Abby Johnson is a convert to the prolife cause. She, who once directed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, has seen the error of her ways. She, who once was on the dole of the largest abortion provider on the planet, now spends her time preaching the prolife message. She has become the darling of talk shows, has her own little blog, and is making her mark on the speaking circuit. Indeed, she has become a big fish in a small pond.
As part of my daily prayers for the end of abortion generally and the conversion of those in the abortion industry in particular, I welcome Abby and others to the pond. But shallow as that pond may be, Abby is in way over her head. But I’m just a little fish. What do I know?
Now I’m anticipating accusatory cries that I am lacking charity. I certainly don’t intend that transgression. But we live in an Idol culture that presumes that a celebrity speaks as an oracle of God by an ex officio authority conferred by virtue of their celebrity.
Abby is young and zealous, which is both refreshing and welcome. Apparently Abby lacks some gray-haired mentor who will encourage her in her faith and help direct her in her mission to right some of the wrongs she has rightly admitted. At the same time that mentor should charitably whisper in her ear, “Abby, shut up. You’re going to embarrass yourself.”
Case in point: Recently, Abby took to her blog and expressed her “vehement” opposition to the death penalty. In one short piece she fails to understand several distinctions: between forgiveness and consequences; between feelings and facts; between temporal and eternal; and, between personal and jurisprudential.
First, Abby opines about a few sinners, including herself, who have been forgiven abundantly even more than is deserved. I don’t want to be too picky here, but words mean things (at least they used to, but that was before Facebook), but no forgiveness is deserved. None. Nada. Zilch. If it is deserved, then grace and mercy are nothing more than a little artificially sweetened icing on the whole salvation cake.
In short, God doesn’t owe us diddly. It is only by His unmerited favor, His Grace, His Mercy, that I draw my next breath.
Paul described himself as the chief of all sinners. Indeed, he persecuted men, women, and children under the color of law. Echoing Paul’s words for myself, my daily confession includes, “I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts, in my words, what I have done, and what I have failed to do . . . .” But I don’t deserve God’s forgiveness. Any of it. At all. Which is why that prayer concludes with, “Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”
Second, Abby is very jurisprudentially confused. Jesus taught us that if we want to be forgiven, we better be forgiving. That is the personal. We should forgive for a variety of reasons, but among them is that we have been forgiven and we want to be forgiven.
Notwithstanding the current state of American Jurisprudence, the courtroom is not about feelings. It’s about justice. Holy Scriptures are replete with directions, examples, and admonitions in both the Old and New Testaments with the demands of justice. Especially in cases of murder.
Abby articulates her own conversion – the reality and sincerity of which is not in question – and then seeks exoneration because of that conversion.
Ummm, Abby, that’s not the way it works. Jailhouse conversions are so commonplace, they are largely ignored. Imagine this courtroom scene:
Yo, your honor, you should let me go because I did all the things I’m accused of, but I found Jesus and, like, He’s my main dude now, so you can go ahead and cut me loose. We’re cool. See you at the super-fun rock band church. Right?
When I filled out my law school applications a few decades ago, there was a question that asked why I wanted to go to law school. My answer was indelicately truthful and succinct: Abortion is going to be outlawed in my lifetime and we are going to have our own Nuremberg-like tribunals for those who participated. I want to be the prosecuting attorney.
Some years later I was on a television program with O.J. Simpson lawyer, Johnnie Cochran (in fairness, Mr. Cochran has since moved on to another jurisdiction and undoubtedly has a different view now). I was being interviewed because of some abortion clinic violence and the fact that I’ve represented a number of individuals who have opted to close abortion clinics in more of a – how do you say – spectacular fashion.
While I remain steadfastly opposed to violence, far be it from me to impose my morality on others. But I digress.
Among other discussions, Mr. Cochran and I had the following exchange:
Cochran: Mr. Hirsh, do you think these acts of violence against abortion providers will continue?
Hirsh: Well, Mr. Cochran, one need not be too much a student of history to see that the answer to that question is yes. In fact, this is, in my opinion, the second most dangerous time in history to be in the abortion business.
Cochran: Second most dangerous? When is the first most dangerous?
Hirsh: When abortion is made illegal and I am the prosecuting attorney in the Crimes Against Humanity tribunals that will be held afterward.
Cochran: Are you kidding?
