Government-Funded Researchers Sought Aborted Minorities for Organ Harvesting

Taxpayers shelled out nearly $3 million to build organ ‘pipeline’ at University of Pittsburgh

NIH director Francis Collins / Getty Images

Patrick Hauf • August 5, 2021

The federal government gave at least $2.7 million in taxpayer money to researchers who sought out minority babies who had been aborted in order to harvest their organs, according to internal documents released Tuesday.

The University of Pittsburgh targeted minorities in its request for infant organs—including those taken from full-term babies—to create a “pipeline” for fetal research. Researchers said they needed 50 percent of the donated fetuses to be minorities and specified that 25 percent must come from black women. The Pittsburgh metropolitan area is 85 percent white and 8 percent black. Researchers stressed the importance of maintaining organ blood flow in the request, which watchdogs say could violate federal law by asking doctors to illegally preserve organs during labor-inducing abortions.

The National Institutes of Health has overseen experiments on fetal organs at the University of Pittsburgh since 2015 in what the school claimed to be a “tissue hub.” Aborted babies used in this research ranged from 6 to 42 weeks of gestation, according to government documents. The grant request from the university to the government agency redacts key information, including how many fetuses were obtained and who provided them. Its language, however, raised troubling questions.

David Daleiden, founder and president of the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, called on the federal government to investigate the NIH and Pitt after obtaining more than 300 pages of information related to the program through a public records request.

“The experiments with aborted infants at the University of Pittsburgh, sponsored by the NIH, are like Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors, but this time funded by the federal government,” Daleiden told the Washington Free Beacon. “It was systemic bias and abortion extremism that permitted Gosnell to evade the law for so long, and the same thing is happening in Pittsburgh. These atrocities deserve the full response of law enforcement and government officials—law enforcement should put a stop to it and arrest the perpetrators.”

The NIH did not respond to a request for comment.

The fetal research focused on harvested kidneys. The University of Pittsburgh said fetuses should have minimized “warm ischemic time”—a medical term to describe the time that an organ is without blood flow. It also lists “labor induction” as a utilized abortion procedure to obtain the organs.

“There’s the distinct possibility that some of these babies are born alive and then their organs and tissues are removed,” Dr. David Prentice, vice president and research director of the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, told the Free Beacon. “This is horrific—almost medieval. It is certainly antiquated science.”

Federal law bans the purchasing of aborted fetuses, which must be donated for research. It is illegal to request how donated fetuses are to be aborted. A university spokesman said researchers played no role in the “timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy.”

“In this case, ischemia time refers to the time after the tissue collection procedure and before cooling for storage and transport. It does not have an impact on how the procedure is performed, which is always at the discretion of the attending physician,” the university said in an email.

The spokesman also said “projects funded by the National Institutes of Health must ensure appropriate inclusion of women and minorities” and that the study’s racial distribution was appropriate. One of the study’s goals, he said, was “to support researchers looking for treatments and cures for kidney disease,” which disproportionately afflicts minorities.

Federal officials released the records 17 months after Daleiden’s initial request—and only after the activist enlisted the help of attorneys with the government watchdog Judicial Watch. Meredith Di Liberto, the lead attorney on the case, said further information about the program is required to find definitive proof of illegal behavior, but the redactions leave many unanswered questions.

“We keep getting this pushback that ‘Oh, it’s not illegal’—but it’s all done behind closed doors with redactions,” Di Liberto told the Free Beacon. “If this is all legit, why did we have to fight so hard to get a document, and when we get them, they’re redacted? Why did we have to go to court to see who’s paying for this?”

The University of Pittsburgh has been involved in fetal organ research for more than a decade. It conducted an experiment in 2020 that implanted the scalps of aborted fetuses onto lab mice in a study that was funded by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The grant proposal boasts of the institution’s experience handling a variety of fetal organs, including the liver, heart, legs, brain, kidneys, and bladders. The university outlined its goal of becoming a “pipeline” for fetal organ research, which would mean not only conducting this research but providing organs for other institutions to experiment on.

“You see words like ‘we have a sample’ and ‘subdivided,’ and it’s like, well, we’re talking about a human being,” Di Liberto told the Free Beacon. “It’s a little Frankenstein-ish”

Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, said voters must hold their representatives accountable to ensure government funding goes nowhere near experiments on aborted fetuses.

“This latest discovery that millions of taxpayer dollars have apparently been funding this same barbaric practice through NIH is nothing short of outrageous and should profoundly trouble the conscience of every American,” Schilling told the Free Beacon. “Congress should act to ensure that any future funding of NIH be explicitly barred from going toward such inhumane practices, and any lawmaker who opposes such action should be forced to answer for it to their voters.”

The documents redacted the identity of the provider, but the university has longstanding partnerships with Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania as a “contracted care site” and shares some senior-level staffers. Dr. Beatrice Chen, for example, serves as both the medical director for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and the director of family planning at the University of Pittsburgh. Local Planned Parenthood staffers admitted to providing aborted fetuses to the University of Pittsburgh in an undercover video released by the Center for Medical Progress in 2019. Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania has denied that any of their three facilities participate in fetal organ donation programs.

https://freebeacon.com/policy/taxpayer-fund-aborted-babies-research/


VIDEO John MacArthur: Our Culture Has Declared ‘War on Children’ and Is ‘Weaponized to Destroy Children’

By Jesse T. Jackson -May 11, 2021

war on children

Grace Community Church‘s 81-year-old pastor of over 50 years, John MacArthur, told his congregation this past Sunday that the culture we live in today is systematically declaring war on children as it’s “weaponized to destroy children.”

