Archive for November, 2013

Feeling good vs. making an impact

Dialogue at Northern Kentucky University

At Northern Kentucky University, showing abortion photos created more informed dialogue than anything else we could have done.

When you suit up for pro-life work, what would you rather do, feel good or make an impact?

Unfortunately, many of us have adopted a form of “strategic relativism,” in which any strategy or tactic used to fight abortion is just as good as any other.  People say things like, “You fight abortion your way and I’ll fight it my way.”

The inevitable result is that many of us (perhaps most) are engaged in activities that aren’t particularly effective at winning hearts, changing minds, or saving lives, nearly as much as they are good at making pro-lifers feel good about doing them.

While it’s true that our movement has multiple components, just as the body has many parts (I Corinthians 12:12-31), this principle does not mean all strategies/tactics are equally valuable or effective.  In business, construction, child rearing, war, and every other field of human endeavor, there are some methods that simply work better than others.  We would be mad to choose whatever feels good, when experience and logic demand we employ tactics that actually work better.

Don’t be a strategic relativist!  The babies deserve your best.

But that’s not all.  The people who give time and treasure to your work also deserve your best.  They give sacrificially.  Shouldn’t they count on you to invest wisely?

And finally, think of yourself.  If you are investing yourself in this work, don’t you want to maximize your own personal return on investment?  Let’s put it this way: if you had a 401K, would you settle for a 2% annual return when another investment was paying a guaranteed 25%?

Abortion pictures are an indispensable tactic because they force large numbers of people (literally, everyone in sight) to learn and reflect on the two most important facts: (1) the preborn child is a living human being, and (2) abortion is an act of violence that destroys a living baby.  Abortion pictures prevent honest people from denying these facts.

Pro-lifers love to talk about creating dialogue.  The record is clear: when you show thousands of passersby exactly what abortion is and does, you create more dialogue (and more informed dialogue) than anything else you can do.

Note:  FAB is indebted to CBR Maryland for inspiring and contributing to this article.  The good folks at CBR Maryland are definitely making an impact!

Pro Life on Campus at Eastern Kentucky University 2013

Mark Wolf and Julie Thomas at EKU

Above: Mark Wolf (Ohio) speaks to one student as CBR volunteer Julie Thomas (Georgia) looks on. Julie is wearing a t-shirt that says “I regret my abortion. Ask me about it.”
Below: Mark speaks with Alex Godbey, the president of Students for Life at EKU. Alex is already a great leader for the pro-life movement.

“Do you believe in welfare for women who become pregnant?”

Olivia, a student at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) asked this question of CBR volunteer Mark Wolf.  Usually, questions like this are simply attempts to change the subject.  They don’t want to talk about the decapitation and dismemberment of little human beings, so they bring up every conceivable societal problem known to man.  If pro-lifers can’t solve all of them, then abortion must be retained as the solution of final resort (the final solution?).  And not just for mothers who face difficult circumstances, but for all mothers.

EKU was our third stop on a 2-week GAP trip through Kentucky.  It was our third visit to that campus, the latest being in April 2011.  It was cold, but we didn’t let that deter us from winning hearts, changing minds, and saving lives at EKU.  Media coverage:

Olivia pressed her point, “Do you support free access to contraception?”

Mark pointed to one of the 10-week abortion photos (a picture of a hand and an arm on a dime) and asked, “Is it ever morally justifiable to do this to another human being?”  Her eyes moved to the picture and focused on the remains of the child, and she struggled with the reality of abortion as if she saw it for the very first time.

Mark gave her time to process the image.  When she again tried to change the subject, Mark described what happened in a D&E abortion, and asked her if it is ever morally acceptable to do that to another human being.  She again stared at the image and struggled with what she saw.  Finally she said that she would have to “get [her] sources” and then she walked away.

Of course some people change their minds right there on the spot.  But many, like Olivia, need time to consider the facts and weigh the arguments.  Let us pray for Olivia and many more like her who are struggling with the truth they saw on campus last week.

Maybe Olivia will become the next Julie:

“Poised for a Breakout”–from Obamaism

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

FAB contributor Newt Gingrich explains how life could soon be much better if we can overcome bureaucracy, over-regulation, and restriction of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Poised for a Breakout”–from Obamaism
by Newt Gingrich

President Obama must have been cruising Amazon.com this weekend.  Or at least so it would seem from his remarks to the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

“In a lot of ways, America is poised for a breakout,” he said.  “We are in a good position to compete around the world in the 21st century.  The question is, are we going to realize that potential?”

