The politically disillusioned Christian’s guide to watching tonight’s debate

If the Republican debate is something you’re not planning on watching tonight, read this first.

Plenty of Christians just don’t “do” politics. Only half of all evangelical Christians in the U.S. voted in the last presidential election. Millennials are the most politically disinterested generation, jadedScreen Shot 2015-10-28 at 1.32.36 PM by the church “culture wars” of their youth and disillusioned with the Republican Party (I know, because I am one of them).

It’s easy to let the shortcomings of our leaders and the endless Twitter wars squander our enthusiasm for election season. Politics is a dirty game sometimes, but we can’t let the partisan banter distract us from the important role government plays in our daily lives.

Staying informed on current issues and engaging in the public square is part of our call to community as Christians, and it’s a minimum requirement if the church wants to truly transform culture. Don’t let cynicism stop you from civic engagement. You will find goodness beneath the racket if you know how to look for it.

Before you make plans for this evening, let me share with you a few tips that might make your debate-watching experience a little less disillusioned.

1. Remember that all issues are moral issues

When it comes to social policies like abortion and marriage, Christians are known for speaking strongly. These are certainly important topics, but they’re not the only issue in which Christians can claim a moral argument. What about economic policy, like income inequality and health care? Christians are broadening their political palate because God cares about these things too, and it’s a high cost on human life when we get them wrong.

Economic issues are moral to their core because economics deals with human life and well-being. More people died from bad economic policy under totalitarian regimes in the 20th century than from homicide and genocide combined. Though thankfully we don’t experience extreme economic oppression in the United States, this horrific truth acts as a reminder of how economic policy can impact human life.

Regulation, the federal deficit, and the tax code may seem like trivial, technical policies unrelated to theology, but these issues can build or destroy human well-being, especially for the most disadvantaged.

When watching the debate, listen for the moral components of each issue and ask yourself, “How does this affect human life?”

2. Forget the noise – focus on the principles

Underneath the personal jabs and bold self-promotions, political debates normally exhibit basic moral principles—principles that may or may not be compatible with how God created mankind. When you watch the debate, think about the issues as they apply to the principles of freedom, fulfillment, and flourishing.

God created humankind to be free

God created us not only for inner spiritual freedom (Galatians 5:1), but also for external social freedoms. Christ came not only to heal our souls, but to heal our bodies. He cares about the blind man’s sight and the crippled man’s legs, affirming our physical nature in a way that symbolizes our spiritual nature.

Just the same, inner freedom should drive external freedom. God cares about our liberty so much that he gave us the freedom to choose right and to choose wrong. He gave us the freedom to choose whom to marry, what career path to follow, what to cook for dinner, and with whom to share it. Our human dignity is affirmed when we experience these external freedoms.

God created humankind to be fulfilled

God wants us to live a fulfilling life in every way possible, and one of the ways we can experience fulfillment is through our work. Although the effects of the Fall make our work toilsome at times (Genesis 3:17–19), God gave us work as a gift before the Fall (Genesis 2:15). In working, we express our imago Dei, our creativity, and our uniqueness.

We are created in God’s image to enjoy not only the work of God’s hands, but the work of our own hands as well. When we are free to fulfill out unique calling in life, we become more fully who God created us to be.

God created humankind to flourish in every sense

God created us to flourish spiritually, physically, politically, economically, psychologically, socially, and so on. Flourishing is the opposite of poverty. It is the restoration of our relationship with God, our families, our communities, and the rest of creation. It is happiness, fullness of life, wholeness, abundance. Flourishing is brought about by loving God, neighbor, and self (Luke 10:27).

3. Apply principles to policy

This is where the legwork comes in: critically apply the above Christian principles to the issues. This will likely take extra research in understanding specific policies and their intentions and unintended consequences. Ask yourself,

  • Which candidates uphold the dignity of the freedom or the sanctity of fulfilling work?
  • Which policies advance human flourishing and which policies unintentionally hinder it?
  • How might immigration policy promote freedom or entitlements affect our work?

Ultimately, we must discern which policies most allow us to live the freest, most fulfilling, and flourishing life as God intended. The church has a non-negotiable duty to carry out Christ’s transformational work in our culture through civic engagement in the public square.

For some, this probably means turning on the debate tonight and encouraging others to do the same.

*Originally published on the IFWE blog.

What engagement taught me about theology of work

While engagement is full of joy and excitement, there were many moments my fiancé and I wanted to hit fast forward to the wedding. Choosing the design of our wedding invitations, the flavor of cake, and the hundreds of other micro-decisions at times made our eleven-month engagement feel more like eleven years.

