Late-Term Abortionist Offers Mothers The Chance To Cuddle Their Dead Babies

The open practice of killing then cuddling does not simply represent a ghastly declaration that children are both fully human and disposable. It signifies a war against the mother-child bond.

Late-Term Abortionist Offers Mothers The Chance To Cuddle Their Dead Babies

The infamous abortionist LeRoy Carhart invites women to cuddle with their freshly killed babies. His clinic also offers them take-home keepsakes such as photographs and footprints of their child.

Carhart specializes in third-trimester abortions, those done when the baby is approximately 24 weeks of gestation and older. You may recall that he was at the center of the debate on partial-birth abortion when the Supreme Court ruled in his favor in 2000. Seven years later, the court upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion.

As I’ll try to explain below, the open practice of killing then cuddling does not simply represent a ghastly declaration that children are both fully human and utterly disposable. It signifies a full frontal war against the mother-child bond itself, the bond which is the fount of all empathic human relationships. To scorn it so openly cultivates social acceptance of infanticide. And it insinuates mothers in that very acceptance.

We’ll Help You Feel Better About Killing Your Child

On page seven of a brochure posted on the website for Carhart’s abortion clinics in suburban Maryland and Nebraska, you can browse an array of post-abortion services that seem more in line for a mother grieving over an unexpected miscarriage than a woman intentionally aborting her baby.

Carhart’s practice brazenly uses the word “baby” instead of fetus. In Orwellian manner, he references “delivery” of the child rather than abortion. As if this is not destabilizing enough, the brochure goes on:

Many patients request a remembrance of their baby to take home with them. The following lists items and services that some of our patients have found helpful in their emotional recovery. Every family approaches this experience with their own unique emotional, spiritual, and cultural background. There is no right or wrong way, just ‘your way.’ Once the process of healing has begun, you may want to consider a token of the precious time you and your baby had together. All of these features of our program will be discussed with you while you are with us.

Ignoring the possibility that the entire killing process may itself be the “wrong way,” the brochure offers the following “Services After Your Delivery: Viewing your baby after the delivery; Holding your baby after the delivery; Photographs of your baby; Cremation services referral; Funeral arrangements referral; Footprints; Spiritual and ceremonial accommodations [through the facility’s partnership with pro-abort clergy of various stripes]; Remembrance certificate.”

The page also shows a photo of an open gift box containing a soft toy ducky, a tiny knit cap, footprints, and the open lid inscription: “In loving Memory of Baby Doe who lives in the hearts of Jane and John Doe.” In other words, the warped idea is to first exterminate your baby, then hug your baby.

Pushing the Overton Window to Infanticide

Abortionists no doubt develop weird pathologies brought on by their gruesome choice of work. Consider, for example, the cases of notorious late-term abortionists Kermit Gosnell and Ulrich Klopfer, both of whom ghoulishly hoarded human remains.

Most tend to be unapologetically aware that they are in the business of killing people. Veteran abortionist Forrest Smith recently testified that he believed Planned Parenthood was deliberately inducing live births in order to get fresh and intact fetal organs to harvest.

As an expert witness in the recent hearings of undercover investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, Forrest stated: “There’s no question in my mind that at least some of these fetuses were live births.” And this (emphasis added): “You can kill a human being, which I admit abortion is, but you have to do it in certain ways.” By which he meant, inside the womb, not outside.

Forrest also indicated that Delaiden only uncovered the tip of the iceberg in his work. Indeed, in other testimony at that hearing, we learned of more gruesome practices, such as keeping the hearts of live-born infants beating so they are of greater value to the labs that pay for them and the trafficking of whole bodies for experimentation. Such blatant examples of infanticide and human vivisection should sicken all but the most barbaric of us.

A New Surreality of In-Your-Face Abortion

The abortion industry and its promoters have always known full well that they market in the death of human beings. But today they flaunt that fact as never before. Gone are the days when pro-abort legislators would deny and squirm when asked if they support third-trimester abortion. Talk about “hard choices” or “keeping abortion rare” is quickly disappearing.

Instead, we hear Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatrician, calmly discuss what to do if an aborted child is born alive, and whether to kill it after consultation with the mother and doctor. We see New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lighting up the Empire State Building in pink to celebrate a new law that specifically boosts third-trimester abortions.

