by Lt. Gov. Ronald L. Ramsey
Independence Day is a day to cherish. While it is fun and relaxing to grill out and shoot fireworks, it is important to remember that July 4 is not just a date on a calendar. It is a day to remember how we gained our independence. It is a day to remember who we are.
Going about our daily lives in this great country we take for granted just how this nation came to be. America did not become America by sitting back and accepting the commands of those who thought they knew better. We did not become a nation by bowing to the whims of an elite. This nation was established because free men and women had no interest in listening to a King who no longer represented them.
So they fought. Against greater numbers — and even greater odds — and won their freedom.
On this day, I often try to remove any thought of current events and think only of the great history of this republic and the story of its founding.
The news of the past few weeks makes that very difficult. It seems that every time I turn a channel or click a link, I see our culture and cherished institutions maligned and marginalized.
In Tennessee, the future is bright. I am consistently amazed at the ability of Tennesseans to care about each other and look after one another. We remain the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family.
The nation’s future, however, looks darker.
We will not be fighting with guns or live ammunition, but there is a fight ahead. It is a fight about fundamental values. It is a fight about who we are. Like the American colonists of the 1770s, we must not sit back and let those who think they know better determine how we shall live. We need to take back the country our founders fought for 239 years ago.
After emerging from the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a citizen what kind of government this new nation had. He responded simply: “A republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.”
This day — more than any other — is a day to remember the tremendous gift we were given by our founders and reflect on what we can do to keep it.
God Bless the Great State of Tennessee and God Bless America.
Ron Ramsey is a frequent FAB contributor. In his spare time, he is Tennessee’s Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate.
“You all are a bunch of racists for comparing abortion to slavery!”
The accusation is almost comical. We hear it all the time from students who have no better argument for decapitating and dismembering little human beings.
But of course, we didn’t invent the comparison. Long before there was a CBR, Jesse Jackson compared abortion to racial injustice. He must have been a racist.
As it turns out, Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has also equated abortion with slavery. He must be a racist, too!
by Nicole W. Cooley
At the Shenandoah Valley Soap Box Derby, a complete stranger asked, “Did you go to Tennessee?”
He seemed really excited about my orange Tennessee hat. I hated to disappoint him, but “No, my boss did.”
I continued, “I am a pro-life activist. We travel all over the country with our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), and I always get a hat from each campus.”
Who knew a simple baseball cap could spark a conversation about abortion with a complete stranger?
… he carefully dismantled each [fallacy] in a patient way, not acting superior, but as if he were merely suggesting another way to look at it.
I’ve been a collector all my life. I collected Longaberger baskets for years. I still buy a new basket on occasion, but at over 200 baskets, I’m pretty satisfied there.
As a child, I collected rocks from the different places we lived. We were a military family that traveled all over the world, so I have lots of rocks, including some neat limestone from England and large round rocks from a beach in Scotland.
But of all my collections, my current one is the most meaningful to me. You see, every hat has a story.
At the University of Tennessee, I spoke at length with a student who used to be pro-life, but changed her mind in college. Veteran pro-life apologist Mick Hunt took the lead. I call him “the philosopher” because he’s great at talking with students who are wrestling with higher-level questions. Her struggles centered around “bodily autonomy” arguments like the “famous violinist” who could be saved by an unwilling kidney donor. We sat on the grassy knoll across from the display for over an hour.
Mick gently explained how a mother’s relationship to her own child is different from a person being forced to offer his kidney to a complete stranger. I took note of his probing questions to specifically identify the fallacies in her thinking. I also saw how he carefully dismantled each one in a patient way, not acting superior, but as if he were merely suggesting another way to look at it.
I’m not sure if that young lady is pro-life today or not. But, I do know she must have wrestled with the things we talked about for some time. Most people are not solidly pro-life without having first wrestled a bit.
For most people, being pro-life or pro-abortion is a continuum; few are truly 100% pro-life or pro-abortion. Most get hung up somewhere along the line because of those pesky “exceptions” to the rules. They struggle with the idea of telling a rape victim she should carry to term or with preventing abortion in the case of fetal abnormalities. That’s why GAP is such a great tool for college campuses. We help students wrestle with the hard questions. We challenge the status quo of their own opinions. We put pebbles in their shoes and force them to think.
