Word from the Center: Friday, November 9, 2018
Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the
issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s
Gosnell, a Movie that Must Be Seen!
Back in college, I was privileged to watch “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” by Francis
Schaeffer and the Surgeon General of the day, Dr. C. Everett Koop. It was a prophetic video
series that laid out the devolving direction of the Western world as it jettisoned basic JudeoChristian
principles about life and morality. Schaeffer warned our nation about the consequences
of culturally defining particular human lives as “lives not worth living.” He argued that such a
definition would unleash grotesque inhumanity and injustice in our culture like never before. As
I watched that video series back in the 70s, I was persuaded that issues such as abortion and
euthanasia were an attack on the basic dignity of what it means to be a human being. Yvette’s
and my work with pro-life clinics in New York city in the 90’s reaffirmed that belief. After all, if
we won’t protect the most vulnerable among us, what is the point of striving to be humane, just,
and civil, human beings at all?
Back then, Schaeffer’s predictions seemed beyond belief. With all our technology and
accumulated wisdom, wouldn’t we naturally become more loving people towards one another?
Who could imagine a society that would treat its children as disposable or would treat its elderly
as inconveniences? Not long ago, in the 1940s through the early 1960s, children were still seen
as blessings from God, marriage was a fundamental norm of society, and elderly parents were
still a meaningful part of one’s extended family. The idea of certain “human lives NOT worth
living” has changed all that.
If you’ve never thought about the destructive power of the cultural war against the sanctity of
life, please go and see the movie “Gosnell.”1 Leave all political bias at home and just watch.
Gosnell was a vile abortion doctor who operated with callous impunity until caught by accident.
The Washington Examiner reports:
The grand jury report described Gosnell as a “butcher of women” stating that he “didn’t
just kill babies. He was also a deadly threat to mothers.” Two women died at his hands,
and countless others were gravely maimed, yet numerous complaints fell on deaf ears.
These horrors were eventually discovered only by accident, when the clinic was raided by
the FBI and the DEA in a bust of Gosnell’s illegal prescription drug ring. The agents
were shocked to find little babies’ bodies “ scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the
basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags…. It was a baby charnel house.” Were it not for
this, Gosnell would still be “serving” women and snipping babies’ spines at his
“Women’s Medical Society” in West Philadelphia.2
Gosnell shows what we humans can become when we begin to create the notion in our
hearts/minds and policies of “human life NOT worth living.” Such an “anti-sanctity of life”
mantra can easily become a justification for the neglect of the most vulnerable among us. Who
can imagine clinics like those of Gosnell? But who could imagine garbage bags of aborted
children, or the sale of children’s body parts either? Sadly, our aging parents are being “reevaluated”
too. Assisted suicide is finding roots in Western culture and has even taken hold in
the United States in Oregon, for example (see https://www.ortl.org/the-facts/assisted-suicide/).
Francis Schaeffer’s predictions are unfortunately coming true. The debate about the sanctity of
life is not just about politics because human lives are at stake. With over 58 million abortions to
date, with the growing devaluing of the lives of the elderly, and the growing insensitivity to
others in general, reasserting the preciousness and sanctity of ALL human life is a notion whose
time has come again in America.
1 See https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/kermit-gosnell-was-just-the-beginning-gruesome-abortiondoctors-operate-with-impunity-around-the-country