MacArthur’s sermon title “Providing Shade for Our Children” was inspired by a Chinese proverb. He explained, saying, “One generation plants the trees, the next generation gets the shade.”

As he unpacked the proverb, MacArthur said, “Every generation should understand the responsibility that they have to plant the trees so there is shade for the next generation.” He then boldly said, “What we’re facing today is fierce! I will confess…of all the things that disturb me in this culture…of all the horrific, sinful, wretched, wicked, corrupt influences that go on in this culture. I think the thing that distresses me most is the war on children.”

MacArthur Gave Examples of How Culture Has Declared War on Children

Over 62 million children “have been slaughtered in the womb,” he factually stated since abortion was made legal in the 1970’s.

If a child escapes the death of abortion, they have a 50/50 chance of being born into a family whose parents are married.

If the child’s parents are married, the likelihood of them getting a divorce is high, and both or one of them will be “unfaithful to their marital vows.”

The probability of that child being sent to a public school and being under the influence of an agenda that is “anti-God, anti-Christ, and anti-Scripture” is also high.

Politicians in our country are passing laws that are “devastating to children.”

“Sexual freedom, homosexuality, and transgenderism” is constantly being pressured upon them as normalcy and if not accepted is called “hate speech.”

“The lies of systemic racism and the hustlers dominate the ideologies of universities and even churches,” MacArthur said.

Movie-makers, music producers, big tech, and social media providers “literally pump out things that destroy children.”

Children Are Defenseless Against the Relentless Attacks

All the forces of evil have released a relentless assault upon the children this country, who MacArthur said are “defenseless.” He explained that society offers no restraint to those destroying our children, yet encourages it.

Our culture’s defenseless children look like, “When their parents sell them to a human trafficker, who drops them eight to 10 feet over a wall into Sodom and Gomorrah [referring to America] all by themselves,” he described. Giving a children’s media example, MacArthur pointed out that the Disney Corporation created “characters that are transgender to seduce children into accepting wickedness as normal.”

MacArthur also exemplified the quickly growing trend of parents insanely offering “their children gender identity options,” somberly stating that “children are under assault now.” Referring to  Joe Biden’s recent announcement that the government would like to provide free education from the ages of 3 to 20, MacArthur asserted that this extends the negative influences in our children’s lives.

“The president to the leading politicians and bureaucrats, teachers, race hustlers, pornographers, media people, tech people, and even media people” are attacking those who are most defenseless; children. “There is a war on children!”

Children are already forced to endure a world impacted by the sins of their parents when they are born. MacArthur then referenced Exodus 20:5Numbers 14:18Jeremiah 32:17-18, and Ezekiel 18 and showed that generational sins create a culture that has to be endured by those born into it. He called it “default reality.”

“This is a very dangerous place for children,” he said after he told the 2014 story of Planned Parenthood workers admitting to illegally selling aborted baby parts to undercover pro-lifers. Instead of Planned Parenthood getting charged with a crime, the government charged the pro-lifers felony counts of violating the privacy of health-care providers for recording without their consent.

“Satan’s war on children is a war on God because the children belong to him.”

Children Are a Gift From God

Reciting Psalm 127:3, the pastor said, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” He later told parents that when your “little ones arrive, you are stewarding them for God.”

“This generation of leaders, the immoral people that are engaged in this massive assault on children are going to have to answer to God,” said MacArthur. He then reminded his congregation, “We’re gonna have to answer, too, for the little ones he gives us.” They are not ours, they are his so our “life commitment” is to influence them to place their faith in Christ. “That is raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Watch Pastor John MacArthur’s entire sermon below:


Standing woman holds hand outstretched to stop abuse, protecting abused woman or teenager, crumpled on the sidewalk.

Federal Government Caught Buying ‘Fresh’ Flesh Of Aborted Babies Who Could Have Survived As Preemies

Federal Government Caught Buying ‘Fresh’ Flesh Of Aborted Babies Who Could Have Survived As Preemies

Americans should be outraged their government participates in the wide-scale human trafficking operation that created a market for harvesting the organs of murdered infants.

April 15, 2021 By Edie Heipel

This article contains disturbing information about human dismemberment.

Last week, legal accountability group Judicial Watch dropped a bombshell: a nearly 600-page report proving the U.S. government has been buying and trafficking “fresh” aborted baby body parts. These body parts, purchased by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “humanize” mice and test biologic drugs in scientific experiments, came from babies up to 24-weeks-old gestation, just weeks from being born.

While Americans may be used to hearing pro-lifers beat the warning drum on abortion groups harvesting baby bodies and selling them for research, (who hasn’t heard of the lawsuit against David Daleiden, who exposed Planned Parenthood haggling over baby lungs and livers at dinner parties?) this time, the U.S. government was the one trafficking baby parts.

