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Archive for May, 2014

Religion, Darwinism, and abortion … a hot combination!

Secular Pro Life

Secular Pro-Life founder Kelsey Hazzard, left, carries a sign at the 2012 March for Life in Washington, DC. (photo from The Catholic World Report)

My new friend (I hope) W. Russell responded to an FAB post earlier this week.  He (or she) wrote:

I think you are making a big mistake by linking the pro-life cause with religion. There are people out there like me that are prolife but want nothing to do with religion. Not to mention the fact that “Darwinism” (btw, there is no such thing) has nothing to do with abortion. I am an atheist, believe in evolution, and am pro-life. Why do you want to write me off as an enemy to your cause. You say the biggest treat to children is the belief in evolution and abortion. No, the biggest treat to children is ignorance and the lack of respect for human rights, every human’s rights. One can believe that every human being, born and unborn is deserving of life without believing in a deity. The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you. If you do, you are just as ignorant as the people who support abortion.

This is my reply (with a few edits):

Thanks for your comment. I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you said. For example, you said, “One can believe that every human being, born and unborn, is deserving of life without believing in a deity.” You are of course correct. Many atheists agree with us on the right to life.

You said we should not link the pro-life cause with religion. There is some truth in that. For example, we should be able to argue against abortion without appealing to our religious beliefs. With our Pro Life Training Academy, we do exactly that. We train people to talk about spiritual matters only with people who are open to that discussion. When an atheist asks us why we oppose abortion, we don’t say he must adopt a new moral code before he can become pro-life; we simply ask him to apply his current moral code to everyone equally, including the unborn. We assume that he opposes killing born people, and usually he does.

You said, “The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you.” You are again correct, and I am happy to work beside you to end injustice, including the injustice of killing unborn children, no matter what else we may disagree about.

But I don’t agree with you that just because we disagree on something important, I have “[written you] off as an enemy to [our] cause.” It only means that we disagree on some things and agree on other things.  I have many friends in the pro-life movement, and I disagree with almost all of them about religious matters that we consider important.

It is unrealistic to expect that Christians will quit being Christians when they take up the cause of ending injustice. We Christians fight injustice for two reasons. First and foremost, we are commanded to do so by our Creator.

Second, Christians believe that all of us (including you and me) are created beings, and we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the right to life. If there is no Creator, then we all evolved from the earth. We are simply a cosmic fluke, mere dust that happens to be animated for a short period of time before we return to dust. And if that is true, then what is the basis for any kind of morality? How can one clump of animated dust say what is moral and what is not moral for another clump of dust?

And are all clumps of animated dust to be treated equally? What is the basis for declaring that human lumps of dust have a greater status than non-human lumps of animated dust (e.g., animals)? Or even non-animated lumps of dust (e.g., rocks).

If we claim greater moral significance for ourselves than for dogs or rocks, because we are more evolved, then who is to say that some of us humans aren’t more evolved than others, and therefore entitled to greater rights?

That’s why I believe Darwinism to be a dangerous philosophy … because it ultimately leads to the conclusion that there is no objective morality, there is no basis for equality, and there is no imperative to treat anyone with human dignity. Any moral code is only a tool to promote self interest, and it can be discarded by those in power as soon as conditions make a different moral code more profitable.

I know that you have a different basis for your beliefs that there is a moral code we are all bound to follow, that we all have a right to live, etc. And I respect that. I just don’t agree with it. I welcome you to the table of respecting the unalienable rights of all people; I just got there through a different door. That doesn’t mean that I have written you off as an enemy, nor does it mean I don’t welcome your support.  It just means we disagree.

