FIRST-PERSON: Moral courage and the Planned Parenthood debacle

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- Now is the time for moral courage in America. Moral courage is the courage to take action for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse consequences.

The reported actions by Planned Parenthood should result in an immediate outcry. Unquestionably, if Planned Parenthood does not decry what has been exposed as immoral, brutal and barbaric, then it is time that the mighty Planned Parenthood should fall.

Justifying or rationalizing their actions is not moral courage. As Fox News commentator Brit Hume states, "The sight of a senior Planned Parenthood official and a doctor to boot, discussing the market for fetal body parts in between bites of salad and sips of wine was stomach-turning."

The Administration, the Board, and the entire Planned Parenthood organization must be held accountable for their actions.

Congress needs to exert moral courage now

The House and Senate need to demand the termination of all funds to Planned Parenthood now. Not one more dime of the reported $500 million should go to the brutality of killing the unborn. If the needed investigation proves the allegations true, then ultimately, Planned Parenthood should be completely defunded. This is not about the 2016 election, but what is right morally.

The White House needs to exert moral courage now

The President and his White House need to call for an immediate inquiry into these matters, demanding Congress deal with the issue now. This is not about polls and parties, but what is right morally.

Aspiring politicians need to exert moral courage now

Since the 2016 presidential campaign faces us daily as well as other elections locally, statewide and nationally, aspiring politicians need to exert moral courage now. Regardless of their support or lack of support in the past for Planned Parenthood, now is the time to stand with moral courage.

It was English politician William Wilberforce who led the movement to see slavery abolished. We need to remember his profound words: "You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know."

Perhaps aspiring politicians or even elected officials have never chosen to ask Planned Parenthood the hard questions. However, you can never say again that you do not know. Now is the time to exert moral courage and speak your heart to the American people not only about Planned Parenthood, but your personal conviction about abortion. Since 1973, 57 million abortions have occurred. This would be like taking the lives of the entire populations of California and New York. Without a doubt, we need national leaders who exert strong moral courage.

Business leaders need to exert moral courage now 

Leaders in the business world cannot remain silent. Moral courage demands these leaders ensure the company's gifts to all organizations, including Planned Parenthood, would never contribute to the brutality of the unborn child.

The media needs to exert moral courage now

It was reported Thursday that the Media Research Center studied the major networks of ABC, NBC, and CBS, comparing the coverage of their stories between Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe and the story about Planned Parenthood. Interestingly, the unfortunate incident about Cecil the lion received 30 minutes of coverage compared to the Planned Parenthood story that received 11 minutes of coverage.

Yes, the media should cover the story about Cecil the lion, but one would certainly expect equal, if not more coverage of the Planned Parenthood study. Regardless of their personal convictions or thoughts, it is very much news when an organization like Planned Parenthood is doing what it is doing. The media should continue investigating until the entire truth is known. Yes, even the media needs to exert moral courage at this time.

Pastors, churches and denominations need to exert moral courage now

Pastors, stand up and speak against the brutality of abortion and other moral issues. This is not being political, but prophetic. God did not call you to sit this one out. He has called you to stand on God's Word. Refuse to buy into any type of pseudo-spirituality that says silence is your calling.

As I stated in my 2015 presidential address to the Southern Baptist Convention on June 16th, "America: We stand believing that abortion is a glaring desecration of the unborn child's purpose and value. We must be vigilant to always stand for the unborn child, all human life, and human dignity from the womb to the tomb. Any decline in America's commitment to the unborn child will lead toward an accelerating desecration of human life, resulting in more abuse, more violence, and more chaotic disruption. God has created us to bring Him glory. When we devalue human life in any way from the womb to the tomb, we are robbing God of His intended glory for each of us."

This biblical and moral conviction is why I requested our 2015 Resolutions Committee prepare and present to our convention a resolution on the sanctity of human life from the womb to the tomb. They did so, and you can read where our Southern Baptist Convention stands on the issue of abortion here. If the Planned Parenthood story had broken before our convention meeting, I believe deeply that our convention would have called for the complete defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Take action now. Let your representatives know you support the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the end of abortion. The ERLC offers a resource to help you find your representatives and tips on correspondence.

Moral courage or moral cowardice

What will history say one day about all of us who lived while abortion existed in our nation? Will it say when the curtain was finally pulled back about the brutality of abortion that Americans stood up with moral courage? Or will history record that we were cowards?

We cannot be adrift on denial. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right when he said: "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

Now is the time to lead with moral courage.

This article first appeared at Ronnie Floyd's website, www.ronniefloyd.com.
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