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Archive for July, 2011

Dr. Scot Chrisman, 1945-2011

Dr. Scot Chrisman, 1945-2011

Dr. Scot Chrisman, 1945-2011

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Scot Chrisman last week at his home in Knoxville.  Doc — that’s what we called him, “Doc” — was a great friend to all of us at CBR Southeast.

He led an interesting life, to say the least.  As a younger man, he was a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry.  He later ran a construction company.  By the time we knew him, he had morphed into a marketing guru/consultant.  That’s quite a transformation!  He created 4 Aces Web Consulting and he loved to get his websites into the top positions on Google.

Doc had a tremendous influence on our work at CBR that will live on for many years.  He created the Pro Life on Campus theme that is featured in our website, fundraising programs, and printed materials.

Based on extensive study of our work, he suggested that our “unique selling proposition” is that our projects are winning hearts, changing minds, and saving lives.  He showed us how to structure our website to not only say it, but also prove it.

We had been talking about what to name our website.  We thought about CBRSoutheast, ProLifeSoutheast, ProLifeSE, and a host of other ideas, none of which we liked very much.  But then one morning I walked into his office (a table at the Panera Bread on North Peters Road) and immediately noted the gleam in his eye.  He told me he had solved our problem.  ProLifeOnCampus.com had come to him at about 2 o’clock in the morning, so he went online and just bought it for us.  It was perfect.

He also helped us conceptualize what we do and talk about it in ways that would resonate with a larger percentage of the general public. You can see his fingerprints all over our latest promotional video.  He told me that if he could help us market the controversial work we do at CBR, he could help anybody market anything!

This very blog was his idea.

Doc was a man of ideas.  Every week or two, he had a new idea that would make us all rich.  A week later, that can’t-miss idea was forgotten and he was furiously working on the next one.  One day he was figuring out a way to sell movies; a week later, he was marketing emu oil.  I fully expected that eventually he would hit on that big break-through that would make our Doc rich and famous.  I’m sorry he didn’t have more time to pursue that dream.

Doc loved God and country; you can be sure of that.  When we weren’t talking business, we were talking religion and politics.  Those were his two favorite topics.  And mine.  It was always a lot of fun, never boring.  We didn’t always agree on theological matters, but I could always count on hearing a unique perspective that was worth considering.

This is a sad time for all of us left behind, but I know that Doc is enjoying his eternal reward.  I look forward to seeing him again.  That is our promise:

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:7)

For more on our assurance of eternal life in Jesus Messiah, go to www.thebiblepost.com/bible-scriptures-on-eternal-life.

Hey Doc, if they have a Panera Bread in Heaven, save me a table next to yours!

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Budget Crisis: What would Reagan do?

Ronald Wilson Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan

Great article by Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review.

Both sides, then, tend to misunderstand the well-springs of Reagan’s achievement. Having grand goals is easy, if you don’t care much about reaching them. Cutting deals is easy, if you don’t care much about where they take you. Knowing how to accommodate reality, when to give way and when to stand firm, while never deviating from your ultimate purposes, is the stuff of statesmanship.

Click here for entire piece.

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College bubble about to burst?

Michael Barone

Michael Barone

Great column out today by Michael Barone.  He nailed it when he pinpointed the main culprit behind the skyrocketing cost of college education:

Between 1975 and 2008, the number of faculty rose by 3 percent, to 12,019 positions. During those same years, the number of administrators rose 221 percent, to 12,183. That’s right: There are more administrators than teachers at Cal State now.

These people get paid to “liaise” and “facilitate” and produce reports on diversity. How that benefits Cal State students or California taxpayers is unclear.

It is often said that American colleges and universities are the best in the world. That’s undoubtedly true in the hard sciences.

But in the humanities and to a lesser extent in the social sciences, there’s a lot of garbage. Is a degree in religious and women’s studies worth $100,000 in student loan debt? Probably not.

