Christians upset #PPSellsBabyParts better not be the same ones who were 'ok' w/#ALSIceBucketChallenge that funded #EmbryonicStemCellResearch— LutheranLayman (@LutheranLayman) August 21, 2015
"The Root of The Stem-Cell Controversy" By Pastor Sam Schuldheisz ---> http://t.co/2YnDCfbT6W— LutheranLayman (@LutheranLayman) August 21, 2015
That's what I just tweeted after I realized that it was precisely this same time last summer when the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" was sweeping the nation -- and finding significant support from Christians far and wide too.
Why in the world does that matter? How is any of that relevant to what's going on today with the Planned Parenthood videos that are exposing that organization for what it really is? Why am I bringing this up for our prayerful consideration?
Here's what I wrote on Facebook last August in an attempt to get my fellow brothers and sisters to stop and think about what they were supporting and about where their God-given money and resources were going.
Sorry, but I guess I'm gonna have to be the one to bring up this controversial/delicate subject despite how "unloving" and "unpopular" some will say that I am for doing so. My dear friends, if you're a Christian and you've done or are thinking about doing the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, are you aware that your donation to the ALS Association is being used to fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research? Source: http://www.alsa.org/research/about-als-research/stem-cells.html
Sadly, I fear that while so many Christians are very vocal about defending the sanctity of all human life both inside and outside the womb, they just do not realize this cold hard truth (pun intended) when they participated. Please tell others if you can so that they can be informed about what’s going on beyond the initial appearances of this wildly popular Social Media campaign. In short, Christians should try and find a different cause that truly respects the sanctity of human life, IMHO.
Here’s a good write-up on this from a Catholic source: http://www.patheos.com/.../whats-wrong-with-the-als.../ Also from the article: “Dumping a bucket of ice water over your head does not make you a hero. Posting about it on social media and challenging others to do the same certainly doesn’t either." How is any of that relevant to us Christians? Beware of practicing your righteousness before others (Matthew 6).
Ultimately, "while I can’t donate to the ALS Association, I will certainly pray for those that suffer from this disease. I’ll also be on the lookout for a charity that doesn’t violate the sanctity of human life."
Here's a brief Lutheran commentary on this subject along with a list of some excellent alternatives of other ALS charities that DO NOT conduct Embryonic Stem Cell Research that Christians can donate to. Grace and peace! Source: http://blogs.lcms.org/2014/als-challenge
Sadly, my pleas fell upon deaf ears as a majority of Christians I know and love (including some churches too!) fell in line, let a bucket of ice water fall on their heads, recorded the whole thing and shared it on social media (to "support" ALS awareness or was it to feed their ego and pet their sense of pride?), and succumbed to the intense public pressure to be "politically correct" rather than make a bold, courageous confession of the Christian faith (Galatians 1:10).
As one friend of mine put it back then...
I think it's awesome that a Facebook meme has generated so much awareness, interest and funding for ALS. My heart breaks for those who lost a loved one to the disease, or has it themselves. That being said, for those who have strong beliefs and convictions against embryonic stem cell research, please know that the ALS Association is currently a big proponent of embryonic stem cell therapies and research. For personal, ethical reasons, I can't support them financially. But I'll pray for those who have this terrible disease, and hope for a cure that doesn't require human embryos.
Isn't that how all Christians should have felt at the time?
I remember thinking to myself that this was an easy so-called "controversial subject" since a majority of Christians should be able to agree with one another when it comes to the position we are expected to take in the public square if asked about it.
Of course, I was wrong. I didn't see too many laymen or Pastors even raising the issue that we might want to find other ways to support ALS research that doesn't involve the destruction of human life.
Yet, wanting to put the best construction on things, I simply chalked it up to thinking that it was likely that many of the Christians who participated in the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" just had no idea that it funded "Embryonic Stem Cell Research" and that such research is a practice and procedure that we should be wholeheartedly against as the Body of Christ.
So here we are one year later. What a difference a year makes.
This is the kind of piece that won't win me any popularity contests with my family and friends, but it needs to be written.
Personally, I'm ashamed that we were once so silent about THE VERY SAME HARVESTING OF HUMAN BEINGS only a year ago, and now we've suddenly become aware of our collective Christian conscience seemingly overnight and are "outraged" (as we should be) over this summer's Planned Parenthood videos.
Dare I ask the obvious question: What's the difference?
Where was the righteous anger last year? After all, Embryonic Stem Cell Research harvests "useful parts" from the same helpless, precious, unborn lives for the same purposes just like Planned Parenthood does.
What gives!?! Is this a case of "Sheer Hypocrisy" or "Better Late Than Never" and why does it matter whether it's one or the other?
Is it because embryos don't look like babies yet or is it about something deeper, something more sinister perhaps?
Maybe our lack of outrage last summer was due to the fact that we Christians who found ourselves so swept up by the "Ice Bucket Challenge" just wanted to be accepted and liked by others (even non-believers) so much that our sinful pride clouded our discernment and judgment to the point that we'd rather "Be A Part of The Crowd" rather than express revulsion over murder sanctioned as "science" and called "research" (Galatians 1:10).
Maybe it's just me and maybe I'm starting to ramble a bit so I apologize.
The point I'm trying to make is that I feel ashamed and embarrassed for us now that I've remembered that it was only last year around this time when Christians en masse were lining up to have buckets of ice water dumped on their heads in support of a cause that is actually not all that different from the one they're so vehemently against today.
The difference (at least, as I see it, and I could be wrong) is that last year Christians got to be a star in the show and this year they're merely a bystander. Old Adam hates it when he's not the center of attention (or he uses his "star status" to make immoral exceptions and immoral excuses to justify his sinful behavior).
Still unconvinced that Embryonic Stem Cell Research is just as bad as abortion?
That's why I felt it was necessary to spend a few minutes writing about this tonight.
Look, I'm absolutely thrilled that I'm seeing so many Christians from all denominations using social media to spread the word about the current controversy surrounding abortion and Planned Parenthood, especially given the virtual "media blackout" as well as the fact that a lot of Christians still refuse to pay any attention to the story.
My hope is that we won't forget that things like Embryonic Stem Cell Research -- the very thing some of us worked hard to fund, promote, and support last year -- is just as bad.
My hope is that we'll repent of our sins if, in fact, we spent time to incessantly "raise awareness for ALS" last summer, but we haven't uttered a single word about the Planned Parenthood crimes this summer.
I'm not naive either. I know that hypocrisy exists within Christianity. Truth is, we're all hypocrites to one degree or another. I get it.
I guess I just don't want us to become too self-righteous about the current crisis when we didn't have a care in the world about a similar crisis (albeit a less visually jarring) last summer.
In a Lutheran layman's terms, we've gone from ice buckets to snuff films and can't even see the sheer hypocrisy in our outrage from one summer to the next when it's staring us in the cold water-drenched face.
What a difference a year makes.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm experiencing and/or studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!