Monday, March 17, 2008

Let's Not Be Frank

At this moment in my DVD player is a film series from the 1970s. When I was an undergrad I worked in the library and one of my more enjoyable duties entailed showing films for various assemblies. What I enjoyed most was on Sunday evenings setting up and showing a series of films starring Francis Schaeffer entitled, "How Shall We Then Live." I bought the DVDs last year and this week on a lark my wife started watching them again.

Francis Schaeffer was one of my heroes. I recall emerging from my agnosticism negotiating exactly how much of a thinker I could be while remaining true to Christianity. Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis were significant influences in my defining the relationship between Christian Theism and philosophical thought.

Toward the end of "How Shall We Then Live" Schaeffer tends to get dark in his warnings of where we're going as a society. Secular humanism was the great Satan of those days, but at least it was humanistic. Contrast that with what Pope John Paul II called our culture of sex and death.

This darkness of tone, this warning of impending statist anti-humanism became much more apparent in Schaeffer's follow-on movie series, "What Ever Happened To The Human Race."

I caught a vibe back then that something wasn't quite right, but I couldn't put my finger on anything. I was and continue to be committed to pro-life. I had to admit the truth of Schaeffer's thesis in that film series. There really is no difference between one government that declares Jews to be non-persons, and another that declares the same about Blacks as the US did prior to the Civil War. And who's to prevent the Supreme Court from declaring that the unborn are non-persons, too? And thereby Francis Schaeffer violated Godwin's Law in his anti-abortion rhetoric, and taught a generation of pro-lifers to do likewise.

This was something I enthusiastically supported. But I think that was a mistake. Today I spoke with a friend about adoption and abortion. I've always said that I think every pro-lifer has a moral obligation to be willing to adopt and to do so if that will prevent an abortion. I heard long ago that the number of couples wanting to adopt is roughly equal to the number of abortions. Why has the pro-life movement done nothing about this? What have we done except vote for corrupt idiots who'll promise to nominate strict constructionist judges in the empty hope that Roe v Wade will be overturned?

Why is it easier to fly across the world to China or Korea to adopt than it is to adopt a child right here? Why haven't we asked this of our pro-life legislators?

It is too easy to say that Francis Schaeffer blinded us with Godwin's law. But I doubt that. It's more natural to oppose force with force. Godless feminazis get one Supreme Court to overturn abortion laws. We'll get our own Supreme Court to reinstate them. Let's face it, pro-life politics is a great way to keep Christians voting for Republicans who mumble incoherencies about "the sanctity of life" without having to actually DO ANYTHING about it.

So, now, I read that Francis Schaeffer's son, Frank, has come out condemning his father's political activism. I have never had much respect for junior. He always seemed to be something of a parasite on his father's ministry. Like Yoko Ono's baleful influence seen in "Let It Be." I think he saw this and tried unsuccessfully to attain a measure of independent achievement.

The complete extent of his failure has been seen in his recent denunciation of his father. Mr. Schaeffer has taken his place in that long line of ghoulish children who dine on a dead parent's reputation. He has thus made his stock and trade deconstructing and discrediting his father's work. Let's not be Frank.

It may be so, my lord.
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away!
-- William Shakespeare in King Lear

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