Just like the housing market, college prices are being bid up and up and up, in many cases out of proportion to the actual value of the product.  Like the housing market,  you can trace this hyperinflation to a number of factors:

  • the notion that having it is a fundamental right for everyone,
  • the influx of public money to pay for people to attend college, with no regard to whether the degree sought is of any value or not,
  • the increased reliance on debt-financed dollars to pay costs for (a) necessities that previosuly were paid for out of family resources, and (b) luxuries that were previously done without.
  • the tendency of universities to find heretofore unknown “needs” for all this money, including departments and VPs of Diversity who do nothing to make the campus more diverse—at most colleges, diversity means the full range of political expression, from the far left to the extreme far left—LGBT indoctrination programs, etc.

Individuals have no choice to pay the inflated prices, because they must operate in a market that is dominated by government- and debt-financed dollars that have bid up the prices way out of proportion to the market.

Click here to see the rest of Barone’s article.

Artscape 2011: The “Art” of Abortion

The "Art" of Abortion display at Artscape 2011 was visible to thousands

The "Art" of Abortion display at Artscape 2011 was visible to thousands.

This report from CBR Maryland Directors Kurt and Samantha Linnemann:

Artscape is the largest art festival in the country, bringing 350,000 people to Baltimore over a 3-day weekend.  We were strategically located in the center of the festival, where thousands upon thousands of people walked past our display.  In addition to 4 GAP signs and 3 hand-held “Choice” signs, we also displayed a banner that said, “The Art of Abortion, The Slaughter of The Innocent.”  All of the signs featured graphic pictures of abortion.  CBR volunteers handed out pro-life literature to passersby.

When we showed the signs, the Baltimore City Police threatened to arrest us.  We simply asked what we were going to be arrested for.  Knowing they had nothing to charge us with, they backed down.  Fifteen police officers stood by and watched our display go up and stay up for the following 3 hours.

Our photos precipitated many meaningful conversations.  But more importantly, thousands of young people, many of whom said they support abortion, were faced with the reality of what abortion does to an innocent human being.   Many were challenged to re-evaluate their pro-“choice” position.

Click here to view pictures from Artscape 2011 

The Art of Abortion at Artscape 2011 in Baltimore

The "Art" of Abortion at Artscape 2011 in Baltimore

What could possibly go wrong with ObamaCare?

What could possible go wrong with ObamaCare?

What could possible go wrong with ObamaCare?

Let me get this straight …

  • We’re going to be “given” a health care plan
  • that we are forced to purchase,
  • and are fined if we don’t,
  • which purportedly covers at least ten million more people,
  • without adding a single new doctor,
  • but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,
  • was written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it,
  • passed by a Congress that didn’t read it,
  • but exempted themselves from it,
  • signed by a President who smokes,
  • with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes,
  • for which we’ll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect,
  • by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare,
  • and financed by a country that’s broke!!!!!

What the hell could possibly go wrong?

Pro-life strategy session in Washington, DC

Michele Bachmann and me

Michele Bachmann and me

I’m in Washington, DC today a meeting of pro-life leaders from across the USA.  I’m here with CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham representing the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR).

First up was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.  She’s just as feisty in person as she is on TV!

Later this  morning, Gregg and I will be talking about our latest initiative, the Corporate Accountability Project.  More about that later!

A plea to the Church

A plea to the pro-life church

A plea to the pro-life church.

I sometimes have the occasion to visit with pro-life pastors on behalf of the 1.2 million children being killed by abortion annually.  My plea is always the same: We can help you stop abortion in your church; we need your help to stop abortion in the culture.  The result is almost always the same: “No, thank you, we’re doing enough already.”

After one recent e-mail from a pastor, I wrote back (edited):

Thanks for getting back to me.  I wish that I could just delete your e-mail and go seek help where I can find it, but I feel as if it’s my duty to respond.

I don’t know much about your ministry, so some of what I have to say might not apply, but I would ask you to consider how much of this, if any, might be useful to you.

In all candor, I have to tell you that abortion is happening in America with the permission of the “pro-life” church.  We say we believe abortion is systematic murder, but we don’t act like we believe it.  I don’t know what you are already doing on behalf of unborn children at your church.  I can’t know all that you are doing.  But I can tell you that when we look at what the “pro-life” Church is doing as a whole in this country, it all adds up to almost nothing.  The lone exception is the network of pregnancy support centers that are run by Christians.  They do heroic work.  They are woefully under-funded, under-staffed, and under-visited by Christian couples who, in large numbers, patronize abortion clinics instead.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 1 in 5 women having an abortion identifies herself as a “born-again” or “evangelical” Christian, and the rate of abortion among practicing Catholics is almost the same as the rate of abortion in the general culture.