But before I close, it is my duty to say that I am concerned for your eternal soul. It is my hope that you will live abundantly, not only for a few years on this earth, but eternally in the world to come. I hope you won’t be angry to know this.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)

On final note about Darwinism (the notion that all life forms evolved as a result of random, unguided, naturalistic processes). Speaking as somebody with a science background, I believe the claim that science has made a conclusive case for Darwinism, as opposed to the alternative theory that life is the result of intelligent design, is a classic example of begging the question (i.e., assuming the proposition you claim to be proving). Darwinism does not prove man evolved via naturalistic processes; it assumes man evolved via naturalistic processes. Big difference. But, that’s another topic for another day.

Are they as smart, yet weak and helpless, as they think?

Message: you should be responsible for his student loan.

Somebody else should pay off his student loan. He couldn’t possibly be expected to pay his own way.

At Virginia Tech, a male student asked what should a couple do if they can’t financially provide for a child.  We talked about community resources and adoption options.  We talked about adopted children who are thankful to be alive.  He was visibly moved, we wondered if he is the father of a pregnant woman’s child.

It occurred to me that our culture is telling young people two contradictory things.

First, they hear a steady stream of flattering remarks about how smart they are.  Stuff like, “You are the smartest group of students ever to attend this university.”  Teenagers already believe they are much smarter than everybody else.  That’s part of being a teenager, but this generation believes they are smarter than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

On the other hand, they believe themselves to be so weak and helpless, they can’t possibly take care of themselves, much less take care of their own children.  It has never occurred to them that parents less well-educated and less wealthy than themselves have been raising children for thousands of years.

This kind of thinking is the staple of the political party who promises to (1) provide for their every need, and (2) preserve their the right to kill their own children.  If people figure out that they are plenty strong enough to take care of themselves and their children, the party of dependency and death would become less relevant.

Pro-life/Christian support at Virginia Tech

A venue for Christians to openly share truth

GAP is a venue for Christians to openly share truth.

Sometimes we focus so much on the antics of those who oppose us, we forget to report on the many pro-life students who support our presence on campus.  They are so thankful that they are not alone.

“Thank you!  I am glad you are here!”

“I’m glad those other students [finally] have something to be upset about.”

“If you support this, why don’t you want the advertisement?”

“Why are these people saying you should leave campus?  It is just [the truth]!”

“These are just pictures.  If you are upset, that’s good.”

“This is stirring up conversation; this is good.”  (Christian dining hall employee)

Young Christians believe the truth (at some level), but they don’t know how to answer the full-frontal assault that is the atheistic campus culture.  The modern church has never taught them how to articulate and defend the Christian Faith with logic and reason, so they fear the Faith is illogical and unreasonable.  What a tragedy.

The most effective evangelical organization on campus is often the College Republicans, because those kids know how to articulate the truth without fear.

The two biggest threats to our children … your children … are Dawinism and abortion.  Darwinism is an assault on the intellect; abortion is an assault on the flesh.  Yet the typical evangelical church (e.g., your church) does almost nothing to address these threats.

For example, have the youth at your church seen the movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed?”  No?  That’s a scandal.  And if you have never watched it yourself, that’s a scandal, too.

Anyway, the intellectual needs of young Christians has been ignored by the modern church, but when we show up with GAP, they don’t feel so alone.

When does showing abortion pictures become an “assault”?

John Stonestreet

John Stonestreet

Recently, John Stonestreet made some great points in his commentary A Time To Shock? over at BreakPoint.  He says that he used to be against the use of graphic abortion images, but now has “mostly” changed his mind.  He made several good points that will be familiar to most FAB readers.

However, we’d like to see him change his mind all the way.  We were confused as to what displays Mr. Stonestreet endorses and what displays he believes are off-limits.

His subtitle says: “Using Images of Abortion in the Public Square.”  But then he says: “Now let me be clear: I am completely against blindsiding people with images of aborted babies. It’s not only unfair; it can be a visual form of assault.”  How can we expose abortion in the public square without being accused of blindsiding or assaulting people who are in the public square and don’t want to see the photos?  Is it too much to ask them to look the other way?

