The Briefing 08-03-15
Tags: Abortion, Adultery, Ashley Madison, Audio, Planned Parenthood
This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
It’s Monday, August 3, 2015. I’m Albert Mohler and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.
Shocking videos investigating Planned Parenthood confront America with reality of abortion
The American people now face the fact that they cannot not know. That’s a very important moral principle. There are times in which one the most basic moral insights coming from the Christian worldview is the fact that certain truths are unavoidable. J. Budziszewski years ago wrote about the things we cannot not know, pointing to the fact that God has made us with a moral conscience even as he is made us in his image. And there are certain principles and truths embedded in that conscience, embedded in the world around us, embedded in the fact that we are moral creatures, that we cannot not know.
What we now face, however, of course is the reality that on the other side of Genesis 3 one of the major manifestations of human sin is to deny what we really do know. When it comes to the sanctity of human life one of the things that Americans can now not not know is the barbarity not only of abortion, but in particular of Planned Parenthood. An organization that from its very inception has represented a direct assault upon the sanctity of human life. And that means – Christians must always keep in mind – a direct assault upon the image of God.
Planned Parenthood has been in the headlines in recent days since July 14, when a group known as the Center for Medical Progress began releasing videos demonstrating the fact that Planned Parenthood’s senior medical personnel have been directly involved in the sale and transfer of fetal tissues. In all likelihood, this violates federal law – it’s almost hard to imagine how it does not. Planned Parenthood directors, medical personnel at the very highest level, were caught red-handed so to speak as they spoke to persons they thought were potential buyers of the material, tissues, and organs from aborted fetuses.
In particular Dr. Deborah Nucatola, who is the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, in the very first of these videos – the video released on July 14 – was very specific about the fact that Planned Parenthood abortion doctors actually premeditate to conduct abortions so as to meet a demand in the marketplace for fetal tissues, including fetal organs.
With chilling language as you saw Dr. Nucatola in the video reach with salad for her fork and drink from her class, she spoke of the fact that “a lot of people want intact hearts these days.” She also spoke of the fact that there’s a great demand for fetal livers. She went on to say that her group sometimes includes a daily ‘huddle’ – that was her word for it – in which clinic staff target organs to be harvested from unborn babies. In that very first video Dr. Nucatola said,
“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
Ever since July 14 and the release of that first video Planned Parenthood has been in an all out effort to recover from what is undeniably a public relations disaster. Since that first video at least three others have been released, and there is word that as many as 10 additional videos are on their way. With successive sense of shock these videos have been released demonstrating the callous disregard for human life that is at the very heart not only of the sale of these fetal tissues and organs, not only in what the Wall Street Journal called “Planned Parenthood’s Harvest,” but also – and this is what we must always keep in mind – and the very issue of the reality of abortion. It is abortion itself that is at the center of this moral crisis.
Christians operating out of a biblical worldview have to understand that there is no way that abortion can be made to appear anything other than what it really is. That is, if we actually make clear what is taking place in the abortion of a human baby. We’re talking about the strategic intentional destruction of an unborn human being in the womb. We’re talking about dismemberment. We’re talking about death. We’re talking about poisoning. We’re talking about, even as these videos have made clear, the intentional harvesting of organs from these unborn human beings in order to facilitate their transfer for medical experimentation.
At the end of World War II when Dwight David Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces faced the reality of what had gone on in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, he realized that one of the key moral issues directly at the heart of the Nazi Holocaust was the reality that people had to know what was going on. Not only were there are thousands and thousands of not only Nazi troops but also civilians were involved in the death camps and the Holocaust of over 7 million people, but there were also those who were living in the vicinity. In many cases, these were German towns where very nearby the intentional destruction of human life was taking place at an unprecedented and breathtaking scale. At the end of the war as Allied forces took over these territories, General Eisenhower did something that was not required by the Allied powers. It was something under his own authority, and it was an act of great moral clarity. General Eisenhower required many of the civilians who been living around these camps, living in denial what was going on at Auschwitz ,Treblinka, Birkenau, and so many others of these camps – he forced the civilians to walk through the camps and realized exactly was going on and see it with their own eyes.