Christians are aborting their babies in staggering numbers and Church is not doing much at all to stop the killing, neither within the walls of the church nor in the culture at large.  Christians are complicit and/or complacent, in large measure, because nobody has shown them pictures that prove abortion is an act of violence.  They know only what the abortion industry has told them: that the preborn child is a blob of tissue and abortion is just the removal of some cells.  If we don’t show pictures of abortion in our churches, then babies are dying that might have been saved.

If we don’t show pictures of abortion in our communities, then babies are dying that might have been saved.  Every pro-life Christian leader with whom we converse believes that he, his ministry, and his church are doing everything they should be doing.  They are doing everything that God is calling them to do.  They make these claims despite the fact that they are not even warning their own young people of the horrifying truth of abortion.  Nor are they doing very much at all, if anything, to stop the killing outside the church.  This compels us to one inescapable conclusion: Either (1) God doesn’t care about abortion and truly is not calling His church to respond, or (2) God is calling His people to be a witness against evil, and His people simply are not answering His call.

We believe the latter to be the case.  In your e-mail, you mention that there are “widespread concerns about the approach” that we take to educating people about abortion, yet you never articulate what those concerns are.  I am particularly perplexed when I reflect on the fact that we are taking the exact same approach as William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, the abolitionists of the 1800s, Lewis Hine, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In fact, even Jesus Himself used a horrifying graphic image to help us understand the consequences of sin.

Not trying to be flippant here, but what did all these guys do wrong?  If anybody on your leadership team would be willing to meet with me to discuss that question, I’d welcome the opportunity.   Frankly, if I’m wrong, I’m desperate to know that I’m wrong, so that I can change.  But if I’m right, then babies are dying that could have been saved.

If there is any progress to be made, I’m open to whatever next step you suggest.

This offer is open to all pro-life pastors.  Please contact me here to see (1) how we can help you stop abortion in your own church and (2) how you can help us stop abortion in the larger culture.

New game: Who Said It?

Who said it?

Who said it?

It is time for the new game, “Who Said It?”  I will give you a quote and you have to guess what great American said it.

A.  “Let me be absolutely clear.  Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

B.  “I’ve now been in 57 states, I think one left to go.” 

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

C.  “On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes, and I see many of them in the audience here today.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

D.  “What they’ll say is, ‘Well it costs too much money,’ but you know what? It would cost, about. It it it would cost about the same as what we would spend. It. Over the course of 10 years it would cost what it would costs us. (nervous laugh) All right. Okay. We’re going to. It. It would cost us about the same as it would cost for about hold on one second. I can’t hear myself. But I’m glad you’re fired up, though.. I’m glad.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

E.  “The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

F.  “I bowled a 129. It’s like – it was like the Special Olympics, or something.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

G.  “Of the many responsibilities granted to a president by our Constitution, few are more serious or more consequential than selecting a Supreme Court Justice. The members of our highest court are granted life tenure, often serving long after the presidents who appointed them. And they are charged with the vital task of applying principles put to paper more than 20 centuries ago (2000 Years?) to some of the most difficult questions of our time.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

H.  “Everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma, they end up taking up a hospital bed, it costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early and they got some treatment, and a, a breathalyzer, or inhalator, not a breathalyzer. I haven’t had much sleep in the last 48 hours.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

I.  “It was interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There’s a lot of, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian, wheeling and dealing.” (In case you don’t get it, there is no Austrian language.)

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

J.  “I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.”

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Dan Quayle
  3. Sarah Palin
  4. George W. Bush

The answers to Questions A – J are all the same.  Barack Obama.  How did you do?

But remember, according to the media, George W. Bush et al. are supposed to be the village idiots, while Barack Obama is the “brilliant genius.”