After watching Mick Hunt at work, I vowed to be ready next time. I went home and studied the bodily autonomy arguments in depth. At the next GAP, I would be ready to plant a few pebbles of my own.
Nicole Cooley is a CBR project director and a new FAB contributor. This is the first in a series of “hat blogs” about memorable conversations gleaned from her experiences with GAP.
by Ruth Rawlins
Americans do almost everything on a much larger scale, so I wanted to see how the colonials defend unborn children!
I lead the CBR UK team in London, so I was thrilled to travel to the USofA (along with colleague Mark Williams) to take part in the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) at Oakland U and Grand Valley State U.
Before stepping foot on campus, we attended the Pro Life Training Academy (PLTA). Although we had attended similar training before, the PLTA was extremely helpful. The new material and interactive role-playing really brought the subject matter to life. I learned new ways to answer the tough questions.
“She told me that she was still pro-choice, but wanted me to know that I had saved any of her future children, in that she would never have an abortion herself.”
The huge GAP display, the many CBR staff and volunteers, the pro-life students, the Truth Truck, and even the pro-abortion protesters created a real buzz on campus. Students told us it was “the talk” all around the campus, not only in the hallways but in the classrooms as well.
I was particularly impressed with the warm and friendly approach of the GAP volunteers as they engaged the pro-abortion protesters. I was pleasantly surprised by the openness of those they were engaging, enabling real conversations to flow, something that rarely happens in the UK with those who oppose us. I witnessed many individuals soften through the way they were treated with such love and grace, which obviously counteracted the false preconceptions that pro-lifers are hard, cold, and angry!
I had many conversations, including one with a hardened professor who saw the strength and logic in our arguments that abortion is genocide, but stubbornly refused to accept the truth. Thankfully, the students were much more intellectually honest. Many young men and women listened, asked questions, and saw the terrible injustice in abortion. Some of these also signed up to join the pro-life college group, to find out more, to get involved, and to make a difference.
The most significant conversation for me was with a young woman protesting against GAP. This polite young lady came over to see what we had to say, asking all the questions she had, possibly trying to catch me out. She also disclosed some personal situations from her past. I sensed that she, like so many, didn’t have great self-worth. If these students do not see their own lives as worth much, then what worth can they attribute to a so-called “bunch of cells” or a hidden being?
Pointing to the images, I answered her questions. I also posed the question that “shouldn’t all human beings have worth?” She agreed that they do. She thanked me for the discussion, we hugged, and she walked away. First thing the next morning, before the other pro-abortion protesters had come out, she walked over to speak to me. She told me that she was still pro-choice, but wanted me to know that I had saved any of her future children, in that she would never have an abortion herself.
She said she had gone home and looked at the leaflet and thought how it is true that everyone should have worth, no matter their size. I was so encouraged – especially to hear her say the word “worth”. But I pressed her further about her friend’s children, “Aren’t they worth something, too?” She agreed and said she would try to persuade them not to abort if they were in that situation.
She was deeply moved, although she did continue to the bitter end to stand in protest with her pro-choice friends with her new banner “pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion”. I too was deeply moved at her humility to share that change of heart with me. And I believe that the good work God has started in her will continue until she can proudly stand in defense of all pre-born children.
The GAP project showed me the huge importance of reaching these young people at this critical college age, where they are typically open to debate, open to logic, soft-hearted, and not so set in their ways as older people can be. It is vital that we continue to support educating and mobilizing this next generation to bring this genocide of the pre-born children to an end in their life-time. And I am so encouraged that, with the continued growth of projects such as GAP, they will do just that.
Ruth Rawlins is on staff at the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform UK and a first-time FAB contributor.
by Kendra Wright
Sometimes people say we would be more effective if we “just passed out brochures.” One student at East Carolina University (ECU) suggested we “take it down a notch.”
