Saturday, January 07, 2012

Governed not by polls, politics nor profits.....

NOTE:  This is an article I wrote in 2006.  Six years later it seems to still be speaking to help us sort out the maze of how to vote with principle in this fallen and broken world we live in. 

A Principle Based Manifesto on Voting for Social Conservatives
By John Stemberger

Since I cast my first rather misguided vote in 1980, I have given much thought and consideration toward developing a principle based grid for political decision making. What are the moral "first principles" to consider when deciding who to vote for and why? These points below represent an attempt to develop a principled approach for social conservatives exercising active citizenship as we choose and support candidates.

1) The pro-life issue is not merely a single issue-it is a disqualification issue.
As a movement, social conservatives have and will continue to have influence only if we are willing to draw an "ethical line in the sand" over certain core moral principles. The single most important such principle is the protection of human life from conception to natural death. From the destruction of human embryos, to killing people because they are old or disabled, pro-life issues represent the most fundamental of all human rights issues. Many have accused pro-lifers of being "single issue" voters. However, the pro-life issue is not merely a single issue, it is a disqualification issue-and one which goes to the core of human dignity and respect. So-called "pro-choice" candidates in essence argue that unborn children and other unwanted human beings should be denied full legal protection as persons under our constitution. This disqualifies them from holding public office. Whether rich or poor, young or old, handicapped or whole, born and unborn, all human life is made in the image and likeness of God and is therefore worthy of legal protection. If we are ever going to roll back the tide of these human atrocities, then we must be firm in our resolve to reject candidates who refuse to support this timeless and controlling principle. This is a hill we must be willing to die upon.

2) We should not vote for candidates based upon where they stand in the polls.
Everyone wants to support a winner and no one wants to be with a loser. This may represent worldly wisdom but certainly not eternal truth. We are governed not by polls, politics nor profits-but by principle. Poll based voting is probably the single most insidious deception we can fall into as a movement. It is unprincipled to the core and a misguided way to engage in political decision making. The insatiable desire to be popular, to be an insider, and to be a winner for the sake of personal or political gain must be resisted with all our might if we are going to be people of integrity who have a sustained and lasting impact upon the process. On the other hand, throwing your vote away for totally long shot candidates can keep good viable candidates from getting elected, so we need to be both wise and strategic. While I do believe that electability and political viability can be legitimate factors to consider, these are not the type of first principles which should guide our initial or final political choices.

3) Character matters-a lot!
Modern American political history screams the truth that "character matters"-a lot! Even candidates that seem to be very committed to social conservative issues can still be very bad choices if they lack basic character. Temper tantrums, arrogance, dishonesty, poor judgment, ethical compromise, disloyalty, undisciplined lifestyles, financial mismanagement, rampant immorality and broken promises are all red flags that should be considered in deciding upon a candidate. And unless you know a candidate personally or know someone who knows the candidates you may never know the truth about a person's character and lifestyle. Having good character is critical and without it, an elected official can easily turn into an embarrassing disaster in no time.

4) We are not electing pastors or priests; we are choosing civil government officials.
While character matters quite a bit, we must also remember that we are not electing pastors or priests-we are choosing civil government leaders. Personal immorality in the lives of our political leaders is an unfortunate but common reality. Affairs, divorce, alcohol and drug abuse, gambling and other manner of vice all present a question about how we should evaluate such behavior. While we must stand for righteousness, we must also guard against our own self-righteousness in evaluating others. Truth be told, there was only one perfect man and we crucified Him over 2000 years ago. While it would be preferable to have men and woman in public office whose personal lives are required to be "above reproach," like pastors, this is often not an option in our fallen world. A working principle to consider is that we should be more willing to forgive personal indiscretions and immorality that occurred in the long ago past than those transgressions that occurred recently. Time and retrospection offer the greatest opportunity for real contrition and conversion. Was this matter a mistake? An isolated moral failure? Or was it a pattern of long-standing bad behavior?