He writes favorably about reformers who absolutely placed horrifying images into the paths of people who did not consent to see them (e.g., publishing the photo of Emmett Till in a newspaper, taking unsuspecting men and women into the odor cloud of a slave ship, publishing the photo of the Vietnamese girl on TV and in magazines).  In our case, the newspapers and TV are covering up the truth of the abortion injustice, so is it inappropriate for us to go to the public directly?

Are abortion photos off-limits except for academic settings, sermons in church, and speeches (generally attended only by people who are already pro-life)?  How can we show our fellow citizens the facts if they don’t attend our lectures or worship at our few-dozen churches where they will see the truth?

He cites Eric Metaxas saying we should show our fellow citizens the facts, but we should do so in “appropriate ways at appropriate times.”  What does that mean?  What is an inappropriate method or time to show our fellow citizens the truth?

When does showing abortion pictures become an assault?

Virginia Tech student ran away from the Truth and destroyed her child. Why?

Debbie Picarello at Virginia Tech

Debbie Picarello set up a table for Deeper Still, a post-abortion counseling ministry, at Virginia Tech. She is able to reach many people who will not walk over to the GAP display itself.

She was a student at Virginia Tech.  She was 23, post-abortive, divorced, and has a toddler and a new boyfriend.  She joined the protest against GAP.  She has lived hard and experienced a lot.

She came from a Christian background and was pro-life until she aborted her first child and walked away from the faith.  She does not regret her abortion and is thankful she had it.  She wouldn’t look at the pictures while we talked.

After 45 minutes she finally said “Ok, I now get what you are saying about a woman’s autonomous body and the baby’s autonomous body.  They don’t share the same DNA and the baby is not a part of her body.  I am really struggling now.”  We gave her some literature about prenatal development.  She thanked us and said, “I am now interested in reading about this.”

Here is the question that keeps us awake at night …

What if her pro-life pastor had understood/cared enough about her salvation and her baby to show her the truth about abortion?

Why didn’t he show her an abortion video (e.g., Choice Blues) before she shed innocent blood and ran away from Jesus.

“Almost did that to my son … Thank you” and more at Virginia Tech

Many discussions going on at once

Hearts and minds were changing all around the GAP display at Virginia Tech. Seeds were planted for future conversions.

Here are a few stories from GAP at Virginia Tech.

Almost did that to my son.  A 40+ year old housekeeping staff was crying as she stared at the 22-week abortion picture.  When asked if she was OK, she replied “I almost did that to my now 27-year old son.  Thank you for being here.   I will take a brochure back to women I work with.”

Pro-choice support for GAP.  Even pro-choice students sometimes agree that women can have real choice only if they are fully informed.  One pro-choice female student said, “Talking to you has helped me realize that pro-lifers are not what I thought they were.  I was so angry because my roommate was angry about this display and so I had to come out to see for myself.  I am so glad I talked with you.  You are much friendlier than your pictures.  Education on this topic is so important and even though I am still pro-choice, I want women to have all the information available to them.”

Another pro-choice endorsement.  A female student: “I know why you do this; I just don’t like it.”

Too big, too horrific to ignore.  The purpose of GAP is to force people to think about abortion when they would rather think about anything else.  Our opponents admit that GAP works.  One pro-abortion student told us, “Because of social networking across campuses, this message has not only reached Virginia Tech, but has gone far beyond.  Facebook is abuzz about abortion and people on this campus plus many others are talking about abortion now.”

Bad emotions?  A male student commented about the sadness of giving up a child for adoption.  We told him that parents might very well feel sad to give up a child, but that is a much better emotion than the sadness and memory of killing their own child.