Recent emails uncovered by Judicial Watch between FDA employees and the California-based Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) prove the agency spent tens of thousands of dollars buying aborted babies for unethical scientific experiments between 2012 and 2018. In 2018, the Trump administration terminated the contract, halting government fetal tissue research due to concerns the contracts were unlawful. Judicial Watch’s new FOIA Request adds 575 pages of recordsto its existing 2019 lawsuit against the agency.

Caught Red-Handed

This is not the first time ABR has been in the spotlight, as the company was under congressional investigation for its long-standing involvement in fetal tissue trafficking. One of the oldest fetal tissue procurement firms, the company makes millions every year by harvesting organs like lungs, livers, eyeballs, and brains from aborted babies and re-selling them at a profit.

Emails between FDA officials and ABR employees reveal disturbing conversations as they collaborate to buy and sell aborted fetuses. Records indicate ABR was paid $12,000 upfront per baby, some survivable out of the womb, between the gestational age of 16-24 weeks. Most purchases are for intact thymuses and livers shipped “Fresh; on wet ice.”

With the callousness of picking a cut of meat from a butcher shop, an FDA doctor requests tissue samples be procured from a baby boy, as they claim “It is strongly preferred to have a male fetus if at all possible … [but] undetermined sex or female is better than no tissue.”

Even more appalling is an ABR employee complaining about the difficulty of identifying the sex of aborted babies. “We only check external genitalia and if it’s not there … we have no way of telling.” The fact techs are unable to identify the sex of aborted babies is no surprise to those familiar with the barbaric nature of abortion procedures, which require clinic staff to piece together mangled remains of babies after their limbs and organs are torn apart.

As if these casual orders weren’t horrific enough, more emails confirm that the FDA bought organs of babies who were aborted well after 20 weeks gestation, after the time a baby usually can survive outside the womb. If nothing else, this confirms the reality of late-term abortionsin the United States, which pro-abortion cheerleaders have denied for decades.

When an ABR employee reassured the FDA they were working with doctors who performed late-term abortions, he admitted some tissue was unusable from a procedure that injects a poison called digoxin into the baby, destroying its cells and tissues. Once the chemical has done its work, an intact, dead baby is delivered. This method makes fetal tissue specimens unusable in experiments; with digoxin off the table, the likelihood partial-birth abortions were used is sickeningly high.

These conversations should shock even those who are pro-abortion, most of whom believe in significant term restrictions. Babies at this level of development possess all characteristics necessary for surviving life outside the womb and premature children born as young as 21 weeks go on to lead healthy, thriving lives.

An Atrocity Against Human Dignity

These gruesome excerpts are just a sample of records substantiating the 2019 lawsuit Judicial Watch filed against HHS, which houses the FDA. In March this year, a federal court ordered the agency to release records it withheld about purchasing organs of aborted babies, saying it found “reason to question” the transactions violated federal law.

The court’s decision found that the U.S. government bought second-trimester livers, thymuses, brains, eyes, and lungs for hundreds of dollars apiece from ABR, stating ABR could collect “over $2,000 on a single fetus it purchased … for $60” and “the federal government participated in this potentially illicit trade for years.”

Americans should be outraged their government participates in the wide-scale human trafficking operation that created a market for harvesting the organs of murdered infants. In no humane society could such a violation of the human body and dignity occur, in which babies’ eyes are “harvested immediately upon death,” organs marketed based on sex, and personhood attributed to mice but not children.

Until demanded otherwise, our society is complicit in the unchecked abuse and commodification of preborn children. Moral urgency is incumbent on us to condemn these atrocities sanctioned by the federal government’s lead medical researchers and fight to stop them. We may lose more battles before we win, but we cannot say we never knew.

Edie Heipel works at the Center for Renewing America. She previously worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Trump.

https://thefederalist.com/2021/04/15/federal-government-caught-buying-fresh-flesh-of-aborted-babies-who-could-have-survived-as-preemies/


VIDEO Judge bars pro-life journalist from releasing additional evidence of abortion provider’s fetal trafficking

By Samantha Kamman, The Western Journal April 14, 2021

A recent ruling from a United States district court judge has blocked the release of additional undercover videos recorded by pro-life journalist David Daleiden from the public eye.

In 2015, Daleiden and his team at the Center for Medical Progress released footage of high-ranking Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of aborted body parts at National Abortion Federation conferences and trade shows.

The guerilla journalist’s team described NAF as a “criminal organization that has spent years conspiring with Planned Parenthood on how to violate federal laws on partial-birth abortion and fetal tissue sales.”

But now, it appears audiences will be prevented from viewing the “hundreds of hours of footage” exposing the abortion industry’s illegal trafficking scheme.

According to court documents filed on April 7, Judge William H. Orrick III awarded a permanent injunction to NAF, ordering that the undercover videos recorded by Daleiden are to remain sealed.

NAF had previously been granted a temporary injunction on Daleiden’s footage in 2015, but Orrick’s recent decision barred the release of additional footage indefinitely.

The Thomas More Society, a nonprofit law firm representing Daleiden, shared on its website plans to appeal Orrick’s latest decision — which the firm claims “strikes at the heart of the First Amendment.”

“If these videos involved any issue other than abortion, you would have seen them by now,” TMS vice president and senior counsel Peter Breen told The Western Journal.

“And really, the abortion industry has been successful in eroding the First Amendment rights of undercover journalists and the American people for years, and we, the people, have to push back hard on that.”