If you’re a regular reader of this newsletter, that idea will sound very familiar.  It is the argument I have been making since last spring, and the subject of my new book, Breakout.

The President is right that America is poised for a breakout.  Advances in science, engineering, and technology offer incredible opportunities in learning, health, energy production, transportation, and many other fields.  These breakthroughs could mean we are on the edge of a dramatically better world in which many of our current problems simply disappear.

President Obama is also correct that the big political question facing Americans is whether “we are going to realize that potential”–whether we will choose to break out.

But what the President apparently doesn’t see is that he represents breakdown–the greatest threat to our potential future.  That government as bloated as our current one will inevitably break down may be the chief lesson of Obamaism.

There is a breakdown of big government bureaucracy, a breakdown of competence, a breakdown of common sense and defined purpose in government, and a breakdown of the rule of law.

Practically every day we are reminded that the government is simply incompetent to do all the tasks it has assumed to itself.  The disastrous launch of Healthcare.gov is just the latest example.  Even with three and a half years to build the website, the key people in charge failed for a variety of reasons–some legal, some bureaucratic, many political–and rather than admitting their failure, they foisted the broken system on the country anyway.

The same breakdown in competence extends across the federal government.  It’s the reason 20 to 25 percent of Earned Income Tax Credit payments by the IRS are improper.  It’s how the same agency managed to send “a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds…to a lone address in Shanghai.”  In the private-sector, we have systems to fight this level of incompetence.  In the broken down big government bureaucracy, the failure is simply expected, and it continues year after year.

In some respects, the problem is bipartisan.  We saw it in federal response to Hurricane Katrina under the last administration.  Yet only one party believes we should increase Americans’ reliance on broken systems.

Beyond the breakdown in competence, there is a breakdown of common sense in the federal government.  Programs continue decades after they have outlived their usefulness, like the national “raisin reserve” on which the Washington Post reported recently.  It requires raisin farmers to hand over large portions of their annual harvests to “a farm program created to solve a problem during the Truman administration, and never turned off.”  There are hundreds of similarly pointless programs hidden in the bureaucracy.

Finally, there is a breakdown in the rule of law, as we have seen over and over under the Obama presidency–from the IRS targeting conservative organizations, to EPA officials releasing personal information on thousands of farmers to environmental activist groups, to the Justice Department conducting criminal investigations of journalists, to the President’s unilateral suspensions of parts of immigration law, welfare law, and even his own health care law.

As the champion of bureaucratic, centralized, and often extralegal solutions, President Obama is the leading representative of the breakdown that could prevent America from seeing a breakout like the one he predicted yesterday.

As I argue in Breakout, I do believe life could soon be much better for all Americans, if we can overcome the prison guards of the past keeping us trapped in bureaucracy, over-regulation, and restriction of innovation and entrepreneurship.

There is enormous potential for learning science and e-learning, personalized and regenerative medicine, American energy production, breakthroughs in transportation such as self-driving cars, and even a private space industry.

But this will require big changes in how we organize government–changes that President Obama certainly will not make.  In fact, he’ll take us further in the wrong direction.  That’s why we won’t know the answer to his question–”Are we going to realize that potential?”–until the elections of 2014 and 2016.

Thank you, Senator Ted Cruz!

Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz

Now that ObamaCare is proving itself to be the disaster we all feared … in fact, even worse than we feared … Ted Cruz is smelling like a rose.  People will long remember who stood up and spoke the loudest in protesting this train wreck.

It is good that there were no Republican fingerprints on this piece of criminal legislation.  But that is not enough.  In politics, messaging and timing are critical.  You have to make  your case in a memorable way at the right time.  If nobody remembers what you said, then what difference did it make?

Ted Cruz was one man who went out and fought hardest in those critical months leading up to the ObamaCare train wreck, while others were content to sit on the sideline and wait for the disaster to come.  Now that the disaster is becoming apparent to all, who will they remember fought against it?  Ted Cruz.  Well played!

Here’s an advertisement from the Conservative Campaign Committee:

C.S. Lewis & Intelligent Design (video)


Two items from the Center for Science and Culture.

