out because here we are at the end.

Friends, I hope this conversation is a benefit to you. And if you differ with Reverend Shank, as I do, as he says, he's still exploring on his journey. Father, bring each of us into the fullness of your heart. How do you look at those babies in the womb, Father? Give us your heart inside the womb, outside the womb. Give us your heart, Father. That's our prayer, Reverend Shank, for me, for each of us.

We'll be right back. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on The Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. All right, I want to go straight back to Reverend Shank. Yes, sir. Please continue with the point you wanted to make. Sure, and thank you so much for your courtesy, Dr. Brown.

It's why I continue to admire you in every way. The point I wanted to make here was your reference to the law and shooting down this terrible law and creating a culture that respects and affirms the sanctity of life, et cetera. If there was a time when I thought that the solution to this crisis of abortion in our culture was the law, that if we could change the law, it would go a long way to resolving the problem.

I no longer think that. First of all, I don't have as much confidence in the legal system as I once had. And when I did, it was even after I was wrongfully convicted by a jury in a pro-life protest case where I was given nine months in a state penitentiary for all the, I mean, for false reasons.

The prosecutor had built a whole false narrative of fiction. The jury bought it. I was found guilty. Thankfully, that finding was vacated by an appellate court. But notwithstanding that, I still had a very high respect for our legal system. I now hold it in much greater doubt.

But especially in this instance, I do not think that the solution to this crisis lies in law enforcement, in the courts, and certainly not with craven politicians who use it and abuse it constantly for their own political advantage, and not with the Supreme Court. I spent 20 years coming and going from the chambers of the Supreme Court justices. I know many of them personally. I prayed with them, talked with them. I do not think they were the ones to adjudicate this. As you suggest, it is a supremely, no pun intended, supremely moral question. And that, like it is in Jewish law, you and I both share that heritage. In Jewish law, the woman's perception of her pregnancy, her experience in that moment weighs very, very heavily. What we have done in this country in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, which reversed Roe v. Wade, is we've basically dismissed the woman's opinion entirely. We say it doesn't matter. What matters are we folks up here.

We will tell you what your pregnancy experience is. I can no longer support that position. It's far too nuanced, far too intricate, far too complicated, just as every human being is. And I fear a kind of renewed Pharisaism, a legalism that will take over this question. And to me, that's very threatening, not just to women in crisis, sometimes in unspeakable fear and agony, but to the whole of our gospel witness, because the gospel is entirely contrary to legalism. It is neither logical, nor is it legal.

It's God in his infinite and unfathomable love for each of us, uniquely and collectively. None of that can be captured in a legal structure, but human legal structure. Yeah, well, certainly my hope for a culture of life in America is based 99%, well, vastly on the gospel changing hearts and minds.

And one of my latest books, Revival or We Die, that's my posture. As for the court, when the court makes a decision, it does affect public opinion. And Roe, as many liberal law scholars said, even Ruth Bader Ginsburg back in the day said that it went too far or that it was bad law. And at the time of the 14th Amendment, when that was written, across America, abortion was illegal. So, I mean, this was just the overwhelming norm then. So Roe v. Wade was bad.

Casey was bad. There was no constitutional basis for it. Let the states decide.

That's where it was at. Let the people vote. Let the states decide.

Let the views of women be heard and men be heard, et cetera. So this is simply fixing something that was wrong and that will only change public opinion. Look, the Supreme Court's decision in 2015 with Obergefell, the White House lighting up in rainbow colors, that affects public opinion. That affects the way people look at things. So this is, to me, as the court did what was right in fixing a bad law constitutionally, A, and B, it's in God's sight something important. And C, does affect public opinion. Now it goes back to the states and let the states work this out.

Let the people decide ultimately. But again, the legalism thing goes both ways. And I constantly examine myself for it because no one thinks that they're guilty of it. We all point fingers at the other and say it. I found your tweet to be surprisingly harsh, judgmental, and the exact opposite of the truth of what I know on the ground from everyone I've worked with, because I'm not a political guy. I mean, I'll comment on politics because I do it on radio and I write five op-eds a week, but I'm not politically oriented. I really am iconoclastic when it comes to that in terms of, it's got to be the gospel.

