Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What does AHA stand for?

AHA has become terribly schizophrenic of late. On the one hand you have statements which tell us what AHA stands for and differentiates AHA from the prolife movement, on the one hand, and violent agitators on the other hand. For instance:

On the other hand, you have this recent disclaimer:

Important note regarding relationships and various goings-on taking place between and among various abolitionists.
Please understand that "AHA" is not some sort of an organization that can make official pronouncements about who is and is not an abolitionist, or Christian, or sinner or anything like that.
When individual abolitionists or groups of abolitionists do make such pronouncements they are not to be take as though they represent some sort if official "AHA" position, decision, or pronouncement.
This is not to say that all such pronouncements are right or wrong, it is just to say that this is not how AHA works.
There isn't some kind of board or group of leaders that gets together and decides to practice some sort of top down church discipline or Christian accountability with any and everyone who adopts the abolitionist ideology.
Individual abolitionists and abolitionist societies can and should hold each other accountable to live God honoring Christ following lives because that is just something that Christians are called to do, but there is no AHA overboard or leadership in existence to determine or approve all the interactions which go on among individual abolitionists. Similarly, there isn't some sort of list describing who is and is not a part of "AHA."  

That's the reductio ad absurdum of refusing to be an "organization":

i) The disclaimer is self-refuting. An anonymous spokesman for AHA assures us that no one can really speak of AHA in general. But he thereby disqualifies himself from representing AHA.

ii) That's how AHA loses control of the message. An abolitionist becomes whatever any particular abolitionist thinks, says, or does. The answer varies depending on who you ask. 

iii) AHA can't have it both ways. Either it stands for something, in contrast to something different, or else it stands for nothing in general inasmuch as every abolitionist is free to define the movement's ideology for himself. 

iv) AHA seems to suffer from growing pains. I assume the founding chapter or mother chapter (Norman, OK?) originally gave it direction and definition. But since every chapter is equal to every other chapter, at best the founders can only speak for their own chapter. In fact, it's unclear if there's even a leadership structure within each chapter. 

For the moment I'm not saying if that's good or bad. I'm just pointing out that AHA has no core identity. It continuously evolves or metastasizes. It calls itself an "ideology," yet it has no board of directors or group of leaders who can make authoritative pronouncements about the ideological content or boundaries. 

In a sense, that may give AHA plausible deniability, but at the cost of becoming increasingly indefinable and contradictory. 


  1. It's been very interesting to watch AHA over the years. I've even seen a few prominent members of the non-organization drift farther and farther away from orthodoxy, one in particular towards a form of messianic Judaism that will likely lead them to apostasy of they continue on their current trajectory. I had high hopes for AHA so this is all very disappointing.

  2. At a minimum AHA stands for rhetoric, sloganeering and hip kitsch for sale.