For our previous coverage of Frank Schaeffer in 1998, see The extremist in Rutherford's closet.
Frank Schaeffer appeared on Rachel Maddow's show this evening (June 1, 2009), and also published a Huffington Post article earlier today. Schaeffer accepted part of the blame for yesterday's murder of George Tiller. But he still fails to go far enough in reconsidering, and repudiating, his past views and actions.
While Schaeffer attempts to candy-coat his current views, putting himself forward as having some kind of change of heart, his current statements, ultimately, still stigmatize and demonize abortion providers. "...I also believe that [abortion] should be re-regulated according to fetal development. It's the late term abortions that horrify most people."
Frankly, fetal development is none of Schaeffer's business, nor should it ever be the government's business. Abortion of any sort, in and of itself, is not horrible. The matter of abortion is a personal one, solely the province of a woman, who seeks an abortion for whatever reason (or no reason), and those who provide abortion. Schaeffer continues his habit of making statements that inherently serve to marginalize abortion providers and those who have abortions.
Meanwhile, Schaeffer said tonight his anti-abortion activism was confined to the 70's and 80's. In fact, as late as July 1992 he was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a featured guest of the organizers of that summer's mass abortion protests there. While there, Schaeffer was caught on videotape issuing this sort of rhetoric to those who at the time were attempting to shut down Milwaukee area clinics:
The fact of the matter is without people who are willing to go to jail for a cause in which we claim that human life is being taken there would be no people running crisis pregnancy centers because the issue would have been relegated to the comfortable middle American back burner along with other do-goodism and hand wringing and pietism of the kind with which we are all too familiar, and which substitutes for most of the church in this country.
And the fact that we get a hearing, the fact that anyone is interested in this issue, the fact that any newspaper or television coverage even by a biased media exists at all is because we are blessed in this movement to have a lunatic fringe. We are blessed in this movement to have a fanatical cutting edge like a flying wedge in an old football formation out ahead of the rest of us who not only keep the country's attention pinned on this issue, uncomfortable, like a worm squirming on a hook, that is about the sense of it, but nevertheless, pinned on this issue.
And the fact that those of us who find other ways of expressing our pro-life convictions, whether it is speaking, or writing, or making films, or picketing, or writing letters or running for office, or donating money, or volunteering for a crisis pregnancy hotline, our work only makes sense because of the people willing to be arrested, and I'll tell you why. Because if abortion truly is murder, and no one is willing to get arrested to stop it, it gives the lie to our claim. If abortion is truly the taking of human life, and no one is willing to go out in the heat of the day and act as if that is more than an intellectual proposition, and actually behave as each one of us would confronted with the murder of a loved one who we knew, then our claims that this is a serious pivotal issue around which the fate of our nation will revolve sounds very hollow indeed.
As long as the supposedly penitent Franky Schaeffer continues to insist that abortion is a matter which should in any way involve the government, his words above still have full effect. As long as there are so-called "pro-lifers" running around agitating for government action to avert their fictional "tragedy" of abortion, whipped into a frenzy by Schaeffer's words, both presently and of the past, there will always be someone out there, the "lunatic" to whom Schaeffer once referred, who is more willing to take action to implement his views about the so-called "horror" of abortion than he is.
The only solution is to confront the lie at the core of pro-lifeism: that abortion is equivalent to murder, or even that abortion is a matter justifying sticking one's nose into others' personal business. That is a lie that shouldn't receive even a moment's consideration, or worse yet, "debate." There is no justification for "debating" such nonsense, because it is in fact nonsense, based on such meaningless questions such as "when does life begin?" that generate assertions that cannot be refuted.
Posted June 2, 2009
Cross-posted to Daily Kos