5) Realize that elections present both clear choices and mixed choices.
In some election years candidates stand in stark and clear contrast on the issues and the choice is easy. However, it becomes more difficult when there is a mixture of good and bad factors to weigh. We live in an imperfect and fallen world and so we are often presented with a sort of choice-of-evils problem. This can be frustrating because many of us understand and want to clearly see right from wrong in the world. Yet, competing strengths and weaknesses can be difficult to weigh when there is no clear moral answer to the question, "who is the best"? Political candidates can hide, lie, misrepresent, and manipulate their past record or present views. However, usually with enough good information, it is possible to determine which of the candidates presents the "lesser of the evils." Staying home and shirking your most important civic duty should never be an option. Do the best you can and engage in the process as an active citizen.

6) "Professions of principle" are more important than "professions of faith"
This can be a controversial point for some, but I have found this principle to be true over and over again. If I hire a plumber to fix a leak, I am not primarily concerned whether he claims to be a Christian, whether his faith is genuine or whether his theology is accurate. I am primarily interested in whether he can get the job done-and done correctly by the manufacturer's standards. I would argue the same is true for elected officials. Today it can be "cool to be Christian" and many public officials make professions of faith or church membership. However, we should be more concerned with where candidates stand on issues then where they go to church. The 1980 race between Carter and Reagan clearly highlights this principle. From all external standards, Carter was a "better Christian." Reagan however, was the candidate that stood for Biblically based values in his social policies. It is clear that true faith can and should have a dramatic effect upon a person's worldview. But a mere expression of faith is not as important as a demonstrated record of commitment to the values that should flow from faith.

7) A candidate's past voting record is much more important than any recently announced commitment to policy positions. One of the greatest challenges in political decision making is getting accurate and truthful information. Politicians can be very slippery and difficult to pin down as many try and please everyone and play to both sides. Even more difficult is a candidate who makes an election year conversion to conservative values after having a history of being moderate or liberal. How can we judge sincerity? Is this just political expedience? We can not judge a man's motive or his heart, but we can judge his words and actions. And when evaluating candidates, past voting records are much more accurate indicators of what type of leader they will be than any recently announced commitments for the future. Apart from a genuine Christian conversion or a major life changing event, seasoned politicians rarely develop deep convictions that are different from what they have displayed and acted out earlier in their careers.

8) Resist the temptation to vote your pocket book over principle.
Of all the principles, this is probably the most important and also the easiest to violate and then try to rationalize the violation. In the world of politics, decisions can affect the amount of profit made by various industries, professions and businesses. Profits can potentially stand to either be enhanced or limited by such matters as insurance rates, tort reform, taxes, regulatory issues, and government subsidies. So many people sadly support candidates solely based upon how their own personal business or industry will be affected. I have spent most of my life voting for candidates that regularly oppose my economic interest as an attorney. I don't like this and I do not agree with it from a policy standpoint. But my commitment to principle on moral issues is greater than my commitment to maximizing profit. Economic and business issues are important and should be debated vigorously. But social and moral issues are paramount because they define us as a people and guide our destiny as a culture. The Bible says that "the love of money is the root of all evil." And when we place our own personal profit before principles which are in pursuit of the common good, we engage in some of the most idolatrous compromise possible. We must pledge our allegiance to God and His truth alone, and trust in Him to provide for our businesses and for our families.

John Stemberger is an attorney in Orlando, Florida and a student of politics, theology and philosophy. He was Political Director of the Republican Party of Florida in 1992-93 and currently serves as the President & General Counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Opposition to Gambling, Pt. 1

