CHAPTER 1 THE MISSION OF THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT
American Life League

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.

                                                                                              Matthew 28:19.

The Perils of 'Keeping Score.'

I think continually of those who were truly great ... The names of those who in their lives fought for life, who wore at their hearts the fire's centre. Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun, and left the vivid air signed with their honour.

                                                                                             Stephen Spender.[1]

The Second Most Vital Quality.

The most vital quality any Christian activist in any field can possess is faith. With only a lukewarm belief in God, the Christian gradually becomes prey to a kind of spiritual paralysis and loses his ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Eventually, he will become spiritually slothful and will refuse to put effort into social activism and even into being a true Christian. He will drift into the warm and fuzzy world of tolerance and nonjudgmentalism, and will surely fall away.

Therefore, every Christian pro-lifer must diligently guard against unbelief and must work constantly towards a closer relationship with God through prayer. Only then will he become and remain an effective activist. As philosopher John Bunyan said, "You can do more than pray once you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed."

Once a Christian activist has established a firm foundation of faith, he must acquire the second most important quality that an activist must have: A sense of perspective. Without perspective rooted in God's plan for the world, a Christian even if his faith is strong will not be effective in his pro-life work in the secular world.

Enthusiastic Activists.

Pro-lifers, like everyone else, are products of their environment to a certain extent. All Americans have been brought up believing in Vince Lombardi's creed: "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." We have been sternly admonished that everyone loves a winner and that nobody ever remembers who finished a race in second place.

Most new pro-life activists naturally carry this emphasis on victory into the abortion battle when they begin to take action against the mass murder of the preborn. They often burn with enthusiasm. They are ready to shut down all of the abortion mills in their town single-handedly and cannot understand why every other Christian is not involved to the extent that they are while forgetting that they themselves were uninvolved just a short time ago.

Since they have been brought up to win, they sincerely believe that the mission of the pro-life movement is to finish the abortion fight by decisively defeating the opposition. They begin to work for life while consciously or subconsciously 'keeping score' on how well the pro-life movement and they as individuals are doing in the abortion battle.

The Long Haul.

However, 'keeping score' is a very bad mistake for several reasons.

To begin with, most new pro-life activists simply do not have an accurate view of the 'big picture.' Up until the time they join other pro-lifers to take action, they have been primarily concerned with matters that affect them personally or somehow impact a small circle of people that includes perhaps their families, friends, and fellow churchgoers.

Therefore, they tend to have a limited vision of how the pro-life movement fits into God's eternal and infinite plan. They have not yet fully grasped the fact that all of the pro-lifers in the world are fighting only a tiny portion of the universal war between Good and Evil that has been raging since the beginning of the world and will endure until the end of time.

An Honorable Tradition.

The organized American pro-life movement has a very long and honorable history. It is more than a century older than the Republic at least 350 years.

Library of Congress archives show that Captain John Smith, who was befriended by the Indian chief Pocahontas, heard evidence against abortionist Dorcas Howard in 1629.[2]

Benjamin Wadsworth, future president of Harvard College, condemned abortion as "Murder in God's account" in 1712. Primarily due to the activities of organized pro-life groups, New York City passed a law against midwives performing abortions in 1716.

Between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century, leading pro-life organizations included the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Society for the Suppression of Vice, the YMCA and YWCA, the Florence Crittenden Society, and the Salvation Army (the latter three groups are now pro-abortion).

Before 1900, the slogan "Adoption, Not Abortion" was even more popular that it is today. There existed literally hundreds of Crisis Pregnancy Centers and shepherding homes for unwed mothers, some with room for more than 1,000 to live at one time. Some of the largest chains of sheltering homes and CPCs included the Homes of Mercy, Door of Hope, the Life and Hope Missions, the Rescue Missions, Beulah House, the Jewish Home for Girls, the Home for the Friendless, Bethany Home, the Norwegian Home of Shelter, the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, the Association for Befriending Children and Young Girls, the New Shelter for Young Women, the Magdalene Benevolence Society, the House of Mercy, the House of the Good Shepherd, and Boynton Refuge Home.[2]

And, of course, the mainline Protestant Churches condemned abortion with a single unified voice, as described in Chapter 42 of Volume II, "Church Positions on Abortion."

First-Year Flameout.

Every veteran pro-lifer has seen a number of 'rookies' appear on the scene in a blaze of incandescent enthusiasm and then burn out as quickly as shooting stars.

These new activists may rescue a couple of times and then read a newspaper quote by a clinic worker claiming that all abortion appointments were kept. They catch some flak from their co-workers, pastor, or friends. They experience the curious brand of 'justice' meted out especially to pro-lifers by the court system. They see little fruit (but much personal aggravation) coming out of their labors, and so they suddenly discover that God really wants them to get involved in some other ministry.

