Monday, January 25, 2010

Piper and the Rhetorics of Pimpin

I saw this on a twitter feed of one of my friends and found it very disturbing:

"The horrendous, gut-wrenching reality of Haiti's earthquake happens DAILY in abortions."

It purports to be a quote from John Piper, you know the guy who thinks girls shouldn't be on the wrestling team, and the one who thinks god chases gay sympathizers with tornadoes. So I shouldn't be surprised. But what really made me mad is that in an effort to (re)frame the debate about abortion into the graphic horror Piper believes it to be, he pimps out Haiti's earthquake, and the countless victims. Really? Isn't there a better way to make your point Mr. Piper?


David said...

Bryan, it does appear to be a quote from John Piper's sermon here:

I am trying to understand your reasoning for being really mad that Piper used the Haiti situation and compared it to the abortion issue. You say that in doing so Piper "pimps out Haiti's earthquake, and the countless victims."

I am not clear what you mean when you say Piper "pimps out Haiti's earthquake, ...". Perhaps you could use a synonym or define what you mean. It is obvious that your use of "pimps out" is a negative term. I think it includes the idea of taking away from the value or importance of something wrongly to make points somewhere else (in this case the abortion issue).

Here is a quote from Piper's sermon showing a little larger context than the tweet did: "There are about 3,000 abortions a day in the United States and about 130,000 a day worldwide. Which means that the horrific, gut-wrenching reality of Haiti’s earthquake on January 12 happens everyday in the abortion clinics of the world. And it is likely that if the dismemberment and bloodshed and helplessness of 130,000 dead babies a day received as much media coverage as the earthquake victims have—rightly have!—there would be the same outcry and outpouring of effort to end the slaughter and relieve the suffering." -- John Piper, sermon from January 24, 2010.

Piper refers to the "the horrific, gut-wrenching reality of Haiti’s earthquake" -- that doesn't seem to be downplaying the seriousness of Haiti's situation.

Piper also says the amount of focus given by media coverage on Haiti is rightly done. He is not trying to diminish the significance of Haiti's situation.

So did you just not see the larger quote and misunderstood something, or do you really not see the thousands (and millions) of abortions that have occurred as being as significant as the horror in Haiti. Are you mad because Piper gives abortions more significance than you would choose to give them, ... or is it something else?


metalepsis said...

Thanks David for supplying the context, I must admit that in this context it is not as offensive to me, and it seems that Piper's main point is that of the comparison of media coverage. So I'm no longer mad! Just mad (in the british sense).

If I can side step the issue at hand, let me explain a bit why i still find twitter quote offensive.

First I don't believe that Piper is downplaying the earthquake at all, but I think comparisons of Haiti's earthquake are ill timed, if the focus is not upon the Haitian people themselves. There are people suffering at present, people who have lost everything, and to use this suffering to make a point about a contentious topic is at the very least done too soon.

Not to mention I think Piper is wrong on this front, the problem with the acceptance of abortion lies much deeper than the lack of media coverage, it lies in the very idea of privatization of the body, a concept that is, to say the least, very American.

The twitter quote didn't make me think of abortions at all, it made me think of the Haitian community and how their suffering was being used to push an agenda.

But thanks again David for giving me the fuller context, and the twitter feeds really ought to point back to the context.


オテモヤン said...
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slaveofone said...

Who's John Piper? I'm suspicious of any person in a suit, but I don't trust a person in a suit standing in the house of God. My faith isn't business.

>> "the problem with the acceptance of abortion lies much deeper than the lack of media coverage, it lies in the very idea of privatization of the body"

It seems to me that the reasons for either acceptance or rejection of abortion has to do with the problem of determining the location of human life. Is a fetus a human life? How do we know? Where does human life come from? Many people think answers to questions like these are pretty simple, but they are not. We don't even know what the relationship is between the mind and the brain--how can we know the relationship between human life and the human body? As long as there is this great unknown, there will be a multitude of options open to us. For the moment, I am going with the ancient Hebrew and Canaanite concept of human life as beginning and ending with the presence or absence of breath.