A Three-Part Series by the Florida Family Policy Council
Is Gambling Morally Wrong?
By John Stemberger
Most Americans are concerned about the moral state of the nation, yet few consider whether or not gambling — a wager of money, property or something of value based on chance — is part of the problem.
“It’s just a game, entertainment,” they say.
Unfortunately, only 31 percent of Americans believe gambling is morally wrong, according to a May 2011 Gallup poll. In 2007, legal gambling businesses in the U.S. took in more than $92 billion — after paying out any “winnings” -- according to industry statistics.
Gambling hasn’t always been legal. A century ago, most forms of gambling were illegal in the U.S. State lotteries were not legalized until the 1960s.  Gambling has traditionally been considered a “vice,” along with prostitution, illegal drugs, and pornography. In law enforcement, the term “vice” is often considered an inherently immoral activity, often accompanied by depraved, harmful behavior. And of course a “vice” is the opposite of a “virtue.”
Some leading theologians in the Christian community provide greater clarity than the polling data on the question of morality and gambling
Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the brightest thinkers in Christianity today, says the national explosion of gambling “may well be the most underrated dimension of America’s moral crisis.” Mohler makes no bones about it and gets right to the heart of the matter morally and ethically by identifying it as the “sin of greed.” “The Bible is clear on this issue,” he writes in a recent online post. “The entire enterprise of gambling is opposed to the moral worldview revealed in God’s Word. The basic impulse behind gambling is greed — a basic sin that is the father of many other evils.”
He goes on: “The Bible presents the stewardship of material possessions as a crucial issue of discipleship. The Christian understands that his possessions and money are not his own, but God’s. We are trustees who will be judged for the quality of our stewardship. Those lottery tickets and trips to Atlantic City are going to be hard to explain when God calls stewards to account.”
In addition, Mohler writes, gambling depends entirely on chance – for which the chief “virtue” is luck.  “The worldview of the Bible affirms the active sovereignty of God over all events, persons, and time — and thus there is no place for luck,” he writes. “The Christian trusts in God, not in the vain hope of a winning lottery number or a favorable roll of the dice.”
Dr. Wayne Grudem, author of “Systematic Theology” and the 2010 book, “Politics According to the Bible,” also has serious objections to gambling.
“My own judgment is that large commercial gambling outlets such as casinos and state-sponsored lotteries bring much more harm to a society than the benefits they generate (such as tax revenue)… First, it is socially harmful (and fiscally regressive) because the largest numbers of gamblers comes from the poorest segments of the population. Second, (it) leads to an addiction to gambling … and this addiction destroys marriages, families … and increases societal breakdown. Third, studies have shown that where gambling businesses are established, crime rates increase.”
Grudem says churches should be teaching that gambling is a very unwise use of money. “While I cannot find biblical basis for absolutely insisting that it is wrong to participate in a charity raffle … or an office pool … my personal practice for many years has been to avoid gambling,” he says.
Gambling seeks to teach people the deception that significant wealth can be obtained without work or the struggle that naturally accompanies it.
The virtues of hard work, saving, being thrifty and investing carefully are all undermined by this vice. In place of these virtues come greed, idolatry, laziness, deception, exploitation and a humanistic live-for-the-moment mentality.
Even though the Bible doesn’t address gambling directly by using that term, principles in Scripture address its foolishness.
Chad Hills, who researches gambling policy for CitizenLink, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, suggests a two-step approach when dealing with any questionable practice.
“First, compare or contrast the issue or activity with God’s nature and truth,” he says. “Then, do some research on what ‘fruit’ a particular activity or issue produces. Is it good or bad?
“God’s nature is rooted in love and truth. It is sacrificial and others-centered. He is dedicated to service, not exploitation. He warns against idle hands, ill-gotten riches and malicious or deceitful men.”
Hills continues: “Gambling is rooted in greed and deception. The sole purpose is to lure you in with false hope and take your money. Gambling is self-serving.”
As for the fruit of gambling (see Matthew 7:15-21), Hills says, it’s pretty obvious: It destroys individuals, families and entire communities.
The Bible also is clear that we are to be good stewards of what we are given. “God expects us to be fruitful and responsible in all areas of our lives,” Hills says.