Or they go sidewalk counseling a few times on their own without training or practice. They are verbally abused or physically threatened by escorts or angry boyfriends, and only get to talk to a couple of women who walk into the clinic anyway. The pro-lifers figure that they are no good at counseling, become depressed when they see the women stagger out of the abortuary after their children are dead, and they decide not to counsel any more.

Or perhaps they schedule an appointment with their pastor and try their best to get him involved. But he has a dozen Really Good Reasons Why He Can't Take Action, and he advises the pro-lifer not to get too 'fanatical' about abortion. After all, there are many other important issues that we must first address the environment, the homeless problem, hunger, racism, sexism, homophobia, and health care for everyone.

And so the bewildered pro-lifer goes home, thinks about what the pastor has said, and halfheartedly participates in a few more events before finally dropping out of sight.

Society's 'Supertanker.'

Not to oppose error is to approve it, not to defend truth is to suppress it.

                                                                                                 Pope St. Felix.[3]

On Inertia and Momentum.

In this Universal War between Good and Evil, solid and decisive victories are few and far between. This is because the mass thinking of a society, like a million-ton supertanker, possesses a vast inertia (the tendency to remain at rest) that is almost impossible to overcome. However, once our national morality begins moving in a particular direction, it accumulates a prodigious momentum (the tendency to keep moving) which is virtually impossible to change. On the other hand, it is possible to bypass public opinion by manipulating the various aspects of the legislative and judicial systems.

Until November of 1992, the abortion struggle in the United States was in virtual stasis. The appalling slaughter of the unborn had been only modestly retarded by nearly twenty years of steady and unrelenting pro-life activism. But then, the people of the United States put their pocketbooks ahead of their morality and elected Bill Clinton to the Presidency of the United States, and even these modest pro-life gains were swept away. The pro-abortionists had won their greatest victory since Roe v. Wade.

Following Clinton's victory and the subsequent sweeping changes in abortion legislation at the national level, the abortion battle returned to being acted out in a series of local and national skirmishes. At this writing, another change in the direction of events pertaining to abortion appears to be several years away at the very least.

This means that, for now, clear changes in the status of the abortion fight are very few and far between.

On Fair-Weather Warriors.

Since there are currently very few decisive and clear-cut victories in the abortion battle, those new pro-life activists who have been conditioned by our society to expect instant gratification in the form of easy or immediate victory may well become disillusioned when they are defeated for the first time or when their efforts do not result in what they believe to be an acceptable amount of progress.

They are 'keeping score' and therefore rapidly become disenchanted by what they perceive to be a profound lack of success.

This is a sad commentary not only upon pro-life activists but on our society as well. Even though we as Americans covet victory, we do so only if we can win at little or no cost. Our nation has lost sight of the fact that the only truly worthy victories are those that are won at great cost over mighty enemies.

Even cowards will put up a good fight if they can be assured of victory.

But those who draw their courage and inspiration from God are inspired by a higher goal: They fight for a Christian principle. They will battle on unceasingly and to the best of their abilities even if defeat is inevitable. They will make their defiant stand even if they are the last few believers in a nation of pagans.

We do not need fair-weather warriors in the abortion battle. We need men and women who can suffer defeat after defeat and can keep on fighting. We need those people who will be reviled, rejected, and attacked by almost everyone including family, pastors, and friends and still fight on. We need those whose vision is fixed upon the Kingdom of Heaven and the final victory of the Lord.

In other words, we need career warriors who believe in their cause so intensely that they simply cannot retire until the day they die. We need people who trust God enough to believe in the very marrow of their bones that He is victorious and our function is to be obedient, try to use their God-given talents to the best advantage, and let Him take care of the ultimate victory.

What is Victory?

When the million applaud, you ask yourself what harm you have done; when they censure you, what good.

                                                                British writer and clergyman Charles Colton.[4]

On Obedience.

Men have tried to perceive the mind of God ever since the beginning of the human race. This is a hopeless task in many respects; all we can do is guess, because the mind of God is as far above our meager intelligence as ours is above that of insects.

But this fact does not stop us from trying.

Perhaps victory in God's eyes is not as we define it as the clear-cut defeat of an enemy. Perhaps we are victorious merely because we are obedient to God's commands in Matthew 28:19 and Proverbs 24:11. Other Bible passages make it perfectly clear that Christians are commanded not only to save their own souls, but to save others as well.

Figure 1-1 lists some of the Bible quotes that prove that being a Christian is not only a privilege, it is a grave responsibility.

FIGURE 1-1: SCRIPTURE ON A CHRISTIAN'S MISSION

He who shuts his ear to the poor man's cry shall himself plead and not be heard.

                                                                                                   Proverbs 21:13.

Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those who are being dragged to the slaughter. Will you object, "But look, we did not know?" Has he who weighs the heart no understanding, he who scans your soul no knowledge? He himself will repay a man as his deeds deserve.

                                                                                                   Proverbs 24:11-12.

The virtuous man is concerned for the rights of the poor, the wicked knows no such concern.

                                                                                                   Proverbs 29:7.

