A lady wrote me the other day complaining about my friend Neal Boortz. She claimed Neal recently characterized pro-lifers as people who simply wanted to control women’s bodies. She said she didn’t like that. In fact, she said she tried to call in to Neal’s show to correct him but that he wouldn’t take her call. She didn’t like that either so she called me and asked me to call Neal to straighten him out because she has heard me on his show a lot – this meaning Neal must always take my calls even though I’m pro-life.
But I have some bad news for the lady. I’m not going to straighten Neal out any time soon. Instead, I’m going to straighten out the pro-life movement, which is not in a position to straighten out Neal Boortz for over-simplifying our position - this because we’ve been doing a good job of it on our own as of late.
Let me explain.
I do an exercise every semester in my freshman survey course, which, among other things, asks students which individual speaker or group they would ban from campus if they had the chance. For years, the most popular individual choices were Jesse Jackson and Jesse Helms – at least until Jesse “The Body” Ventura appeared on the political scene. The most popular group choice has always been a toss-up between PRIDE and the KKK.
But this year, pro-lifers won “Most likely to be Banned” honors and I think I know why.
In recent years, a thing called the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) has been visiting college campuses with massive wall-sized posters of dead babies. The GAP organizers show the bloody parts of dismembered babies right in the middle of college campuses in the hopes that people will realize that the thing that is aborted is more than a mere clump of cells. They want people to know it is a baby so they will stop and think before they have an abortion.
I used to think this was a pretty good idea until my students taught me otherwise.
In the speaker-or-group-banning exercise I just mentioned, many of these students who wanted to ban the pro-lifers from campus mentioned GAP specifically. They said they did not want us bringing the pro-life message to campus because they did not want to see dead babies on the way to the cafeteria or the library. At first I thought I was sad because the pro-lifers who do not display pictures of dead babies were being lumped together with those who do.
But then I realized I was sad for another reason: Some of my students who wrote these things had experienced abortion firsthand.
And so I have been thinking and I have decided it is time for us to change the way we do a couple of things in the campus pro-life movement. First, I think we can start by replacing pictures of the dead, dismembered fetus with pictures of some live ones. Instead of reminding people of what a horrible thing they did in the past when they had an abortion we can focus on what a beautiful thing the fetus is and how much more beautiful it can be in the future.
Next, we’ll need to convince the kids that if they do not want to keep their babies there are people who do. And if they cannot take care of their babies there are people who can. This is really not as difficult as we make it out to be.
Some years ago, I asked a colleague I will call “Rob” (because that is his real name) how one of our other colleagues I will call Pat (because that is her real name) did such a fine job raising her daughter who I will call Jessica (because that is her real name, too).
His answer was just one word: “love.” But then he ruined his chance to say something really profound with just one word by adding “Her parents did it all with love.”
I thought Rob might be over-simplifying things until later when he raised a kid just as perfect as Jessica. People unwittingly reinforced Rob’s thesis by often saying “Man, Rob sure does love his boy, Emory (which is also the kid’s real name).”
And so now, thanks to a couple of liberals who love their kids, I think I have it all figured out: We take these children from very early on and love them like there’s no tomorrow. Then, after we have them firmly convinced that they are loved - because they are unique and they bring great joy to their parents who simply could not imagine life without them -we are ready to let them out into the world. Then, when tomorrow does come and the children encounter those who do not love them like their parents – those who want children to drink and do drugs and do other things children should not do – then they will not listen because the voices telling them to do bad things are coming from those who do not love them like their parents. Then it all becomes so obvious why Jesus had to speak of Satan and hell but spent even more time talking about unconditional love.
Maybe the key to not hurting those who have had abortions is stopping to remember that they are someone else’s children, too. And maybe if we would share with them the Good News of Jesus rather than the bad news of genocide, they would be convinced that we are the type of people who should keep and care for their babies.
Then, I suppose everyone would be happy and pro-lifers and pro-choicers could stop trying to show each other who is morally superior to whom and why. And I guess the babies would be happy, too.