Various Christian religious denominations have differing views on gambling but almost all of them recognize the inherent dangers and risks associated with this activity.
While the tradition of the Catholic Church has been that gambling is not considered an inherent moral wrong, they have recognized the serious social ills that often accompany gambling. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads: “Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers … become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others.”
The Florida Catholic Bishops have stated that gambling can “become morally wrong when it interferes with one's other duties or responsibilities”. The Florida Bishops further state, “Gambling is often accompanied by vice and social evils. We are concerned over the impact of easier gambling opportunities on low and moderate income families and individuals, as well as those for whom gambling becomes a compulsive behavior. We are also concerned for the impact on neighborhoods, housing patterns and the homeless, and on public morality in general.”
In 1997, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution opposing all forms of gambling and its promotion through advertisements. The conclusion of the resolution speaks with moral clarity on the topic: “[W]e, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention … call on all Christians to exercise their influence by refusing to participate in any form of gambling or its promotion; and … we urge our political leaders to enact laws restricting and eventually eliminating all forms of gambling and its advertisement.”
Unexpectedly, the most strongly worded opposition to gambling comes from the United Methodist Church. While this denomination tends to lean politically moderate to liberal on many social issues, they have taken an official stand against all gambling.
They state in their Book of Resolutions: “The United Methodist Church opposes gambling in any form. Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, and destructive of good government. As an act of faith and concern, Christians should abstain from gambling and should strive to minister to those victimized by the practice… The Church should promote standards and personal lifestyles that would make unnecessary and undesirable the resort to commercial gambling — including public lotteries — as a recreation, as an escape, or as a means of producing public revenue or funds for support of charities or government.
“Gambling, as a means of acquiring material gain by chance and at the neighbor's expense, is a menace to personal character and social morality. Gambling fosters greed and stimulates the fatalistic faith in chance. Organized and commercial gambling is a threat to business, breeds crime and poverty, and is destructive to the interests of good government. It encourages the belief that work is unimportant, that money can solve all our problems, and that greed is the norm for achievement. It serves as a ‘regressive tax’ on those with lower income. In summary, gambling is bad economics; gambling is bad public policy; and gambling does not improve the quality of life.”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a long history of opposition to all forms of gambling as an abdication of stewardship. A 1950 statement described gambling as "an unchristian attempt to get something for nothing or at another's expense.” A 1992 statement petitioned civic and government leaders to resist state-sanctioned gambling and the false promises for fiscal benefits from such, and encouraged state councils of churches and related public policy advocacy groups to be active in resisting the spread of legalized gambling.
The Assemblies of God opposes gambling, calling it “an artificial and contrived risk taken for selfish gain at another’s expense.” A statement from the denomination’s Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery reads: “A careful study of the Scriptures indicates that gambling is a form of evil that the Christian seeking to live by scriptural principles should avoid.”
Finally, during President George W. Bush’s administration, 220 religious leaders in the U.S. — representing liberals, conservatives, evangelicals, Catholics and Jews — issued a joint statement calling on the nation’s leaders to oppose the spread of gambling.
In closing, there seems to be a reasonable question as to whether or not gambling or wagering is in every instance an inherent moral wrong.  But beyond the ivory tower philosophical speculation of that question, stands the stark evidence of the real and destructive effect that this vice has had upon the poor, and upon families, marriages and communities.  It is these sad truths that lead us to the clear conviction that the vice of gambling remains an inherently unproductive, predatory, immoral, destructive and unwise activity that should be highly discouraged and never promoted or sponsored by governmental, community or religious leaders who truly wish to serve the common good of society and maintain the well-being of citizens and families. 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Abortion in America: The Beginning of the End