I found many moments joyful and enriching, but in others I felt like an indentured servant to the Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.16.04 AMnext menial task on my wedding to-do list. Why do the centerpieces even matter? We just want to be married!

Now on the other side of our wedding day, I appreciate what the mundane decisions of engagement taught me. I grew in my understanding of the eternal significance of work, despite the tension and weariness it sometimes brings.

A few months before my big day, my friend texted me this quote:

The more we grow in grace and love, the more we want to be with Him. At some point I think every engaged couple says, “We just want to be married.” Similarly, that is the ache in the heart of the Christian who is growing in love for the Savior—we just want to be with him at last! In a way, planning a wedding is the unique opportunity to do practically what we are all doing figuratively as we await Christ’s return. You will look forward with eagerness to the wedding day, but in the meantime there are tasks you must complete and mundane decisions that must be made.

In light of eternity you might think, ‘What does it matter which chairs we choose?’ Or, ‘Who cares what the centerpieces look like?’ These are mundane decisions—the banal details that can send an otherwise sane bride over the edge. But while planning a wedding is an unusual experience, having to carry out seemingly pointless tasks is not.

This excerpt from the book A Christ-Centered Wedding: Rejoicing in the Gospel on Your Big Day encouraged me as a fatigued bride-to-be. I realized engagement holds significant theological meaning in symbolizing our day-to-day work.

If marriage is a biblical picture of the final consummation of Christ and his bride, the church, what is engagement? Maybe it acts as a snapshot of our life here on earth, preparing for eternity with God. During engagement and during life on earth, we work while we wait in anticipation.

I found planning a wedding to be like our work on earth in these four ways:

There Is Tension

Most engaged couples will experience tensions that are spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational. For me, engagement felt like a weird “neither-here-nor-there” place of relationship limbo. On earth, we experience this same tension with God. We can be in relationship with Christ, but we still long to stand face to face with him.

This reminds me of the tension of living in the “already but not yet,” as Paul describes in Philippians 1:23-24:

I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

It Can Disappoint

During my single days, I romanticized engagement. What’s not to love about being in love and planning a big party? However, the difficulty of meshing two lives together overwhelmed me, and my expectations did not meet reality.

Just the same is our work at times. Many students long to begin their careers after college but quickly lose enthusiasm for their work when things don’t turn out as they hoped. Some days on the job are defined by stress, toil, and disappointment rather than satisfaction and fulfillment.

This is the reality of sin at work in the world. It’s the bad news, but it’s not the whole story. There’s a reason for all of it.

Details Seem Insignificant, but They Don’t Have to Be

While planning my wedding, I often felt like many decisions were unimportant. Who cares about the cake topper or the program font? I find myself sometimes wondering the same about my work. Will anyone even read this blog post I’m writing?

Wedding details and little tasks at work may seem insignificant, but they all have the potential to point to something greater. For the bride-to-be, there is a healthy middle ground between obsessing over details and not caring at all—details aren’t the point, but they do matter. Micro-decisions are parts of a greater whole.

Likewise, even our most mundane tasks at work carry meaning and have the potential to play a small part in God’s plan.

We’re Working towards Something Greater than We Can Imagine

My wedding day wasn’t about the live band or which signature cocktail we chose, but when I saw my guests laughing, sipping old-fashioneds, and dancing, all my hard work seemed meaningful. I did not fully realize this during the planning process, but afterward, it all felt worth it.

Similarly, we cannot fully realize the meaning of our work on earth. It might be difficult to understand the significance of database entry, blog writing, or whatever it is you do at your job that feels mundane, so we must labor in faith we’re working toward something so great and wonderful beyond our comprehension. The work we do will be worth it.

My Alaskan honeymoon, Christopher McCandless, & extreme individualism

My husband Kris and I recently returned from our honeymoon in Alaska. Perhaps a less conventional choice for a honeymoon, we sought adventure and wild solitude.

Alaska attracts travelers, survivalists, hikers, nature junkies, and crazy honeymooners like myself. One of the most well-known adventurers who journeyed to Alaska is Christopher McCandless, also known as “Alexander Supertramp,” who was depicted in the 2007 film Into the Wild.

The movie details the true story of McCandless’s two-year odyssey across North America in the early 90s. Upon graduating college, he desired to escape a toxic family environment in order to discover his true self through adventure and a simpler life. Tragically, only months after his arrival in Alaska, his body was discovered inside an abandoned bus, deep in the wilderness. 