This is not the first time that Orrick has ruled against Daleiden and the organization he founded. Even though Planned Parenthood admitted under oath to the accuracy of CMP’s videos, Orrick sided with the abortion vendor in 2019, when he levied a $16 million judgment against Daleiden.

According to Breen, the First Amendment concerns questions posed by the case that could impact more than just the pro-life community.

Indeed, animal rights organizations reflected these same concerns in a friend-of-the-court submission filed last month. Activist groups ranging from Animal Outlook to PETA argued that lower court decisions against CMP could set a standard where investigative subjects can sue undercover journalists.

The First Amendment’s free speech protections, the attorney went on to say, are not limited to the “person speaking.” The amendment is also intended to protect the right of the people to receive information from the speaker.

If NAF did not want its trade show recorded, Breen said they should have taken steps to “secure it.”

Considering that NAF failed to screen Daleiden and his fake fetal procurement company properly — even going so far as to invite the pro-life journalist to several conferences — Breen questioned how the videos could be “permanently concealed consistent with the First Amendment.”

The injunction prevented him from disclosing the videos’ full content, but Breen did say they contain material that would leave many people “shocked” if they saw them.

“And certainly, there’s a lot of material in there that the people of this country deserve to see,” the attorney said.

“Not just on the issue of fetal tissue trafficking, but on other abortion-related issues and issues about how — video that will — that would impact the way we govern ourselves, the way we decide to regulate abortion and the harvesting of the body parts of aborted children.”

Still, Orrick claimed in his recent ruling that he had reviewed the videos and determined they “disclosed no criminal activity.” But the judicial decision disregards an expert report from abortionist Forrest Smith, one of the country’s longest practicing abortion providers.

Contrary to Orrick’s findings, the abortionist wrote that the footage shows Planned Parenthood staff members violating the “medical standard of care.” But Orrick chose to ignore Smith’s expertise and rely on his personal assessment of the videos instead.

“And so when you have a federal judge sitting by himself and opposing medical experts, prosecutors, other legal experts — that puts that federal judge in the position of a censure over information that the American people need to see,” Breen said.

“David Daleiden and his group are, you know, they’re not — he’s not rich people. They’re just regular folks who decided to take on a great mission, and they need the protection of the courts.”

The Thomas More Society plans to take Daleiden’s case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and even the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

“And we’re fighting very hard, against both the state courts in California and the federal courts, to vindicate the work that David did so that — the people of the country who have seen David’s videos know that Planned Parenthood did some things that were heinously wrong.”

Planned Parenthood Medical Director: “Dismemberment” Abortion “Checkbox” Skirts Federal Partial-Birth Law

The remaining available undercover videos can be found at the link below

https://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/cmp/investigative-footage/


What to do when you are accused falsely?

December 11, 2019 Nehemiah Zion

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” Matthew‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭

Being reviled, persecuted and spoken evil of falsely is normal for all believers. One would imagine why? Speaking the truth in love is like using a two-edged sword, it cuts finely to heal, few desire to be healed. It exposes our thoughts and intents of the heart.

Religious folks are the worst kind. Who are religious people really? Those who are hung up on themselves. They love their outward disciplined lifestyle. Inside, they are full of un-forgiveness, bitterness, greed and pride. They live unhappily, and won’t let others live happily. They exercise what’s in their hearts through their words and actions. They worship at their altar of Self, and have their own standards of what is good and bad.

A friend at work went through a lot of harassment only because he kept his Bible open in his cubicle desk. Couple of these guys, pushed him towards a wall, threatening him. He was eventually falsely accused for things he never did. He was warned by HR, even though he had done no wrong. He stayed silent all through, waiting on God to work for him. A year later, he was shifted to another city closer to his mom, under a different boss, in the same company. He never loved his job better!

Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. He went to jail for it. He did not allow the false accusation against him steal his peace. Why did a loving God allow this? He had bigger plans. Really big plans! God raised up Joseph to be the most powerful man in Egypt (next to the Pharaoh).

“Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On (Heliopolis in Egypt), as his wife. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt [to inspect and govern it].” Genesis‬ ‭41:45‬ ‭

How we fight for justice! How we demand, ask for our rights, make claims! If you don’t know the Righteous Judge you will seek out your own justice. A stranger cannot make claims or have rights or demand anything. The believer knows his citizenship is in Heaven.

God always has our back. Don’t be troubled by the problem before you. Our problems are nothing before the great God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, an unchanging God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth!

When you are hated, reviled, abused, or persecuted, lean on His arms. When we are poor in spirit, He will keep us. He will see us through this life, an eternity of His glorious presence awaits us. It’s not possible without Jesus. Follow Jesus.

 

Original here

What is a REAL Friend?

Coach Muller  November 28, 2019

 

A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.

A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.

 

A simple friend has never seen you cry.

A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

 

A simple friend doesn’t know your parents’ first names.

A real friend has their phone numbers in his address book.

 

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.

A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.

 

A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.

A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

 

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.

A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

 

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.

A real friend could blackmail you with it.

 

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.

A real friend calls you after you had a fight.

 

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.

A real friend expects to always be there for you!

What is a REAL Friend?


Knowing God’s Love is Impossible

At least for us. But for God, nothing is impossible.