Science and Faith: Are They Really in Conflict?  According to a recent survey, 55% of American adults believe that “science and religion [are] often in conflict.”  What is your church or private school doing to show parents and their children that science and faith are actually in harmony rather than at war?  If you’ve been at a loss about how to engage issues of science and faith in your congregation, consider becoming a host church for “Science and Faith: Are They Really in Conflict?,” a worldwide simulcast event on Sunday, September 21, 2014 featuring John Lennox from Oxford University (who some call a new C.S. Lewis) and New York Times bestselling authors Stephen Meyer and Eric Metaxas.

By registering as a host church or school for this important event before the end of November, your group will receive a 20% discount.  Register NOW and SAVE.

C.S. Lewis & Intelligent Design.  The Center has produced a new short documentary about C.S. Lewis’s journey to find intelligent design in nature.  The film is being released on YouTube in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death this coming Friday, November 22.  See it here:

God Made All Peoples … Pro-Life on Campus at Berea College

Meredith Hunt and the other CBR volunteers are the true reporters and journalists at Berea College.

Meredith Hunt and the other CBR volunteers are the true reporters and journalists at Berea College.

CBR volunteer Meredith Hunt reports on CBR’s recent Choice Chain at Berea College.  Hunt is a veteran GAPper, having taken our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to more than 50 universities.  Read more of his thoughts and works at www.lifeadvocates.blogspot.com and www.chaoticterrain.com.

God Made All Peoples
By Meredith Eugene Hunt

Taking our handheld “Choice” signs to Berea College on Friday, November 8 was a homecoming for me.

When Fletcher told me about the GAPs planned for Northern Kentucky U, Eastern Kentucky U, and the U of Kentucky, it seemed natural to go to nearby Berea on the extra in-between day.   That weekend, quite literally was Homecoming at Berea.  Since my youngest son is now a student there, my wife and I, both of us alums, have special impetus to become involved in the college again.

Years ago, when I was a Berea student, I attended a convocation at which the speaker spoke on abortion as a silent holocaust, and that presentation, I’m sure, was a factor in leading me into full-time pro-life work.  My son said that the college, having become far more liberal since then, would never have such a speaker now.  Not that they would boast of it, but Berea graduate Dr. Willie J. Parker (class of 1986) is an outspoken abortion advocate and practicing late-term abortionist.  He’s been the “medical director” of Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC and he is the 2013 winner of the “2013 George Tiller, MD, Abortion Provider Award,” whatever that is.  Parker is not only an abortionist but is also a “Christian,” he says.  He explained last year (May 27, 2012) in the New Jersey Star Register (link here),

In listening to a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, I came to a deeper understanding of my spirituality, which places a higher value on compassion. King said what made the good Samaritan “good” is that instead of focusing on would happen to him by stopping to help the traveler, he was more concerned about what would happen to the traveler if he didn’t stop to help.  I became more concerned about what would happen to these women if I, as an obstetrician, did not help them.

Parker doesn’t seem to notice that in the Good Samaritan story, he is the violent robber who leaves the traveler in the ditch, naked, and bleeding.

Berea College, too, projects a skewed, incomplete perspective on certain aspects of Christianity.  When college president Roelofs learned of our intention to bring Choice signs for students to see them as they crossed the highway that intersects the campus, he sent out a campus-wide e-mail.   In the e-mail he wrote these words:

“In 2003, our community (persons from Berea College, the City of Berea, local churches, and others) developed the following statement expressing our collective commitment to “love over hate,” and it seems appropriate to revisit this thinking:

“For God so loved the world .. . that’s all of us!  United and Diverse.  We believe all people have been created in the image of God and are loved by God.  We believe this divine origin and love invests each person with an inherent dignity and worth that should be respected and cherished.  We believe God’s love toward us is not dependent upon our condition or actions.  God loves all because God is love.”

It seems clear from the rest of the letter that Berea College does not include children before birth in the human family.  That they are not created in the image of God, are not loved by God, do not have inherent dignity and worth that should be respected and cherished.  That love for pre-natal children is dependent on conditions.

Or maybe they weren’t thinking about abortion at all when they composed their statement.  Perhaps they should have been.  But that’s why we brought the images and printed arguments to Berea.

During our GAP tour I led a short devotional with the team each morning.  Before Berea, my text was, from Philippians 4, “Let your gentleness be known to all.  The Lord is near.”

The students who passed us were respectful.  True, a couple female professor types stood back out of brochure range as they waited for the light to change, but by-and-large everyone else was either friendly or receptive to our presence.  We handed out more than 1000 brochures entitled “Unmasking Choice.”  A black student asked one of our people, “Is this a religious organization?”  The answer essentially was no.  “That’s why your arguments are so cogent!” he said with enthusiasm and waving one of the brochures.  CBR is an organization of Christians, but we primarily make secular and scientific arguments as to why abortion is wrong.