Speak, yourself, on behalf of the dumb, on behalf of all the unwanted; speak, yourself, pronounce a just verdict, uphold the rights of the poor, of the needy.

                                                                                                   Proverbs 31:8, 9.

Hate evil, love good, maintain justice at the city gate!

                                                                                                  Amos 5:15.

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lampstand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in Heaven.

                                                                                                Matthew 5:13,14,16.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you whom my father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you made Me welcome, naked and you clothed Me, sick and you visited Me, in prison and you came to see Me.' Then the virtuous will say to Him in reply, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You; or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and make You welcome; naked and clothe You; sick or in prison and go to see You?' And the King will answer, 'I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to Me.'

                                                                                              Matthew 25:34-40.

Never give in then, my dear brothers, never admit defeat; keep on working at the Lord's work always, knowing that, in the Lord, you cannot be laboring in vain.

                                                                                              1 Corinthians 15:58.

We must never get tired of doing good because if we don't give up the struggle we shall get our harvest at the proper time. While we have the chance, we must do good to all, and especially to our brothers in the faith.

                                                                                              Galatians 6:9-10.

Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, "I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty," without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: If good works do not go with it, it is quite dead ... Do realize, you senseless man, that faith without good deeds is useless ... You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only believing, that a man is justified ... A body dies when it is separated from the spirit, and in the same way faith is dead if it is separated from good deeds.

                                                                                               James 2:14-17,20,24,26.

Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and doesn't do it commits a sin.

                                                                                               James 4:17.

Merely taking a stand for God and for the human life He created, while braving a hurricane of anti-theistic and God-hating abuse, is truly an outstanding victory in and of itself.

When we stand before the Judge on the Last Day, He will certainly not ask us what our win-loss percentage was in the Earthly abortion battle. He will instead recount the gifts and resources He gave us and ask us how well and faithfully we used them. He will show us that He gave us intelligence or wisdom or the ability to write or speak or organize, or physical robustness, a loving spouse, wealth, a good church, supportive children, and the physical objects that can help us make a difference: Pen and paper, computers, printers, copiers, and so on. And He will ask us if we put all of these things to their best possible use.

Congressman Henry J. Hyde of Illinois paints a beautiful picture of what the Judgment Day might be like for faithful pro-lifers;

When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine.

But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, "Spare him, because he loves us," and God will look at you and say not, "Did you succeed?" but "Did you try?".[5]

We must remember that it is not our job to win it is God's job. It is arrogant indeed to expect that we can make any kind of meaningful difference without His help. Final victory on Earth will surely come if and when God wills it, and not one second before.

Our job is merely to be His obedient servants and try.

The Third World War Has Already Begun. As American pro-lifers, we must shoulder an additional burden that most activists are completely unaware of.

The American pro-life movement is by far the strongest in the world. It possesses more committed activists and resources that all of the other pro-life organizations in the world combined. In fact, our type of movement would literally be impossible under conditions found in many other countries of the world.

The United States has, for decades, corrupted the morals and traditions of scores of "lesser-developed" countries with tons of dangerous abortifacients, abortion machines, and anti-life propaganda. Nowhere is the "Ugly American" more evident than when he practices this form of "contraceptive imperialism."

However, the decade of the 1980s saw pro-life educators and rescuers begin to make gains in many other countries as they tried to counter the anti-life impacts caused by the expenditure of literally billions of our tax dollars. This all-volunteer pro-life "Foreign Legion" includes Human Life International (HLI) and Rescue Outreach, and is growing bolder and stronger by the year.

What we perhaps do not realize in the American pro-life movement is that, even if we never step off of American soil, the eyes of the entire world are on us. Pro-abortion writer Howard LaFranchi has summed up the situation: "Global trends in abortion politics are both reflected in and fueled by events in the United States. The U.S. [Supreme Court] decision in Webster, a major success of the so-called pro-life movement, sent shock waves through ranks of activists in Western Europe. The abortion debate there has been far less emotional than in the United States but is becoming more polarized. Europeans from both camps have described the [Webster] decision as a "wind from the West."[6]

Defining the Missions.

When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He marks, not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.

                                                                                                           Grantland Rice.

The Very First Step.

The most critical task for a pro-lifer is to get a picture of the universal context within which he labors. This will give him a proper view of what his place is in the Universal Conflict, and will help harden him against despair and disappointment.

Once a pro-lifer has a realistic view of his place in the movement, he must take action.

And before any effective action can be taken, the mission must be defined.

The most critical part of doing any job takes place before a person even picks up the tools to begin a task;

YOU MUST FIRST DECIDE EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH.

The more difficult the job (goal, mission, or objective), the more important it is to define the desired overall result before beginning work.

Effective military commanders understand this principle. They do not even think of moving until they know exactly what they want to accomplish except under exceptional or emergency conditions where there is no opportunity to plan.

Nobody can really hope to accomplish a difficult mission if it is not clearly defined from the very beginning. A few experienced people have the talent or luck needed to be able to perform simple nonrepetitive missions without first defining them, but they usually succeed only in a haphazard and inefficient manner.

