In light of the recent Planned Parenthood video, I am about to write a blog about my experience at Life’s Choices. The purpose of the blog is two-fold. First, to encourage people to get involved with efforts that provide practical help with abortion alternatives and an atmosphere of love and acceptance for those who choose not to make use of those alternatives. Second, to admonish the conservative Christian community for hypocrisy — being too busy or too fearful or too whatever to seriously compare their pro-life beliefs with their supposedly “pro-life” doctrines.
Also, please be aware that this message is a blog to introduce the blog post described in the first paragraph.
Put yourself back in the year 2010 for a moment. I told you that I needed to adjust my schedule to a fill-in position at Life’s Choices because of my new job (truth), and I ultimately decided to end my volunteer activities there because I was moving to Orlando (truth), but there was another truth that I kept to myself, that is, the reason I didn’t find a way to overcome those obstacles to continue volunteering at Life’s Choices.
You told me to hand out little business cards that warned against eternal torment in hell. You also included on your forms that I completed and signed a little check box to say we had a conversation about salvation (which, of course, included handing these ladies one of these cards). I found it very suspicious that this would be required of me after having expressed to the leadership at my church my rejection of the doctrine of eternal torment. I suspected that just as spiritual police had made life hell for me at NorthPointe, perhaps they were trying to make life hell for you, as well, since you had not “fired” me yet.
You and the other women there were a lifeline of love and acceptance to me during a time when so many others either completely rejected me and kicked me to the curb or sat by silently as those in power became more and more abusive toward me.
Now that some time has passed, and I have considered everything completely, I have come to the understanding that I likely would have found a way to continue at Life’s Choices if I were not expected to push this eternal torment in hell doctrine.
I complied. Sort of. I gave the card and checked the box, but I also told these women that I was required to give them the card and that I personally, did not agree with that version of the hell doctrine. I shared the plan of salvation with them in which Jesus actually IS the Savior of all, of how He succeeds in His mission to seek and save the lost — including women who have abortions.
I longed to share my experiences with you, but I was afraid of even more shunning and spiritual abuse.
Now, however, I can tell you the story of how their hearts melted right before my eyes, how they recognized the value and dignity of every human life, either expressing their decision to choose life or their resolve to reconsider having an abortion. I saw the difference between women who heard a message of hope that may disappoint and women who heard a message of hope that does not fail, and I knew I was saying exactly what God wanted them to hear.
But I also felt like a liar.
Because you were imagining in those private conversations with abortion-minded women, I was either complying with the doctrine or pretending to.
I simply expressed everything as you or the spiritual police would have, handed them the card, and then burst that bubble of fear with what I had recently discovered about God’s intentions toward the human race. I explained that believers, just like not-yet-believers, are screwed up people with screwed up ideas, but the Spirit of God could help all of us sift through all the bullshit and discover Him as He really is.
Do you remember calling me to tell me that the woman who had had four abortions already and was planning to have another came by Life’s Choices to introduce her baby? She was one of those whose heart melted in front of me. This happened because of the love of God evident in our conversation. I can look back without regret.
Having said all of this, I have a pointed question for you. I am genuinely sorrowful to pose it, because I know that you walk a fine line, getting most of your financial support from a bunch of local churches that are not unified in doctrinal positions. And how you answer may have some impact for or against that financial support. (The sorrow comes because believers should never give or withhold financially over doctrines when lives are at stake.) Please understand I must ask this question in order to write the blog presenting Life’s Choices accurately — neither throwing it under the bus nor presenting it as some kind of saintly organization incapable of error.
You see, in the blog I am about to write, I would like to clarify that I left Life’s Choices before Life’s Choices had a chance to “fire” me. In a recent blog post, I encouraged County Clerks who oppose gay marriage, instead of resigning their positions, to stay put and refuse to complete the paperwork. This is similar to what I did at NorthPointe. I stayed put, even though I knew I would get fired, because getting fired demonstrated the level of opposition toward those who reject eternal torment that exists in many churches today. Believers need to be aware of the lengths their leaders will go to in order to protect this doctrine. I did not do the same thing at Life’s Choices. God didn’t give me the emotional fortitude to persevere through it, so I didn’t. Perhaps He was also protecting you, because he knows your intentions are good and your work is so important.
In case you hadn’t noticed, His light is beginning to shine brighter and brighter. Things previously hidden are now becoming exposed. Uncomfortable conversations are being placed on the table for discussion with increasing frequency. Life’s Choices (and its supporting churches) need to speak up now.
My question is: If I had been completely candid with you then, as I am now, about what kind of conversations were happening between me and abortion-minded women — would you have permitted me to continue as a peer counselor at Life’s Choices?
Please tell me that in the blog I am about to write, I can say that it is not a requirement for Life’s Choices peer counselors to believe and teach eternal torment.
The not-yet-believing world is paying attention.
Please note, I do not oppose gay marriage. I believe that each one of us is accountable to God for our decisions, and that it is not my place to decide whether two people should get married. Just as I would not want someone to prevent or delegitimize my marriage to Tim, I think others should be treated with the same dignity. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing for the LGBTQ community to demonstrate tolerance toward those who would have trouble sleeping at night because of a crisis of conscience over dissonance between their moral convictions and fulfilling their job requirements?