“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward the slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs your heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” (Proverbs 14:11-12)
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the protesting type. I prefer, whenever possible, solutions with which everyone agrees. I am generally conflict averse. I have always been an opponents of abortion (in theory, at least) but the issue became one thousand times more personal and devastating to me when I had my own children. The recent videos are horrific and shocking to the conscience, though the relative callousness of many people is nearly as distressing. Nevertheless, I have always believed that the most effective ways of preventing abortion is not protest but support for unwed mothers, church engagement in adoption, and a church that fosters a love for human life – all life. I still believe all these things. I still think that protests are neither the main nor the most effective tools in the pro-life movement.
And yet, I believe they have their place and tomorrow I will be attending a protest outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic.
I’ve been wondering recently how the church can exercise its “prophetic” voice in our culture and I think this is one of those ways.
For an excellent explanation I strongly encourage you to read John Piper’s post on this same topic here. Even though I agree with everything he said I want to articulate my own, personal, reasons as well.
The main reason I will be participating is to be a voice for the voiceless. The babies being killed cannot speak for themselves. They cannot advocate on their own behalf. People of conscience must advocate for them. The babies are a people without power. They are not even recognized as people. Instead they are mere tissue, pieces and parts to be bought and sold. We must defend the cause of the innocent and the powerless. To do so is to demonstrate love to our fellow creatures.
The second reason is to expose and decry great injustice. Christians are called to hate injustice and part of hating injustice is using our collective voice to speak out against it. Martin Luther King Jr. and William Wilberforce fought hard with their words to seek justice for the oppressed. They did so because they saw injustice and spoke out on behalf of the victims. My aim is to do the same.
The third reason is to recognize the presence of systematic and structural evil within our society. Many evils are individual and personal but there are also evils in our world which are systematic and structural, not merely based on the choices of individuals, but related to the laws and broader culture in which we live. The Planned Parenthood disaster is a demonstration of this sort of systematic evil. It exists in the laws which are patently unjust. It exists in our culture that freely admits a preference for convenience over life. It exists in a misogynistic worldview that glorifies sex without consequences. My participation in this protest ought to be seen as a protest against this sort of systematic evil and not necessarily as against those women choosing abortion, who are often as much victims as this system as the aborted babies themselves. Proponents of Planned Parenthood argue that they didn’t break the laws. If that’s really true, then this only demonstrates the extent to which systematic evil can exist with the laws of a nation.
Two final words:
First, I support many other methods to reduce the instances of abortion. My wife and I support Alpha Women’s Center whose primary efforts include support for women in crisis pregnancies. Protests and the like are secondary efforts, but still have their place.
Second, I don’t know exactly what will be happening at the event but if you join me at the protest then I plead with you to act in a Christ-like manner. Even in protest and advocacy we are called to love.