Scanty Foundations.

The pro-life movement does not have enough experience at properly defining its missions. We wonder why we have such little success at sidewalk counseling in some cities. We are puzzled by the lack of response from our pastors when we ask for their help. And we simply cannot understand why almost all members of the media so consistently ignore or ridicule our message.

We are failing to achieve our goals because we have not constructed a solid foundation for our movement.

We do not train our activists properly. We do not try to understand the world around us. And we have not even converted our churches on the question of abortion! This is why the Church remains largely silent as the slaughter goes on and on. It can certainly be no surprise that our pagan society rejects our message when our own churches have not yet accepted it!

When we do not properly define our goals, we fail in our missions, squander scarce resources, get discouraged, and burn out. After all, nothing is more frustrating to a person than losing a battle especially when he knows that he should have won it!

The Four Mission Levels.

It is critically important for each pro-life activist to recognize that there are at least four levels of missions that he must define in order to be an effective activist. These range in length and scope from a lifetime task at the highest level to a single specific task to be performed on a single day at the most basic level.

The four levels of the pro-life mission for both theists and non-theists are shown below.

PRO-LIFE MISSION STATEMENTS: THE FOUR LEVELS
(1) THE HIGHEST LEVEL (lifelong mission).
   •
For Christians: To be obedient to the will of God and to make disciples of all
     nations (Matthew 28:19).
   •For Other Theists: To serve God and their fellow man according to the laws of
     their faith.
   •For Non-Theists: To fully develop human potential, which will in turn maximize
     the quality of life of all human beings, regardless of gender, race, creed, or
     nationality.
(2) THE SECOND LEVEL (long-term mission).
   •
For All Pro-Lifers: To convert the people of this nation against abortion
(3) THE THIRD LEVEL (medium-term mission).
   •
Example: To pass a pro-life initiative measure.
(4) THE MOST BASIC LEVEL (short-term mission).

Example: To assemble a group of 12 pro-lifers that will set up a table and gather petition signatures in shifts at a specific shopping center and simultaneously leaflet the surrounding neighborhood two Saturdays from now.

While defining these missions, it is absolutely vital to remember that there are many non-theistic pro-lifers in the world whose talents we need and value. They may be secularists, agnostics, or even atheists, but their very presence enriches the pro-life movement immeasurably because they think very differently from Christians in many ways and can therefore provide a fresh and imaginative viewpoint that can lend a larger perspective to the abortion battle.

The presence of non-theists also provides an unparalleled opportunity for witnessing. What more ideal setting exists for converting non-Christians than to have them working in groups that are predominantly Christian to begin with?

Unfortunately, pro-lifers who happen to be non-theists perceive our movement to be one hundred percent Christian and hostile to their beliefs, and so they generally do not become involved. And many pro-lifers think that anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ will be disruptive or somehow subversive.

Surely we have more confidence in our Faith than this! The stereotypes held by both Christian and non-theist pro-lifers not only cost preborn lives, but many souls as well.

The Second-Level Mission.

How do we account for the thousands here and the millions nationwide who have gone to their little deaths, as if they never were? And will they ever stop haunting us?

                                                                           "Abortion: Will It Haunt Us?"
                                                                           Editorial in the Peoria Journal Star.[7]

Introduction.  

When pro-lifers consider the four separate mission levels, there is usually very little confusion about the first level. It is a very general mission statement that requires nothing specific of us other than obedience to God (for Christians, Jews and Muslims) or adherence to a set of earthly rules of decency (for non-theists).

Mission statements that are drawn up for the third level and for the fourth and most basic level are specific enough that confusion is generally avoided. These usually involve one or more basic strategies and/or tactics, as described in Chapters 25 to 28.

Pro-life strategies and tactics are already clearly defined by their very nature, and drawing up a third- or fourth-level mission statement is usually fairly simple, as described in Chapter 3, "The Basics of Planning."

However, the majority of pro-lifers have a lot of trouble in defining the second level of their mission, which is to convert the people of this nation against abortion. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the terms "education," "conversion," and "evangelization," and some pro-lifers even use these words interchangeably.

Each of these terms refers to a very specific activity that is entirely separate and distinguishable from the others, as described below.

The Three Methods.

There are basically three methods by which human beings transfer ideas, values, and information;

(1) education,
(2) conversion, and
(3) evangelization.

Each of these processes involves two distinct and separate steps. Information, ideas, and/or values are;

(1) offered, and
(2) accepted.

Education, conversion, and evangelization do not take place if information or values are offered but not accepted.

No matter how good he is at his job, a teacher does not educate if his class is asleep or unreceptive. A person is not converted if he does not accept the values that are being offered. An unchurched person is not evangelized if he rejects the Christian lifestyle and message.

Figure 1-2 compares the primary features of education, conversion, and evangelization.