Martin Luther King and William Wilberforce were not afraid to be bold … and they didn’t conquer social injustice with informational brochures. Several at ECU realized the effectiveness of our strategy and the need for boldness.
At ECU, one man stopped and faced the truth. He exclaimed, “Wow, I had no idea this is what abortion was! They are so tiny … and that is a hand!” He would not have known if we had not showed him.
Another student claimed that the display was “”too much.“” CBR’s Jane Bullington explained the history behind using pictures and how we focus on changing minds. He said, “I see what you are doing and respect your right to do it. If this had just been a brochure handed out, you and I wouldn’t be talking.”
A gentleman who regularly walks the ECU campus and prays scripture over it was so glad we were there. He too had used abortion photos and had stood his ground when told to stop. Other Christians and pro-lifers had told him to tamp it down, and he said NO!
CBR also says NO! We will not stop giving the unborn a voice!
Kendra Wright is a CBR project director and a regular FAB contributor.
by Kendra Wright
When we showed abortion victim photos at Georgia Southern University, students wanted to know more.
One student cried out, “Please, somebody, tell me what this is all about!” That is exactly what we want them to ask. The pictures create opportunities to bring life-saving information to students who know very little about abortion.
Another student exclaimed, “I don’t know how abortions are done. Please tell me!”
Yet another wanted more information about the local pro-life pregnancy help center.
A biology student told us that she knew the facts about the preborn. She said, “While this is hard to see, I am glad you are here. People need to see and people need to know what the word means.”
That’s why you sent us … to give life-saving information to the people who need it most. Please consider a generous investment in the lives of babies and moms.
Kendra Wright is a CBR project director and a regular FAB contributor.
The abortion industry has been gloating over a new Gallup poll that claims half of all Americans identify themselves as “pro-choice.” But the devil for the pro-aborts is in the details.
You don’t have to drill down very far to see that 55% of Americans agree that abortion should be completely illegal or legal only in a few circumstances. Only 42% say abortion should be legal under most or all circumstances.
Apparently, many Americans don’t know what they mean by “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” For example, 4% of those who described themselves as “pro-choice” said that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Not sure what they were smoking. (Come to think of it, that 4% is roughly equal to the percentage of Americans who live where marijuana is legal; hmmmmm.)
Anyway, a full 23% of self-described “pro-choicers” said abortion should be legal in only a few circumstances. Hardly your classical “pro-choice” position.
Always look at the details.
The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) returned to California State University Long Beach (CSULB) in April, hosted by the Catholic Newman Club. What a rare thrill to work with a Christian group with the courage of their convictions!
- CSULB Catholics bring pro-life advocates to campus
- Bio-Ethical Reform should not be allowed to display graphic photos for its anti-abortion campaign on campus
- Letter to the editor: Genocide Awareness Project
- Letter from the editor: the ‘Genocide Awareness Project’
- Letter to the editor: Ban the Abortion Fort
“Our goal is to get them banned from campus because of how uncomfortable it makes people feel.” (Karina Sarabia, sophomore English major) [Translation: “Messages and people who make me uncomfortable must be banned.”]
“Everyone has the right to demonstrate his or her beliefs, but … these pictures should not be displayed in the center of campus ever again.” (Tuyen Dinh, junior journalism major) [Translation: “The US Constitution is a living, breathing document, so we can make it mean whatever we want it to mean at the time. My friends and I get to decide who has rights and who does not.”]
“[Their signs said], ‘Do not engage’ or ‘Want to help? Just walk away. Do not engage.’ Were they attempting to silence GAP because the pro-life side was actually making sense and was more compelling than theirs?” (Meredith Amon, CSULB Sophomore) [Answer: Yes!]
“A university is a place for learning, so there is simply no excuse for the ignorance that was on display two weeks ago.” (Ariana Sawyer, Opinions Editor) [Translation: “Ignorance = any knowledge I wish to avoid.”]
