It wasn’t too long ago that the Internet was all aflame with #TakeItDown ranting and ravings—and even a few sane pieces—regarding the Confederate flag flying on the Statehouse grounds of my home state of South Carolina. As you’ll notice from the link above, I count myself among the sane voices who argued for the its removal. My Dad, a legislator, however, voted against removing the flag. And I was quite proud of him.
Why would I, who argued for removing the flag be proud of my Dad for voting against it? It’s quite simple actually. I wanted it removed because I thought it had been hijacked by obvious racists in the Jim Crow era. Instead it was removed in a hysteria of, what another SC legislator rightly called, a politically correct cultural cleansing, a manufactured crisis, an instance of our state being “manipulated to categorically condemn our ancestors to prove our own self worth.” This assessment is evidenced by the political shenanigans in the SC House (read about them at the above link), including a fast tracked bill, backing from Democrats to buy $400,000 of South Carolina-made Confederate rifles, the Speaker going back on the compromise bill he requested, and Governor Nikki Haley manipulating the GOP caucus with tears. Add to that digging up Confederate bones, vandalizing Civil War monuments, and taking the Dukes of Hazard off TV and what we had was not a step toward racial healing, but manufactured hysteria for the manipulation of racial tensions to make ourselves feel better (and to advance the political careers of some). I don’t mean that there were not righteous reasons for removing the flag or that all the people arguing for its removal were unrighteous. Rather, we were either used or ignored or both.
But that’s been over a month ago. Old news by today’s standards. What does that have to do with today, you ask.
Well, in his essay Dangers of National Repentance, C.S. Lewis warns young intellectuals about the dangers of repenting for the sins of other ages and that the “communal sins which they should be told to repent are those of their own age and class.” Lewis argues that in repenting on behalf of those from other ages we often violate the law of charity. We say “we” instead of “they”—even though “we” may not have even been born yet—and since penitents are not to be kind or give the benefit of the doubt to our own sins, we attribute the worst of motives to our neighbors. All the while, we are not repenting of the sins of our own age—the sins currently being committed.
And this is the point of this post. Right after we had whipped up a sufficient amount of self-righteousness by condemning the entire antebellum South for its racism, God gave us the Planned Parenthood debacle. At the precise moment that we wanted to feel good about ourselves for our humanitarianism, for our racial healing, for our progress, God held up a mirror.
And we saw blood on our hands.
We saw that we kill, on average, almost a million babies per year.
We saw that we have killed 13 million African-American children in a generation, more than the total number of slaves that crossed the Atlantic over the course of 300 years.
We saw that we fund an industrial abortion mill with $500 million of taxpayer money per year.
We saw that we customize abortions to spare certain organs because they are valuable.
We saw that we dismember babies and sell them for parts, with or without the consent of the child’s mother.
We saw that some babies are born alive and either killed or left to die, then shipped off for a higher price for being “intact.”
These are our current sins. Planned Parenthood is the current Middle Passage. Planned Parenthood is the current Plantation. Abortion is the current lynching. Our ancestors denied slaves of personhood because they were economically useful on the farm. Planned Parenthood denies babies of personhood because their livers and hearts are economically useful in the lab.
The point is that we cannot prove our own self-worth. We cannot earn our own salvation, no matter how loud we yell or how many tears we cry. There is no self-justification.
But God, in His kindness, has revealed to us our culture’s heinous sin—the killing and trafficking of our own children—so that we may repent and find salvation in the only place it is to be found: the Son, Jesus Christ.
He can wash away the blood.