I’m heading from Pittsburgh to Charlotte to Sacramento on this hot summer day. Flying gives me time to reflect on meetings, speaking engagements, and conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks. I’ve met with pastors, priests, donors, potential donors, partners, staff, and lots of new friends this June and July. It’s been a great season of spreading a culture of life across this fabulous nation.
For your contemplation and comment, here are my somewhat random and rambling conclusions from my time spent on the road this summer.
- Abortion can easily be ended in America. But American Christians need to prioritize the effort. Planned Parenthood’s budget is roughly $1.3B a year. In contrast, if you added up the annual budgets of every pro-life group in America, the total would be around $700M. So one abortion provider is twice the size of the entire pro-life movement.
Americans gave over $373B dollars to charity in 2015. Approximately .2% of it went to ending the worst holocaust in American history – the execution of over 1 million preborn children a year. In other words, the effort to fund the ending of abortion is an afterthought to most Americans. We are extraordinarily generous – and the biggest chunk of our charitable dollars goes to helping children. Born children, that is.
- God cares about preborn children and their mothers far more than we do. I’m researching and writing another book on abortion. It’s tentatively called Rescue. I’m attempting to determine how much God cares for the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and whether or not American Christians align with God’s priorities. Though we all agree evangelism is the first priority (the eternal takes precedence over the temporal), I believe God’s Word makes it clear that rescuing victims is a very close second. The theme of rescue is littered throughout Scripture, and God has very harsh words for those of us who ignore the plight of the vulnerable and oppressed. There is no greater example of a vulnerable and oppressed population than the 1.2M pregnant women – and their preborn children – who seriously consider abortion each year in the U.S. If you want to learn about God’s anger when we ignore the oppressed, read the book of Amos.
- If God prioritizes saving souls and saving bodies, then churches and individuals should carefully consider how they spend their own time, energy, and resources, and see if they are aligned with God’s will. Though it may exist, I’ve yet to find a church or parish whose budget prioritizes evangelism and ending abortion above everything else.
- Many, many churches and Christians think marriage counseling, youth groups, homeless ministry, and worship services are morally equal to rescuing innocent people from death. Many churches check the “pro-life box” on their list of to-do’s if they give $100 a month to a pregnancy center, or preach once a year on abortion. Premarital counseling is very, very important. But it is not morally equivalent to rescuing a baby from death in the womb. Not even close.
- The pro-life ethic is grounded in Scripture. It is fully supported by science, ethics, philosophy, and medicine. But unless one agrees that our Creator determines the value of human life, not us, then there will always be room for us to devalue certain humans however we see fit. So the Christian Church is the ONLY place where preborn children and their moms will be valued the same as everyone else. That is why the Church is absolutely vital to restoring a culture of life in America. We’ve left that responsibility to the government, and since 1973 the government has legalized the killing of over 60M of its own people. Abortion will not – WILL NOT – be ended by the government. Laws follow culture, not the other way around. Change the culture, and the laws will change. And the Church is the only institution that can change the culture back to one that values human life.
- Almost every pastor or priest I’ve met with looks exhausted. Someone give them a vacation.
- My thinking on how local churches can be involved in ending abortion is evolving. Really, if local churches offered post-abortive healing and educated their congregations about abortion regularly and passionately, that would be an enormous help. Local churches can’t do all the things Human Coalition or Save the Storks can do. But local churches can provide tremendous air cover and momentum if they’d help heal their congregations (roughly 1 in 3 women sitting in a church have had an abortion) and talk about it regularly.
- The ridiculously low amount of funding support that goes toward ending abortion is a direct result of the silence of churches. People give to what they are passionate about, and we are passionate when we are educated. Where else will people learn how abortion breaks the heart of God if they aren’t hearing it in church?
- If you aren’t hearing about abortion in your church and you’ve tried and tried to get the leadership to talk about it, then it’s time to find another church. Roughly 3,000 babies are executed every day. Women are absolutely broken and miserable because of their abortions. Men sit in silence and grieve their dead children. Good grief, go find a church that is doing something about it.
- If I sit in one more donor meeting where the husband says, “This is my wife’s issue,” I’m going to scream. Legal abortion exists in America because Christian men were silent and, in many cases, continue to be silent. Men, get off your butts, get educated, and get involved. I don’t care how today’s mindless sitcoms portray us. We are supposed to protect women and children. We need warriors, not wimps. Yes, some of your relatives will dislike you. Yes, some friends will unfriend you. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Suck it up.
- I was stunned by two meetings I had on the same day in one city. A mega church pastor gave us less than 30 minutes to talk about abortion. He almost never talks about abortion in church. He pulled out his cell phone, texted during the meeting, and appeared completely distracted. I got up and left.
Later that day, we met with an African-American bishop of a large denomination. He told us he tries to never let a sermon go by where he doesn’t mention abortion and our obligation to end it. He was passionate, engaging, and willing to take public and private criticism if it saved a baby. Give me the opportunity to work alongside 100 of those guys, and together we can change the world.
- Atlanta and Charlotte: I love you. I really do. Please build some more roads.
- The staff at Human Coalition are unbelievably awesome. They are spied on by abortion activists; they have lost friends and family members; they are roundly criticized and ridiculed; they give up their time, money, and other opportunities to do work that few people want to do; and they do it all with virtually no thanks from anyone. Next time you see one of my team members, give them a big hug and tell them thank you.
- I’ve received more angry emails than usual this past month, calling God a mass murderer and a chauvinistic, arrogant deity. First, God has authority over death. We do not. He has that authority because He is God and we are not. Second, that same God you’re criticizing came to earth in human form, and He died for you so you wouldn’t have to die. Arrogant? Seriously? Pick up a Bible and read the whole thing, not just the passages that fit your agenda.
- Pittsburgh: I lived there for over 10 years, and I still get lost. Whose idea was it to build a city on a bunch of meandering horse trails?
- Lastly, remember that abortion-determined women are not the rabid abortion advocates you see on TV. The women we see are in very, very difficult situations. They need help. They need security. They need friends. They aren’t thinking about reproductive choice or women’s rights. They’re thinking about how to survive and how they don’t feel like they have any choices at all.
This week I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a mom who chose life through our work. She had her 5-month-old boy with her, and I held him and played with him. Adorable. He would be dead today – and his mother would be destroyed – if it hadn’t been for Human Coalition and your prayers and your financial support.
No one said this mission was going to be easy. But let’s press on and finish the job. Women and children need us, and they deserve far better than what they’re currently getting.