I thought of McCandless often while Kris and I traveled through Alaska. His story always moved me—or maybe, disturbed me—in ways that still linger. Perhaps it’s because he graduated from the same high school I did, and his story only seems an inch closer to my own life experience. Or maybe it’s because I still remember feeling empty as the movie credits began to roll. I longed for a resolution to his tragic life story that the script never satisfied.

KRIS DANIEL IN THE MAGIC BUS REPLICA IN HEALY, ALASKA

My husband and I passed through the remote town of Healy, Alaska and spotted a beat up blue bus off the road, sitting in the grass next to a brewery. It was the movie replica of what McCandless called the “magic bus.”

Inside the bus was a small box spring topped with a thin, dirty mattress, a few rusted pots and pans, and framed copies of notes he wrote and pictures he took during his time living in the bus. One note reads:

Two years he walks the Earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road.

However, in his search for ultimate freedom, McCandless finds bondage and death. On day 100 in his journal, he writes,

Death looms as serious threat, too weak to walk out, have literally become trapped in wild—no game.

The same feeling of emptiness I felt at the end of Into the Wild filled me as a stood in the bus reading his messages.

McCandless is idolized by some as a thoughtful transcendentalist and admonished by others as foolish, selfish, and suicidal. Those who regard him as a hero admire his escape from a consumerist culture for adventure and simple beauty. Those who think his decision on par with a death wish might say he embraced an individualism too extreme.

God did not make us to flourish in isolation (Genesis 2:18). He calls us to community, to participate in a great economy outside of ourselves. Though the market economy is criticized for its individualistic nature, global voluntary exchange might be one of the most communal, interdependent constructs of our society. McCandless, in removing himself completely from community without proper preparation, paid the ultimate price.

While Kris and I were at the brewery next to the set replica of the magic bus, we met a young hitchhiker named Tai, with a scruffy beard and a giant backpack. We chatted and laughed over beers. Tai told us about his recent 20-mile pilgrimage down the Stampede Trail and over the Teklanika River to visit the original magic bus as he pointed to a picture on his phone from his hike. I told him he looked just like the legendary Supertramp.

TAI VILLEVAL AT THE ORIGINAL MAGIC BUS ON THE STAMPEDE TRAIL

Like the famous hiker, Tai loves the adventure and the beauty Alaska offers, and often spent many days alone in the wild. However, in a few days, he would be returning home—a journey perhaps McCandless would have wished to make one day.

*Originally published on the IFWE blog.

My 5 favorite quotes from the Pope’s address to Congress

On Thursday, I stood on the Capitol lawn with 50,000 others to watch the Pope’s address to Congress over a live Jumbotron feed. His speech was both encouraging and challenging as he called legislative members to action on the most pressing issues of our day.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the papal address to Congress.

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The role of government: Francis called the preservation of human dignity and the common good the chief aim of politics. He uplifted the vocation of the legislator, whose role is to protect the Imago Dei of every individual.

You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics…. Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just  legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

Freedom: The Pope suggested ways to protect freedom, later mentioning specifically religious and intellectual freedom and individual rights.

Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity…. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.

The Golden Rule: A common theme of Francis’s talks, he reminded us to give to the world what we want from it and to protect human life.

Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). This rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

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Poverty: The Pope acknowledges great progress in the global fight against poverty and encourages the American people to continue since there is still more work to be done.

How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

Economics: The Pope called for greater wealth creation and distribution and proper employment of natural resources, as well as a harnessed spirit of enterprise.

It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129).

Though the pontiff’s speech seemed generally political, his overall message was one of love, generosity, and hope, pointing to God.

After his address to Congress, the Holy Father stepped outside. A roar of applause and 100,000 waving hands greeted him and he humbly asked for our prayers.

You can read the full transcript of his speech here.

*Originally published on the IFWE blog.

Happy 4 year anniversary of #Occupy Wall Street. Remember how not-so-nutty those people were?

Today marks the four year anniversary protesters descended on Liberty Square in lower Manhattan to #Occupy Wall Street. Remember when Karl Rove called it left-wing nuttiness? I’d like to take this time to remember how actually not-so-nutty those protesters really were.

Here’s an article I wrote about my trip to Manhattan during the peak of the Occupy movement in September 2011 to hang out with the liberal nuts.

Last Friday, I joined my co-workers on a trip to the Occupy Wall Street protest in Manhattan. The plan: film interviews with protesters and hand out Boom and Bust by Alex Pollock—a little free market evangelism, if you will.