FIGURE 1-2
A COMPARISON OF EDUCATION, CONVERSION, AND EVANGELIZATION

[A medium text size on your computer's 'view' setting is recommended, otherwise, the graph may be discombobulated.]

                                EDUCATION        CONVERSION       EVANGELIZATION

DEFINITION.          primarily                    ideas                          an entire
The offering and          value-free data           and                             philosophy
acceptance of:             and information          values                         or life-
                                                                                                       style

Range of focus:            narrow                      moderate                    wide

Preparation
required
by teacher                  slight                          moderate                    extensive

Psychological              low, since                  moderate,                  high, since
investment                   no change in              because some            total life-
required by                 behavior is                 change in                   style change
receiver                       required                    one area is                 is required
                                                                    required

SUCCESS RATE.

With receiver
preparation                high                            moderate                   fair

No receiver
preparation                moderate                    low                           very low

EXAMPLES.

By anti-life                  this is how to             abortion is                 only rule:
teacher                       use a condom            your own                   be your
                                                                   decision                     own guide

By pro-life                 this is how the            abortion                     we must
teacher                      baby develops            kills a                         follow
                                                                   preborn                     Christ in
                                                                   child                          all ways

General result             large reduction           total                          cessation of
if pro-lifers                 in abortions                cessation                   all un-Christian
succeed on a                                               of all                          behavior
large scale                                                   abortions

A Description of Education.

Education, in its broadest sense, involves a simple transfer of information in the form of raw, value-free data on a very narrow topic. Education takes place constantly in our lives even when we are asleep.

Education consists of a mere absorption of well established and non-controversial facts. Since education usually requires no particular change in beliefs, it is the easiest to accomplish. Therefore, in most cases, education precedes both conversion and evangelization.

A non-theist generally bases his beliefs on logic and hard facts. Therefore, if he accepts Christ, he will usually do so after examining all of the data offered him and translating these facts into a form that he can understand. This is why Christians must be able to justify not only their anti-abortion stance but Christianity itself in non-theological terms if they have any hope of saving babies or souls.

If a non-theist appears to 'convert' to Christianity in a sudden burst of emotion, he will not stay converted unless he subsequently examines Christianity and finds it to be logical and consistent in its beliefs and actions.

On a large scale, proper education will lay the foundation for the pro-life movement to eliminate abortion and euthanasia from our land.

Education leads to conversion and/or evangelization in many cases. The individual must convert or evangelize himself; nobody else can do it for him. But he needs to be honest with himself and be open to change. In the vast majority of cases, the process of total evangelization takes place as follows;

EDUCATION
\        /
CONVERSION
\   /
EVANGELIZATION

A Description of Conversion.

Conversion is a deeper and more lasting process than the mere transfer of information. Conversion requires not only the acceptance of raw data, but of ideas (i.e., value-related data). It requires changes in both thinking and behavior, and therefore the person has a greater stake in accepting or avoiding it.

We eventually forget the vast majority of hard data that we learn, but an effective and deep conversion usually 'sticks' permanently and will last a lifetime. A conversion gradually becomes an internalized set of values that is used to guide behavior.

Therefore, if a conversion is just 'for show,' it won't last. The craven flip-flopping of many so-called "pro-life" politicians are cases in point.

People are constantly being converted on a wide range of issues. Planned Parenthood may visit your child's school and show him condoms. This is pure education (with implied values, of course), if it stops at that point. However, the PP infiltrators may also tell your child that it's OK to use condoms to insure "safe(r) sex" and, if the condoms fail, that it's all right to get or pay for an abortion. If the child accepts this message, he has been converted to an anti-life view regarding abortion.

A Description of Evangelization.

Evangelization is the widest in scope of the three processes, and it is also the deepest in effect. The person being evangelized has a much greater stake in accepting what is being given to him, because he is being asked to change his entire lifestyle and accept Christ as his Savior.

Reaching a person is like peeling away the successive skins of an onion. Only a few layers must be peeled away in order to educate. With conversion, a person basically has to admit to himself that he must improve himself in a particular area, at least in a limited way. And with evangelization, the person must candidly admit he is a sinner and must repent. This requires a great deal of thinking, courage, and pain in this no-fault society, where everyone is brought up to believe that 'sin' is outmoded and that each person is perfect or can somehow achieve perfection.

Unfortunately, evangelization works both ways. If the Planned Parenthood counselor mentioned above tells your children that it's OK to get an abortion, and if they accept that message, they have been converted. If the kids accept the messages alleging that homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable alternative lifestyle; that fornication, adultery, 'shacking up' and abortion are all right; indeed, that any kind of behavior that feels good is valid, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, then they have been evangelized into a paganistic worldview by Satan's busy little helpers!

There are many people whose conversion preceded their evangelization by a significant period of time. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, formerly an arch-abortionist, is a good example. He condemned a particular type of behavior (abortion), but remained atheistic for several years before finally becoming a theist.

