SBC adviser urges temperate talk in abortion debate

"[I]t would be easy to dismiss charges that extreme anti-abortion rhetoric feeds domestic terrorism, but Christians, if anyone, should recognize the power of words to bring both good and ill."

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TylerR's picture


I suppose I should be more irenic, but this position is frankly stupid. Karen Prior isn't stupid. Her position is stupid and un-Biblical. Consider these delightful gems:

“On the other hand,” she said, “referring to abortion providers as ‘abortion ghouls,’ clinic volunteers and workers as ‘deathscorts’ or ‘bloodworkers’ and women who obtain abortions as ‘murderers’ is worse than inflammatory: it is unchristlike.”

Furthermore, calling legal abortion “murder,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “the crime of deliberately killing a person,” she said, “is to say what isn’t true” at least in a civil context, because abortion in the United States is legal.

I am preaching through Acts right now. Stephen is wrapping up his sermon before his execution. He doesn't mince words in Acts 7:51-53. He was quite Christ-like, and his rhetoric indeed was inflammatory. Poor Stephen. If only  Karen Prior had been around to advise him on a more Christ-like course of action . . .

I suppose we shouldn't feel too sorry for Stephen.  After all, he wasn't really murdered at all. He was legally executed according to the laws of the Jewish theocracy. We shouldn't call it murder. Karen Prior says so. 

Prior said while she personally believes that abortion is murder “according to God’s law,” as a pro-life activist she was trained not to use the word “murder” in trying to persuade women in crisis to choose life for their babies. 

I suppose Peter (Acts 3:14-15) was also an inflammatory man. If only he'd had the advantage of sitting in class with Karen Prior, or at least had a PDF copy of her notes, then he would have been a more faithful servant of Christ. 

What fools.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

OK, first a stupid comment; she looks a lot like Garth Algar from Wayne's World.  Apropos nothing.

Seriously, was John the Baptist wrong to call the Pharisees a brood of vipers?  Was Jesus wrong to call them whitewashed tombs, or Pilate a "fox"?  Really, didn't our Lord nearly get Himself killed a number of times by ticking off Pharisees and Sadducees?  Were not many of the prophets killed when they dared to speak truth to kings like Ahab?

With regards to her comments, it's worth noting that they are in reference to comments made about the case of Kermit Gosnell, who is currently doing life plus 30 years (I pity his cellmate) for first degree murder and other crimes.  Now personally, I think that "ghoul" and "murderer" are some of the nicer terms I'd apply to our nation's Dr. Mengele, and those who escort mothers to kill their preborn children do qualify as "deathscorts".  It's really an appropriate turn of phrase.

So really what she's doing is elevating "niceness" over truthfulness, a tendency I've seen way too much of in fundagelical churches.  It looks superficially virtuous, just like the Pharisees, but in effect it's whitewash on a tomb.  If you get to know people, you'll see a lot of this, and you've got to ask them basic questions like

"Did Jesus call the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, or did He not?  When He made the scourge of cords in the Temple, do you think he talked more like Fred Rogers or John Wayne?  Do you think He raised His voice a bit? Do you think he drew blood with that whip?  If not, why did the money-changers scatter?"

There is a point to be made for wisdom in speech, but whitewashing over ugly realities, as Dr. Prior suggests, does no good whatsoever.


Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.