General Eisenhower was not attempting by this moral action to require the civilians to face the reality of military responsibility. His point was their own responsibility. In some cases, as General Eisenhower knew many the civilians had actually benefited by the camps and had supported the camps. In other cases they were, as we now say, living in denial. Not allowing themselves to acknowledge what was happening right in their own neighborhoods. But that came to an end with those walks through the camp.
America will one day have to walk through the abortuaries. Will have to walk through all of these facilities where so many millions and millions of abortions have taken place. The release of these videos in recent days is a step, a small step, but a very important step towards making Americans walk through those camps, in this case walk to the abortuaries and face directly the reality of abortion and in particular, the complicity not only of Planned Parenthood in this entire murderous enterprise but the complicity of all the American people by means of the fact that Planned Parenthood receives almost a half billion dollars annually of tax support at the state, federal, and even local levels. We’re talking about a very important moral moment for America. We’re talking about the fact, first of all that Planned Parenthood has admitted in the course of its own attempted public relations that it is directly involved in the strategic targeting and harvesting of fetal parts and organs in order to meet the demand coming from those involved in medical experimentation.
We need to note that even as Planned Parenthood insists against all evidence in these videos that they are not committing a crime – that will be later determined by investigation – we do know that what they have admitted is that they are directly involved in the strategic harvesting of fetal parts. That entire murderous enterprise has now come to light and Planned Parenthood is by no means disavowing the fact that it is involved in this strategic harvesting and that it intends to continue to be so. They’re insisting that they are not profiting by the sale of these fetal organs, but that was betrayed by the very language that was used by senior officials of Planned Parenthood in these videos.
One other issue here is very, very important. What we have now noted is that the moral impact these videos is not just in the facts that are asserted and documented, but in the emotional weight of seeing those who were involved in the process of abortion and the procurement of these organs speaking with such callousness about the very process. Speaking with no moral acknowledgment whatsoever that they are talking about the termination of a human life. Even for those Americans who do not have a worldview that identifies that unborn human infant as truly human, there is a disregard for the sanctity of human life in this case that has affected and embarrassed even the staunchest defenders of elective abortion. One of the primary supporters of Planned Parenthood in American politics today is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After the release of the third video Hillary Clinton acknowledged that she found the videos disturbing. Similarly you have even the head of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, acknowledging that in her view her organization had been embarrassed by the attitude that a been demonstrated by Dr. Nucatola in that first video. But we’re not talking here about an absence of etiquette. And that’s where Christians have to keep this very much in focus. We’re talking about a direct assault upon human dignity and we’re talking about the strategic intentional murder of unborn human beings.
Major media attempt to complicate simplicity of Planned Parenthood scandal
And speaking of the defenders of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading newspapers have by and large staunchly defended Planned Parenthood even in the face of all of this evidence. For instance, the New York Times on Wednesday, July 22 ran a lead editorial entitled “An Ugly Campaign of Deception.” And the editors of the New York Times here said that the group that released these videos was involved in deceiving the public about what Planned Parenthood was actually up to. Well if there was a deception, there would’ve been no need for Cecile Richards to apologize on behalf of Planned Parenthood for what she considered to be the embarrassment of how her senior medical director had spoken. But of course, we’re not talking here merely about embarrassment. We’re talking about the fact that even the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others have to acknowledge that what’s going on here is the sale of bodily parts and of organs from aborted fetuses.
The New York Times, for example, ended its editorial writing,
“The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal.”
Now that’s an incredible statement. It’s more revealing about the worldview of the editorial board of the New York Times than it is about the videos. Here they talk about the video campaign as what they call a ‘dishonest attempt’ to make what they describe as ‘legal, voluntary and potentially life-saving tissue donations’ appear to be something that is wrong. But let’s just think about that for a moment. They’re talking here about “potentially life-saving tissue donations.” They’re not acknowledging in any sense the fact that there is an unborn human life that is deliberately taken in order to gain these so-called tissues.
Similarly, writing in the last day of July the editorial board of the Washington Post demanded what they called a stop to “The Vendetta against Planned Parenthood.” In a sentence stunning for its moral evasion the editors of the Washington Post said,
“The videos were taken surreptitiously and were artfully edited to produce maximum discomfort about complicated issues that, for many, are inherently uncomfortable.”