DEREK RISHMAWY Oct 21, 2019

Knowing God is maybe the most central thing in the Christian life. Also, possibly the hardest.

The other day I was talking to a student, relatively new to a life of discipleship, who confided just how frustrating it is that he’s taking so much time to grow. He lamented how much he struggles to trust God when others seem to do so with ease.

As I struggled to think of how to encourage him, I remembered one of the most curious prayer requests in all of Scripture, found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which I had just been working through.

Towards the end of chapter three, Paul asks “out of his glorious riches may [God] strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).

We’re tempted to glance over this and think, “Okay, great, Paul prays that they understand God’s love. Typical Paul prayer. What’s the big deal?”

I was stopped short, though, when I realized Paul is asking that they be strengthened, that they have “power” to be able to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.

Now perhaps it’s because I’m a grad student who happens to study the doctrine of God, but if I were writing Ephesians, I might have rendered the relationship differently. I might have said that coming to know God takes weakness (and not just because you spend all your time in the library and not the gym). It requires a humility, a pliability, a weakening of our arrogance to sit before Scripture and come to know the infinite God as he has revealed himself. At that point, though, the answer becomes, “Try harder. Humble yourself!”

But that’s not the route Paul takes. Paul’s paradoxically encouraging assumption is that we are simply too feeble to be able to grab hold of the love of God. We don’t need to be weakened—because from the start we don’t have the “spiritual grip strength” to grasp God’s love.

Paul is asking that they be strengthened, that they have “power” to be able to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.

To steal an image from Plato, it’s as if we’ve dwelt in a cave of sin and our spiritual eyes are too weak to withstand the brilliant light of God’s glorious love. Our own hearts are too frail with sin and selfishness to grasp the shape of it, our muscles too cramped and atrophied from curving in on ourselves to imagine the gracious extension of God’s love, which surpasses the boundaries of the cosmos.

I hoped my student would find encouragement in this prayer for at least three reasons.

First, it clarifies that, inevitably, strengthening takes time. Being “rooted and established in love” requires time spent experiencing the love of Christ when you are your most unlovable. It requires time seeing the love of Christ extend towards those it would never occur to you to love. Indeed, we will need an eternity to begin to plumb the fathomless love of God.

Further, coming to know God’s love is not something we’re meant to do alone. Paul teaches us that we come to know God “together with all of God’s holy people.” Coming to know the immeasurable love of God is a group project in the church, not a competition we engage in all by our lonesome.

Finally, that this is a prayer to God is the big tip-off: Paul is asking for something that ultimately only God can bestow by his grace, as a gift. He doesn’t preach a gospel of salvation by grace only to slip back into making knowing God a matter of intelligence, native smarts, efforts, or achieved goodness.

No, it is only by God’s gracious condescension into human history as the Son of God Incarnate, and by his atoning self-offering on our behalf, that God demonstrates the depths of his love beyond all doubt (Rom. 5:8). And for that reason, we can all take heart. A God whose love is strong enough to overcome sin, death, and the devil will surely answer any prayer to enlighten the eyes of our hearts, by his indwelling Spirit, to know that love (Eph. 1:17-18).

Derek Rishmawy is the Reformed University Fellowship campus minister at UC-Irvine and a doctoral candidate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/november/knowing-gods-love-is-impossible.html

 

Spike in violence, profanity on TV shows rated OK for kids: PTC warns

By Samuel Smith, CP Reporter

A lengthy new report from the nation’s leading nonpartisan family television watchdog group indicates a large increase over the last decade in the amount of violence and profanity in television shows rated as appropriate for children.

The Parents Television Council on Tuesday released its 10th report on the television content rating system in the United States, something that the PTC has for years called for reform of on grounds that the system is deceiving parents on what content is suitable for children.

The report is over a decade in the making. PTC entertainment analysts recorded and documented every instance of violence, sexual dialogue, sexual actions and foul language on prime-time broadcast network television during the “sweeps” months of November, February, and May in 2007 and 2008.

PTC analysts did the same thing a decade later in the sweeps months of 2017 and 2018.

PTC’s research found a 28-percent increase in violence displayed in television content rated TV-PG in 2017 to 2018 compared to PG-rated programs analyzed during the years 2007 and 2008. During that same timespan, research shows a 43.5-percent increase in profanity on PG-rated shows.

Although TV-PG stands for “parental guidance recommended,” that is the same rating given to many classic Disney movies adored by children worldwide.

Programs rated as TV-14 contained on average 84 percent more violence per episode in 2017 to 2018 than they did in 2007 to 2008, according to the report. In total, the research suggests there was a 150-percent increase in violence and a 62-percent increase in profanity found in TV-14 rated programming over the last 10 years.

“In 2007-2008, there were more programs rated TV-PG [346] than programs rated TV-14 [273]. In 2017-2018, the opposite was true [224 PG vs. 383 TV-14],” the report reads. “In February 2008, programs rated TV-PG outnumbered those rated TV-14 by more than 2-to-1; in February 2018, TV-14 content outnumbered PG content in almost the same ratio.”

Additionally, the report states that there were no G-rated shows — shows rated as “suitable for all ages” — on Fox, CW or ABC in any of the “sweeps” periods between 2007 to 2008 or 2017 to 2018.