On the drive up to Manhattan, I wondered how the “occupiers” of Wall Street would receive us. I imagined angry protesters dressed as zombies pegging tomatoes at me after introducing myself as an intern from the American Enterprise Institute. Will they be interested in reading our books or will they burn them at the General Assembly?

Though I expected to politically disagree with nearly every single protester, I wasn’t on my way to New York to argue. My generation has witnessed the perpetual failure of abortion-picketing, anti-gay, anti-welfare conservatives to effectively communicate their values, and I was not willing to follow in their footsteps. I was on my way to New York to hear stories, pass out a few books and find common ground.

Walking down Trinity Place, I turned the corner at Liberty Street to find an absolute carnival. There was a homeless man shouting about the war in Afghanistan to my right, three guys jamming out on guitars and bongo drums to my left, a Sarah Palin impersonator running around the crowd, a girl sleeping on a blow-up mattress, one woman wearing a cardboard sign for a shirt and a few protesters sitting Indian-style and meditating in the midst of all the commotion. Sign messages ranged from “Capitalism Breeds Greed” to “Anarchy is Order.” It would be easier to describe who or what wasn’t in Zuccotti Park.

After walking around for a bit and chatting with protesters, I quickly realized the crowd had been severely over-generalized by the media. Yes, there were several Michael-Moore-worshiping, capitalist-hating, 20-somethings demanding the government to pay off their student loans and hoping to bring about a socialist revolution, but not all protesters were radical progressives.

At the comfort station, I met a 23-year-old named David passing out blankets. He wore red suspenders, John Lennon-style sunglasses and sported a classy handlebar mustache. David spent the last six months as a farmhand traveling across the country before he decided to join Occupy Wall Street as a volunteer. I asked him what he was there to protest and he said, “The existence of the Federal Reserve.” I was surprised and equally pleased by his response.

I continued to roam and noticed a man named Tom standing on the side of the road waving a huge flag that read, “Revolution Generation, Debt is Slavery.” I asked him to explain the meaning of his flag and his reply evolved into a 30-minute conversation about Thomas Jefferson, commodity speculation and monetary policy. Did I just have an intelligent conversation with a protester at Occupy Wall Street? I thought they were all supposed to be uneducated anti-capitalists, but Tom was well-informed and very much in favor of free markets. He eagerly accepted Boom and Bust and nearly bowed down at my feet after hearing I was with a group from the American Enterprise Institute. Shouldn’t Tom be at a Tea Party rally?

I found that the views expressed on http://www.occupywallst.org were not representative of all protesters. Even the progressives I spoke with really weren’t that radical, but it seems as if the conservative media has labeled Occupy Wall Street as the Tea Party’s evil twin.

Karl Rove recently compared Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party as “left wing nuttiness” to “constitution-loving, law abiding people.” I don’t blame political analysts or the media entirely—a quick skim of the unofficial list of demands is enough to give any liberty-lover grief. However, my experience in Zuccotti Park proved many media claims to be true only on the radical fringe. Jay Bookman, a columnist and blogger at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, argued in a recent post,

“…It’s easy to dismiss ‘Occupy Wall Street’ as the work of the radical fringe, because in some ways it is. But what makes it bigger than that is the fact that the misgivings and distrust it is expressing are felt much more broadly, not just in campus coffee houses but in small-town diners, and not just in liberal chat rooms but in Tea Party meetings as well.”

Sure, many occupiers are misguided on policy solutions, but the two grassroots movements share the same concerns. Both hate the fact that the big banks benefited from taxpayer-funded bail outs, share distaste for crony capitalism and recognize the failure of Obama’s stimulus package.

The political ideology of the Occupy Wall Street movement is so incredibly diverse it cannot be easily categorized, but their core beliefs are boldly defined. They hate corporate greed. They care for the poor. They love America and want their prospering economy back.6277418576_646d02a7cf

A small, white sign on the ground caught my attention. It read, “Don’t Forget About Morality.” To me, this sign represented hope. These so-called “leftist nuts” see the need to bring economic discourse back to values and the human person just as we do at the Values and Capitalism project. As I stood there staring at the sign, I thought about how easy it is to forget about morality in economic policy discussions and wondered why the Tea Party rarely addressed concerns like corporate greed and poverty within the framework of a capitalistic society.

Many of the protesters weren’t as nutty as I expected. They accepted us warmly and were open to discussion. Their eagerness to exchange stories and beliefs further emphasized the need to prioritize relationships over talking points in political dialogue.