Ten recent signs of hope that we are winning the battle

There is an endless supply of bad news facing American culture.  However, we can remain optimistic about some good news-- we continue to gain significant ground in the battle against abortion.  As a movement, we are advancing the cause of life and winning people on the issue so quickly and on so many fronts, it is hard to keep track.  Despite President Obama's recent appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court and the challenge they present to the hope of ever seeing the Roe v. Wadedecision reversed in our lifetime, abortions have continued to gradually decline since the 1980’s.  In the past 20 years, abortions have dropped from 1.6 million to about 1.3 million per year.  That's a drop of 19 percent.  Below are just ten of many recent developments of the last decade that should give us great hope that we may very well be witnessing the beginning of the end of abortion in America. 

1)     Polls Show Americans, and Especially Young People, are more Pro-life Than Ever-For the first time in many years, the majority of Americans are pro-life.  With each new poll, there is growing evidence that we are building a cultural consensus and winning hearts and minds for the idea that we should protect the unborn by banning or restricting abortion in most instances.  In May of 2011, a Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans want all or most abortions to be illegal and believe that abortion is “morally wrong.”  This equates to 61 percent of Americans who believe that abortions should be either legal under no circumstances or legal only under a few circumstances.  While one could argue that the data shows that many people have mixed feelings and want to identify with both sides, that conflict in and of itself is progress since even people who identify themselves as pro-choice continue to wrestle with and make concessions regarding the greatest moral and social issue of our day. 

The only thing more encouraging than the poll numbers themselves is the fact that the young people are more pro-life than ever!  This is exciting because if we can capture the imagination and convictions of a single generation, then we are well on our way to gradually moving the pro-life position to a morally preferred position in both secular and institutional circles.  One example of this progress is Students for Life, a national organization that is growing by leaps and bounds and which has become a major force in the pro-life movement as evidenced by its presence on hundreds of university and college campuses around the country.  

2)     Technology Shines Truth Into The Womb- One of the many reasons for the increase in public opinion against abortion is that technology has revealed with stunning visual clarity “what that really is that is in the womb” and it is not merely a "blob of flesh".  Pro-life leader and attorney Ken Connor has often said, “It’s not a duck or a Buick-- it is a baby!”  In 2004,Focus on the Family began distributing ultrasound machines for the Option Ultrasound Program which has provided 80 percent of the funding for ultrasound machines to pregnancy medical clinics.  Focus estimates that over 90,000 babies have been saved since the program’s inception.  In 2010, National Geographic started distributing an amazing video called the “Biology of Prenatal Development”.   This award-winning documentary uses state-of-the-art technology to present real-time footage of human development from fertilization to birth inside the womb and is designed to be used in schools as an educational tool.  The advent of the internet has also made readily available to women information about abortion including its risks and complications.  Hundreds of videos and websites provide women with instant information to make a much more informed “choice” than was previously available.

3)     Both Politicians and Public Policy-makers Are More Pro-life Than Ever- I was recently in Tampa with Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Connie Mackey of FRC Action PAC to help them scout out facilities in which to hold the large pro-life caucus meeting held during the Republican National Convention.  Phyllis has been leading the fight to keep the pro-life plank in the GOP platform since the 1964 Goldwater campaign.    Her experiences in recent history made it clear to me that since 2008, the GOP has virtually conceded that the pro-life position is a critical and non-negotiable part of the Republican platform.   In fact, the leadership of the Republican Party now clearly understands that the GOP cannot win without being pro-life.

It is also apparent that Republican consultants now regularly advise candidates to say that they are pro-life for strictly pragmatic reasons.  “Pro-choice” Republicans are apparently also “losing” Republicans in closed primaries in most political districts in America.  The challenge in 2011 is not to find pro-life Republicans, but to figure out which ones really mean it.  The millions of Americans who view abortion as a morally disqualifying issue prove that being pro-life is not just good policy, but is also good politics.  As Ronald Reagan once said, “It is not necessary for them to see the light-- but merely to feel the heat.” 

In April of 2011, Michael New wrote in State Politics and Policy Quarterly, a peer-reviewed publication aimed at state policymakers, that a review of abortion data from 1985 through 2005 provides "solid evidence" that laws restricting, but not outlawing abortion, "have an impact on the childbearing decisions of women."  Additionally, in just the past 90 days, state legislators around the country have enacted unprecedented pro-life legislation on the heels of the election upsets that occurred in November of 2010.  For example, the Florida legislature has passed only four pro-life bills in the past 15 years, but has approved five major pieces of pro-life legislation in the 2011 Legislative Session alone. 