My newest book coming out in September, you probably agree with a lot, called The Political Seduction of the Church, and how millions of Americans have confused politics with the gospel. But if we just come back to this, we've only got like three, four minutes. Let's say a woman agonizes, she's under pressure, and she ends up having the baby. She doesn't want to have this baby. She has the baby, but when the baby's born, right out of the womb, they realize, oh no, the baby's terribly deformed. It doesn't even have barely a functioning brain. It's going to live maybe a few months, maybe a year, but it's going to be a vegetable. None of us would say it's right to kill that baby at that point.

I hope you're included in that, none of us. So, the whole thing still comes down to, if that is in God's sight, a human life, an innocent human life. And I remember when a woman called the show, she was a Christian who worked at Planned Parenthood, took the job as a single mother, asked if it was justifiable because she was only a receptionist. And then when I told her, under no circumstances was it justifiable, she then began to break down and weep, and said, look, they cross-train you, they bring you in the back. They showed me the products of conception, what they called POC. She goes, this little baby, he's just weeping on the air.

And we worked with her, we got help, support for her, and she never went back and wrote to me a year or two later, just thankful for her new life. These are human beings in the womb. That remains the case, even with Judaism. Forget liberal Judaism, Orthodox Judaism has recognized that in the vast majority of circumstances, abortion would grow.

But putting that aside, ultimately that's still what it comes down to. And it was not a clump of cells that leaped in the womb of Elizabeth, it was the baby full of the spirit that leaped in the womb. I can't get away from that, and therefore, I must stand on the side of the unborn, but while working in every way, not so much through the government, but through the church, to help create a culture of life. So that's my appeal, is you're on a journey, continue on it, and ask yourself again about that child within the womb, in God's sight, and what happens to that baby with its full DNA, with its beating heart and everything, what happens to that baby because of abortion? There's no nice way to paint that picture. And I hope you would adopt a position that, to me, is morally consistent. That's my appeal. We've got a minute and a half, you get the last word. Well, thank you for that.

That's the courtesy that's undeserved. And I'll just say this, I find myself going back more and more to Jewish law, I think Jesus did. And in Jewish law, the woman is in first position, the child in the womb in second position. There's no way to argue it differently. I hope we don't lose sight of the woman in this equation who is at least equal, perhaps in first position.

And it does start to change more than a few things. What I've learned from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that brave, brilliant, young, morally courageous church leader in Nazi era Germany, who gave his life in that struggle was that when it comes to all these questions, there are no universal rules that apply. There is only the question, what is the will of God in this moment?

And that's the question I want to ask. Thank you for allowing me to exercise through it. In this conversation, you've been very generous and kind as I know you to be. Well, thank you for the kind words. I mean that from the heart and for your willingness to come on the air with me.

And as you left me a minute, let me say, let me say this. The most moving calls we've ever gotten in the history of the show are from all the women who've had abortions. These were women, many of whom were radically pro-choice feminists when they had their abortions. And they talked to me about the agony that they live with. They've broken down weeping. It's 30 years ago.

I've had them 40 years ago. They break down weeping and sobbing on the air, talking about the pain that was caused in their lives when they thought it was the right thing to do. I've even had men call in that had pressured their girlfriend to have an abortion when they were like 17 and 16, and they've broken down weeping.

So there's a lot more cost to the women than we even realize, a lot more harm being done to them. Let's factor in everyone. Let's factor in God's heart. Reverend Shank, thank you for the kind words. Thank you for your graciousness. Thanks for being willing to come on. And I do want to lovingly challenge you to reconsider some of these things before the Lord. And perhaps one day we can sit down and chat face to face in another setting. But thank you, sir, for coming on the air and for your kind words. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 13:54:11 / 2023-03-21 14:11:07 / 17

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