Passersby (that is, drivers in vehicles) often responded, and most indicated strong support.   Berea is a liberal college in the middle of a rural, conservative region, and you could see that clearly.  A few people pulled over to get out and make a comment, or people just gave a thumbs up or called out encouragement.   A few didn’t know if we were for abortion or against it, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone could think  people who supported the choice to abort a child would show pictures of that dead child.  But some people get confused that way.  Innocent unsophistication, I guess.

We also had the Choice Truck driving up and down the road for most of the four hours we were there.  A US Marine Corps medical corpsman in dress uniform and at Berea for homecoming stopped to talk and thank us.  I spent a good deal of time talking with the director of campus safety.  He was my age and had had long experience as a police chief and with security for governmental leaders.

The editor of the student newspaper, The Pinnacle came by for a while.  He wrote an editorial that favorably compared our use of graphic imagery with a similar approach for issues important to him, such as war and mountain-top removal in coal mining.  He did however say that our “protest” was not much newsworthy.  “I didn’t see anything particularly timely or gripping about this demonstration,” he wrote.  “Did this particular group break any new information about abortion?  No they did not.”

Probably he’s right.  But it’s a sad state of affairs when the aborting of children in the womb is so customary, routine, and “old” that it can’t be news.   We are in a sorry condition when cogent arguments against the ongoing legal killing of children don’t break any new information.

In the instance of us bringing the graphic images to Berea College, we were the true reporters and journalists.  We were the media, the “guardian of the student’s right to know,” (echoing the byline of The Pinnacle).  This information about abortion was new to most of those students.  We brought that missing convocation out on the sidewalk, and hopefully some student will make a decision for life for her baby, or will someday become a pro-life activist, or won’t become another misguided Dr. Willie J. Jackson.  By advocating for children in the womb, we represent a missing element in the fulfillment of Berea’s motto, taken from the Bible, “God made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”

Let’s go back again soon.

Choice Chain at a busy sidewalk at Berea College

We passed out more than 1,000 pro-life brochures in just a few hours at Berea College.

Choice Truck at Berea College

A Choice Truck at Berea College expands our reach many-fold.

We’ll quit comparing abortion to the Holocaust, if …

U of Kentucky student studies the similarity between abortion, the Holocaust, and Slavery.  In each case, the highest court declared the vicims to be non-persons.

U of Kentucky student studies the similarity between abortion, the Holocaust, and Slavery. In each case, the highest court declared the vicims to be non-persons.

I posted this comment on the Kentucky Kernel story on our GAP at the University of Kentucky.  Please go and add your own comments!

For the people who don’t like us to compare abortion to the Holocaust, the answer is simple. This is all you have to do:

  1. Overturn Row v Wade, the Supreme Court decision that declared preborn children as non-persons. (In 1936, the Reichsgericht declared Jews to be non-persons.)
  2. Don’t use dehumanizing words to describe the human beings you advocate killing, e.g., words like products of conception, parasite, potential life, mass of cells, blob of tissue, not a person, etc. (Nazis called their victims rats, pigs, vermin, untermensch, etc.)
  3. Don’t say that abortion makes our society better by getting rid of unwanted children. (Nazis declared that they were making their society better by getting rid of inferior … i.e., unwanted … people.)
  4. Don’t frame your argument in the language of “choice.” (Nazis asserted that the racial makeup of the German nation was an internal matter for the German people to decide; they also emphasized Hitler’s choice, his “Will to Power,” as a Nazi propaganda film put it.)

If the abortion industry and their apologists would quit saying and doing things that remind us so much of the Nazi era, the similarities might become less obvious.

Stay tuned to FAB for more on GAP at the U of Kentucky.  Read the Kentucky Kernel story here.  Please go and add your own comments!

Connecting with Black students at NKU

Bryan McKinney with daughter Elizabeth.

Bryan McKinney with daughter Elizabeth.

A group of Black women approached CBR volunteer Bryan McKinney at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).  Bryan had joined us for the entire Kentucky GAP tour, along with his wife Christy and his 2-year-old daughter Elizabeth.  What an awesome family!

Shirby Ferguson, President of the Black United Students (BUS), told Bryan that BUS officers and members had e-mailed and texted her about the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display.  They were upset about the use of lynching photos in our display.  Shirby said none of them had the courage to come out and speak with us, so she was there representing all of them.