“If the pictures are scarring and viewers are uncomfortable, wouldn’t your next thought be ‘why?’ Why the negative reactions? There must be something disturbing about what is being photographed. A picture is nothing but a neutral, unbiased portrayal of what is on the other side of the lens.” (Dyanne Roper)
Occasionally, we encounter the pro-lifer who supports the use of abortion victim photos (AVPs) on college campuses (in an academic setting), but not outside abortion clinics (where they might be seen by pre-abortive or post-abortive women).
To support their position, they cite the observations of former abortion clinic workers who say that such violent photos often frighten and upset women rather than lead them to change their minds. Abby Johnson’s has stated that women who came into her Planned Parenthood clinic for abortions were not dissuaded by pro-lifers displaying AVPs.
We love Abby Johnson, but these former clinic workers miss the main point. First of all, we have heard from countless women who did not abort because they saw AVIs (www.AbortionNo.org). The babies saved by AVPs are very real.
Second, we should bear in mind that clinic workers inside these clinics spoke only to the mothers who decided to go through with their abortions. Yes, these mothers did decide to walk past the pictures and come in anyway. That is obvious. But these former clinic workers fail to consider the mothers they did not talk to, the mothers who did not say to these clinic workers, “I decided to save my child,” because they turned around and left before they had a chance to say anything at all to the clinic workers.
And yes, mothers who went ahead with their abortions might have been “frightened” and “upset” by the truth, but so what? They were having their own children decapitated and dismembered, perhaps even tortured to death. The problem isn’t that they were upset; the problem is that they were not upset enough.
Thankfully, we know that some women were upset enough, and their babies are alive today.
Interesting comments on our website during GAP at Tennessee Tech University (TTU).
Visitor, a 22-yr-old female, said that she was fueled with “the rage of a thousand suns about how closed-minded people can be.” I wonder how open your mind must be in order to contain that much rage?
When I encounter closed-minded people, they are almost always on the political left. Why is that?
Anyway, she went on to say that abortion is “a great option for people not ready for birth.” Au contraire! When I wasn’t ready for birth, the only safe option for me was to stay right where I was.
Moms: getting children ready for birth for thousands of years.
Recently, a Minneapolis sex education teacher took students as young as 11 to Smitten Kitten – which, according to its own description is a “progressive sex toy store for everyone.”
Not surprisingly, parents were outraged. One summarized his frustration over the field trip as a “major breach of trust” and caused him to remove his children from the school.
While this story garnered national headlines, explicit sex-advocacy as part of sex education classes across the nation are not all that unique.
NAEA shares their outrage. Parents were not notified of the field trip and the sex toy store has since been cited for exposing minors to explicit products. However, Starri Hedges, who teaches the school’s sex education class, indicated she wanted to provide a “safe and welcoming environment for students to learn about human sexual behavior.” The interpretation of what constitutes “safe” and “welcoming” begs an urgent question of adult judgment.
While this story garnered national headlines, explicit sex-advocacy as part of sex education classes across the nation are not all that unique. This particular teacher remarked that in regard to sexual topics, “there is no right age for all kids.” So it comes as no surprise that the sex ed teacher would find it appropriate to introduce barely pubescent students to the products inside the walls of Smitten Kitten.
“While adolescents deserve accurate information and skills to avoid sexual risk, teen-sex-advocacy and provocative information is beyond the pale. The majority of teens are not sexually active, and that figure has increased 15% in the past 20 years. The ‘too much, too soon’ sex education lobby in Minneapolis and in other communities across the nation is harmful. It exposes a growing, blatant attitude among contraceptive-focused sex educators that unapologetically advocates teen sex as normal and even expected behavior.” notes, Valerie Huber, president of NAEA.
Sex education should equip teens to avoid all sexual risk by waiting for sex – and should offer practical encouragement and skills for the sexually active teen to choose a healthier lifestyle – free from the risks of continued teen sex.
This story from Minneapolis reveals the blurred lines between sex “education” and sex “advocacy” within those classes that normalize teen sex through their alleged “comprehensive” approach to the topic.
It could have been billed as “The Tussle in Tulsa.”
On April 25, Gregg Cunningham of Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) debated T. Russell Hunter of Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) on the topic of pro-life incrementalism vs. pro-life immediatism. You can link to the debate here or watch below.