Before we left, a man approached me and pointed to the stack of books in my hand.

Protester: “Hey, what are those books for?”

Me: “It’s a book on the boom and bust cycle. It explains the cyclical nature of markets. We’re passing them out, do you want one?”

Protester: “Yeah! How much does it cost?”

Me: “It’s free.”

I handed the book to him and he thanked me graciously. I guess the protesters decided not to throw tomatoes at me after all. Instead, they probably taught me much more than I taught them.

But today, protesting Wall Street is so over, and starting your own socially-conscience business is so in. And one day, it might even be in to work on Wall Street again.

*Originally published at the Values & Capitalism blog and Doublethink Magazine.

A Catholic saint and feminist on women in the workplace

Today, feminists are concerned that women hold less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions, and that men still dominate fields like math, science, and engineering. One late Christian feminist lends insightful wisdom to these current issues of women and work.

Meet Edith Stein edith stein

Today is the feast day of Edith Stein (1891-1942), also known as Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (she is also my confirmation saint!). Stein grew up in Germany in a Jewish home, but considered herself an atheist until she converted to Christianity at the age of 29. She held a successful career in academia as a philosopher before entering a Carmelite monastery in Cologne.

Stein was considered a feminist in her time. She joined the Prussian Society for Women’s Right to Vote and protested the absence of women from university faculties. However, she disagreed with more radical feminist groups who rejected the idea of feminine singularity.

Stein calls the singularity of a woman her natural call as companion and mother. To be a companion, she says, is to be a support to others. For this, a woman must be strong and stand firm. As a single woman who never had children, Stein defines a woman’s role as mother in broad terms as the duty to nourish and protect true humanity and bring it to development.

Stein’s Five Points on Women and Work

Stein gave many lectures on the place of women in society, the family, and in relation to men during her career in academia. In a lecture she gave on April 12, 1928 at Ludwigshafen on the Rhine to the 25th convention of the Bavarian Catholic Women Teachers Association, she makes five points that remain pertinent to women and work today.

1. Men and women have different inclinations in work.

According to Stein, men tend towards objectivity in their work and women tend towards the personal.

It is natural for him to dedicate his faculties to a discipline (be it mathematics or technology, a trade or business management) and thereby to subject himself to the precepts of this discipline. Woman’s attitude is personal…she is happily involved with her total being in what she does then, she has particular interest for the living, concrete person.

Men tend towards one-sided development in their work and women tend towards completeness.

She herself would like to become a complete human being, one who is fully developed in every way, and she would like to help others to become so, and by all means, she would like to do justice to the complete human being whenever she has to deal with persons.

2. Work balances a woman.

Because objective work, which we view as a remedy for the faults of feminine singularity, is something to which the average man is naturally inclined, it can thus be said as well that an allowance of masculine nature is the antidote for the hyper-feminine nature.

3. In more traditionally masculine positions, women maintain their feminine singularity.

We women have become aware once again of our singularity. Many a woman who formerly denied it has perhaps become aware of it, painfully aware of it, if she has entered one of the traditionally masculine professions and sees herself forced into conditions of life and work alien to her nature. If her nature is strong enough, she has perhaps succeeded in turning the masculine profession into a feminine one. And this self-awareness could also develop the conviction that an intrinsic feminine value resides in the singularity.

4. Women’s singularity can and should act as a strength in male-dominated fields.

Whoever chooses one of the abstract sciences—mathematics natural sciences, pure philosophy, etc.—find that as a rule, the masculine-intellectual type predominates in at least whatever is related to pure research. However, woman may perhaps assert her singularity anew in such areas of knowledge by the way she instructs; this is a helpful way which brings her into close relationship with people.

[…]

A high vocation is designated in feminine singularity—that is, to bring true humanity in oneself and in others to development…. If we fulfill our mission, we do what is best for ourselves, for our immediate environment, and together with it, what is best for the entire nation.

5. The intrinsic value of a woman is not in her work.

The intrinsic value of woman consists essentially in exceptional receptivity for God’s work in the soul, and this value comes to unalloyed development if we abandon ourselves confidently and unresistingly to this work.

As a woman called to singlehood and work in a male-dominated field, Stein was secure in her unique femininity. She saw her feminine singularity as a strength in her profession. Rather than trying to fit into a “masculine” role, she turned her role into a uniquely feminine one.

*Originally published on the IFWE blog.

#WomenBetrayed by Washington

In response to Planned Parenthood allegedly selling baby body parts, an estimated 12,000 people in 65 cities across the US gathered at “Women Betrayed” rallies on Tuesday, July 28th, demanding to defund the organization.