Before long, Shirby and Bryan were engrossed in dialogue that lasted well over half an hour.  Bryan explained that CBR’s entire operating philosophy comes from the King family.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) said that America would never reject racism until America saw racism.  Dr. King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, now says that, in the same way, America will never reject abortion until America sees abortion.

MLK compared racial injustice to the Holocaust on many levels, particularly with respect the dehumanization of their intended victims.  Additionally, MLK knew people needed to see pictures of racial injustice to understand the plight of the Black man, just like they needed to see pictures of the death camps to understand the horror of the Holocaust.

Once Bryan explained that MLK and other social reformers in US history had used images to help change hearts and minds, Shirby immediately changed her mind about our display.  She had been pro-life already, but she had not understood why our display used the comparisons that we did.  She stayed for over an hour to speak with other volunteers and staff members, accompanied by BUS members.

Bryan also mentioned that, as a white man, images of racial injustice were the closest he could ever come to understanding her personal connection with the injustice of racism.  On the other hand, images of Holocaust victims were the closest she could ever come to understanding his personal connection with the Holocaust, a time during which several of Bryans relatives were killed.

Winning hearts and changing minds at Northern Kentucky University (NKU)

Fletcher trots out a toddler

CBR Southeast Director and FAB author Fletcher Armstrong trots out an imaginary toddler to ask if “personal choice” were a sufficient justification to kill a toddler. (There isn’t, because the toddler is a human being.) “So, if a preborn child is a human being in the same way that the toddler is a human being, wouldn’t it be wrong to kill him as well?”

At Northern Kentucky University (NKU), we were treated to a steady stream of passersby who saw the pictures and were forced to think about abortion in a new way.

One such man said that there was no abortion in the Middle East, where he comes from.  (We doubt that, by the way.)  However, because abortion is legal in the USA, he had come to believe it must be OK.  Seeing abortion pictures changed all of that.  He told CBR Project Director Maggie Egger, “I hadn’t thought much about it, but it’s legal so I assumed it was okay.  These pictures are terrible.  You’ve really opened my eyes.  Abortion is not okay.”

CBR volunteer Laurice Baddour spend several hours breaking down the pro-abortion protesters who showed up.  She has a unique way of endearing herself to people by simply loving them, right where they stand.  Several admitted to her that their signs of protest didn’t mean they completely supported abortion.  One said, “I’m only holding this sign because my friend told me to!”

Please keep in your prayers a young man who saw the pictures and told CBR staffer Renee Kling that he had gotten a girl pregnant in his home country.  Even though he knew abortion was horrible, he didn’t understand just how evil it was, so he and his girlfriend chose abortion.  He said, “I carry that guilt with me.”  Renee invited him to speak with Lisa, our post-abortive volunteer and showed him how to connect with people in the community who could help.

Pro-Life on Campus at Northern Kentucky University

Renee Kling at NKU

Renee Kling uses the photos behind her to prove abortion is a savage act of violence that kills a living human baby.  In the background, a crowd gathers to talk about the GAP display and what it means.  In between, a young lady studies the photos.

It’s important to show people what abortion really is, because until people feel uncomfortable about it, and realize what it really is, they’re not going to change.  You are not going to get the laws changed, or people’s hearts changed.

So said Ella Beckman, President of Northern Right to Life (NRL), the student pro-life group at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).  Ella is an excellent spokesperson, as you can see.

NKU was the first stop on our November tour through Kentucky, which will include stops at Berea College, Eastern Kentucky U, and the U of Kentucky (Lord willing).  More about those later.

We are always amused at the arrogance of people who believe freedom of speech is for them alone, but not for anyone else who dares to disagree.  Stephanie Knoll, an undecided freshman, was quoted in The Northerner (the student newspaper), “Whether or not people agree, abortion is their choice and they shouldn’t be trying to shove their opinions down everyone’s throats, especially not with images …”

In other words, killing a baby is OK, but to express your opinion against abortion is not OK.  To support your opinion with evidence is even worse.  Riiiiiight.

The Northerner reported that Rosa Christophel posted via her Facebook account, “NKU is a learning institution not an abortion clinic.  I can’t believe this is allowed.”  We agree on both counts:

  1. NKU is a learning institution.  On Wednesday and Thursday, thousands of students learned the truth about abortion.
  2. We also can’t believe abortion is allowed in a civilized society.

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