4)     Blacks and Latinos are Beginning to Lead the Movement- My good friend John Ensor has said that “abortion will end in America when Blacks and Latinos are not just involved-- but are leading the pro-life movement.”  He is right.  And this “third wave” of the pro-life movement is gradually starting to appear and grow.  Babies of all ethnicities are being aborted at grossly disproportionate rates.   Although Black and Latino women make up only 25% of the population, they account for 59% of all abortions.  In 2004, Planned Parenthood closed 20% of all their clinics nationwide but still performed about 25% more abortions.   They did this by closing clinics in rural and sparsely populated areas and focusing instead on inner cities with higher concentrations of Black-American and Latino women.  Roughly 94% of abortions clinics are located in cities.  I recently debated a Planned Parenthood leader at the FAMU College of Law in Orlando on this question chosen by the predominantly minority law school students: “Is Abortion Black Genocide?”  Just the fact that the students from this prominent Black-American College chose this title for the debate actually says quite a bit about the progress that we are making in increasing awareness of the sanctity of life.

Every year in January during the anniversary of Roe v Wade, I go to the local Planned Parenthood clinic sidewalks with my children and others to pray and to peacefully draw attention to the great atrocity that takes place at these facilities.  This year, I was amazed to find that there were about 200 people gathered, and that almost half of them were people of color.  I saw Blacks, Latinos, and mixed races.  In addition, about half of those present were younger peopleunder the age of 35.  Furthermore, the minorities present led the prayers, the public speaking and the songs.  When I saw this I first began to wonder, could we be witnessing the beginning of the end? 

5)     Hollywood and its Movies are more Pro-Life than Ever- In the last five to seven years, almost every major motion picture that has directly touched upon the issue of abortion or that has portrayed pregnant mothers has been pro-life.   This development is simply remarkable.  The movies BellaJunoKnocked UpWaitressChildren of MenLook Who’s Talking, andAugust Rush all portray mothers (and sometimes fathers) who made critical pro-life decisions.  I could not even recommend all of these movies, but even the raunchy ones got it right on this issue.  Fully animated children’s movies like Finding Nemo and Horton Hears-a-Who also present storylines that respect and honor life.  Jason Jones, one of the producers of the movieBella, told me that he knows politically liberal, secular Hollywood producers who are strongly pro-life.  We are talking about Hollywood movie producers!  One openly gay movie producer, who stands in opposition to abortion, reportedly stated, “If I could raise enough money, we could end abortion in America-- through movies.”  This is serious progress toward reaching our goal of developing a cultural consensus.

6)     The Resurgence of Side Walk Counseling and other Pro-Life Activism- This observation may just be isolated to my regional observations in Florida, but it appears that more and more pro-life supporters have become comfortable with the idea of physically going to abortion clinics.  By attending to the sidewalks in front of these clinics, pro-lifers are able to peacefully counsel, pray, provide assistance, hold signs, preach and plead with mothers to abstain from killing their babies.  Sidewalk counselors are truly the front line of the pro-life movement; and their courage and commitment is truly admirable.  The depiction of pictures and videos outside of clinics is a more controversial, but some would argue effective tactic that displays the actual practice and product of an abortion by showing the dismembered and destroyed unborn child that results.  Greg Cunningham’s group, the Center for Bioethical Reform, carefully and intentionally uses this strategy.  CBR presents its Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on college campuses all around the country after requesting the legal assistance of our organization to demonstrate its legal right to be there.  The GAP is a traveling photo mural exhibit which displays graphic forms of genocide in world history and places them in a historical context with abortion.  The photos include the remains of dead bodies from the Cambodian Killing Fields, Jewish Holocaust victims, and African Americans killed in racist lynchings.  The GAP has been to colleges and universities all over the country and has made a lasting impression upon the tens of thousands of students who have viewed it and experienced its sobering impact.