“In its recent report to Congress on the accuracy of the TV ratings and effectiveness of oversight, the Federal Communications Commission noted that the system has not changed in over 20 years,” the PTC report adds. “Indeed, it has not but content has and the TV ratings fail to reflect ‘content creep.’”

PTC defines content creep as the “offensive content in programs with a given rating as compared to similarly-rated programs a decade or more ago.”

The organization said the networks have continued to test the limits on what kind of content is appropriate for children to be able to watch.

PTC believes the content rating system needs to be reformed and has criticized the fact that the networks themselves have much influence over the oversight board.

“Earlier this year, [FCC] was instructed by Congress to report on the accuracy of the TV ratings and the effectiveness of the oversight provided by TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board,” PTC President Tim Winter told reporters on a press call. “FCC’s report — produced after a public comment period — affirmed the numerous intrinsic failings of the content rating system that we have been sounding the alarm about for years.”

“The FCC’s report rightly notes that the vast majority of public comments it’s received came from individual consumers. It rightly notes that all of the commentators voiced concerns or dissatisfaction,” he added. “It rightly notes that the record suggests that a better job could be done. It rightly notes that concerns have been expressed about the system’s accuracy and merit additional action.”

PTC stresses, however, that no additional action has been taken even though it’s been five months since the FCC submitted its report to Congress.

Although many have called for reform of the rating system, PTC says the entertainment industry has “consistently defied public calls for reform.”

“Since that time, the industry has done absolutely nothing,” Winter said. “If left to the industry’s own devices, nothing will be done.”

PTC stresses that the current system is outdated because it came “half a generation before Google, Netflix, or the iPhone.”

“It has undergone no changes whatsoever … and the entertainment industry maintains that no changes or updates are necessary,” the report reads.

“Indeed, in meetings with the FCC’s Media Bureau and in public comments posted on the FCC’s website, Hollywood lobbyists argued against making the [monitoring board] more accessible and transparent to the public, and against making any improvements whatsoever to the current TV rating system.”

Nell Minow, the founder of MovieMom.com, agreed.

“The issue here is not censorship,” she said. “We are not telling anybody what is a good show or what is a bad show. What we are trying to avoid is bad surprises. What we don’t want is for parents to turn on the television thinking that what is coming into their home … is what they would want to invite into their home and then finding out it is something else instead.”

Penny Nance, president of the conservative advocacy group Concerned Women for America, also called for a reform of the rating system.

“All we need to do is ask anyone — including the TV executives who produce the content — ‘Do you want your children watching this?’” Nance said on the press call. “We all agree there should be a rating system. Does anybody think that this works effectively? Does anybody think that anybody is overseeing it, to update it as needed? No one thinks that.”

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

https://www.christianpost.com/news/violence-profanity-more-prevalent-in-tv-shows-rated-ok-for-kids-ptc-warns.html

Klopfer’s ‘Garage of Horrors’: What abortion looks like

By John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris, Op-Ed Contributors

Last month more than 50 detectives entered the Illinois home of recently deceased abortion doctor Ulrich Klopfer. What they found was sickening: the medically-preserved remains of some 2,246 babies in boxes stored in his garage. And then just last week, the remains of another 50 babies were found in the trunk of his Mercedes Benz.

The attorney general of Indiana has launched an investigation, announcing that the babies’ remains have been returned to Indiana, where Klopfer had performed the abortions.

Unsurprisingly, the story prompted immediate comparisons with doctor Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors.” Back in 2013, Gosnell was convicted of murder and sentenced to three consecutive life terms when investigators discovered the remains of hundreds of dismembered babies in his squalid Philadelphia abortion clinic and his personal residence, and learned that he had performed illegal late-term abortions, as well as something called “snipping” that I won’t describe here.

While pro-lifers say Klopfer and Gosnell offer glimpses into the violent reality of abortion, defenders of so-called “reproductive rights” want to distinguish these houses-and-garages-of-horror from the practice itself.

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana, where Klopfer’s clinic was located, called the discovery “extremely disturbing,” but then said he didn’t want the investigation to get “caught up in politics” because “women need access to health care.”

Many, like Buttigieg, want to treat abortion doctors like Klopfer and Gosnell as bad apples spoiling the reputation of an otherwise noble profession. They might even call it “nut-picking” when pro-lifers point to these extra-disturbing cases, a term to describe using an extreme and crazy minority to unfairly tar the majority. Imagine all Christians being linked to Westboro Baptist, for instance.

But there are at least three reasons why pro-lifers have every right to hold up these sick and gruesome body-collectors as representatives of the pro-abortion movement.

First, the same people who call these stories “extremely disturbing” want even less oversight over the abortion industry. Kermit Gosnell was able to continue killing because pro-abortion officials turned a blind eye to him for three decades.

Klopfer was only shut down in 2016 after failing to notify police of a case of statutory rape, but when Indiana enacted a law requiring abortion clinics to properly dispose of fetal remains—exactly what Klopfer wasn’t doing—abortion defenders there fought it all the way to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, they lost.

Second, there’s evidence that mainstream abortion providers are just as willing to break the law as these so-called “bad apples.”