At the heart of Hunter’s position are the notions that (a) attempts to save some babies and moms from abortion by passing abortion restrictions actually amount to a defacto endorsement of the practice (i.e., “abortion is OK as long as it is restricted”) and (b) the babies saved in the short-term by incrementalist measures will be fewer than the babies saved in the long-term if we would all abandon incrementalism in favor of immediatism.
No matter what we may think of the issues, the debate, or the personalities involved, we praise God for Mr. Hunter and for AHA … If the rest of the “pro-life” church were doing as much, this would have been over long, long ago.
Hunter and AHA have ruffled the feathers of many in the pro-life movement by harshly criticizing their methods and motives. Of course, we at FAB must always be open to criticism; we ourselves have not failed to challenge those in our movement who reject or even suppress the only strategy that can ultimately win. As with any debate, the distinction between instructive criticism and destructive divisiveness can often be a matter of whose ox is being gored.
But for the sake of babies, moms, and families, we must always be open to exhortation and correction (2 Timothy 4:2). Sometimes we receive it, and sometimes we dole it out. In this regard, most of us have no problem embracing Acts 20:35, where God tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The Tussle in Tulsa resulted from Hunter’s public challenge calling for any pro-life leader to debate him on incrementalism. Cunningham accepted. He is widely regarded as the premier pro-life strategerist on the planet. (Here at FAB, that belief is unanimous.)
The most compelling points made by Cunningham:
- Martin Luther King was an absolutist in his goal of equal rights, but an incrementalist in his approach to civil rights legislation.
- Similarly, William Wilberforce fought for the complete abolition of slavery, but he also endorsed incremental laws that would reduce suffering in the short-term.
- Even God Himself, although an absolutist when it comes to sin, was (is?) an incrementalist when giving the Mosaic Law.
- There is no conflict between reducing suffering in the short-term and abolishing injustice in the long-term. They are not mutually exclusive; we can and should do both.
As a side note, Cunningham addressed Hunter’s criticism of those of us who raise money for pro-life work. He noted (and praised) AHA’s use of abortion imagery obtained by CBR and provided to others in the movement free of charge. This is made possible only by an enormous amount of fundraising. Cunningham observed that Russell does raise funds, but “he just lets me do it for him.” Then he quickly added, “And I don’t mind that.”
One issue that arose during the Q&A was CBR’s policy regarding spiritual discussions vs. social justice discussions in the presentation of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). FAB will address that issue in a separate post.
In the aftermath of the debate, a number of summaries and analyses have been posted, most of them in favor of Cunningham’s performance/position. Notables:
- Scott Klusendorf: Debate Between Gregg Cunningham and T. Russell Hunter
- Jonathon Van Maren: Four observations from the Cunningham vs. Hunter debate
- Jill Stanek: Abolition of Reason: Pro-Life Apologists Deconstruct “Immediatist” Ideology as Presented in Cunningham-Hunter Debate
- Jill Stanek and Clinton Wilcox blog posts:
- Part I: Let babies die today, we can save the rest later
- Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?
- Part III: Social justice history vs TR Hunter
- Part IV: Straw men and the Bible
- Part V: Sacrificing children to the idol of abolitionism
- Part VI: Christians and the legislative process
- Part VII: So fundraising is wrong?
If Stanek & Co. get their way, the “Tussle in Tulsa” will now and forevermore be known as “The Tulsa Takedown.” But there were dissenting opinions:
- Don Cooper: Former Pro-Life Leader Reviews the Cunningham/Hunter Debate on Immediatism
- AHA Blog: What about these babies?
- Abolish Human Abortion Facebook Page (scroll down)
- T. Russell Hunter Facebook Page (scroll down)
No matter what we may think of the issues, the debate, or the personalities involved, we praise God for Mr. Hunter and for AHA, because (a) they are using abortion photos to expose the cruelty of abortion and (b) they are sharing the Gospel of Jesus. If the rest of the “pro-life” church were doing as much, this would have been over long, long ago.
