This morning I tweeted: "teen wants to make a sign for the #marchforlife: "abortionists: whacking babies since 1973". while true, excessive? thoughts? #youthministry"
There have been lots of good responses. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about all day.
While teens can be apathetic (I once had a girl ask why we bother to help the third world attain clean drinking water when, “they’re used to walking miles to get it anyways”… Yeah…) the March for Life has served as a catalyst for some passionate discussions and opinionated statements. As an adult, I'm used to the idea of abortion. I’m not ok with it by any means, but I’ve grown up with it being legal, know very good people who are in favor of its legalization and have friends who have decided to have abortions. It’s a part of the world I'm in whether I like it or not.
Kids, on the other hand, are learning the reality of where babies come from, how laws are made and just what is and isn’t legal and for many of them talking about the March for Life and abortion brings about a sort of “ah-ha” moment and their minds—unaffected by the years of trying to say things diplomatically and inch our point across-- recoil when they learn what abortion is. They are “totally grossed out” that doctors actually cooperate to end human life. Doctors, in their minds, are like policeman, firemen or Taylor Swift—people who would never intentionally hurt you. In their minds, it’s black and white. Doctors are supposed to save lives, not end them.
Like any issue, the issue of abortion must be handled with love. Love for babies but also love for mothers and doctors and maybe even Nancy Pelosi… Our actions and words must first reflect charity and love. Bombing clinics and hurling insults is no way to win people over. It’s sick and wrong and a total distortion of being pro-life.
However, in a world that is growing more and more apathetic, this teen’s proposed sign made me think. Would it have been uncharitable to hold up a sign outside of Auschwitz that read, “Nazis Gas Prisoners Here”? Would it have been uncharitable to hold up a sign at a slave market that read “Owning Slaves is Wrong”? Did Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Corrie TenBoom and St. Maximilian Kolbe make people uncomfortable? You bet. They were excessive, thank God. They pricked the consciences of those in society who desperately needed it.
I would never allow a teen to carry a sign condemning women who have had abortions, promoting violence against those who are pro-choice or with a message that’s obscene or profane. However, when I look at what she proposed, while blunt, it’s not uncharitable or obscene. It’s stating a fact that makes us all really uncomfortable. And the group that she is calling out are doctors— not young couples who are making decisions under the duress of an unplanned pregnancy or even the well-intentioned activists who believe legalized abortion makes the world a better place. She’s calling out the people who hold the scalpels… Who know full well that abortion stops a beating heart—and do it anyways.
Excessive? Maybe. But her sign—and my resulting discomfort—has pricked my conscience and made me think. Above all, we love. But there are many moments in scripture where Christ spoke the truth and made people uncomfortable.
This makes me wonder… What sign would Jesus carry at the March for Life?