When the Obergefell decision dropped in late June and same-sex mirage was legalized in all 50 states with all the Constitutional reasoning of a poorly composed love poem by Justice Kennedy, I, being six thousand miles away, felt a bit helpless. Or maybe useless is a better word. Not completely useless, but useless to this particular cause. This decision was a new calamity: codified, normalized, institutionalized sodomy*. I could see the impending religious liberty implications. And many people, judging by Facebook, were without a moral compass to guide them in these days.
I felt like my country was under attack. And I was not there.
I wanted to be there. I wanted to help rebuild marriage and family among the ruins. I wanted to be a part of a truly counter-cultural movement. But to be counter-culture isn’t simply a matter of being against the culture—I can do that from here—but rather it is to build an alternate, better culture. Building a culture involves building churches, families, and schools. It involves creating movies, music, and books. It is a particular way of seeing the world and a corresponding particular way of living in it.
But I was in the northeast corner of Turkey.
Then, a few weeks later the #PPSellsBabyParts debacle hit. It was a story unlike any other. It brought physical discomfort and nausea. It brought mental distraction—it’s hard to think of much else. And it brought spiritual anguish. “How long, O Lord?”
The Planned Parenthood baby organ trafficking story also brought excitement. For the first time in 40+ years the pro-life movement has momentum. The fact that the videos show the barbarism involved in the abortion industry from the mouths of Planned Parenthood doctors and executives themselves is simply fantastic. The videos released by the Center for Medical Progress put the Left having to defend something that is quite indefensible. They have to do it every week as the CMP continues its slow leak. And so, our nation stands at a pivotal moment. We can make like cartoon monkeys and see no evil or we can stand like men and slay the abortion giant. It is an exciting moment.
But still. I’m not there, I’m here. I’m in that little corner of Turkey with my own responsibilities, my own family, and my own life that are separated from America by more than a continent and an ocean. I want to be present and faithful here. I want to help my fellow countrymen there. What is a pro-life an expat to do?
Praise God and give thanks.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. All circumstances must include those circumstances in which infants are dismembered and then sold for profit, subsidized by the U.S taxpayer. So what are we to give thanks for? We should thank and praise God that he is holy and righteous and full of wisdom. He knows how to handle this situation. He will bring this and all things to a righteous end. We should thank and praise God for this opportunity to rid our nation of a great evil. We should thank and praise God for the courageous work done over the last three years by David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress. We should thank and praise God for technology—the cameras used to record the videos, YouTube to spread the videos, and social media to talk about the videos and inform others. We have much to be thankful for.
I may be six thousand miles away from the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic, but prayer is not location-dependent. The expat can pray for the pro-life cause from the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, the tallest building in Shanghai, the Black Sea coast of Turkey, or anywhere in between. We should pray for the protection of unborn human people. We should pray for the well-being and care of pregnant women, especially those in incredibly difficult relational and/or economic circumstances. We should pray for healing for those women who have aborted their sons and daughters. We should pray for those men who wanted sex, but no responsibility; who drove or forced their lady to stop the heartbeat of her baby. We should pray that men, instead, would love, lead, and protect their wives and children as God has called them.
We should pray that Cecile Richards, Deborah Nucatola, and the other women featured on these videos, as well as the thousands of Planned Parenthood, StemExpress, and other abortion industry employees to repent of their sin and trust in Jesus. Their sin is great, but Christ’s mercy is greater still. But if they will not repent, if their hearts remain hard, then we should pray that God will bring their plans to nothing; that their table would be a snare before them, their eyes darkened, that God would pour out his indignation upon them, and make their camp a desolation (Psalm 69).
But whatever, we do, we must pray. The industrial abortion mill in America is demonic. This one only comes out by prayer.
Earlier I said we should thank God for technology. We should also be good stewards of it. For better or worse, much of our national conversation takes place on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. As we have seen with other stories, once the masses on social media get sufficiently riled up, those with decision-making authority listen and act. This tactic is often used unrighteously for unrighteous ends. But that doesn’t mean that hashtag activism cannot be used righteously for good. In fact, I believe it to be a Christian duty—for any Christian that uses social media regularly—to engage in this fight against abortion by engaging online. Silence is tacit approval. Thankfully, for the expat, this is something we can do. We have Internet access (or how else would you be reading this post?). We have, presumably, fingers to type. We can hit “like” and “share” and “retweet” without too much time investment.
It is amazing to me how many people in the United States still are unaware or severely misinformed about the whole Planned Parenthood scandal. It is up to pro-lifers to keep this issue on the front-burner. One way to do this is to keep it trending on social media. To do that we must post aggressively and use the same hashtags (#PPSellsBabyParts, #DefundPP, and #ProLifeSummer are a few of the most popular). Also, we must not get distracted by the start of college football season.
The larger goal is to make abortion illegal in the United States. But the short-term goal, the one currently within reach, is to defund Planned Parenthood from its $500 million in taxpayer-funded federal aid. This goal is imminently achievable. But we need politicians and corporations to feel the heat (click here for help in pressuring politicians and here for the same for corporations). Now is the time to turn up the pressure on them. Relentlessly. This is something we expats can participate in.
Be faithful where you are.
Expat friend, God has flung you around the world for his good purposes. Be faithful with that task, whatever it is. Engage in this fight with whatever margin and capacity you have. But do not be derelict in your duties to your current city. Love those neighbors well. Be faithful there.
Be pro-life where you are. Contexts and circumstances vary and, thus, so do available and appropriate actions. But at the very least you can talk about the value and dignity of life, of being created in the image of God. You can advocate for protecting life.
Part of being faithful where you are is trusting God with those he has put on the frontline of this fight in the U.S. This story has been going on for a month now. This is the first blog post I’ve written, partly because we were traveling or sick or busy. But also because I realized that there are more capable voices than mine writing many very helpful articles. Additionally, there are saints and heroes working in pregnancy support centers all around the country. There are faithful pro-life advocates on Capitol Hill. God has his troops in place. Trust him. Trust them.
What else can expats do to engage the fight against abortion? What other tensions do expats experience when trouble brews in their home countries?
*see here for a helpful defense for using the word “sodomy” and for a distinction between same-sex attraction and same-sex practice