I was recently deadlocked in morning traffic on my way to Orlando International Airport trying to get back to Bangor. I thought I had plenty of time, but it was going to be tight. And to make matters worse, I pulled into the wrong terminal. Things were not looking good, so I uttered a little prayer: “Lord, I know you’ve got much more important items on your agenda today, and maybe I should have left even earlier, but I really don’t want to miss this flight.”
As I got to the security checkpoint, there were the predictable long lines. I didn’t think I was going to make it; my flight had already started to board. Then a TSA employee came up to me and said, “You have been randomly selected for express screening.”
I can hear the snickers from those who would attribute this favorable outcome to a coincidence in a chaotic universe with no meaning or purpose. I can’t say for sure the God of this universe answered my prayers that morning. But I’ll tell you what, when I buckled up on that flight, I thanked God — just in case. I would have been an ingrate to have done otherwise.
Earlier that morning, I read Mike Tipping’s April 6 BDN blog post in which he wrote, “Is it too much to hope that the Christian Civic League, who claimed their intercessory prayer had affected MFP’s fundraising, will recognize this reversal as an Easter miracle …?” Tipping was referencing the fact that the organization I lead, the Christian Civic League of Maine, had forwarded one of our pro-life organization’s articles thanking God for answering our prayers during the 40 Days for Life campaign. The article mentioned how many women had chosen not to get an abortion during the campaign, as well as the fact that Family Planning had not reached its funding goal.
In what was certainly an unintended consequence, Dan Savage, a national columnist, promoted the article to pro-choice folks around the country, which led to Family Planning making their financial goal.
I’ve reread the article we forwarded several times, and I’m baffled by a couple points Tipping makes in his two blog posts. First, he refers to the article as a taunt and a mockery. Perhaps he is referring to the assumption that God answered our prayers and the subsequent thanks for doing so. I’m curious how that can be characterized as taunting. Was it arrogant when, months ago, we publicly thanked God for what we perceived as answered prayers for providing the funds to pay off the mortgage of the Shepherd’s Godparent Home in Bangor?
Things don’t always go the way we think they should when it comes to prayer, but we lean on God’s promise that “all things work together for good” even when we don’t understand what the purpose may be. I would not be transparent if I did not I admit I was disappointed that a pro-choice organization increased its coffers as a result of an email we forwarded.
Of course, I wondered why. Perhaps this was an opportunity for the public to once again see that behemoth organizations like Planned Parenthood that are awash with billions of public dollars don’t need any more tax-supported welfare.
For the life of me, I can’t imagine what Tipping thought was mocking in the article. This accusation seems quite ironic. Is he really sincere in his call for a declaration of an Easter miracle?
I’ll decline to declare Maine Family Planning’s fundraising success a miracle. There is only one Easter miracle relevant in this story. God sent his son to die for us while we were yet in a rebellious state. Jesus was willing to die for every human being because we all bear his father’s image.
Yes, every human being, regardless of age, gender, race, number of chromosomes, bank account, choices, or whatever is sacred. This is not because we deem it so, but because God has. That’s where we disagree — all human life is sacred and therefore worthy of respect and compassion.
Is it possible for Tipping to disagree without resorting to calling people bigots or mocking their beliefs? The Christian Civic League weighs in on some heavy, controversial subjects fraught with passion. We are committed to doing so fairly and with respect. Are you?
Carroll Conley is executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine.