Tyler, a young man at Oakland University was angry at us. His girlfriend had been raped and had an abortion. He told us that when she saw the GAP display, she was quite upset and unable to do anything but sit in her dorm room and cry. He wanted me to remove the GAP display, and he wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less.
I probably didn’t handle it correctly. I’m human, too, so I fumble the ball sometimes. But in the final analysis, Tyler really didn’t need to hear from me. He needed to hear from somebody he could listen to. He needed to from a woman (or man) who could relate to the pain of having aborted a child. Maybe he needed to hear from you.
We must show the truth, because everyone, including women who have been raped and are pregnant, need to see the truth before it’s too late. We were too late for this couple, but not for others.
But we also need to show compassion. If you have experienced abortion, please join our team. Please go with us, so you can explain to folks like Tyler how God loves us in spite of our sin. You can explain how God can forgive us and heal us from abortion, just as He can forgive and heal us from any other sin. You can tell them that you know this is true, because you’ve been there.
One post-abortive rape victim told us, “When you talk, I want to punch you in the face.” If you are post-abortive yourself, I’m willing to bet you will get a different response.
At every university, they basically tax conservative and neutral students (through exorbitant student activity fees) to subsidize left-wing student activism on campus. They take in millions of dollars in mandatory fees every year, with almost none of it going to conservative events/projects, but huge amounts going to left-wing propaganda events/projects. A local example is $20,000 of student activity money spent on (Perverted) Sex Week at the University of Tennessee, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.
But occasionally, they do throw us a bone. At Oakland University (OU), the Students for Life (SFL) applied for and received the funding necessary to pay for GAP. This happens rarely … very rarely.
As conservatives, we need to be coaching our students to apply for and get money for conservative activities, just like the leftists do. (We actually pay professors to coach leftist students how to apply for and get this money, but nobody is coaching our students.) When they apply for money and don’t get it, we should go to court and sue universities over and over again until they are forced to level the playing field.
One student at Oakland University (OU) said, “If you cut off your finger, then you can take the cells and turn them into reproductive cells which can be turned into a human being. So why is the embryo so important?”
Two factors in play here, dehumanization and confusion of wholes with parts.
He is confusing wholes with parts when he equates an individual cell that is part of a human being (the cell in your finger) with a cell which is a human being (a human being at an early stage of development). The cell in your finger can never act as a whole living organism. You leave it alone and it dies. The embryo in you womb is a living human being. You leave it alone and he grows into a fetus, infant, toddler, adolescent, teenager, etc.
Theoretically, it may be possible to create a new human being by manipulating an individual cell taken from the “parent.” Once that process is complete it would be a new human being. But until then, it’s only a cell from the “parent.”
He then uses this theoretical possibility of asexual reproduction to equate a baby in the womb with a cell in your finger. It’s just another way of dehumanizing the unwanted human being that he intends to kill.
We encounter many foreign students who know what genocide is. They know what dehumanization looks like. That’s because many of them have experienced it … or their families have.
A group of three Armenian students at Oakland University (OU) had lost family members in the genocide in Turkey (1915). They understood it at a personal level, and believed those family members would agree our message of genocide.
She started her life in China. She was a second child, so she started her life as an unwanted child. Most such children in China are killed, but her mother had been brave to save her life. Eventually, she found her way to America, where she was adopted by an American family. As a former unwanted child, her response to GAP was to join the Students for Life and volunteer to help!
GAP highlights many ways in which abortion is comparable (although not identical) to other forms of historical genocide. One similarity is the language used to justify the killing.
For example, pro-abortion protester Lauren Catoni was quoted in the Oakland Post (the OU student newspaper), “It’s actually horrifying that they’re comparing this to genocide because genocide is a widespread movement to eliminate people and abortion is a medical procedure people have when they need it.”
Perpetrators of genocide almost never “eliminate people.” No, they exercise their “choice” because they “need” to. Perhaps Ms. Catoni should complete her sentence: Genocide is a widespread movement to eliminate people and abortion is a widespread medical procedure people have when they need to eliminate people they don’t want.
The Oakland University (OU) Students for Life (SFL) opposed the use of abortion victim photos … until they attended the Students for Life of America (SFLA) National Conference in January.
They heard Stephanie Gray of the Canadian CBR describe how social movements have used victim images not only to change hearts and minds, but also to move people to action. They called us, and because of your support, we were able to answer that call.
OU SFL President Mirna Awrow wrote:
My fears suddenly seemed so minuscule after hearing Stephanie’s talk. We needed to do this at Oakland University. There was no way around it. We are extremely happy that we decided to go through with this campus-shaking project. The large-scale influence that this project has had on our campus is immeasurable! We are constantly doing pro-life activities on campus, but there hasn’t been something as grand as the GAP project. It reached more students in two days than we would while tabling for one hour in the student center every day for two semesters. Even then, we wouldn’t be able to tell students why abortion is wrong in 3 seconds. With the GAP project, you don’t even need to use words because the “picture is worth a thousand words” cliché truly applies here.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
- If the Ear Won’t Listen, Tell it to the Eye: The Case for Proliferating Graphic Pictures of Abortion
- Picking Up the Gauntlet: Challenging believers to be pro-life not only in belief, but in action: (even mentioned CBR in this one)
Blessings, my friend
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.
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.