Activist atheists and agnostics in particular pride themselves on their rational outlook. There are numerous atheistic psychologists and psychiatrists who oppose homosexuality, divorce, pornography and abortion purely on the grounds of their deleterious effects upon society. They have been converted regarding these issues, but they have not yet been evangelized, either because no one has tried to evangelize them, or because they simply do not have the courage to acknowledge their own fallen human nature.

The Critical Differences.

The primary differences between education, conversion, and evangelization involve the nature of the information, data, and values being offered and accepted.

The statements in Figure 1-3 highlight these differences.

FIGURE 1-3
SAMPLE STATEMENTS OF EDUCATION, CONVERSION, AND EVANGELIZATION

Process                 Sample Statement and Explanation

EDUCATION      
                              A dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion consists of the systematic
                              surgical dismemberment of a 17-week to 25-week-old preborn baby.
                              Data is offered, but values are not explicitly stated. They may be
                              implied by the use of words like "preborn baby."

CONVERSION   
                              Abortion is immoral, since it involves the killing of living human beings.
                              Here is the scientific proof supporting this position. A value judgment
                              is explicitely stated and supported.

EVANGELIZATION
                              Abortion is grounded principally in fornication, adultery, and other
                              immoral behavior. This behavior violates not only Christian principles,
                              but the natural law as well.
                              Abortion is described as one symptom of a self-centered anti-life
                              mentality that spawns virtually all types of unbiblical and self-
                              destructive behavior. The evangelist is telling the members
                              of his or her audience that they must completely change their lifestyles.

Preparing the Ground.

Christianity is a society of short-term pessimists and long-term optimists.

                                                                                          Dr. Albert Schweitzer.[8]

Experienced missionaries know that "up-front" evangelization bears very little fruit because the 'ground' has not yet been properly prepared. They must first educate the people they work with by demonstrating the advantages of Christian behavior. This process may take months or years on a large scale.

This is why sidewalk counselors who try to evangelize women usually wind up losing both the woman and her baby to abortion. Women who are intent on getting abortions must be offered hard data; there is not enough time to convert them by saying "Don't kill your baby!," and there is certainly not enough time to evangelize them. The counselor has not prepared the woman for conversion or evangelization, and is inappropriately trying to convert or evangelize her without first educating her.

A better approach might be first to distract her from her appointment, and then to educate her about fetal development, lawsuits against the clinic, or the proven dangers of abortion to a mother's health. If the counselor can get her to pause and accept this information, the conversion process against abortion can effectively begin.

Total conversion and evangelization can wait until later and often do. Thousands of women (and their husbands/boyfriends) who have been turned away from abortion mills accept Christ within a short time.

Your Mission, Should You Decide to Accept It ...

At the present time, when rivers of blood and tears of innocent men, women and children are flowing in most parts of the world, it seems almost silly to be contending over the right to life of an unknowable atom of human flesh in the uterus of a woman.

No, it is not silly. On the contrary, it is of transcendent importance that there be in this chaotic world one high spot, however small, which is safe against the deluge of immorality and savagery that is sweeping over us. That we, the medical profession, hold to the principle of the sacredness of human life and of the rights of the individual, even though unborn, is proof that humanity is not yet lost ...

                                                           Obstetrician Joseph D. DeLee, M.D., in 1940.[9]

Introduction.

In a general sense, the pro-life movement is constantly and simultaneously educating, converting, and evangelizing. But where should we concentrate our efforts in order to achieve the greatest positive effect?

Mission: Education?

Some pro-life activists honestly believe that if we could just get the major networks to show "Eclipse of Reason," the fight against abortion would be over.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Education is not enough; after all, the abortionists have been through fetology/embryology courses in medical school, and they know that they are killing babies. So do many of their clients. For these people, convenience always overrides even the right to life of others. After all, thousands of infanticides take place in this country each year yet none of the killers will deny the life, humanity, or personhood of the infants they murder.

The basic problem is that many people take man's law as their god and guidestick. In other words, if it's legal, it's moral. If we could educate the entire country on what abortion really is, abortions would be cut down drastically but they would still take place by the hundreds of thousands every year.

Mission: Evangelization?

On the other hand, large-scale evangelization is too broad a mission for the pro-life movement. It requires too much expertise, time and effort, both for pro-life individuals and for the movement as a whole. Large-scale evangelization is a job for preachers, pastors, and professional missionaries. We as individual pro-lifers can only evangelize effectively on a patient, long-term person-to-person basis.

Our mission is truly single-issue. If we accept the "Seamless Garment" theory, which holds that we are not truly pro-life unless we actively work against all social evils, the pro-life movement will inevitably dissipate its energies and burn out.

Pro-life activists must focus their efforts on one field and one field alone: Abortion and its closely related issues. If we expand beyond this, our efforts will simply be diluted to the point of ineffective nonexistence.

Mission: Conversion!

We belong to a truly single-issue movement. Pro-life activists oppose the killing of human beings, both by abortion and euthanasia. Therefore, if we are to be most effective, we must clarify our mission, both as individuals and as a movement and our mission is to oppose abortion and euthanasia!

