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.
This was different, but in a good way. At Tennessee Tech University (TTU), official policy allows individual students (not just student groups) to host events on campus. So when national pro-life award-winner and TTU student Justin Brown contacted us about bringing GAP, we were eager to go.
It is amazing how much influence one student can have, by God’s grace and with your support. Thank you for making our work possible!
As it turns out, every public university student has the same right that Justin exercised at TTU; their universities just don’t know it … yet. The rights of free speech and equal access to university grounds are individual rights, not group rights. They cannot be denied to an individual student simply because he hasn’t identified others willing to join him in that speech. TTU has figured this out, and they deserve credit for that.
There were some complications, however, because several TTU administrators didn’t understand their own policies. To make matters worse, they were not very cooperative when we tried to speak with them. It’s a good thing we got those issues resolved, however, because the last thing TTU wanted was for CBR to start flying airplane tow banners bearing abortion photos over their campus on a regular basis! They can ask Notre Dame what that’s like. TTU hosts many activities for high school students throughout the summer (Boys State, cheerleading camps, etc.), so the last thing they want to see is abortion photos flying overhead. Fortunately, they read their own policy manual in time, so we can save the nasty version of ourselves for somebody else.
Justin did an outstanding job of hosting GAP at TTU, and we look forward to working with him for many years to come. We set up in front of the Library, a very good location in the middle of campus.
It was our very first trip to Western Kentucky University (WKU) with the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). We were not invited by a student group, but were able to reserve space as a vendor on Centennial Mall, the most heavily trafficked location on campus.
Although the WKU Students for Life (SFL) did not sponsor GAP, they were willing to host our Pro-Life Training Academy (PLTA), and we are grateful for that. SFL members learned how to articulate and defend the pro-life position, even in a hostile environment.
GAP proven effective yet again! Even though the WKU SFL didn’t sponsor or participate in GAP, they did set up an information booth at a different location nearby. They told us that many students stopped by their booth and said that our GAP display had changed their minds. Some even signed up to join SFL! That is why we say that GAP
- neutralizes the opposition,
- converts the neutral,
- activates the converted, and
- energizes the active!
It was by far the best campus Christian organization we have ever encountered. They are Ratio Christi and they don’t have time for the “pizza for Jesus” tomfoolery that wastes so much time in youth ministry today. Young Christians are very weak because nobody is preparing them to take a stand. But Ratio Christi is different; their unofficial motto seems to be, “We’re trying to pick a fight!” And they are good at it!
The fight we helped them pick was over child sacrifice at the U of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). Ratio Christi, along with College Republicans (CRs), invited us to bring our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) and Pro Life Training Academy (PLTA) to UNCW for the very first time. By God’s grace and your support, we made quite a splash.
Our display location was along the Chancellor’s Walk, which is the primary walkway to get from anywhere at UNCW to just about anywhere else.
Campus newspaper coverage of GAP:
- The Ever-Growing Controversy: Pro-choice or Pro-life? (published about a month before GAP)
- Genocide Awareness Project comes to UNCW
- Controversial Comparison of Genocide and Abortion
Local news coverage of GAP:
- Two UNCW student organizations bring controversial display to campus
- Controversial display has people talking at UNCW
Lightning was an issue both days on campus. For our GAP displays, CBR has adopted the NCAA protocols for outdoor athletic events (although our staff and volunteers are normally much less exposed than the typical baseball center fielder). We vacate the site whenever lightning is detected within a 6-mile radius (less than 30 seconds between lightning flash and sound of thunder), and stay in a sheltered location for 30 minutes beyond the last such strike.
Although East Carolina University (ECU) has an undergraduate enrollment of >21,000, this was our first-ever GAP at ECU. By God’s grace and with your support, it won’t be our last.
ECU has no pro-life student group—we are taking steps to fix that problem—but their policies allow outside groups to reserve space on campus, so we did! Although our location was a good one (outside the Student Center), ECU is a huge campus and there is no one collection point for all of the pedestrian traffic. That made our Truth Truck all the more important, allowing us to reach many thousands of students who may not have seen GAP in person.
The campus newspaper coverage was excellent, and included a photo of our best GAP signs on page 1, above the fold! Items in the campus paper:
The second article was factually incorrect about one point. We did not pay a service fee to use the space. First, ECU did not set up the display nor clean up afterward, as implied by the article. Second, ECU officials asked us to move our event from the designated public forum (near the Cupola) to the location outside the Student Center. Since the designated public forum space is available free of charge, we incurred no additional fee by agreeing to ECU’s request. Finally, we would never agree to pay any security fee (to cover the cost of policing violent pro-abortion protesters), because that is a violation of the Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement decision of the US Supreme Court.
This was our first trip to Grand Valley State University (GVSU). The GVSU Students for Life did an awesome job of hosting both GAP and our Pro-Life Training Academy (PLTA).
The Quote of the Week came from one of the students who actually came out to protest against GAP:
You saved my future children. I would have aborted them. Now I won’t because I know what it looks like.
On the first day of GAP at Oakland University (OU), Christina Lo Piccolo wrote on her Facebook page:
The cost of my student group hosting the Genocide Awareness Project: $5,000
The look on my professor’s face when he asked if I saw the disgusting display outside and I told him I helped organize it: PRICELESS!
What a thrill to work with young heroes like Christina! The thrill is even sweeter because our trip was paid for by student fee money, just like last year! Students for Life collaborated with a dozen other campus groups to pay our expenses out of their respective student fee allocations.
But the best part of the week came at the very end, when Christina again posted on Facebook:
This past week was life-changing to say the least. I was able to participate in 3 days of the Genocide Awareness Project to educate students about abortion. Hearts were changed and students were motivated to take action. I can hardly wait to graduate and continue this work as a full-time career. “Y’all” are like family to me, and working beside you feels like home.
Did she say “Y’all”? How bout dat. We get to do GAP and learn a Yankee how to tawk! It don’t get no better-n-at.
Seriously, we’ll never end abortion if we don’t get folks like Christina to join the battle full-time. The other side has made killing babies a full-time profession, but we’ve made saving them a part-time hobby. We can’t do anything without volunteers and financial supporters like you, but we absolutely need more like Christina to do this full-time. Such a victory is well worth the trip to Michigan!
Thank you for making this possible with your gifts and prayers.
Choosing life is always the right choice … but not always the easiest. Purdue University Students for Life has created a video to raise awareness about resources available for pregnant students on their campus.
Take a few minutes to watch their beautiful video and remember that there is support when you choose life!
You might also check out Students for Life of America’s Pregnant on Campus Initiative.