Let’s look at that sentence. They describe ‘maximum discomfort’ and being ‘inherently uncomfortable.’ And they’re talking here about the destruction, the tearing apart of a human infant in the womb. That’s merely discomforting or uncomfortable? In the same sentance the editors describe what they called “complicated issues.” Complicated indeed. That’s not the problem here. The problem for Planned Parenthood and the problem for the American conscience is that these videos demonstrate the issue really isn’t all that complicated. It can’t be. It never was. It never will be. We’re talking about the destruction of an unborn human life.
To his credit, syndicated columnist George Will sees through the attempt to try to complicate what is not complicated at all. In an opinion piece that also ran in the Washington Post, Will wrote,
“Executives of Planned Parenthood’s federally subsidized meat markets — your tax dollars at work — lack the courage of their convictions. They should drop the pretense of conducting a complex moral calculus about the organs they harvest from the babies they kill.”
Now note those two sentences in terms of contrast. One is an exercise in moral evasion, the other is an exercise in moral clarity. The one sentence taken from the Washington Post editorial board statement is an attempt to make the issue look complicated. George Will comes right back and says, no the issue is that it isn’t complicated at all. For the sake of our consideration let me read those two sentences in parallel. First from the Washington Post editorial,
“The videos were taken surreptitiously and were artfully edited to produce maximum discomfort about complicated issues that, for many, are inherently uncomfortable.”
And the sentence from George Will,
“They should drop the pretense of conducting a complex moral calculus about the organs they harvest from the babies they kill.”
By our language we are known. We betray ourselves with the kind of language we use. These two sentences are indicative of that vast worldview chasm that now separates Americans. We are talking about something as fundamental as the identity of the inhabitant of the womb and what is really at stake when that baby is either nurtured and brought to the celebration moment of its birth or is torn apart in the womb. Later his column George Will cites the fact that a statement that came from a Planned Parenthood chapter tried to explain away the controversy saying,
“For a lot of the women participating in the fetal tissue donation program, they’re having a procedure that may be a very difficult decision for them and this is a way for them to feel that something positive is coming from . . . a very difficult time.”
Again, to his credit George Will doesn’t allow that moral evasion. He writes,
““Having a procedure” — stopping the beating of a human heart — can indeed be a difficult decision for the woman involved. But it never is difficult for Planned Parenthood’s abortionists administering the “procedure.” The abortion industry’s premise is: At no point in the gestation of a human infant does this living being have a trace of personhood that must be respected. Never does it have a moral standing superior to a tumor or a hamburger in the mother’s stomach.”
By the time Will ended his article he got to the even more fundamental point, and that is that the barbarism on display in terms of these Planned Parenthood videos is not a barbarism that is limited to Planned Parenthood. It is a barbarism that is now subsidized by the American people through our taxes. It is a barbarism that now we share. It is a barbarism of which we are now fully aware. As we said at the beginning, it is a barbarism that includes us and now one that we cannot not know.
Outrage over Cecil the Lion expressed by Planned Parenthood defenders a tragic irony
We’ll be watching new developments in this issue closely, but one thing we do need to note before we come to an end on this issue is that the New York Times last Friday, on 31 of July did write an editorial that reflects something of the importance of life. But in this case it wasn’t about Planned Parenthood, it wasn’t about the destruction of human infant in the womb, it was about the killing of a lion. The editorial in Friday’s edition of the paper was entitled “The Death of a Lion.” The editors wrote,
“The death of Cecil, the black-maned lion killed by an American big-game hunter in Zimbabwe, has unleashed a global storm of Internet indignation.”
In a later sentence they write this:
“Humans are very selective in their attitudes toward threatened species, and obviously Cecil, a beautiful beast, is the beneficiary of very selective attention.”