Remember those undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress—the ones showing top Planned Parenthood “suits” negotiating the price of baby body parts? David Daleiden, the guy behind those videos, is still defending himself in court, despite the fact that he caught Planned Parenthood admitting to illegal practices like modifying abortion procedures to get better organs.

And finally, it’s fair to link abortion giants with disturbed fetal body collectors because what happens in their sterile, well-lit, well-funded clinics is fundamentally no different from what happened in Klopfer’s and Gosnell’s clinics. Both places produce many, many tiny corpses.

A garage full of preserved bodies may be shocking, but is a clinic “biological waste storage facility” any less shocking? Isn’t the fully legal procedure that put those bodies there the thing that should really disturb us, keep us talking about it, and spur us to change our laws?

We need to be really clear about this. Mr. Mayor Pete, this is what that kind of “healthcare” looks like.

Don’t let anyone tell you Klopfer and Gosnell are just bad apples. What happens in every abortion clinic each day should horrify us every bit as much as what happens in these houses of horror.

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Resources

Aborted fetuses found in Will County garage have been taken to Indiana, Stefano Esposito, Chicago Sun Times, October 3, 2019

The Remains of an Abortionist’s Day, Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, September 23, 2019

Originally posted at BreakPoint.

From BreakPoint. Reprinted with the permission of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. “BreakPoint®” and “The Colson Center for Christian Worldview®” are registered trademarks of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Why Do People Keep Pastors at Arm’s Length?

Ordination can be isolating, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Why Do People Keep Pastors at Arm’s Length?
COLE HARTIN

 

I’m an Anglican priest. I wear black every day, I wear a collar, and I work in a parish. While many pastors from evangelical traditions opt out of the collar and thereby can get around “incognito,” those of us who wear clerical garb have a constant visual reminder of who we are. This is can be deeply isolating.

While I was preparing for ordination, one of my mentors warned me, “When you start wearing a collar, whether you like it or not, you will be a character in other people’s thoughts and dreams.” The truth of these words didn’t really hit me until I was on my first hospital round after being ordained. Many people stopped me to say, “Hello, Father,” or “Good morning, Father.” They didn’t know a thing about me, but by virtue of my vocation, I became a cartoonish aggregate of all their images of what a priest should be. I played a role in their thoughts, though they didn’t know my name.

I thought to myself, I’m not just Cole anymore; I am always going to be assessed based on whether or not I fit a stereotype of a pastor.

In most people’s eyes, my vocation comes before my person. Even though my clerical garb reveals this in unique ways, it’s true for most people in professional ministry, with or without a collar. Pastoral ministry is a great calling—one I am glad to answer—but it can also leave me feeling cut off from others.

Set Apart

I imagine most of my parishioners would find it odd to learn that pastoral ministry can feel so lonely. While pastors spend their fair share of time alone writing and planning, much of the time we are surrounded by people—not by nameless crowds, but by people we know well. Yet we often feel alone.

To be a pastor is to be set apart, holy, “other”—or so it seems. Whether or not this is in fact the case, it is how we are popularly perceived, and it shapes the way we are treated.

Pastors share a certain affinity with the Levitical priesthood. While the people of God as a whole are called to be “a chosen people, a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), some of us are ordained to a ministry of Word and sacrament, trusting that those to whom we minister “will share in all good things with their teacher[s]” (Gal. 6:6).

Without diminishing the differences between the polity of our churches, the scriptural injunctions for leaders in the church are demanding, calling bishops or overseers to be “above reproach” and deacons to “prove themselves blameless” (1 Tim. 3). For all leaders, God’s call demands a high standard of faithfulness because we are in some sense—for good or ill—models to the faithful, knowing that “we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). This is a serious vocation.

And that is to say nothing about the expectations others have of pastors. Many folks think we are either ultra-spiritual gurus or shysters peddling spiritual wares. Until we break down these initial stereotypes, people will engage with us in a superficial or skeptical manner. I notice people’s stares when I’m out walking with my family after work and haven’t had time to change my clothes. They must find it odd to see a priest walking around with two sons and a pregnant wife, and I can’t help but wonder if they think I am up to something scandalous.

Recently, we went to the grocery store as a family right after leaving church. My oldest son announced that he needed to pee, so I took him to the bathroom. I felt compelled to explain to everyone that I was his father, that there was nothing salacious going on. I could only guess what people were thinking in that situation, if anything at all. I left feeling anxious, exposed, and profoundly isolated.

Complicated Friendships and One-Way Relationships

This feeling of loneliness doesn’t only occur in public settings with strangers. Friendships are also complicated. Some of my best friends, especially those I knew before I entered the ministry, still look at me primarily as a friend. But for many others, the boundary between friend and pastor can be quite fuzzy.

In one of our previous churches, my wife and I started to get close to a couple. We had lots in common, and our kids were about the same age. Yet when deep marital issues between them started to surface, the couple asked me to do some marital counseling, which I did happily. But as they aired their dirty laundry in my office, I realized the kind of friendship my wife and I had hoped for wasn’t going to work out. My role had changed from friend to priest.

In situations like that, I often find myself wondering, Are you interested in being my friend or are you interested in what I can do for you as a pastor? I can be happy with either answer, but I want to be clear about what I’m getting into.

Recently a family we know from outside of our congregation moved closer to us and started looking for a church. I recommended they come visit our church for a Sunday. After we talked, I started regretting that suggestion. If they do start coming to our church, our straightforward friendship will grow complicated when I become their pastor.

