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Can we bring back shame?

Out of the many dramas in the last two weeks of national political conventions, one particular moment caught my eye: when NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue took the stage and told the story of the time she aborted her first child because it was too inconvenient to become a mother.

Please understand, she didn’t tell this in hushed tones of grief and sorrow. She was proud of her abortion.

“I am a fourth-generation Texan,” she started, and went on to explain how “tough” Texas women are. “To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust and the chance to chart our own path. I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time. I made the decision that was best for me – to have an abortion and get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community.”

At this point, applause and cheers could be heard in the crowd.

“Now years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children.”

(Side note: Her two living children are “incredible.” What does that make her dead child? Chopped liver?)

She then goes on to state how wholesome and compassionate abortion is since (sniff, sob) most women who have abortions just want to take care of the children they already have (although that wasn’t Ms. Hogue’s excuse; just sayin’).

I’ll make it clear up front I don’t condemn a woman for having an abortion. Whatever her reasons, it’s a burden she’ll bear the rest of her life, and her actions will be judged by God, not me.

But there are some sick, twisted individuals who celebrate murdering their own babies. They feel the need to “shout” their actions to the world, expressing pleasure that their own flesh and blood was ripped limb from limb and sold to research labs one organ at a time. These women feel shame is not only unnecessary, but unhealthy. Shout out your abortion! Feel proud!

That’s one of the many changes taking place in our nation over the last decade. Abortion supporters don’t even try to dress up their penchant for murder with such euphemisms as “choice” or “reproductive rights.” Now they “shout” it out, gleefully and with a middle finger extended in your face.

It’s not even that these women “don’t” feel shame. They feel they “shouldn’t have to” feel shame. “The problem for a long time was that this stigma felt like a negative cloud,” said Kate Cockrill, the executive director of the organization Sea Change, which attacks the stigma of abortion. “There has been so much focus on legal strategies, and not a lot of attention to strategies for culture change.”

See? Shame is no longer politically correct. We need a “culture change” to keep shame from being, well, shameful.

Things that used to be shameful are now glorified. Pick something that would have been shocking 100 years ago and see how tame and commonplace, even lauded, it is now. Out-of-wedlock births? Abortion? An entitlement mentality? Gender fluidity? A victimhood status? Foul language? Serial marriage? You name it, and we’re glorifying it.

The mainstream media play on this, of course, by panting after more and more shocking things to garner reader (or viewer) attention. Readers and viewers aren’t blameless in this partnership; but as people become numb to shock, it’s up to the pundits to find more and more depraved things to get our attention. What was shocking becomes the “new normal” as our moral center shifts.

In other words, shame feeds on itself until nothing is shameful. And now we are reaping the results.

Of course, this is nothing new. When faith, self-control, morals and shame go out the window, then it’s the beginning of the end. Throughout history, empires and kingdoms and dynasties have fallen when things got too rotten from within.

America is now “glorying in its shame” (Philippians 3:18a-19), and our destiny is destruction unless we can turn this ship around.

Contrary to popular belief, shame is a good thing. It’s strongly associated with something else sorely lacking these days: self-control. Most cases where abortion is “necessary” directly result from a lack of self-control. Unwanted pregnancies don’t “happen” any more than unattended guns kill cops.

Today people are no longer taught to think; they’re taught to feel. Feeeelings don’t make sound, long-range policy because direct and indirect repercussions are not thought out. It might feeeeeel good to pay fast food workers $15/hour until the franchise is forced to close because no one wants to buy $15 burgers. It might feeeeel good to rid yourself of an unwanted baby until you’re hit by depression, regret and breast cancer.

As one person commented, “Liberals love to break down traditions and social norms. This makes them feel empowered. They get more and more extreme with every round.”

America lost our sense of shame when we allowed government to replace God. Decades of liberal brainwashing, decades of moral relativism in schools, decades of mocking the biblical principles that once kept our baser emotions and behavior in check – these have all combined to rip us loose from the principled moorings that kept our society civil, decent, respectful and ethical.

The rift among America’s left and right is getting wider and wider, but all is not lost. Underneath this glut of shamelessness is a thread of shame about our shamelessness. It’s like people are longing for – something. It’s almost as if we can only sink so low before we realize “lowness” isn’t a goal to aspire toward.

Shame may be a societal thing, but self-control (by definition) comes from within. It isn’t any “fun” (which is why it is so seldom exercised), but it is honorable, moral and beneficial to society as a whole. Self-control is achieved when people realize its lack causes too much, well, shame.

According to the Bible, the first gift was the gift of shame. But like all gifts, it’s up to the recipient to accept or refuse it. Too many people have decided to refuse this gift – and refusing a gift from God is never a good idea.

Let’s hear it for shame, folks. It’s a necessary thing to keep us nudged toward the self-control needed to steer our nation on the right path – not the dark road.

Media wishing to interview Patrice Lewis, please contact [email protected].