Hirsh: Do I look like I’m kidding?
Strangely, some people choke on concept of trials for individuals and organizations (are you listening, Planned Parenthood?) that have actively participated in the largest holocaust the world have ever witnessed. The precedent for such proceedings is clear.
Despite the best efforts of modern government education, many are at least vaguely familiar with the trials of the Major War Criminals in Nuremberg following World War II. Depending on the severity of the offense, Nazi leaders were punished for their crimes with sentences ranging from prison to execution.
At the trial of the major war criminals, Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson (who was later a U.S. Supreme Court Justice) observed:
The ultimate step . . . is to make statesmen responsible to law. And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes . . . other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment. We are able to do away with domestic tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of their own people only when we make all men answerable to the law. This trial represents mankind’s desperate effort to apply the discipline of the law to statesmen who have used their powers of state to attack the foundations of the world’s peace and to commit aggressions against the rights of their neighbors.
What has been lost in much of the American consciousness is the fact that following the Trial of the Major War Criminals, there were a series of twelve additional trials held at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg and presided over by the United States. The third of those trials was called the Justice Case. In it, members of the German judiciary were taken to task for their abuses from the bench.
Judges became the judged. Four of the fourteen defendants were acquitted. The remainder received sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment.
Of particular historical interest is that the eighth of the twelve trials at Nuremberg was the RuSHA Case, which was referred to as the “Abortion Case.” That trial commenced on July 1, 1947. Fourteen individuals were indicted by the Nuremberg Military Tribunal for their respective roles in the Nazi program of forced abortion. In that trial, members of the agency responsible for implementing “laws” were tried for extermination of unborn children.
The indictment charged the defendants with carrying out a “systematic program of genocide, aimed at the destruction of foreign nations and ethnic groups . . . by murderous exterminations.” It’s a page straight out of Margaret Sanger’s playbook.
One memo from Heinrich Himmler’s office directed that Polish women with unfavorable racial examinations “be made to consent.” On February 18, 1944, the directors of the German Office of Race and Resettlement (RuSHA) issued a letter directing:
As you know, racially substandard offspring of Eastern workers and Poles is to be avoided, if at all possible. Although pregnancy interruptions ought to be carried out on a voluntary basis only, pressure is to be applied in each of these cases.
While the Defendants maintained that all abortions were voluntary, the prosecution responded:
every pregnancy had to be reported to the dreaded Gestapo. The suggestion of an abortion by that organization did not invite argument from Polish and Russian women . . . . even if it be assumed that all abortions were voluntary, they still constitute a crime.
Although crimes against the workers themselves were part of the indictment, an extract from the prosecution’s closing brief reveals another reason these Defendants were charged:
Abortions were prohibited in Germany . . . . After the Nazis came to power this law was enforced with great severity. Abortions were also prohibited under the Polish Penal Code . . . . But protection of the law was denied to the unborn children of the Russian and Polish women in Nazi Germany. Abortions were encouraged and even forced on these women. (emphasis added).
Even if all the abortions were voluntary, as the Defendants asserted, their actions were considered criminal, a “murderous extermination,” against the rights of unborn children.
On March 10, 1948, all but one of the Defendants were convicted and sentenced by the Tribunal to prison for terms ranging from credit for time served to life imprisonment.
It seems that Abby’s self-proclaimed “vehement” opposition to the death penalty in general is predicated on the implications of the death penalty to those who work in the abortion industry, including her, and; secondly, that those so implicated would be denied an opportunity to repent and experience the Grace of God. On this second point, nothing is further from the truth.
Repeatedly throughout Holy Scripture we are exhorted to consider the end of our lives as a aid to repentance and holiness. One of the reasons any of us sins is we deceive ourselves into thinking that we “got away with it.” We think we are smarter than the previous fool who got caught. But nothing gives a soul the opportunity to reflect and repent than the awareness of our own mortality. Sometimes that opportunity mercifully comes by cancer, by old age, and, yes, by time on death row.
It is the ultimate expression of eternal cruelty to deny a person the opportunity to repent. What the sinner (be it me, Abby Johnson, or some lesser sinner) does with that opportunity is between God and them.
Though it may not be on the same order of magnitude, those who parade Miss Johnson around as anything other than a novice, do her and the prolife movement a great disservice.
Abby Johnson, my sister in Christ, welcome. Now please be quiet.