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PC(USA): Swimming in the Blood of the Lambs

By former PPL Board Member, and PC(USA) Elder, Martha Leatherman, MD

A denomination defiantly swimming in bloodguilt cannot uphold the gospel of Christ. Moderation in pursuit of justice is a vice, and I urge each of you to be immoderate in your passion for defending the defenseless.

What will it take for the PC(USA) to see the blood running down the hallways of its institutions, staining the feet of its membership and dripping from the hands that offer communion? Must we drown in blood before the PC(USA) recognizes its complicity in the genocide of more than 55 million human beings?

No longer does the largest Presbyterian denomination stand with John Calvin who asserts

“...the unborn, though enclosed in the womb of his mother, is already a human being, and it is an almost monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man's house is his most secure place of refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy the unborn in the womb before it has come to light.”

Rather, the PC(USA) stands with the abortionist LeRoy Carhart, who even while basking in the adulation heaped upon him by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (of which the PC(USA) is a member organization), was providing substandard care to the mothers of the babies he was aborting. In fact, the only registered nurse working for Carhart, Lindsey Creekmore had medical disciplinary charges filed against her in the state of Nebraska, and according to other Nebraska Attorney General Bruning “Clinic records show a significant pattern of substandard care practices that, in any surgical center, would endanger the health and safety of the public.” Yet as recently as the 2010 General Assembly, Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options hosted a luncheon in honor of Carhart in which PC(USA) attendees gave him standing applause. Not only was this event listed in the line-up of PC(USA) events at that General Assembly, but a PC(USA) church hosted the abortionist and the event received sympathetic coverage by the official PC(USA) media (

No longer does the largest Presbyterian denomination stand as a defense for the vulnerable--the widow and the orphan. (For who is more an orphan than a baby whose mother is seeking to kill him? Who is more a widow than the woman in a crisis pregnancy who believes the only man who cares for her is the abortionist who is operating the machinery that will kill the child in her womb?) The PC(USA) does not stand with these hurting human beings, but rather with the multi-billion dollar abortion industry. For example, General Assembly attendees actually seriously considered approving an overture from Albany Presbytery which sought to place restrictive requirements on pregnancy care centers while liberating abortion clinics from restrictions. Although the overture did not pass in its original form, it is appalling that such an overture could have even reached the General Assembly in the first place.

No longer does the PC(USA) hold that the denomination “. . . regards the destruction by parents of their own offspring, before birth, with abhorrence, as a crime against God and against nature;” and “warn those that are guilty of this crime that, except they repent, they cannot inherit eternal life,” or “exhort those who have been called to preach the gospel...that they be no longer silent, or tolerant of these things, but that they endeavor by all proper means to stay the floods of impurity and cruelty.” (Committee on Bills and Overtures, Presbyterian Church in the United States 1869), Instead, the Moderator of the 220th General Assembly, the Reverend Dr. Neal Presa, sees abortion only as a political argument, with “both sides,” having legitimate points of view. He urges moderation, but Dr. Presa is wrong. He is wrong theologically, wrong morally, wrong socially, and wrong intellectually. As Israel found after the Battle of Ai, the LORD will hold his people accountable for tolerating sin in their midst.

Joshua 7:7-11 And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?” 10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.”

We are not called to hide our sin, rather, we are called to be watchmen.

Ezekiel 33:8-11 If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

As John Ensor points out in his compelling book Innocent Blood,

“to think of abortion as a secondary issue--or worse, a merely political issue--is to fundamentally misunderstand the defining experience of our times. It also means we fundamentally fail to see the central truth that the cross alone can cleanse the conscience from the debilitating effects of bloodguilt.”

A denomination defiantly swimming in bloodguilt cannot uphold the gospel of Christ. Moderation in pursuit of justice is a vice, and I urge each of you to be immoderate in your passion for defending the defenseless.

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