Ben Carson

Speakers at the Washington, D.C. rally on Capitol Hill included presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson, senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, news personality Matt Walsh, and several leaders from the pro-life movement representing the Family Research Council, Americans United for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, Students for Life, Alliance Defending Freedom, Concerned Women for America, and Silent No More.

The message presented at these rallies was clear: women have been betrayed, not only by Planned Parenthood, but by our government.

You get more of what you subsidize

When the government subsidizes Planned Parenthood, it lowers the cost of their services. When costs are lowered, supply rises. That means when the organization receives half a billion taxpayer dollars a year, they are able to supply more services, like abortions, than they would without the funding.

Allison  Howard

Alison Howard

On top of that, they are incentivized to use all the funding to show they need it, ensuring they will receive that funding again next year. This further incentivizes the organization to sell abortions, and, as the recently released videos show, the remnants of aborted babies.

When the government began subsidizing corn, the price of corn dropped. As corn became cheaper, we consumed more of it. In order to make more money from the lower cost of corn, farmers planted more corn. Cheap corn flooded the market. As a result, high-fructose corn syrup became a cheaper alternative to sugar, and began to show up in nearly everything – candy, burgers, sodas, and so on. In the end, the effects were costly to the environment and our health.

The government’s relationship with the abortion industry is similar. By subsidizing Planned Parenthood, the government treats human life as a commodity like corn. How much more costly is subsidizing a culture of death?

How did we even get here?

The commodification of human life

To Planned Parenthood, babies are goods to be harvested and sold. They’re not humans; they’re used car parts.

Allegedly profiting from the trafficking of fetal organs, babies are worth more dead than alive to Planned Parenthood. Perhaps what’s more disturbing is that our own government affirms the dehumanization of unborn babies by slipping money into their pockets.

One of the most disturbing things about the videos released from the Center for Medical Progress is the casual nature of the conversations over the commodification of human life. This is not a new way of thinking in our culture. Look at America’s history with slavery and the eugenics movement in the early 20th century. Will our grandchildren one day look back in horror that our government supports an organization that commercializes human flesh? Let’s hope so.

Though we fight against the black market of human trafficking, our economy and our government supports a market for baby trafficking.

Immoral incentives

Andrea Pearson Mev

At the end of the day, Planned Parenthood is a business much like any other. On top of the nearly $500 million they received from the government annually, they rake in $1 billion. They care about their bottom line just line and make their decisions based on profit incentives. When Planned Parenthood looks at the mother of an unborn child, of the remnants of an aborted child, why wouldn’t they see dollar signs?

As the recent videos suggest, Planned Parenthood even has the incentive to profit off the harvest of baby organs. To increase the quality of their organ sales, this means they also have the incentive to perform later term abortions. Alison Howard of Alliance for Defending Freedom explains why:

When Planned Parenthood […] said that they wanted lungs […] how many of you here know preemies that were born with underdeveloped lungs? Lungs are one of the last things to develop in a baby. Now you understand why Planned Parenthood has a vested interest in late, late term abortion. They have a vested interest in working against the […] bill that would restrict abortion after 20 weeks, because guys, they wouldn’t be getting the specimens they want.

Abortions are Planned Parenthood’s product, and they have an incentive to sell to their product to women. In doing so, they often mislead women with selective information.

When Andrea Pearson Mev took the podium at the rally on Capitol Hill, the energetic crowd fell silent as she shared her story of abortion and regret. She revealed to the crowd that when she walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic as a young pregnant teenager looking for help, she was told her abortion would be the healthy choice. She was promised relief, but found only depression and emptiness. She was never warned of such emotional damage.

Women betrayed by Washington

Matt Walsh

A morally numb culture has led to a twisted commodification of unborn babies and immoral business incentives for Planned Parenthood, but not without the government’s legal aid and praise.

Instituted to protect life, our government today is using taxpayer dollars to destroy it. At the Women Betrayed Rally, Walsh called out Washington saying,

It is not only Planned Parenthood who has betrayed us, betrayed women and betrayed children, you have betrayed us Washington. You have betrayed us over and over again. You betray us when you give half a billion dollars a year to a company that already earns over a billion in revenue. And whose primary source of revenue other than tax payer money is the mass slaughter of infant children. You betray us.

I’m convinced that as a woman, Planned Parenthood doesn’t have my best interest in mind. But the more heartbreaking fact is, neither does my own government.

*Originally posted on the IFWE blog.