A campaign encouraging women to proudly “shout” their abortions took off last year. There are even subreddits that indulge in talks about abortion fetishes, in which a woman deliberately gets pregnant, enjoying both the pregnancy and the abortion, as does the male partner. The list goes on.

All such developments are a logical part of the trajectory of the pro-abortion culture. Lies get less manageable over time. At some point when denials no longer work, we can expect to hear taunting admissions in the gangster spirit of: Yeah, I killed them, and I’d do it again, so whaddya going to do about it?

Maybe the fig leaf of denial was blown off by Daleidan’s exposes of Planned Parenthood and the grim cruelties of late-term abortion practices such as Gosnell’s and Klopfer’s. Maybe one of the reasons for the decline in abortion rates is that fewer buy the lines about “clumps of cells” and “reproductive health” anymore. If so, that would be a promising sign that conscience still has an effect on people. But something else is afoot.

An Ominous Shift in Mood

In this broader context, how do we make sense of Carhart’s open offer of the post-abortion cuddle option? After 45 years of doing late-term abortions, Carhart is no doubt familiar with the need for emotional recovery. At the same time, he seems content to admit to “delivering” killed infants.

Later, what does the woman do with the memory of cuddling, the photo, the footprints of her dead child?

It’s a twisted and Orwellian picture. On the one hand, the cuddle offer is logical in an upside-down and calculating sort of way. The maternal bond is compelling and strong, no matter how much licentious men, their feminist stooges, and the leftist media try to tell women it’s just a matter of choice.

So maybe there is a superficially calming effect on some women who hold the baby afterwards, especially if the corpse is in fresh enough condition to look asleep and still be warm. On the other hand, it serves the abortionist by directing all responsibility onto the woman. A subtext could easily be: “Here’s your dead baby. See. You signed onto this. I only did what you paid me to do. I delivered on your decision.”

Later, what does the woman do with the memory of cuddling, the photo, the footprints of her dead child? Does the knowledge of her baby’s face haunt her? Or does it just harden her heart, perhaps even leading to a perverse sense of empowerment, as the “shout your abortion” cohort would recommend? The haunting would be a sign of hope for the maternal bond, a sign of conscience. But the hardening of heart, I fear, is where we may be headed with all of this.

This shift in overall mood among many abortion proponents—from denial of killing a person to defiant acceptance of it—is the stuff that brutal societies are made of.

Reminiscent of Ancient Attitudes about Child Sacrifice

Callousness is one logical outcome of denial and regret. If we consider the practice of child sacrifice, we might ask how consenting mothers got through it without hardening their hearts. James Michener’s historical novel “The Source” contains a harrowing scene in which a husband insists his wife sacrifice their firstborn son to Malek, the pagan god of ancient Palestine.

‘Could we just run away?’ she pleaded.

‘Timna!’ The idea was blasphemous for Urbaal . . .

‘I will not surrender my son,’ she persisted. . . .

‘We all do,’ he reasoned gently. . . ‘It is to Melak that we look for protection.’

‘. . . Why must he be so cruel?’ Timna pleaded.

‘He does much for us,’ Urbaal explained, ‘and all he asks in return [is] our first-born sons.’

The husband not only views his son as a disposable object, but also anticipates the status he will get from community elders for being so willing to make the sacrifice. Later, Timna watches helplessly as her baby is thrown into the fire. She starts to cry, “but with his free hand Urbaal caught her by the neck and preserved the dignity of sacrifice. He saw that the priests had noticed his action and had smiled approval.”

Modernity offers many parallels to that story. Just as child sacrifice was a male-dominated institution in the ancient world, most of the front-line pushers for unrestricted abortion in modern times have been men. Abortion is also a means to improve or maintain social status. After all, the idols of modernity “do much for us.”

Abortion appeases many of these idols, including the idols of cash flow, career advancement, the meticulously planned life, relationship preferences, social status, body shape, self-will, and sundry other shiny objects. At the same time, the men who impregnated the women along with the priests of modernity are those who most demand the sacrifice. Her choice, you see.

So destroy your baby, then hug the body. This concept signifies a chilling new level of acceptance for infanticide. Nothing more, nothing less. It adds grave insult to grave injury. It doesn’t matter how few women actually undergo that process if it gains cultural acceptance. To accept it is to give a nod to infanticide, an open invitation to ever more barbarism.