7)     The Crisis Pregnancy Center Movement Begins Planning Strategically – In my view, Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) and the people who run them are modern day heroes.  The work  they do is simply amazing.  Time magazine did a cover story in 2007 entitled:  “The Abortion Campaign You Never Hear About:  Crisis Pregnancy Centers are working to win over one woman at a time.”   However, CPC’s have historically popped up organically without serious thought about how many others were around it or the locations of nearby abortion clinics.  In other words, the CPC movement has never thought about itself globally or strategically-- until recently.  Heartbeat International under the leadership of Peggy Hartshorn and John Ensor has pioneered a strategic study and a plan to counter the systematic placement of Planned Parenthood's abortion clinics in inner cities…  Over the last 7 years, Ensor has lived for extended periods of time in Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and then to Pittsburg to plant sustainable CPC’s in those cities that are plagued with the highest concentrations of abortion clinics in the county.  This inner city CPC planting strategy reaches more women and allows Black and Latino churches to take local ownership in and leadership for the sustained support of the ministry.

8)     Planned Parenthood’s Fraud Has Been Exposed and is Being Stripped of Public Funding – 2010 and 2011 were without question the worst years in Planned Parenthood’s (PP) recent public relations history.   Lila Rose, an unassuming but striking college student has rocked their world with a series of undercover sting operations that has exposed the largest abortion provider’s rampant fraud, corruption, and criminal conduct.  Her student lead organization Live Action, and its undercover investigations have repeatedly caught PP clinic personnel lying, covering up child sexual abuse, and aiding those involved in child sex trafficking.  The stunning video that documents the findings of these historic student-led investigations have helped to fuel the fire that led to the defunding of PP by several states which stripped them of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.  PP receives approximately 363 million dollars from state and federal public funding.  Recently, Congress tried but failed to ban the funding.  As of June 2011, the states of Kansas, Indiana and North Carolina have all cut state funding directed to PP.   In 2012, Florida will also have a state constitutional amendment on the ballot which will give voters the opportunity to ban the public funding of abortions. 

9)     Post-Abortive Women have become an Increasingly Powerful Voice - The generations of women who grew up under Roe and who were lied to and told that abortion was a safe and simple procedure have become emboldened and are no longer silent about their difficult experiences.  Silent No MoreOperation Outcry and A Cry without a Voice are three very different national organizations that all collect the voices, stories and testimonies of women who have had abortions and who want to speak and write about their experiences of pain and regret.  Relational and existential evidence of the dangers and risks associated with abortion is a powerful tool to spread awareness and concern for the issue of life.   These brave women share their deeply personal testimonies about the mental, physical and spiritual pain and complications that have resulted from the abortions they underwent.

10)  Abortion doctors are being disciplined, leaving the industry and not replacing themselves-   All across the country, abortionists are being reprimanded for their violations of local, state and federal laws.  Some have even had their licenses revoked.  Some are being punished by medical boards and others have just walked away from the sickening practice or have been converted and are now pro-life advocates.  There are approximately 40 percent fewer abortion doctors than 20 years ago, and fewer men and women are willing to consider entering the industry.  The bottom line is that each year, fewer abortions are performed and fewer individuals are becoming abortionists in our nation.

The skeptic may argue that many of my observations are anecdotal and unscientific.  However, it seems clear that these developments are relatively recent, unique, and are all occurring at an unprecedented rate.  I was recently in Washington, D.C. speaking on this topic before a group of national leaders.  After speaking, I sat next to Dr. Jack Wilke, one of the founders of the pro-life movement in America and asked him if he agreed with my observations nationally or whether they are confined to Florida.  He quickly agreed that amazing things are happening in the pro-life movement not just in Florida, but around the country.  The entire abortion industry is on the ropes and is being hit hard from multiple sides.  Now is not the time to rest but rather to double up our efforts and to work harder than ever while we have a providential window and extraordinary momentum.

My final prayer is that we will look back upon abortion in America with the same shame, outrage and sadness that we now look upon the barbaric practice of slavery.  While we continue to labor diligently to reach that goal, we can be encouraged by the fact that we are making significant progress and may just be witnessing “the beginning of the end...” of abortion in America.