Unpreaching the Gospel: What we do when we are silent on abortion

preaching

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Awesome piece by Rolley Haggard at BreakPoint.  Excerpts:

Moral/spiritual matters are preeminently the domain of the church.  Political overtones notwithstanding, abortion is arguably the moral/spiritual issue of our day.  If we don’t speak to it, who will?
***
As heaven’s ambassadors, therefore, it is not only appropriate but obligatory that ministers address abortion.  Whatever political overtones may attach to preaching against the sin of abortion, silence is not an option for the church—unless the plan is just to quit preaching against sin altogether.  (emphasis added)
***
In answer to this we might well ask, “seekers of what?”  Seekers of a pleasant but shallow church experience, or seekers of the living Christ?  Seekers of a mere “form of godliness,” or seekers of “religion that is pure and undefiled”?

Entire article here.  Show it to your pastor.

One thing we wish Mr. Haggard had added to his piece, and that is the need for showing abortion photos or videos (e.g., Choice Blues) to people in the church.  Christians deserve to know the truth about abortion — what it is, what it does, and what God expects us to do about it.  Most Christians who have never seen abortion don’t understand how evil it really is.  Nor do they understand their own responsibility to “hold back those staggering toward slaughter (Proverbs 24:11-12).”

Before visiting your pastor, you should read this: Why This? Why Here?.  This brochure is designed to answer many questions that Christians leaders (including, perhaps, your pro-life pastor) are confused about.  You might also watch a video of how abortion imagery can be appropriately incorporated into a worship service at a large mega-church (with children removed, warning of content given, etc.).

Update: 27 May 2014, 4:45 pm

Got this comment from Roland Haggard:

Thanks, Fletcher, I totally agree we need to show abortion pix to folks in church, but you’re right I didn’t manage to fit it into the above article. I did, however, include it in these two:

Blessings, my friend

Wanted vs. unwanted at George Mason University

Anna and woman in wheelchair at George Mason University.

GMU SFL President Anna Maher explains that handicapped people are sometimes killed because they are unworthy of life and unwanted (e.g., useless eaters).

I love this photo of Students for Life President Anna Maher on her knees in conversation with Aviva, a handicapped student at George Mason University.

Aviva (not her real name) started out by saying that a woman should always have the choice to abort.  As Anna worked through the topics of personhood, Aviva began to understand that a human fetus is simply a human child, that babies are being aborted only because they were unwanted.  Planned parenthood says “every child a wanted child,” but we know what happens to the unwanted ones.  Anna was able to remind her that handicapped people are sometimes killed because they are considered unworthy of life and unwanted (e.g., useless eaters).

She struggled with the fact that pregnancy changes a woman’s body.   She was concerned that some women are not able to handle such changes, or they are afraid of such major changes during and after pregnancy.  Anna encouraged her to see the body image issues in the context of the larger picture, that negative attitudes towards pregnant bodies are a reflection of a culture that does not embrace Life, but rather demeans pregnancy and labels it is a weakness (as opposed something that women just go through).

As they spoke, Aviva’s heart began to soften to the Truth.  They talked for almost an hour.  Occasionally, Anna would stand up, because her knees were hurting from kneeling on the concrete.  A little voice kept telling her, “Get back down on your knees.”  So she did.  Anna says it was definitely the Holy Spirit trying to teach her something.

 

Pro-aborts prove our point at George Mason University

We have never seen a more striking confirmation of our comparison of abortion to other forms of genocide.  The top image (below) was taken at George Mason University.

Dehumanization at George Mason University

By comparing an abortion victim (who possesses arms and legs and fingers and toes, just like the rest of us) to an “ejaculation,” they are using the same kind of dehumanizing language that was employed by Nazis, Hutus, slave-holders, and many others.

CBR “moron” explains prenatal development at George Mason University

CBR Virginia Project Director Ruby Nicdao speaks with a student at George Mason University

CBR Virginia Project Director Ruby Nicdao speaks with a student at George Mason University.

[This story was submitted by CBR Virginia Project Director Ruby Nicdao.]

As is usual for the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), some were hostile at George Mason University (GMU).  One called me a“moron” after I gave her one of our GAP brochures (How Can You Compare Abortion to Genocide).

