Note: In the following article, I refuse to refer to Campus Crusade for Christ by their new name. I find their removal of the words “Crusade” and “Christ” to be offensive and demeaning (and just incredibly silly).
Nearly half of the abortions in this country are performed on college-age women. According to Students for Life of America, 70% of all abortion-providing and abortion-referring facilities are located within five miles of a college campus. Given those staggering numbers, it would seem that campus ministries would be positioning themselves to do something about the problem. But most are doing nothing at all. If you don’t believe me, take the time to go to the Campus Crusade website and do a search for the word “abortion.” See what your search reveals.
So why are campus ministries largely silent on such a profound moral issue? Recently, I had a chance to ask a Campus Crusade director that very question. His response was that Campus Crusade is not “a politically-based organization.” That explanation is inadequate. In fact, it is demonstrably false.
Several years ago, a good friend of mine named Dave Sterrett gave a pro-life speech to a Campus Crusade chapter at a state university in North Texas. He was invited to speak by a student. During the middle of his speech, he was arguing that the unborn are fully human and have souls by quoting from the Gospel of Luke. His talk was clearly Biblical and not political in nature.
Nonetheless, when the Campus Crusade director arrived, he rudely shut the speech down.
The Campus Crusade director told Dave to come out in the hall after he shut down his talk. The Crusade leader then began to yell at Dave and told him, "I don't know what your deal is talking about this issue. Get your books and get out of here." He went even further calling the headquarters of Crusade, which then demanded an apology from Sterrett.
Shortly after I wrote about the incident, several members of Campus Crusade contacted me - but not to apologize for their mistreatment of Dave. They emailed to admonish me for writing about the incident – even though I did not call out the university or the chapter director by name. The fallout from the incident was revealing. It shows how far some campus ministries will go to avoid controversy – and that they often consider themselves to be above reproach.
The original incident was also revealing. The censored speech was not political so the problem cannot be that Campus Crusade is not a “politically-based” organization. The speech was morally and Biblically based. Does the rejection of the speech mean that Campus Crusade is not a “morally-based” organization? Or does it mean they are not a “Biblically-based” organization?
Of course it doesn’t. The incident merely shows that Campus Crusade has become a “comfort-based” organization. In other words, an over-riding priority is avoiding topics that might make people feel uncomfortable.
Sadly, Campus Crusade is not the only ministry that is obsessed with the very un-Christ-like goal of avoiding topics that make people feel uncomfortable. Search the major campus ministry websites and see what they have to say about abortion. I guarantee that it won’t take very long to commit to memory all that they don’t have to say.
The saddest part about this is that Christian peers would be the best possible people to help pregnant women work through the abortion decision process. Imagine Campus Crusade students trained, not just to defend life, but also to walk women through the process of getting an ultrasound, talking to a nurse, and really thinking all the options through. As my friend Amber Lehman says, “The simple truth in love for a woman with pregnancy decisional conflict goes a long way for her to make a life decision.”
I was inspired to write this column after a Campus Crusade chapter director urged me to be careful to avoid criticizing other Christians who do not “attack the abortion issue” the same way I do. That is simply arrogant and utterly un-Biblical. What he really means is that he doesn’t like me calling his organization out for their sinful silence on the most profound moral, political, and Biblical issue of our time.
I urge everyone reading this column to criticize all Christians who “attack the abortion issue” by keeping as quiet as they possibly can in the name of enhancing comfort.
If they admonish you for criticizing Christians, introduce them to the letters of the Apostle Paul. He wasn’t afraid of offending his support team.