Craig Barnes notes, “Ordination costs pastors, and one of the greatest costs is maintaining the lonely status of being surrounded by everyone in the church while always being the odd person in the room.” Our vocation separates us from our parishioners while thrusting us right into their midst.

The empathy required of pastors can take an emotional toll, further exacerbating a sense of loneliness. People are often driven to meet with a pastor because of some kind of trouble. It may be news of a spreading illness or issues cropping up at home, but seldom does someone ask to meet with me to share how well their life is going and how much they have grown in the faith. When I see a message waiting for me from a parishioner I tense up because there’s a good chance something has gone wrong.

The pastoral office does, of course, offer moments of joy as well: baptisms, confirmations, and wedding celebrations. But in my experience, people most often reach out to the pastor out of their wounded-ness. As theologian Stanley Hauerwas writes,

There is no question that those set aside to preside at the Eucharist have a particular responsibility for the wounded. We worship a wounded saviour. We follow as a people also wounded. Such a people cannot help but care for one another in a manner that imitates God’s care for our wounds. They must, therefore, be persons who have learned to be in the presence of suffering without resorting to simplistic explanations. When all is said and done, pastoral care requires those who are to be agents of care to be people of deep humanity.

In most intimate friendships, sharing pain and loss is a two-way street: We are there for our friends in their need, and they are there for us. As pastors, we can’t risk the same vulnerability with most in our parish, and the sheer volume of need can be overwhelming. To know the burdens of a congregation, to know their suffering and loss, to know their struggles can leave me feeling cut off from them.

5 Ways to Push Back Against Ministry Loneliness

For those in ministry, loneliness comes with the territory. Though we may not be able to get rid of it entirely, here are five strategies that have proven helpful as I’ve combatted my own feelings of isolation.

1. I Turn off My Phone

Or I at least put it in another room. While smartphone addiction has been linked to loneliness generally, I have found being too connected exacerbates ministry isolation in two specific ways. First, keeping my phone on at all times can steal the intimacy from the few deep relationships I have. I relish the meaningful connections I have with my wife and kids. If I keep my phone turned on by my side whenever I’m with them, I constantly fight the temptation to check my email and dilute those precious hours of deep, in-person relationship.

Second, staying too connected on my phone cultivates shallow relationships over social media. These connections give the illusion of meaningful friendships, but I find them to be more draining than life giving.

2. I Go on Silent Retreats

This may come as a surprise, but silent retreats have been especially helpful for combatting my pastoral loneliness. Unlike leadership conferences or working retreats, silent retreats free me, without excuse, to be present before God. It isn’t natural or easy. At first the silence is uncomfortable, and I find myself constantly tempted to reach for my phone. However, after I’ve had some time to disconnect and sit quietly, my feelings of isolation dissipate, and I find myself attuned to the restorative presence of God.

When I return to my family and ministry life after a few days away for silence and prayer, it’s like someone hit reset on my mind and heart. I am able to engage with others again from a place of strength and rest.

3. I Talk to a Spiritual Director

Whether this person is officially certified or not, I find this sort of relationship essential because a spiritual director is out of the loop of my ministry and church life. Pastors can have a difficult time connecting with their peers for a few reasons. Social events connected with the church can feel like more work, and even though we know it’s unhealthy, feelings of competition often cloud attempts to connect with other local pastors. Talking with someone who is relatively removed from the challenges of everyday ministry has been liberating. I don’t have to worry about what he thinks of me or whether the things I share will change a working relationship.

4. I Make Time for Old Friends

I’m always surprised how effortless it is for me to catch up with old friends. People who have known me since college and earlier have no expectations about how I will live as a priest because our relationship started before I discovered my vocation. My oldest friends know me from when I was an awkward, pimply teenager, and that removes much of the pressure compared to relationship where I’m seen as a pastor or priest first. A shared history can be the catalyst for great conversation, especially as ministry and family life push to the side time for making new friends. Take the advice of Henry David Thoreau: “Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them.”

5. I Go for a Run

Long-distance running has also been helpful for me to combat loneliness. When I run I’m not thinking about how to be a pastor or how to relate to people. I don’t stand out because of my collar; I look like any other half-in-shape person wearing exercise gear. The mental and emotional benefits of running have been explored at length, and like silent retreats, running refreshes me so I can engage in relationships more meaningfully afterward.

Loneliness and isolation, like most of our problems, feel most overwhelming when they haven’t been properly acknowledged. They loom like a phantom, hovering in the back of our mind. Only by staring loneliness in the face was I able to start combatting it. Honesty with myself, my wife, and God has been a step toward greater wholeness. There is an element of “otherness” to the pastoral vocation that may always keep barriers between us and the people we serve, but just because something is normal doesn’t mean it’s always healthy.

I’ve found it vital to take brief, intentional steps away from places where “pastor” is my defining characteristic. By learning to be comfortable alone before God, without distraction, and cultivating the few deep relationships in my life that have stood the test of time, I am finding a healthier approach to this unique challenge of ministry.

Cole Hartin is the assistant curate at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Saint John, New Brunswick.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2019/october-web-exclusives/why-do-people-keep-pastors-at-arms-length.html