I asked, “How am I a moron?”  She said she would come back later and tell me why.  A couple of hours later, she returned with a 2-page list of expenses necessary to raise a child and a number of photos of miscarried babies.  None of it addressed the question of whether it is OK to decapitate and dismember little human beings.  Nor the question of when, during a child’s development, it becomes no longer OK to kill that child.  Nor the question of what criterion should decide who can be killed and who must be protected.

Our discussion centered like most discussions I have with the students:  “Is the fetus in the womb human?  And if so, it is wrong to kill it?”

Hopefully, I planted enough seeds for her to finally see the light!  I also gave her the When Does Human Life Begin? handout, which provides references from medical textbooks, medical professionals, abortion advocates, and even abortionists themselves, all admitting life begins at fertilization.  For example, Dr. Arthur Morris, Jr. was an abortionist who said, “Life begins with fertilization and abortion is legalized destruction of life.” (Asheville Citizen-Times, April 4, 1976.)

Prenatal Development - 475

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Old Man Winter pays GAP a visit at George Mason University

Eric and Johanna at GMU GAP

Eric Holloway of Alexandria, VA (in sports-coat), a local 40 Days for Life coordinator, took time off work to help rescue babies and their moms (and dads). Johanna Young, Silent No More advocate and GMU Students for Life officer, stands in the background with a sign that says “I regret my abortion.”

GAP was such a draw at George Mason University (GAP), even Old Man Winter came out to see it!  He brought freezing temperatures, rain, snow, and winds gusting at more than 20 mph.  Yuck.  He made it hard to stand outside for very long, but we were determined to expose abortion in all its grisly reality.

Assisted by a dozen local volunteers, we endured miserable weather for three straight days (March 24- 26), too thrilled to be striking a blow on behalf of the preborn to worry about physical discomfort.  (OK, the Day 1 photo at right doesn’t look so bad, but it was very cold.  And it got much colder, rainier, snowier, and windier over the next 2 days.)

As always happens when GAP comes to town, the campus was saturated with literature, and conversations on the ethics of abortion could be heard continuously in the area surrounding the display and in classrooms all over.  CBR’s truth truck circled the campus, ensuring that no student could miss the message.

GAP prompts thought like nothing else can.  People who otherwise never think about abortion are forced to confront the issue and try to reason out what they think of decapitating and dismembering little human beings.  With the image of abortion’s helpless victims staring them right in the face, it is hard to argue for the primacy of “choice”.  Of course, this doesn’t stop many from trying.

About 10 or so pro-abortion protesters showed up with their own signs to “refute” the logic of the GAP display.  Their presence always works to our advantage.  Where else do we get the chance to engage hard-core pro-aborts, on our terms, for a protracted period of time?  The enthusiasm of many young abortion supporters tends to wane under continuous exposure to powerful pro-life arguments.

And no argument is more powerful than the picture of a little human being who has been decapitated and dismembered.

[Story submitted by Jonathan Darnel of CBR Maryland.]

Abortion photos and GAP work? Students have their say!

Julie Thomas draws a crowd at the University of North Carolina

Julie Thomas draws a crowd at the University of North Carolina. She wears a shirt that says, “I regret my abortion. Ask me about it.”

Is GAP effective?  We hear it all the time.  Of course we can answer that question and we have.  But now let student pro-life leaders have their say:

“The Genocide Awareness Project has, once again, changed hearts and minds [and] proven its transformative power on our campus.”  (Anna Maher, Students for Life, George Mason University)

“The imprint GAP left on our campus had a magnitude of which I had never witnessed before.”  (Zach Hoopes, Advocates for Life, Virginia Tech)

“[GAP is more effective] than anything our student group has done in the past.”  (Teresa Pincus, Students for Life, North Carolina State)

