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The True Hero of Valentine’s Day

As the white, pink and red fill up the stores, as the chocolates get eaten from cardboard hearts, we as a society reflect on what we will give and what we will get.  It’s the curse of consumerism.  Yet in the midst of all the gifts, bribery,  and advertising, there is a thread of true love.  In the middle of all the pressure there is the inkling of what it truly means to give without receiving, to hope without expecting, to live with the threat of continual and everlasting embarrassment. This hint of what love truly is happens to be embodied in a character.

Let me explain… (more…)

Reformation Day

Luther 95 theses“Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place.”[1]

So begins a series of 95 propositions posted by Martin Luther on the church door in Wittenburg on October 31, 1517. Luther’s intent with the 95 Theses was not to start a reform movement or to cause what would eventually become the Protestant movement. Rather, he wanted to debate the validity of the sale of indulgences. Luther was personally invested in this issue because, as a monk, he was responsible for the care and nourishment of his parishioners. Among these he saw those who had bought indulgences in outside of dioceses return home, enter confession, and demand remittance of sin without showing any remorse or repentance. Luther’s goal was the salvation and nourishment of his flock’s souls.

Luther’s willingness to call out the corruption and errors within the church led to a burgeoning movement within his native Saxony that spread within a few short years to the whole of Europe. For centuries the church had cycled through periods of intense devotion and service to God followed by bleak periods of corruption. Others had worked for and accomplished some reforms within the church before, but, more often than not, those seeking piety would be outweighed by those seeking power. So, the cycle continued, often with the periods of corruption becoming worse than they had been before.

Luther himself was a devout though flawed Christian. Early in his life as a monk he seized upon the belief that it was by faith alone that man is justified before God. This belief, which ran contrary to the official teachings of the church at the time, prompted Luther to delve into the writings of Augustine and the other early church fathers, and, most importantly, Scripture itself. And so it was that Luther began to place his convictions not on the decrees of councils or church officials but on the authority of Scripture alone.

It is on these convictions that Luther based his closing statement at the Diet of Worms in 1521. “Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture, or by manifest evidence (for I put no faith in the mere authority of the pope, or of councils, which have often been mistaken, and which have often contradicted one another, recognizing, as I do, no other guide than the Bible, the Word of God), I cannot and will not retract, for we must never act contrary to our conscience.”[2]

We often stop here. Luther has made his declaration. He has set in motion the Protestant Reformation. But we would be remiss if we did not continue in the proceedings of the Diet of Worms and see the reaction that Luther’s statement had upon the clergy gathered there. Johann Eck was the papal legate in charge of the Diet, and in his response to Luther he provides these words,

You have resuscitated dogmas which have been distinctly condemned by the council of Constance, and you demand to be convicted thereupon out of the Scriptures. But if every one were at liberty to bring back into discussion points which for ages have been settled by the church and by councils, nothing would be certain and fixed, doctrine or dogma, and there would be no belief which men must adhere to under pain of eternal damnation. You, for instance, who today reject the authority of the council of Constance, tomorrow may, in like manner, proscribe all councils together, and next the fathers, and the doctors; and there would remain no authority whatever, but that individual word which you call to witness, and which we also invoke.[3]

What is to be made of this? Jacque Barzun, historian and author, dated the beginning of the decline of Western civilization to the events set in motion by Luther’s statement at Worms. Luther’s call for the supremacy of the conscience in obedience was both a blessing and, in some ways, a curse. A blessing because it freed a people from the institutionalized dogmas of a body that had fallen into nepotism, simony, and debasement and which had held the doctrines of grace captive in favor of a salvation of works for far too long. A curse because it began the dissolution of Christendom from a unified body into disparate bodies separated by individual calls to conscience.

This Reformation Day let us all look to the teachings of Scripture, and be grateful that the events Luther set in motion almost 500 years ago have allowed us access to Scripture and salvation in a way that our progenitors did not know. But also let us reflect on the loss that occurred and pray for the day when we will once more be unified in the Kingdom of Christ.

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[1] http://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html

[2] http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/luther/lutherbyluther.html#secondnarrative

[3] Ibid.

Decathlon of Death: Recap of Ten Planned Parenthood Videos

Planned Parenthood logoWhat do the ten undercover videos reveal about Planned Parenthood? Here’s a quick summary.

Below are five nefarious activities committed by Planned Parenthood. I’ll let the direct quotes from the videos speak for themselves. But let them persuade you to watch the videos for yourself. Check out the linked list of all ten videos at the bottom of this article.