Although pro-life activists generally think that certain other activities are reprehensible, they do not spend a lot of their time marching or writing against homosexuality, pornography, or prostitution; there are other movements opposing these and other evils. The "Seamless Garment" theory does not function logically, either at the individual or 'movement' level.

Therefore, a general statement of the second-level pro-life mission is as follows;

THE MISSION OF THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT:
TO CONVERT THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION AGAINST ABORTION.

Our mission can be stated just that simply. We cannot lose sight of this very specific mission.

Our ultimate mission is not really to directly stop abortion. Most pro-lifers would be perfectly happy to have abortion legal in this country through all nine months of pregnancy and for any reason if people believed in the sanctity of life so strongly that no woman wanted an abortion! As Seattle Seahawks receiver Steve Largent has said, "I don't think the real answer to the abortion problem is changing the laws or the judicial system; what we need is changed hearts. We need a spiritual revival in our country."[10]

This is the difference between merely stopping abortion and making abortion psychologically impossible through conversion. After all, even the most perfectly-written laws will be ignored by those who believe that inconvenient life is cheap.

We are, by nature, members of a single-issue movement. There is nothing at all wrong with that. If we as individuals lose sight of our mission, we will become inefficient and burn out. If our movement loses sight of its primary mission of conversion, the killing will go on forever.


References: Mission of the Pro-Life Movement.

A radical is a man who knows where he is going when he moves.

                                                                                 President Woodrow Wilson.[11]

[1] Stephen Spender. Collected Poems, 1928-1953. New York: Random House, 1955, page 32.

[2] Marvin Olasky. "Victorian Secret: Pro-Life Victories in 19th-Century America." Policy Review, Spring 1992, pages 30 to 37.

[3] Ann Sheridan's letter entitled "Funding Flap," written to the National Catholic Register, April 19, 1992, page 4.

[4] Jonathon Green. The Cynic's Lexicon. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1984, 220 pages.

[5] Congressman Henry J. Hyde, quoted in "Henry J. Hyde: Great Pro-Life Hero Great American." ALL About Issues, July 1981, page 24.

[6] Howard LaFranchi. "Wind From the West: Europe Gears for Abortion Battle." Christian Science Monitor, August 17, 1989.

[7] "Abortion: Will It Haunt Us?" Peoria Journal Star. This article is also reproduced in its entirety in National Right to Life News, May 16, 1985, page 2.

[8] Dr. Albert Schweitzer, at his 1952 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture.

[9] Obstetrician Joseph D. DeLee, M.D., 1940 Yearbook of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Quoted in Jean Clayton. "Handicaps and Happiness." National Right to Life News, September 29, 1983, page 6.

[10] Seattle Seahawks receiver Steve Largent, quoted in "Football's Greatest Receiver Speaks Out for Life! An Interview With Steve Largent." ALL About Issues, March 1990, pages 12 through 15.

[11] President Woodrow Wilson, quoted in Eugene E. Russell. Webster's New World Dictionary of Quotable Definitions (2nd Edition). New York: Prentice-Hall, 1988. 674 pages.


Further Reading: Mission of the Pro-Life Movement.

Do not fear when your enemies criticize you. Beware when they applaud.

                                                                         Vietnamese politician Vo Dong Giang.[4]

Lester Cooper. Where Are Today's Daniels?  
True Books, Post Office Box 2172, Carlsbad, California 92008. 1987, 115 pages. This book addresses the differences between Christian and secular governments, Christian's rights and responsibilities in today's governments, especially with regard to God's authority vs. civil authority, and as it pertains to civil disobedience. Must Christians always obey civil government? The author says that we must not obey a civil law if it is in conflict with God's law.

Philip K. Dick. The Golden Man
New York: Berkeley Publishing Corporation, 1980. 336 pages. This anthology of short stories includes a fascinating little tale set in the near future: "The Pre-Persons," on pages 303 to 331. It is the story of what life is like for children and dissenters once Planned Parenthood (now all-powerful) has determined that life begins when a person can perform algebraic mathematics at the age of twelve. Up until this time, abortion is legal. Mr. Dick must have struck a raw pro-abortion nerve with this story, because he states in his Afterword that he received large volumes of unsigned hate mail and threats from pro-abortion organizations. His story is an absolute chiller.

Paul B. Fowler. Abortion: Toward an Evangelical Consensus
Portland: Multnomah Press, 1987. 222 pages. Reviewed by John Jefferson Davis on page 5 of the May 14, 1987 National Right to Life News. The author traces the roots and social forces that decimated the Christian consensus against abortion before Roe v. Wade, and argues against the statement that the unborn are only 'potential persons.' The best part of the book is a comprehensive examination of what Scripture says about life, death, and the unborn. Mr. Fowler also challenges all Christians to do what they can to end the abortion holocaust.