Stella Morabito is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Follow Stella on Twitter.
Photo NataszaBlack / NeedPix.com

https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/03/late-term-abortionist-offers-mothers-the-chance-to-cuddle-their-dead-babies/

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Repetition Deepens Impression

An important principle of memory is that the impressions acquire depth and clearness by repetition

by Pastor Ray Patrick

 

Notice in today’s verse, God’s people were commanded to go around continually saying, “let God be magnified. He takes pleasure in prospering me.” I believe one reason they were supposed to say it all the time, is so it would get down on the inside of their hearts, and stick in their minds.

There is an old saying that “repetition deepens impression.” When we hear something long enough, we start to believe as it sinks deep in our minds. It starts to affect the way we see things. I wonder what would happen if all through the day, we decided to stop dwelling on negative, defeated thoughts like, “I’ll never get out of debt. My business will never expand. How can I send my children to university, it’s so expensive?” And what if you started dwelling on thoughts like, “God takes pleasure in prospering me. Good breakthroughs are in my future and explosive blessings are coming my way?”

Today, let the truth of God’s Word sink down into your heart. All throughout the day, declare His goodness continually, praise Him at every opportunity, let the world know of His faithfulness. Declare His blessings, because He delights in seeing you prosper, and God inhabits your praise!

“Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favour my vindication; and let them say continually, ‘The Lord be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.’”

(Psalm 35:27, NASB)

Pray With Me
Yahweh, thank You for Your goodness. Father thank You for finding joy in seeing me succeed. Help me to see my life the way You see it, and I will praise and magnify You continually, for You are worthy to be praised and lifted up. God, help me to see and declare the breakthrough, blessings and victories You have for me, in Jesus’ Name! Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2019/09/30/repetition-deepens-impression/

Staying strong for the work of Christ

By Nicole D. Hayes, Voices Contributor
By Rod Anderson, CP Cartoonist

For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.  Nehemiah 6:9 (ESV)

Nehemiah had his work cut out for him. If his conspirators Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and other enemies weren’t trying to distract and make up things to bring him down to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls, in the next breath they were trying to kill him. Anything to stop the work.

Through many unsuccessful attempts, the disruptors conspired to wear down Nehemiah, his men and their efforts in rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. They sought to discourage their progress in hopes they would shrink back; that their hands might “get too weak for the work” causing the work to be suspended.

But Nehemiah and his men remained on the wall. Some built while others stood guard holding spears from daylight until nighttime.  They remained committed to the work, day and night. In Nehemiah 6:15-16, we’re told of the wall being completed with this encouragement from verse 16: When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. (NIV, 1984)

In the same way, God is our help in the work He has entrusted to our hands. God has invited us to co-labor with Him for His purposes—in the crucible, amid opposition, in increasing lawlessness, wickedness and immorality. The work will feel laborious at times. Whether it is the passage of legislation that will further decay society or Teen Vogue telling teens how to get abortions without their parents’ knowledge or permission, you will wonder if progress is being made. You will have to rebuff distractions. Continue. The best work is shaped in the crucible.

When, in our Christian work and warfare we enter upon any service or conflict, our prayer should be, “O, God, strengthen my hands” as Nehemiah prayed — that we would be even more diligent, more steadfast, and more resolved to continue in the truth and information given us in which our confidence rests upon through God’s Word. Each of us must take our place in the building up of His Kingdom however He has called us to that work.

The idols of today’s culture are giving people a false hope and comfort. The people wander like sheep in search of a shepherd (Zechariah 10:2). For those of us in Christ Jesus, we have the information to direct them to The Good Shepherd. We have The Good News and the gospel is Good News for EVERYONE.

Our goal is to make Jesus known, with great compassion for those who do not yet know Him. We need to live like the answer.

As the Christian Medical & Dental Associations of Washington, D.C.,  with our ministry partners we are making Jesus known in our city and nation through faith and healthcare. We serve to encourage and equip our local emerging and practicing healthcare professionals to continue in their good work in a culture that is counter to God’s Kingdom. We desire to minister to the spiritual needs of our students and healthcare professionals to develop and grow in faith throughout their careers as they treat bodies and souls locally and globally. We invite more partners to join us in transforming our culture in truth where the culture’s false prescriptions have inflicted great harm. We ask your gift, prayers and involvement to help us do the work.

Fellow Christian soldier:  Do not underestimate the power of God’s light abiding in you. As we confront spiritual wickedness, the God of peace will make us more than conquerors. While moral and societal decay and wickedness seem to be having their way, we CAN impact our culture in response to God’s direction so the harvest may experience what Jesus has promised, “life and life to the full.” (John 10:10) God’s purposes will be accomplished. We need only to stand firm.

Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV, 1984)

O, God, strengthen our hands.

Nicole D. Hayes is CMDA Area Director for Washington, D.C.

VIDEO PTSD Coach App: Help at Your Fingertips

Oct 8, 2019

 

Find tools that can help you and your family members

If you’re experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), remember that you’re not alone. According to the National Center for PTSD, 8 million people have PTSD in the U.S.  Anyone can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as combat or a bad accident. Seeking professional treatment is the best thing you can do if you think you have PTSD. To learn more about this mental health condition, available treatments, and ways to manage symptoms, VA offers the PTSD Coach mobile app.

Learning about PTSD can help you understand your feelings and how to effectively deal with them. With the PTSD Coach app, you can access:

  • Information on PTSD
  • A PTSD self-assessment
  • Support or professional care
  • Tools to help you manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD

The app’s features can help you practice relaxation and anger management skills, as well as other self-help strategies.

“This application has significantly helped me in the heat of these moments. It has helped my ability to deal with the panic attacks and steer me from feeling completely lost,” shared one Veteran. “If you don’t know what to do, you don’t have anywhere to go, try this app. It’s seriously helping me.”

Find the right treatment for you

Effective treatment for PTSD is available. Getting better means different things for different people. Since no one treatment is right for everyone, you should discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Together you can decide what works best for you based on the benefits, risks, and side effects of each treatment. If you are diagnosed with PTSD, your health care team may recommend:

  • Therapy. Effective trauma-focused talk therapies, such as Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help you to cope with the trauma and reduce your symptoms.
  • Medication. The therapies listed above are more effective for treating PTSD than medications. However, four antidepressant medications are effective for treating PTSD: Sertraline (Zoloft) Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluoxetine (Prozac), and Venlafaxine (Effexor). Depending on your treatment needs your healthcare provider may recommend one of these medications, often in combination with therapy.

Learn more about these evidence-based PTSD treatments within the PTSD Coach app or by checking out the online resources below.

If you are a Veteran with PTSD, upgrading your My HealtheVet account can help you better manage your treatment. Log into a Premium account to access tools such as Secure Messaging (sign in required) to communicate with members of your health care team.

Download the app for free on iTunes or the Google Play Store.

Read More

PTSD Coach (VA Mobile)

PTSD Treatment Options Can Work with Help from My HealtheVet

PTSD Treatment: Know Your Options (YouTube)

Getting Treatment for PTSD (Veterans Health Library) 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (National Center for PTSD)

https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/web/myhealthevet/ss20190301-ptsd-coach-app


What is PTSD?

PTSD Basics

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

  • PTSD Basics
    If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

More PTSD Topics

  • Avoidance
    Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma. It is natural to want to avoid thinking about or feeling emotions about a stressful event. But when avoidance is extreme, or when it’s the main way you cope, it can interfere with your emotional recovery and healing.
  • Trauma Reminders: Anniversaries
    On the anniversary of a traumatic event, some survivors have an increase in distress. These “anniversary reactions” can range from feeling mildly upset for a day or two to a more extreme reaction with more severe mental health or medical symptoms.
  • Trauma Reminders: Triggers
    People respond to traumatic events in a number of ways, such as feelings of concern, anger, fear, or helplessness. Research shows that people who have been through trauma, loss, or hardship in the past may be even more likely than others to be affected by new, potentially traumatic events.
  • Aging Veterans and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
    For many Veterans, memories of their wartime experiences can still be upsetting long after they served in combat. Even if they served many years ago, military experience can still affect the lives of Veterans today.
  • Very Young Trauma Survivors
    Trauma and abuse can have grave impact on the very young. The attachment or bond between a child and parent matters as a young child grows. This bond can make a difference in how a child responds to trauma.
  • PTSD in Children and Teens
    Trauma affects school-aged children and teenagers differently than adults. If diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms in children and teens can also look different. For many children, PTSD symptoms go away on their own after a few months. Yet some children show symptoms for years if they do not get treatment. There are many treatment options available including talk and play therapy.
  • History of PTSD in Veterans: Civil War to DSM-5
    PTSD became a diagnosis with influence from a number of social movements, such as Veteran, feminist, and Holocaust survivor advocacy groups. Research about Veterans returning from combat was a critical piece to the creation of the diagnosis. So, the history of what is now known as PTSD often references combat history.

