Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A Lethal Change in Language

In the passion of progressives to replace the historic and noble ideals of Western Civilization with secularism, hedonism, and statism, they understood that one of the first steps in their plan of conquest was to change the language in which the issues are framed.  For instance, the violent, immoral, and lethal act of elective abortion was eased into the social landscape by calling it a “voluntary interruption of pregnancy” or “an evacuation of uterine content” or the “restoration of normal menstrual function.”  The change in language helped progressives persuade the gullible and thus create dramatic changes in social practice.

It wasn’t rational.  It wasn’t right.  But, for passive people who had already surrendered much of their Christian heritage, their thinking, and their moral code for the self-centeredness of secularism, it worked.

Another vivid illustration of how changes in expression preceded (and thus helped to accelerate) a dramatic culture shift actually took place several years earlier and it too concerned abortion. More specifically, the issue was early abortions caused by chemicals and devices. And the problem for proponents of the sexual revolution and the population control movement came in the inevitable collision with their ideologies and basic science.

You see, the science itself couldn’t be clearer and any embryology textbook will lay out the facts. Conception occurs when the sperm fertilizes the egg.  It is at that very moment that a new life begins. After that, it's all about development and growth.  The scientific realities do not change. But plans to control social trends and the tools used to get around science -- including the sinister manipulation of language? That’s another thing altogether.

The language employed to describe human reproduction first began to change in the 1960s when population control advocates were looking to sell so-called "birth control" chemicals and devices among cultures that had a high respect for prenatal life. The problem was that the action of the pills and IUDs acted (at least some of the time) subsequent to conception. That is, they didn't always prevent conception but they did prevent the embryonic human being from developing any further. And that is abortion.

The primary techniques utilized by these misnamed drugs and devices was to prevent the developing person (already begun at conception and now growing quite rapidly as he or she made their way down the fallopian tube) from implanting in the wall of the cervix or, if implantation did occur, to forcibly dislodge the embryo from its new home in the womb. But remember, this is all after conception. These drugs and devices destroy lives that have already begun.

Once again, the science couldn’t be clearer.  And the science cannot change.  Therefore, the progressives went after the words. The population control advocates (and others who wanted to promote the sexual revolution) pressured groups like the American Medical Association to actually ignore the science and simply change their definition of conception, to move it “further down the line” from fertilization.

But where along the timeline of the prenatal child’s development could the new definition be placed? Anywhere except the moment of fertilization would be completely arbitrary. Anywhere except fertilization would be completely unscientific. And that’s because the new life had already begun at fertilization and would continue until…well, until death.

The response from the population controllers? “Put the new definition of conception anywhere you want -- as long as it’s after the abortifacient action that these new drugs and devices utilize. You see, we can’t push the product in certain countries (like Catholic Mexico or Hindu India or Muslim Syria) if the people there realize they act post-conception. They don’t want abortion on their conscience. So help us change the definition so that we can sell them as preventing pregnancy rather than stopping a pregnancy that’s already underway."

And that’s exactly what happened. Though it makes no scientific sense, though it's a lie of the most sinister proportions, the definition of conception was disconnected from fertilization and linked instead to the embryo's implantation in the uterine wall. The effects of this lie have been universally damaging to life, health, family and culture. And, of course, along the way, untold millions of preborn boys and girls have been destroyed. 

Of course, re-defining conception isn’t the only case where changing language was a sinister prelude to cataclysmic social change.  We see the tactic used everywhere in the culture wars.  Indeed, we live in an Orwellian world in which lies, distortion, omission, manipulation, and obfuscation fill the very air we breathe.  It is an atmosphere whose pollution is added to daily by politicians, academia, Hollywood, judges, Madison Avenue, the mainstream press, and the diversity classes your employer now requires you to attend.

Make no mistake, behind all of these sources is the father of lies, he who has been wickedly determined (from his very first rebellion against God) to blind men’s minds, to spread lies, to hinder the proclamation of truth, to call evil good and good evil. Sadly, there have been many men and women giving the devil a lot of help in this campaign.

In stark contrast, the faithful Christian calls things by their right name. No snow. No spin. No shuck and jive. We are called to be truth-tellers, light-bearers, and prophets – courageously, consistently and, as winsomely as possible, speaking the truth in love.

In this post-Christian phase of American history, there are certain lies which need to be opposed with particularly intense and concerted efforts. And among them are the ones I’ve described above. They are lies that have ushered in the silent holocaust of abortion as well as such corollary evils as physician-assisted suicide, lethal human experimentation, infanticide, and the deliberate cheapening of human life throughout all levels of society.

It was to help counter this dissembling culture of death that Claire and I formed Vital Signs Ministries more than 40 years ago. And, because the liars and cheats haven’t gone away, it is what we’re still about today. Of course, we serve in this mission alongside many, many others who haven’t given I or given up. For despite the enveloping cloud of lies in our era, the Holy Spirit reminds us that the obedient Christian can indeed overcome evil with good. Not only can we escape the tyranny of lies ourselves, we can even beat them back as they try to claim new victims. So refuse to compromise with the lies, distortions, and manipulations of language for evil purposes. Instead, shine as a light in the darkness; speak the truth in love; and call things by their right names.