George Grant. Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-Life Movement From the First Century to the Present
Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, 1749 Mallory Lane, Suite 110, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027. 1991, 225 pages. The author covers numerous topics, including the mission and activities of early Christians in combatting abortion and infanticide; the history and activities of the pro-life movement during the Renaissance; and the resurgence of pro-life activism in the late 20th Century.

Father Robert J. Henle, S.J. "A Historical View of the Right to Life." 
The Catholic League Newsletter, July 1981. This four-page reprint rebuts the lie-packed 1981 National Organization for Women publication entitled "An Abbreviated Chronology of Reproductive Rights, 2600 B.C. to the Present." In addition to correcting all of NOW's deliberate falsehoods and anti-Catholic slander, Father Henle shows that those ancient societies that practiced cannibalism, slavery, oppression of women, perpetual warfare, and had a great number of superstitions generally had very permissive abortion and infanticide laws. Those societies that had what anthropologists call the "high religions" and a high degree of civilization had a general consensus against abortion. For example, the ancient Vedic writings of India condemned abortion from 1500 to 500 B.C. Buddhism as far back as 600 B.C. totally condemned abortion. And, since 622 A.D., Islam has condemned abortion.

Nat Hentoff. "The Indivisible Fight for Life." Studies in Law, Medicine & Society
Americans United for Life Legal Defense Fund, Number 24. 343 South Dearborn Street, Suite 1804, Chicago, Illinois 60604. Telephone: (312) 786-9494. 1987, 9 pages. An analysis of the pro-life effort from the viewpoint of a non-theist.

J.R. Lucas. Weeping In Ramah
1987. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. A fictional account of how life would be in the future if the anti-life forces gain complete control of society (this book is the pro-life answer to the pro-abort fiction The Handmaid's Tale). Describes how the nationally-based pro-life groups have been neutralized and how a small but determined pro-life underground risk and lose their lives in their struggle to save babies. This is prophecy unless we can mobilize!

David Mall. In Good Conscience: Abortion and Moral Theory
Kairos Books, 1982. 166 pages. Reviewed by Wanda Franz, Ph.D., on page 20 of the January 6, 1983 issue of National Right to Life News, and by Steven Baer on page 10 of the November 24, 1983 issue of the same publication. This excellent book demonstrates the absolute correctness of the pro-life position and demonstrates the destruction that must inevitably occur in a society preoccupied with death.

Pope Paul VI. Octagesimo Adveniens ("On the Eightieth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum"), 1971. 
A general call to action for all Christians and an outline of the Christian mission. This and other church documents that are landmarks in Catholic social teaching are available from the Daughters of St. Paul, 50 St. Paul Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02130, telephone: (617) 522-8911, and the United States Catholic Conference Publishing Service, 3211 Fourth Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017-1194, telephone: 1-800-541-3090.

Professor Charles E. Rice. No Exceptions: A Pro-Life Imperative
Tyholland Press, Box 212, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556. 1990, 131 pages. A truly outstanding examination of the basic pro-life moral arguments against abortion. Pro-life direct and support activities are also described in some detail. Recommended for all new pro-life activists, and those veterans who want to redefine and sharpen their debating skills.

Francis Schaeffer. A Christian Manifesto
Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1981. 157 pages. Reviewed by John Waddey on page 7 of the June 24, 1982 issue of National Right to Life News.

John Senior. The Restoration of Christian Culture
244 pages. Order from Keep the Faith, 810 Belmont Avenue, Post Office Box 8261, North Haledon, New Jersey 07508, telephone: (201) 423-5395. The author contemplates many of the primary problems with our society, and finds them rooted in a lack of belief in God. He shows how Christians can take action to restore this society to Christianity.

Randall A. Terry. Accessory to Murder
Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers 1749 Mallory Lane, Suite 110, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027. 1990, 281 pages. Reviewed by Cathy Ramey on page 44 of the August-September 1991 issue of ALL About Issues. Randy Terry describes the mission of the pro-life movement and condemns complicity by the churches. The book describes the role of Planned Parenthood, NOW, NARAL, the ACLU, NAF, the AMA, and other organizations in the abortion holocaust. Then it details the roles that the media, the courts, and the 'justice' system play. Finally, it covers the ways in which the church is an accomplice in the killing and details how Christians can get involved in an effective manner.

David C. Thomasma, Ph.D. An Apology for the Value of Human Life
Catholic Health Association of the United States. 1983, 166 pages. Reviewed by Diane A. Parente on pages 5 and 11 of the November 24, 1983 issue of National Right to Life News. This is an attempt to challenge even veteran pro-lifers to re-examine their motives and actions, written by a person who admits that he is not involved as an activist. This book may be irritating and demotivating to some (as such advice always is when directed from the uninvolved to the involved), but may stimulate thinking anyway.


© American Life League BBS 1-703-659-7111

This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia Published by American Life League.


Provided Courtesy of:
Eternal Word Television Network
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, AL 35210
www.ewtn.com