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/what/index.asp


A complete guide to PTSD basics

Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment (PDF)


What is PTSD


PTSD Warning Signs


A Veteran Copes with PTSD: Brandon’s Story

 



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VIDEO A.G. Bill Barr: ‘In the Framers’ View, Free Government Was Only Suitable and Sustainable for a Religious People’

By CNSNews.com Staff | October 14, 2019

Attorney General Bill Barr at University of Notre Dame Law School, Oct. 11, 2019. (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) – Attorney General Bill Barr spoke at the University of Notre Dame Law School on Friday, saying that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution believed that a “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.”

“In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings,” Barr said. “Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves, freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values.

“And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s wills,” he said. “They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being.

Watch video here

“In short,” he said, “in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had discipline to control themselves according to those controlling principles.”

Here is the transcript from the part of Barr’s speech where he said that the Framers believed that “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people:”

“So, the founders decided to take a gamble, and they called it a great experiment. They would leave the people broad liberty, they would limit the coercive power of the government, and they would place their trust in self-discipline and virtue of the American people. In the words of Madison: ‘We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves.’

“And this is really what they meant by self-government. It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

“But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings. Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves, freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values. And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s wills. They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being.

“In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had discipline to control themselves according to those controlling principles

“As John Adams put it: ‘We have no government armed with a power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.’

“And as Father John Courtney Murray observed: The American tenet was not ‘that free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.’”

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cnsnewscom-staff/bill-barr-framers-view-free-government-was-only-suitable-and


Bill Barr Flames ‘Unremitting Assault’ On Religion, Traditional Values During Notre Dame Visit

Kevin Daley | The Daily Caller October 13,, 2019

Concerted attacks on religious liberty have triggered a moral upheaval that contributes to deadly social pathologies, Attorney General William Barr said Friday at the University of Notre Dame.

“The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety,” Barr said. “It reflects the framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.”

The attorney general said numerous measures of social decline are rising as religion recedes from public life, citing higher instances of drug addiction, mental illness, and suicide. Those outcomes are not random, but the fruit of a dedicated campaign against orthodox religious belief, Barr added.

“This is not decay,” Barr said. “This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Barr said state governments and municipal agencies have been at the vanguard of that effort, noting the board of education in Orange County, California, recently decided religious dissenters may not excuse their children from portions of the school curriculum broaching LGBT issues. Schools are the usual forum for attacks on religious liberty, Barr said.

In that connection, the attorney general noted the Department of Justice recently intervened in a dispute between a gay teacher and a Catholic high school near Notre Dame. The case arose when the Archdiocese of Indianapolis directed Cathedral High School to dismiss a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage or forfeit its Catholic affiliation. The high school did so. The teacher, Joshua Payne-Elliott, sued the school in turn.

The Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case Sept. 27, arguing that the lawsuit suppresses the archdiocese’s First Amendment right to expressive association, and impermissibly asks the court to interfere with internal church matters.

“The First Amendment precludes this court, a state actor, from cooperating in plaintiff’s attempt to stifle the archdiocese’s First Amendment right to expressive association,” the filing reads. “The First Amendment also precludes the court from entangling itself in a quintessentially ecclesiastical question: whether the archdiocese properly interpreted and applied Catholic doctrine. The First Amendment commits that question exclusively to the ecclesiastical tribunals of the church.”

Anti-Barr demonstrators picketed near the Notre Dame campus during the attorney general’s visit, according to the South Bend Tribune. Some protesters blew whistles in reference to a whistleblower complaint from the intelligence community concerning President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden’s business interests in Ukraine, and suggested Barr could support that effort. Hunter, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma Holdings.

The attending controversy prompted Notre Dame Law School Dean G. Marcus Cole to issue a statement defending academic freedom.

“Notre Dame Law School will neither endorse nor condemn invited speakers,” Cole said. “An institution of higher education must be a place where controversial ideas and points of view are expressed, heard, and discussed. This is such a place.”

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Kevin Daley of The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Original here



 

 

VIDEO Andrew Brunson Expected Persecution. He Didn’t Expect to Feel Abandoned by God.

How the American pastor handled a crisis of faith during his Turkish imprisonment.