A failure of leadership

debt ceiling

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Here’s an interesting quote.  FAB agrees with all of it except the last sentence.  Contrary to this person’s lament, we actually deserve the politicians we get.

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills.  It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.  Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’  Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.  Americans deserve better.”

— Senator Barack H. Obama, March 20, 2006

Abortion photos not dramatic enough?

Abby Johnson and Shawn Carney of 40 Days for Life

Abby Johnson and Shawn Carney of 40 Days for Life

For many months, we have celebrated the conversion of Abby Johnson from abortion clinic director to pro-life activist.  Her conversion is highlighted in her new book, UnPlanned.  We’ve noted here that her conversion was based on seeing pictures of ultrasound.

Despite her support for using graphic image displays (like GAP and the JFA exhibit)  to educate college students about abortion, she has spoken against their use outside abortion clinics.  She reasons that the photos had no effect on her, nor on the women who saw the photos and had abortions anyway.  Of course, this reasoning fails to account for the women who saw the photos and never came into the clinic at all.

We were intrigued by this statement that she made on her Facebook page:

It wasn’t the graphic nature of the ultrasound that turned me away from abortion.  I had seen graphic images before. … I had worked in the lab where the body parts of babies were reassembled.  It was the humanity.  Seeing a child suffer and die, a child who should have been protected.  Humanity is present from the moment of conception.  We must fight to protect it!

This reminds us of something that Joel Belz (World Magazine) wrote a few years ago that we all thought was quite strange at the time:

… when I take issue with Mr. Cunningham’s gruesome pictures, it’s not because they are overly repugnant.  I take issue because they aren’t repugnant enough.  But gripping the heart of the viewer is a subtle matter.  (Not dramatic enough, Joel Belz, World Magazine, January 11, 2003)

Nobody but Belz had ever suggested that our abortion photos were not dramatic enough.  But he was hoping for an image that would capture the precise moment between life and death, the kind of image that Johnson saw on that ultrasound screen.  He went on:

Real emotional involvement comes not with an overly explicit portrayal of death—but with a nuanced portrayal of the delicate balance between death and life.  That’s why the candid photo of a young Vietnamese girl running naked down the highway to escape the horrors of napalm probably had as much influence in the late 1960s as any other single factor in turning American public opinion against the war in southeast Asia.  When the photographer snapped that picture, there were almost certainly plenty of dead bodies lying around.  But what memorably captured the hearts of onlookers around the world was the reality of a young woman teetering between life and death.  And that subtlety changed the course of a war.

Such subtlety has generally eluded us in the war against abortion.  We came close, perhaps, in that wonderful and widely circulated operating room photo a year ago showing a tiny baby’s hand reaching up through the incision in his mother’s abdomen.  But that very pro-life picture, breathtaking as it was, said nothing of the terror of abortion.

There were two other images from Vietnam that he could have mentioned (source):

  1. The “Burning Monk” photo, taken June 11, 1963, when Thich Quang Duc sat down in a busy Saigon intersection and set fire to himself to protest the South Vietnamese government.
  2. The “Tet Execution” photo, taken February 1, 1968,  captured the precise moment that a Viet Cong prisoner was executed at point-blank range by the chief of the South Vietnamese National Police.

Both of these photos also capture that moment between life and death that Belz was talking about.  We’re guessing that’s why these three photos were perhaps the three most influential photos of the Vietnam era.  Belz hoped that our movement would capture a similar image of abortion.

But until somebody takes that photo, we’ll keep showing the ones we have!  And to be fair, it would be wrong to assume that most people who see our pictures are operating at anywhere near the level of denial that Abby Johnson exhibited when she was running that clinic.  Her case is very atypical and not at all like most people we encounter.  Most people who see the photos, particularly young people, have not yet had one abortion, let alone run a clinic where thousands were performed.  They cannot sustain, at least not for very long, the level of denial that Johnson conjured up each of the many times she looked at abortion pictures outside, and dead bodies inside, that clinic.

Further, we’re convinced that Johnson’s seeing the abortion photos could have had a subconscious effect that actually did contribute to her eventual conversion.  That’s conjecture on our part, but it is quite possible that the photos played a role at the subconscious level that even Johnson doesn’t fully appreciate.