As to the debate and the issues, you be the judge. See it here:
by Lincoln Brandenburg
Pro-life students at Western Kentucky University (WKU) were trepid about using victim images, so we brought the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) under the university’s vendor policy.
Rather than participate in GAP, they set up a free-speech board about 100 feet away, with the question “How can we help pregnant women on campus?” According to their president, they wanted to gauge the responses of students to GAP before committing to using victim images.
We acknowledged that many students would not be thrilled about it! But we also guaranteed that GAP would be more effective than anything else they have ever seen.
But they didn’t have to just take our word for it. They saw it with their own eyes and heard it with their own ears. Near the end of a fruitful first day of GAP, one of the SFL members approached. He said, “We’ve had a lot of people tell us they changed their mind on abortion because they saw your pictures!”
During our conversation, I mentioned that the most outspoken students tend to be those who are upset by abortion victim images. He assured me that, “Oh, the students who’ve talked to us were upset, but they realized that abortion is wrong.” They had been upset because they realized that abortion, by it’s very nature, is upsetting.
Social reformers are never popular until after they achieve their goal. Martin Luther King got thrown in jail. But reformers don’t wait for the culture to approve; they act against the evils that society tolerates and celebrates.
According to Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, “Perhaps the most important principle … for the pro-life movement to adopt at this point in time, is that pro-life activity which relies on the voluntary consent of the audience is insufficient. … To put it rather bluntly, effective social reform requires forcing the message on an unwilling audience. It means confronting the culture with what it does not want to hear.” (Source: The Unwilling Audience)
Lincoln Brandenburg is a CBR project director and a regular FAB contributor.
CBR is pleased to announce the appointment of Philip Hamilton as our newest project director in Virginia!
Philip was born in Norman, Oklahoma and spent part of his childhood in Germantown, Maryland while his father worked at NASA. Philip currently resides in Springfield, Virginia.
He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Administration of Justice from George Mason University (GMU), a Paralegal Certification from GMU, an advanced Paralegal Certification from Virginia Tech, and a Master’s of Science in Administration of Justice and Security from the University of Phoenix.
He has been active in politics for more than a decade, with a growing emphasis on the pro-life movement after joining the GMU Students for Life (SFL). This illustrates the effect that CBR is having on campus. CBR started the GMU SFL, recruited and trained the founding president, and continue to bring abortion photos to the GMU campus every two weeks. All of this influenced Philip to join the pro-life movement full-time!
Recently, Philip has written several pro-life articles for The Fairfax Free Citizen. Philip has also written articles supporting the Unborn Child Pain Capable Act, promoting counseling for women considering abortion, and supporting the GMU SFL.
He looks forward to winning hearts, changing minds, and saving lives at CBR. Welcome aboard, Philip! We’re expecting great things from you!
If you’d like to support Philip (or any of our staff members), it’s quick, easy, and secure to support CBR online. Whatever you can do will make a huge difference. To support Philip’s work, designate your gift for “Virginia Project Director (SE-PAH).”
We need the Black community. Without them, we cannot win. And who better to advocate against pervasive injustice?
That is why we were thrilled when the Life Education And Resource Center (LEARN) brought our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to Fayetteville State University (FSU) in North Carolina, one of many historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) who need to see that all Black lives matter. It was our first visit to this school.
“I saw so many being enlightened, some weeping, and others willfully joining our opening and closing prayers. The dialogue was transforming.” (LEARN National Director Johnny Hunter)
One group of students said they even watched part of Maafa 21 in class, because of our presence on campus.
- “All Black Life Matters” project visits HSBC Fayetteville State College students
- LifeTalk: Johnny Hunter interviewed on Life Dynamics
- Life Dynamics: Students react to All Black Lives Matter abortion display
“CBR has always been burdened by the fact that the abortion rate in the African American community remains tragically high. Black women account for 36% of all abortions despite constituting only 11% of the female population.” (CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham)
For more details, read this letter from Gregg Cunningham explaining the All Black Lives Matter Initiative.
Kudos to CBR Maryland Operations Director Samantha Linnemann for making this event possible by bringing equipment and personnel to Fayetteville and managing the site.