Andrew Brunson Expected Persecution. He Didn’t Expect to Feel Abandoned by God.
INTERVIEW BY JACLYN S. PARRISH SEPTEMBER 20, 2019

Many of the Christians we admire most have been imprisoned for the cause of Christ. Believers like Corrie ten Boom and Richard Wurmbrand are remembered as giants of faith and perseverance, blessed with a peculiar sense of God’s power and presence even in the midst of extreme suffering. In God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance, pastor and missionary Andrew Brunson provides a raw account of his own experience as a prisoner of the Turkish government. Yet his is a story of doubt as well as faith, of depression as well as hope. Writer and former missionary Jaclyn S. Parrish spoke with Brunson about suffering, growth, and dependence on God in the face of despair.

Can you give some of the background of why you were imprisoned?

My wife, Norine, and I were missionaries in Turkey for 23 years, and we never tried to hide our work. We were surprised when we were detained. There was an attempted coup in 2016, but that didn’t change the views of the government leaders. I think it just gave them an opportunity to do many things they’d wanted to do before. It had nothing to do with our arrest; it just created a very tense environment.

When they called us in, we thought we were getting our residence permits. But then they said, “No, you’re being arrested for deportation.” Norine was released after 13 days, but they kept me. There are several reasons, and they changed over time, but the big thing is that they wanted to make an example of somebody, of a missionary, to intimidate other missionaries so that they would self-deport. And they also wanted to intimidate local believers. At some point, the government decided to keep me as a political pawn, a bargaining chip. They wanted concessions from the US.

But there are two issues here, one human and one spiritual. I think there was a larger drama going on behind the political dealings, which was God’s story, what he was accomplishing through my imprisonment.

You explain that your two greatest fears in prison were losing your faith and losing your mind. How would you encourage other believers who are struggling to keep their faith and sanity in the midst of suffering and trauma?

Whatever you’re going through, if you’re working for Christ and his kingdom, then it is very precious to him. Throughout the day, I would repeat to myself that there was purpose in my suffering, that God was involved in it, and that it had eternal value because it was suffered for his sake.

It’s especially important, I’d say, to guard against resentment. I felt abandoned by God, and in those circumstances it was easy to let my heart grow cold. When it seemed like God wasn’t answering my pleas for his presence, I would imagine a box, where I would lock away all my questions and doubts and refuse to entertain them anymore. As Norine reminded me, “Whatever doubts you have, God remains the same. He is faithful. He is true. He is loving. He is good.”

You also explain how your crisis of faith was incomprehensible to your Muslim cellmates, since they had entirely different expectations of Allah than you did of the Father. In light of that, how would you say our view of God informs how we undergo suffering?

My crisis of faith wasn’t a matter of being imprisoned. That’s persecution, and the Book of James promised it would happen (1:2). It was more the feeling of abandonment. I had expected strength to pour into me. I had expected to feel an overwhelming sense of grace. When this didn’t happen, I became suicidal.

I had questions about his love, loyalty, and faithfulness, but really he had questions for me. “Are you going to be loyal? Are you going to love me? Are you going to remain faithful even if you feel abandoned and disappointed?” I was being tested, and it was painful. But when your faithfulness is tested and proven true, there’s such a great reward. It brings you to a new level of intimacy with God.

One thing I really tried to focus on was cultivating the fear of God: having an eternal perspective, seeing things through his eyes. I knew that if I feared God the way Isaiah did, I would be more willing to undergo any hardship, which would confirm that he is worthy of all my pain and suffering.

I also held fast to the promise that God will make all things right in the end. That doesn’t mean thirsting for vengeance. It just means that while Jesus is portrayed as a lamb—pure, innocent, sacrificial—he is also portrayed as a fierce lion. Someday, those who persecute my brothers and sisters are going to encounter Jesus. They will encounter him as a Lamb, if they’ve surrendered to him. Or else they will encounter him as a Lion. They will meet him, and he will make all things right.

In your epilogue, you describe how your story was a small part of the bigger story God was weaving. How have you seen God use your suffering and your faithfulness?

In 2009, I believed God was calling me to Turkey to prepare a harvest of souls for Christ. In 2016, when we were detained, my thought was, “Wait, this can’t be. This seems like God is cutting the assignment short.” But I learned to see my imprisonment as a crucial part of preparing the harvest, mainly because of the worldwide prayer movement it started. This was something God-initiated, God-sustained, God-driven. A tsunami of prayer crashed into Turkey. It’s as if God were saying, “I can take you out, but if you’re willing to stay, I will do something greater.”

