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.
For the first time ever, CBR hit Georgia Southern University (GSU) hard with the reality of abortion. Faculty, police, press, and students alike couldn’t deny what abortion does to a human being. Nearly a dozen students said they will organize a pro-life group to continue the work. Pray that they will!
One administrator said her own daughter had been born at 24 weeks; she said her baby, “looked like the picture on your poster.” She was startled by the contrasting photo of a dead 24-week-old baby, killed by a late-term abortionist.
One of the most encouraging responses: “Where’s the sign-up sheet? I have to do something! This is horrible.”
Campus police were a constant presence. One officer debated with a couple Liberty students and did his best to defend choice. It was an unusual but welcome bonus. The officers, doing their job and standing near the display, allowed us to do ours and influence them with the pictures and our words.
We even had media before GAP:
- Police: Graphic images of abortion to be seen on Statesboro streets (story on truth trucks)
- Anti-abortion group: Graphic images to be displayed on Georgia Southern campus
A reporter from the Statesboro Herald interviewed several CBR members, students, and GSU staff. (If you can get the Statesboro Herald website to work,) You can read his article here:
One student said, “Disgusting! How can people do that?” Another commented, “I know the facts and while this is hard to see, I am glad you are here. People need to know what the word [abortion] means.”
One of the most encouraging responses: “Where’s the sign-up sheet? I have to do something! This is horrible.” Indeed.
For the first time in history, CBR exposed the horror at Columbus State University (CSU) in Georgia. We were hosted by the CSU Advocates for Life (AFL), the student group we started earlier this year.
We were joined by five students from Liberty University in Virginia who spent their spring break winning hearts, changing minds, and saving lives. We pray for the day these students expose abortion on their own campus, without interference from the Liberty University staff.
The trip was funded by the Chattahoochee Valley United for Life (CVUL), a chapter of Georgia Right to Life (GRTL). Over the years, we have worked with many GRTL chapters to bring GAP to Georgia. This trip was a huge answer to prayer.
CBR and CVUL hosed our Pro-Life Training Academy (PLTA) to prepare members and students alike to articulate and defend the pro-life movement, even in a hostile environment.
Check out the local media coverage:
A middle-aged woman told us, “I am so glad you are here. Folks don’t understand what they are doing. I have 50 year-old friends who are still hurting from abortion. It goes so much deeper than people realize.” Indeed.
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), Southeast Region Operations, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jackie Hawkins as our newest Project Director.
Jackie resides in Virginia’s Hampton Roads. She received her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture at Ferrum College and her master’s degree in Plant Physiology at Virginia Tech. It was during her studies at Virginia Tech that she came in contact with Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.
Before she joined CBR, Jackie wanted to do more for the pro-life movement. As a busy grad student, she could only spare every other Saturday to go to the nearest abortion clinic to sidewalk council. One day the thought popped into her head: “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could work for the pro-life movement full time?” But she dismissed the thought, “Nah, that’s not a thing.
CBR came to Virginia Tech with their Pro-Life Training Academy (PLTA) and Genocide Awareness Project (PLTA) in the spring of 2014. Jackie came to understand in a few short hours that pro-life work was her passion and that she wanted nothing more than to work with an abortion-abolishing powerhouse like CBR. Lucky for Jackie, CBR is always hiring full-time abolitionists!
As fascinating as plant physiology is — well, maybe to some people — changing minds and saving babies is a more excellent career decision!
Jacqueline looks forward to working not only with university students, but with the Black community to help end the eugenic slaughter of Black children.
Welcome aboard, Jackie! We’re expecting great things from you!
If you’d like to support Jackie (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 Jackie’s work, designate your gift for “Virginia Project Director (SE-JFH)”.
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) is helping the pro-life movement in Europe develop more effective strategies for activism and growth.
So says Neil Datta, secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (an abortion advocacy organization). Referencing an interview with Mr. Datta, Women’s eNews (a feminist online publication) wrote:
U.S. anti-abortion groups appear to be sharing their expertise with their European counterparts. Datta cites the example of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, based in Knoxville, Tenn., which ran a poster campaign that links photos of genocide and holocaust next to images of aborted fetuses. Countries, such as Slovakia and Poland, used a similar ad campaign to promote their agenda at the European Parliament and in public squares, said Datta.
Mr. Datta also described the linkage between good strategy and growth of the pro-life movement:
Datta said it’s hard to prove the financial links between U.S. anti-abortion groups and their European counterparts but signs of growing prosperity are obvious. In Brussels, he said, for example, about a dozen anti-abortion groups have offices and professional staffs. “Twenty years ago,” he said, “there were maybe two or three organizations in Brussels.”
See entire article here.
When you support CBR, you not only save lives and change public opinion in the USA, you enable strategic pro-life activism across the globe!