“The large-scale influence on our campus was immeasurable.  We are constantly doing pro-life projects on our campus, but nothing as grand as GAP.  We reached more students in two days that we could have reached by tabling in the student center every day for two semesters.”  (Mirna Awrow, Students for Life, Oakland University)

“The impact that GAP had on the MSU campus will surely be felt for many years to come.”  (Vinny Szczerowski, Students for Life, Michigan State University)

“Bring the GAP display to your campus and make a big impact.” (Julie and Emily Ascik, Carolina Students for Life, U of North Carolina)

“We fully endorse GAP and we will continue to show graphic images in the future.” (Matthew Ramsey, Students for Life, University at Buffalo)

What more can I say, in addition to what these student pro-life leaders have already said?  We have now finished one of our most successful GAP campaigns ever, making stops at 7 major universities in 4 states, with a combined enrollment of more than 200,000 students.

In addition to reaching nearly a quarter million students with the real truth of abortion, we recruited at least one new full-time staff member and one intern who will join us this summer! Praise the Lord; His plan really did come together!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting interesting stories of hearts won and minds changed here on my blog.  Stay tuned!

Financially, we still have a way to go.  The cost for the 6 GAPs in Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan was $30,000.  We took a step of faith, and so far, we’ve raised $19,000.  Only $11,000 to go.  If you can help us close this financial gap, we can add two more schools to our Fall GAP campaign.  Let us know you stand behind this work, that you stand behind courageous pro-life students, and that you stand up for babies and moms.  Link here to be a financial partner.

Thanks so much for your faithful support.

Genocide Awareness Project returns to University at Buffalo; First Amendment restored

Debate and dialogue is possible

Debate and dialogue is possible, even in places like the University at Buffalo, when lawbreakers are not allowed to censor the undeniable facts.

In stark contrast to last year’s visit, the First Amendment was thoroughly upheld at the University at Buffalo (UB) this time around.  CBR returned to UB to deploy our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on April 28-29.

FAB readers will recall the chaos that ensued on our first visit (stories here, here, here, and here).  As a result of university-sanctioned censorship, CBR filed a federal lawsuit against UB for permitting an unruly mob of pro-abortion protesters to purposely disrupt our peaceful, pro-life demonstration (link to stories here and here).

For those keeping score, this was only the second time in the history of GAP that CBR has been forced to file a lawsuit against a public university.  Usually, the knowledge of our willingness to defend speech rights is enough to ensure their enforcement.

The UB has a long history of obstructing pro-life speech.  When the UB Students for Life organized in 2010-2011, UB stalled their application for 9 months, until the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) forced UB to give the Students for Life the same access to UB spaces/facilities that all the left-wing students enjoy.  Story here: Recent Victory for Pro-Life Speech.  Later, UB students vandalized a Cemetery of the Innocents display, not once, but twice.  Stories here: Second Round of Discrimination and Vandalism at University of Buffalo Continues.

It was clear that sometime during the past year, the University at Buffalo “got religion,” as we say here in the South.  They were determined to prevent the kind of censorship that they allowed last year, and they did.

The area surrounding GAP was constantly abuzz with pro-life vs pro-abortion conversation, sometimes passionate and emotional, other times calm and intellectual, but always productive.

On Day 2, high winds and rain prevented us from constructing the full display, but volunteers made do with a smaller set-up and aggressive literature distribution.  Click to read our brochure,  How Can You Compare Abortion to Genocide?.

Media:

 

wind-resistant configuration

On Day 2, wind gusts up to 50 mph were in the forecast, so we reconfigured the display for maximum wind resistance. The bracing shown is more than sufficient to resist the calculated wind load at 50 mph. As a further safety precaution, we carried utility knives and were prepared to sacrifice the signs if necessary. Using a wind gage purchased from Walmart, we measured top wind speeds of only 19 mph.  In Spring 2006, a 7-sign configuration of our 4×8 signs successfully withstood gusts reported to be 48 mph at Oklahoma State University.





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