Congress Funds Planned Parenthood
Our GOP-majority Congress just forked over $500 million to Planned Parenthood. Have we been duped? To paraphrase William Wilberforce’s foe Lord Melbourne, things have come to a pretty pass when the Babylon Bee becomes our “go-to” source for accurate reporting. If you don’t know about the Bee, it’s a Christian website specializing in satirical “news stories” poking fun at the foibles of evangelical subculture. As the Washington Post called it, it’s “fake news that’s good for the soul.” A couple examples of the Bee’s spiritual gift of sarcasm are “Mountain Climber Recovering After Decision to Let Go and Let God.” And my favorite, “Federal Judge orders Chris Tomlin to Stop Adding Choruses to Perfectly Good Hymns.” That’s pretty funny stuff! But a recent Bee headline wasn’t so funny. It read: “Republicans Clarify That By ‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ They Meant ‘Give Them $500 Million Every Year.’” It was a pointed reference to the recent $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the president last week. As you can imagine, the bill contained something for almost everyone. And by everyone that included Planned Parenthood—to the tune of $500 million. This is the same Planned Parenthood that Republican leaders and candidates have explicitly promised to defund for years in exchange for our support as pro-life voters. This is the same Planned Parenthood caught on tape recently selling parts of aborted fetuses. Yes, this same Planned Parenthood whose federal funding remains intact. So it was almost impossible to see the satire in the Bee’s statement that the GOP is assuring “conservative voters that when it comes to the 2018 midterm elections, and especially the 2020 presidential election, they can trust their Republican politicians ‘100%’ when they say they will certainly defund Planned Parenthood.” Anybody else getting the impression that we’re like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football? So, what should we do? Well, what we shouldn’t do is make excuses for those who broke their promises. Sure, the Democrats are far worse on abortion. But if being better than Democrats on abortion is our only criterion, we’ve set the bar awfully low, especially given the GOP’s dependence on evangelical voters. This is just one more reason to be wary of what French philosopher Jacques Ellul called the “Political Illusion,” the belief that our problems are primarily political ones with only political solutions. Or as Chuck Colson would put it, “Salvation doesn’t come on Air Force One.” Or, as in this case, it won’t be rung in by the Speaker’s gavel. Of course, there are many fine people in Congress and this administration who share our pro-life values and our goals. I’m certainly not urging a withdrawal from the political sphere. But there are certain limits of what we should expect from the political sphere. After all, so much of what is wrong with our society, including that which puts unborn children at risk, doesn’t lend itself to political solutions. They’re matters of culture, “the sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another.” Our ultimate goal in confronting and opposing abortion isn’t to defund Planned Parenthood, not even to make abortion illegal, though both of those things would great. Ultimately what we want is for abortion to be both personally and culturally unthinkable. And we should just know that for too many in the GOP, stopping abortion is just not a priority. But we can make it clear to our lawmakers that it is a priority for us. The government’s funded through September, which means they’ll have another shot then to defund this evil and motivate their evangelical base. You know, right before those mid-terms elections.