Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Globe and Mail's latest poll asks readers whether Dr Henry Morgentaler should receive the Order of Canada. As of this writing (4:36 pm PST Feb. 10), the NO side had a commanding lead, 81% - 19%.

Of course, I smell the aroma of a manufactured story. 25 years in radio and TV taught me a number of things, one of which being the fact that polls are wondrous, ready-made stories. A good hot-button poll can make for a story that doesn't just have "legs", it has wheels with little rocket engines on them. You get the initial story ... then produce analysis of the story ... then reaction to the analysis -- if it's a political piece, contact the minister for one story ... then the opposition critic for that party's side ... and in this 21st Century, scan the blogs for reaction ... etc., etc.

(The most egregious example of this I've seen so far has been that sophomoronic petition on Facebook, demanding that SkyTrain run 24/7, so that drunks on Granville Street can get home when the bars close at 4 am. That made for a number of stories, none of which really addressed the real issue, which is that, if you have to keep drinking until 4 am closing, you don't need a SkyTrain -- you need a doctor. But I digress ...)

In radio and TV, a poll like this Morgentaler thing -- which is probably connected to the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada striking down our abortion laws -- would be called a "ratings grab". I don't know if newspapers measure readership ratings the way broadcasters do

Just think: all those babies killed ... all those women who've had a part of their being ripped out (I know a couple of women who've had abortions, and I believe they'd give anything to have that "choice" back) ... and some newspaper gets some cheap sales by creating a poll about it.

(For those not familiar with the name, Dr Henry Morgentaler made his name for performing abortions on women in defiance of the law, and championing the specious claim that it was "a matter of choice", and a "question of conscience to be decided between a woman and her doctor". To some, he's a hero. To others, well ... let's just say he has his reward on earth.)

I can see the Globe's editorial approach now. If a majority of participants support giving Morgentaler an Order of Canada, the paper runs stories that "progressive thinking" was alive and well in our home and native land, and that freedom is safe.

If a majority of participants oppose it, the paper decries the "well-organized campaign of the religious right, trying to strip women of their rights". There would also be an investigation of the polling system, because the voting was quite obviously stacked and padded by these rightwing nutbars.

It's a little like the CBC's reaction last year, when it ran a web poll asking young Canadians what their "wish list" for the country would be. "An end to abortion", I believe, came in first.

Perhaps now is a good time to remind you that the Globe and Mail is the paper that, a few years ago, offered a "$10,000 gay wedding" as a contest prize.

But this entry is not about Morgentaler or the abortion question or anything like that. It's about us Christians, and the question of who actually allowed things to get to the state they're in.

A recent news story about Morgentaler and how he got started in the abortion business told this heart-wrenching tale about a poor, frightened young woman who was pregnant and terrified and headed for a back-alley abortion. That was, apparently, the catalyst the moved Dr Morgentaler to begin the crusade.

Here's the question: why was the young woman frightened?

Why is any woman who's facing a pregnancy frightened about actually giving birth to the baby?

I'd make book that the majority of the time, it's because people close to her -- parents, friends, the church -- let her down, or the woman or girl perceived that they would.

"My dad will kill me."
"The father will kill me."
"The father disappeared."
"My friends will turn away from me."
"I'll be damned to hell."
"I can't afford it."
"This is a terrible place to raise a child in, anyway."

All of these should be considered lies promoted by Satan himself, easily refuted and cast into the lake of fire by people of faith -- a loving church, good counsel, strong faith. But the fact is, any one of those reasons may well be true, and the fault of that lies not with the girl, the back-alley butcher, or the opportunistic Dr Henry Morgentaler.

The fault lies with us.

As with the eternal battle between good and evil, Godliness and sin, Jesus calls us to focus not on the sin, but on the goodness of God. Anyone can fall: they need to know that Jesus is ready, willing, and the only one able to pick them up. Anyone can make a mistake: they need to know that only Jesus' Blood can wash that away.

Why haven't we created an atmosphere in which having the baby is the only possible option? Are we not guilty of substituting judgment and self-righteousness for love and truth? Women's rights movements were not always anti-male and pro-abortion: the great suffragettes and women's rights pioneers of the 19th and early 20th centuries were Christians and used Scripture to support their cause. Who has to wear the fact that abortionism was able to co-opt that movement in the 60s, so that abortion became a cause celebre for feminists, and killing an unborn baby a twisted sacrament?

Oh, we're good at righteous indignation, but when spokespeople trot out figures showing that the number of babies killed by abortion in Canada is greater than the number of people who died in the Holocaust, that only serves to turn off people who might have been sitting on the fence, about to come over to the pro-life side, and cause dismay among Jews who lost family members at Hitler's hands.

No, we need to take a hard look at how well we portray the rewards of righteousness and seeking God (Heb. 11:6 -- "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him") versus the short-term pleasures of sin. You don't follow God's ways because not doing so is bad: you follow His ways because doing so is infinitely good.

Perhaps Henry Morgentaler should get the Order of Canada, although I'd never vote "yes" in the Globe poll, knowing it would be construed as support for what he stands for. I say that with the same rationale Time magazine used when it chose Adolf Hitler "Man of the Year" for 1938: it was designed to shake people up so they could see what was going on.

Even if abortion were banned in Canada tomorrow, with the death penalty for anyone who performs one, there would still be abortions. But if we Christians can bring love and comfort and reassurance to women facing an unplanned pregnancy, convincing them that letting the baby live is infinitely better than killing it, then we could have legalized abortion in Canada, with a clinic in every neighbourhood: wide-open, fully-taxpayer-funded ...

and empty.

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