The videos reveal:

SELLING BABY PARTS FOR PROFIT

“A company like this that wants to give our organization money for the tissue, I think that that’s a valid exchange and that that’s okay.” (Video 10 @ 00:09)

“Well, you know, in negotiations the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss right?” (Video 2 @ 2:52)

“I want a Lamborghini.” (Video 2 @ 7:59)

“The harder and more valuable the tissue the more money you get. So If you can somehow procure a brain or a heart, you’re going to get more money than just like chorionic villi or umbilical cord.” l (Video 3 @ 7:05)

“We have independent colleagues who generate a fair amount of income doing this.” (Video 10 @ 6:39)

BABIES ALIVE AFTER BIRTH

“Now I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus and its heart is beating.” (Video 7@ 4:30)

“So you know there are times when after the procedure is done that the heart is still beating.” (Video 7 @ 4:44)

“Yeah, they put lams in and she comes in the next morning and I literally have had women come in and they’ll go in the OR, and they’re back out in 3 minutes, and I’m going, ‘What’s goin’ on?’ Oh yeah [she’s told] the fetus was already in the vaginal canal whenever we put her in the stirrups, it just fell out.” (Video 7 @ 1:00)

DELIVERING INTACT FETUSES

“If you had intact cases, which we’ve done a lot. We sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety.” (Video 8 @ 02:30)

“I saw a message saying that the doctor had aborted a fully intact fetus – fully intact and StemExpress was sending it straight to the lab.” (Video 7 @ 00:45)

“Intact, so we do, basically D&Es[Dilation & Extraction].” (Video 4 @ 2:04)

CHANGING ABORTION METHODS TO SALVAGE BABY BODY PARTS FOR SALE

“Most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.” (Video 1 @ 3:09)

“If we want to pursue this, mutually, I’ll mention this to Ian and see how he feels about using a ‘less crunchy’ technique to get more whole specimens.” (Video 2 @ 6:04)

“So if we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this I mean that’s–it’s all just a matter of line items.” (Video 7 @ 1:10)

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lungs, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna use it if I can get it all intact.  (Video 1 @ 3:43)

WILLFUL SECRECY

“We don’t want to get called on. . .selling fetal parts across the states.” (Video 4 @ 8:15)

“Obviously, we would have the potential for a huge H- a PR issue by doing this.” (Video 10 @ 2:10)

“This could destroy your company and us, if we don’t time those conversations correctly.” (Video 10 @ 2:35)

“I have been talking to the executive director of the National Abortion Federation. We’re trying to figure this out as an industry about how we’re going to manage remuneration because the headlines would be a disaster.” (Video 10 @ 3:58)

“We are absent a policy and that’s relatively intentional.” (Video 10 @ 4:17)

“There are no guidelines on tissue procurement. And there will never be guidelines.” (Video 10 @ 4:56)

“We don’t have a policy per se. And that is by choice.” (Video 10 @ 7:11)

“We feel like we can’t consent to be bullied by ridiculous laws.” (Video 10 @ 7:31)

CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS (CMP) VIDEOS:

(1) (Published July 14, 2015) Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts (8:52)

(2) (Published July 21, 2015) Second Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods (8:25)

(3) (Published July 28, 2015) Human Capital – Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts (11:50)

(4) (Published July 30, 2015) Planned Parenthood VP Says Fetuses May Come Out Intact, Agrees Payments Specific to the Specimen (11:30)

(5) (Published Aug 4, 2015) Intact Fetuses “Just a Matter of Line Items” for Planned Parenthood TX Mega-Center (15:45)

(6) (Published Aug 12, 2015) Human Capital – Episode 2: Inside the Planned Parenthood Supply Site (10:30)

(7) (Published Aug 19, 2015) Human Capital – Episode 3: Planned Parenthood’s Custom Abortions for Superior Product (10:38)

(8) (Published Aug 25, 2015) Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Buyer StemExpress Wants “Another 50 Livers/Week” (9:44)

(9) (Published Sep 1, 2015) Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Vendor ABR Pays Off Clinics, Intact Fetuses “Just Fell Out” (9:11)

(10) (Published Sep 15, 2015) [Human Capital – Episode 4] Top Planned Parenthood Exec: Baby Parts Sales “A Valid Exchange,” Can Make “A Fair Amount of Income”(12:08)