Thursday, October 23, 2014

Choosing to Jam an Abortion Band

At some point, aren't we evangelicals going to have to decide who's side we're on?

A group of professing Christ-followers were recently raving about a Pearl Jam concert they'd attended in Denver, Colorado.  Within the rock-n-roll world, Pearl Jam is one of the most outspoken bands when it comes to endorsing the pro-choice movement.

Then, coincidentally, I read on today that Planned Parenthood will be spending upwards of $18 million to fight pro-life candidates across the South this fall in our midterm elections.

See the problem?

If you don't see the disconnect, then consider these sobering facts about Pearl Jam.  Forget for a moment that they're a grunge-rock band whose musical merits are easily debatable as worthy material for Christ-followers to consume.  Let's pretend that, like we pretend for so many carnal, hedonistic rock groups, Pearl Jam's ethos and worldview are unoffensive to the cause of Christ.

Let's merely consider these petty little factoids:
  • Pearl Jam performed in 1994 for Rock for Choice, a series of pro-abortion concerts in the 1990's.
  • Pearl Jam's frontman, Eddie Vedder, used to throw axes "to relax," and had a photo of one of his daughters at the center of his target - not exactly a pro-choice activity, perhaps, but not exactly pro-life, either.
  • Vedder wrote an article for Spin magazine entitled "Reclamation" in which he argues that abortion is a human right (although he ignores the distinction between which human abortion benefits; the mom, or her unborn baby).
  • Pearl Jam's cryptic song, "Porch," is widely believed to be an endorsement of abortion.  By the way, it was included in the program for their concert in the Mile High City.
Do I need to go on?

Now, granted; a lot of bands, celebrities, and pop culture icons here in North America advocate for the pro-choice movement.  Avoiding them simply because of their stance on abortion would leave a pretty limited pool to enjoy.

Nevertheless, does that mean that those of us who believe in the sanctity of life should simply throw in the towel and support whatever entertainers we want to support?  Just because everybody is doing something bad, is that enough justification to go ahead and attend their concerts, consume their products, and shrug off any personal responsibility regarding how the money we're spending on them actually works against our presumed morality?

Not that anybody has to boycott Pearl Jam, or any other pro-choice organization.  You don't have to sign a petition promising you'll never listen to another Pearl Jam song ever again.  Christ-followers don't necessarily need to make a huge display of piety in order to simply choose not to support something or somebody.

But can we simply ignore the reality of what we're supporting when we attend concerts, purchase music, and otherwise willingly, knowingly, and unnecessarily participate in commercially endorsing entities such as Pearl Jam and their pro-choice advocacy?

To answer that, simply consider where pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood are getting that $18 million they want to spend this campaign season.  Sure, a lot of that $18 million comes from their profits from performing abortions.  But they're also getting money from groups and individuals who are sympathetic to their cause.  Groups like Pearl Jam, and people like Eddie Vedder.

I'm not saying that being in attendance at a Pearl Jam conference is explicitly a sin, although I'm not sure how you could counter that it isn't.  But how does paying to attend such an event by such a group support the cause of Christ?

Is it out of ordinary ignorance that Christ-followers choose to support Pearl Jam?  If so, then now you know:  supporting Pearl Jam does not appear to be a wise thing for Christ-followers to do.

However, how wise is it of Christ-followers to willingly choose to patronize Pearl Jam, now that you know the score?  Isn't that more selfishness than personal accountability on your part?  Are you reading this and reacting with the presumption that I'm a curmudgeon, trumping up legalistic-sounding reasons for why you can't have a little fun?  If so, how is that being loving to your fellow Christ-followers who are advocating for life in the womb?  The folks against whom Planned Parenthood and Pearl Jam are fighting?

We all make decisions in life.  We make them every day.  We all make good decisions, and bad decisions.  And there's no shame in admitting when we've made a bad decision.

It's what we do after that bad decision that often counts more.

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