Something that comes across strongly in the book is your love for the nation and people of Turkey. What are some of your hopes and prayers for this country?

When we talk about our love for Turkey, we’re not talking about Turkish food or culture, although we do love those things. No, we’re really talking about a determined commitment to seek the good of the Turkish people, whether they appreciate it or not. It’s a love that’s demonstrated in faithfulness to our assignment.

But right now, I’m relatively pessimistic about Turkey. A number of missionaries have been deported just in this past year, and I think there’s a time of persecution coming. There will be a harvest, under God’s power, but it will happen under difficult circumstances.

Toward the end of the book, you mention that, however terrible the prison ordeal was, you do “miss being so completely dependent on God.” How can we cultivate that kind of intimacy with God, wherever life finds us?

Extreme circumstances are sometimes necessary to push us toward God. Without them, our natural inclination is to decline in faithfulness, and we have to be deliberate about cultivating it. Sometimes, I’ll find myself praying, “Lord, I’m not hungry for you, but I really want to be.” As my wife would say, “There’s no substitute for time spent with God.”

When I wake up each morning, I try to focus myself by saying, “Jesus, the only thing that matters is what you think about me when I stand before you, so I want to live accordingly. I want all of my efforts to have your glory in mind.” That’s what I encourage other people to do.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/october/andrew-brunson-gods-hostage-persecution-abandoned.html


ANDREW BRUNSON: God’s Hostage


The Transforming Power of Biblical Forgiveness

By Denise George   •   January 30, 2019 

On the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., family members of Myra Thompson join in song during a memorial service. Photograph: Newscom

On a hot, muggy night in Charleston, S.C., 21-year-old Dylann Roof walked into the basement of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church and joined a dozen Wednesday evening Bible study members as they studied Mark 4. It was June 17, 2015.

The teacher, Myra Thompson, warmly welcomed the 5-foot-9-inch, 120-pound boyish-looking man with the pale face. Roof’s tousled blond hair was cut in a salad bowl shape, and he wore a tourist’s fanny pack around his waist. 

Clementa Pinckney, Emanuel’s pastor, invited Roof to sit next to him, and someone placed a Bible in his hands. Roof sat quietly during the Bible study, saying nothing, his facial expression blank.

At 9 p.m., Myra ended the study, standing with the others to pray.

“Our Father, who art in Heaven,” they prayed together, “hallowed be thy—”

Suddenly Dylann pulled a Glock .45 from his fanny pack. Piercing the quiet fellowship hall with an exploding CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!, he opened fire on the praying members. Shooting each person multiple times at point-blank range, and shouting hateful racial slurs, he killed eight church members immediately, including Myra Thompson and Pastor Pinckney. The ninth victim died shortly thereafter. 

Roof walked out, leaving the dead, dying and terrified behind him on the blood-stained floor. The church security camera recorded his image, the gun still in his hand.

Word of the church massacre spread throughout the city, turning Charleston’s narrow streets into tangled mazes of screaming sirens, flashing lights and panicked onlookers.

When Myra’s husband, the Reverend Anthony Thompson, pastor of Charleston’s Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church, arrived home from his church’s Wednesday evening program, a friend telephoned him.

“There’s been a shooting at Emanuel Church!” he said. Anthony rushed to the church. When he discovered his wife’s murder, he fell to the pavement and cried.

Rev. Anthony Thompson stands outside Emanuel African Episcopal Church.Photograph: Reuters/Newscom

Police found Dylann Roof the next morning, arrested him and took him back to Charleston. When two FBI agents interrogated him, the young racist laughed, bragged about the murders and claimed he had hoped to start a race war. He admitted he had chosen Charleston and the Emanuel A.M.E. Church for his massacre because of their past slave history.

On Friday, June 19, fewer than 48 hours after the murders, Anthony reluctantly attended Roof’s bond hearing. A video camera from the detention center linked Roof to the courtroom. Judge James Gosnell invited the victims’ family members to speak directly to Roof through an audio connection. Although Anthony didn’t intend to say anything, he felt led by God to walk forward. He depended on God to put His words into his mouth.

“I forgive you,” Anthony told Dylann. “And my family forgives you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the One who matters the most: Jesus Christ, so that He can change it and change your attitude. And no matter what happens to you, then you’ll be OK. Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now.”

Several other family members at the hearing also offered their forgiveness.

City and state police prepared and braced themselves for the racial riots they expected to explode in Charleston, fearing the bloodshed, violence and looting as recently witnessed in Ferguson, Baltimore, Berkeley and other cities after racially-motivated crimes had occurred.

But, to the world’s amazement, Charleston erupted not in violence, but in grace, the city responding with acts of love and kindness. Charleston’s mayor, Joseph Riley, witnessed firsthand the unexpected results of Biblical forgiveness, stating: “A hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea he’d be able to divide. But all he did was unite us and make us love each other even more.”

Makeshift memorials of flowers grew in front of the church. Compassionate donors pledged thousands of dollars to help the victims’ families. Thousands of people gathered in downtown Charleston for an evening vigil and prayer service. The whole city mourned the senseless deaths, visible acts of love setting off a godly chain of events as blacks and whites embraced, crying together and comforting one another in Charleston’s crowded streets. More than 15,000 people of all colors and faiths joined hands, creating a flesh-and-blood human bridge, a chain of visible love that stretched for two miles and crossed Charleston’s Ravenel Bridge.

After the shooting, and having witnessed the powerful and peaceful results brought about by Biblical forgiveness, the world struggled to better understand it. They wondered how Anthony Thompson could forgive his wife’s cold-blooded killer, and even share with him the message of Christ’s forgiveness and salvation.

They asked some hard questions:

Before Thompson forgave him, should Roof not have first apologized, expressed remorse and tried to make amends for his actions?

Did forgiving Roof mean that Thompson dismissed, excused or condoned his ruthless act?

Mustn’t Thompson have felt forgiving before he forgave Roof?

How could Thompson forgive so quickly, before his wife was even buried? Doesn’t genuine forgiveness take years to accomplish?

Society discovered important truths about Biblical forgiveness and how it differs so greatly from the world’s false concept of forgiveness. They learned that Biblical forgiveness:

  • Can forgive any crime, no matter how atrocious—not dismissing, condoning or excusing an offender’s actions, but blaming him and then forgiving him. Thompson blamed Roof for killing his wife, and therefore he could choose to forgive him.
  • Doesn’t depend on the offender’s response. Roof remained consistently unrepentant, showing no remorse and never apologizing. “I would like to make it crystal clear,” Roof wrote in his journal, “I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.” Later, during his April 2017 trial and federal death sentence, Roof publicly stated: “I felt like I had to do it. I still feel like I had to do it.” Thompson forgave Roof without the young racist’s response, remorse, repentance or apology.
  • Doesn’t require the forgiver to feel forgiving. Forgiveness is a choice of the forgiver’s will, not a decision based on emotional feelings. Paul writes: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
  • Requires believers to pray as Jesus taught, asking God to “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

Anthony Thompson chose to forgive the sinner Dylann Roof because Jesus Christ had chosen to forgive the sinner Anthony Thompson. “Scripture tells me that I am a sinner, forgiven by Christ, and saved by grace,” Thompson admitted. “Therefore, I am obliged to forgive others who hurt me.”

Jesus gave believers the perfect example of Biblical forgiveness when He forgave those murderers who nailed Him to the cross. “Father,” He prayed aloud in His time of great suffering, “forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Anthony Thompson’s choice to forgive his wife’s murderer brought Scriptural forgiveness and Biblical teachings into the world’s media limelight. Christ worked in the midst of this tragedy to change hearts and lives.

Dylann Roof had hoped to fuel a race war by killing Emanuel’s members. But as a Christian Examiner reporter later wrote: “It … has had the opposite effect, allowing the grieving families to put the Gospel’s power on full display for not only Roof but for a watching television audience.”

Anthony Thompson continues to pray for Roof, hoping that before the misguided young man dies by lethal injection, he will ask God’s forgiveness and receive God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. But Anthony has laid down his heavy burden, he has forgiven his wife’s killer and he has chosen to move forward in Christ’s ministry, just as he knows Myra would wish him to do.  ©2019 Denise George

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version.

Denise George is the author or coauthor of 31 nonfiction books. She recently worked with Anthony Thompson on his new book: “Called to Forgive: The Charleston Church Shooting, A Victim’s Husband, and the Path to Healing and Peace” (to be released in June 2019 by Bethany House Publishers). Denise is married to Timothy George, Th.D., founding dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University.

Have you asked Christ to forgive your sins? Start here.

The Transforming Power of Biblical Forgiveness