I can only wonder if the editors have read their previous editorial on the Planned Parenthood videos when they write that, again, “humans are very selective in their attitudes toward threatened species.” They are certainly not thinking of the threatened species in the womb that is the human being in the womb. 50,000,000 plus of whom have been murdered in the womb with the support of the New York Times, Planned Parenthood, the mainstream media at large, and millions and millions of dollars of tax subsidies to Planned Parenthood. And keep in mind that even as the defenders of Planned Parenthood insist that no tax dollars go directly to Planned Parenthood for abortion, they want those tax dollars go directly for abortion, and have to acknowledge even now that those funds are what we describe as ‘fungible.’ They are part of a larger economic project in budget that allows Planned Parenthood to continue its work of abortion, subsidized by the American taxpayer. The editors of the New York Times and other mainstream media have made a very valid point. And that is that there should be a full legal investigation as to whether any laws were broken in terms of the shooting of Cecil the lion. That’s a very important issue. The law in this case is very important, as it is in every case. But where are the similar calls coming from the New York Times editors, the Washington Post editors, or anyone else for a similar investigation in light of the videos released on Planned Parenthood. It turns out that that selective indignation is selective indeed.
Ashley Madison hack exposes violation of trust by website helping violate marital trust
Next a story than the business pages that won’t stay on the business pages. Another American company is been hacked, another major company, this one by the name of Ashley Madison. But this just isn’t any case of hacking. As Wilborn Nobles III reports for the Washington Post, the secret’s out maybe a lot of secrets.
“Data stolen by hackers from AshleyMadison.com, the online cheating site that claims 37 million users, has been posted online, according to Krebs on Security, the authoritative Web site that monitors hacking across the globe.”
Nobles went on to say,
“The breach was confirmed in a statement from Avid Life Media Inc., which owns AshleyMadison. “We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information.””
But then Nobles points out the motto of the company that is AshleyMadison is “life is short have an affair.” It’s a company that profits to its online process and social networking of putting people together so that they can arrange extramarital affairs. And stunningly, they claim and according to advertisers they are conceded to have about 37 million registered users. Now according to the Post that’s 37 million users worldwide, but keep in mind there are only about 300 million inhabitants of the United States. We’re talking about a very significant number of people here.
A parallel story that ran in the New York Times on the incident indicated,
“The hackers promised to release the real names, passwords and financial transactions of members if Ashley Madison did not meet that demand [for cash].”
In another very revealing section of the article the Times writes,
“While nearly every dating website ends up facilitating its fair share of cheaters, Ashley Madison, based in Toronto, has made a name for itself by specifically catering to two-timers.”
Later in the article it says,
“The site has long told users that they can scrub their profiles from the site for $19. But the hackers say that the user information is never actually deleted — knowledge, security experts said, that suggested the breach may have involved someone inside the company.”
Well the really revealing part of this in the Christian worldview is the fact that here we have a major company with 37 million registered users that exists for the sole purpose of trying to facilitate adultery. Again the motto of the company is “Life is short. Have an affair.” But we’re also talking about a company that found itself hacked and now has its customers in a virtual panic. And very revealing is the fact that the company offered to its customers to in their words “scrub” their accounts and information, and then it turns out they probably didn’t delete the information at all.
As I said, this is a story in the business pages that won’t be limited to the business pages. But there are some other very interesting aspects of this as well. For one thing, there are those who believe that the release this information will be a boon for yet another industry: divorce lawyers. They may be lining up to try to sign up people suing for divorce once they see information about their spouse who is signed up to cheat.
This story is so many dimensions of importance of the Christian worldview, we see the intersection near of technology and morality. Every technology brings a new platform not only for moral behavior, but for immoral behavior as well. We also see the profit motive at stake here when someone is actually trying to capitalize to make a massive profit by facilitating adultery. And then you see the moronic involvement of 37 million registered users, according to the company itself, who signed up and put their personal information online to facilitate an affair only to find out that the company they trusted to facilitate their act of distrust and immorality was hacked, violating that trust. Oh and it turns out that even as the company charge $19 scrub the accounts, according to at least the security experts the accounts were never actually scrubbed. And as we know, that’s just way it is with sin.
Thanks for listening to The Briefing. For more information to my website at albertmohler.com. You can follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.com/albertmohler. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary go to sbts.edu. For information on Boyce College just go to boycecollege.com. I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.