"I just want to thank you for being here." He came up and looked me right in the eye when he said it. I smiled and was about to thank him for his encouragement when he continued. "Yeah, thanks for being on campus, because I want you to know that you have made everyone hate you."
"Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man." Luke 6:22
That was just one of the many, many reactions I got during the last week in Florida. You see, I wasn't just taking a general family vacation for my spring break to hang out at the beach and such (though I definitely hit the beach once--wasn't missing that one). I went with the pro-life group Created Equal on the Justice Ride to do outreach on college campuses around the state and raise awareness for the injustice being done to the unborn.
I am pro-life. I've always been pro-life. But I never knew why. I have honestly learned so much this week--I can now defend my belief. I can tell you why. I can explain to you how it is now biologically proven that life begins at conception. I can describe why a baby inside the womb is still a human being. I can walk you through why there should be absolutely no exceptions. I can tell you where our President stands on the issue and give you real stats that are sometimes blown way out of proportion. I can look you in the eye and tell you straight-up that abortion is murder. Murder of an innocent, alive human being. That we should never justify that act because of convenience. That it's basically just age-discrimination against the very young, justifying their killing simply because they're smaller than us.
It makes me sick to think that many people are honestly ignorant to the truth. When we went onto college campuses, we set up scores of graphic signs, depicting the--yes--gruesome reality of abortions. I talked to numerous people who said, "I have never seen pictures like this." People don't know what's going on.
The great thing is that for every person that had the guts to come up in our faces and tell us we were hated, or simply to shout a bunch of obscenities at us across campus, there were several who would walk by and say, "Thank you for being here. This is the most radical thing that has ever happened to our campus, and we need it. Thanks for being brave enough to tell the truth."
Of course, most people were no where near either of those extremes. Nearly every day, we had pro-abortion demonstrators or Planned Parenthood representatives set up camp across from us trying to counteract what we were doing. People would try to ignore us (seriously, you want me to believe that you generally walk around campus with your laptop open?), some would simply make snide remarks, and others would eagerly engage in a discussion.
I talked to a lady from Planned Parenthood one day, and even though we did not see eye-to-eye, I think she was actually surprised at how convincing my argument was.
I talked to a man who drilled me on all the major issues, and then afterward said, "Hey, I'm pro-life. I just wanted to see if you knew your stuff. You're good."
I talked to several people who thought our pictures were fake. Nope, we have a signed affidavit from the photographer. This stuff is real.
I talked to a guy who didn't have a clue what an abortion really was, and when we described to him what really happens, he couldn't get over how sick it was.
I talked to a woman who honestly just had questions about certain times when an abortion may be acceptable, and by the end she was nodding her head when I said that nothing could justify taking the life of another human.
I talked to a man who went all weirdly philosophical on me, and we kinda had to agree to disagree.
I talked to a man that had almost decided to abort his twins that are now 17, and all he could say was, "I pray for forgiveness every day for thinking that thought. I would have been a murderer."
There was a woman 9 weeks pregnant considering an abortion, men who thought they shouldn't have a say in the issue (hello, I don't have to be African American to tell you slavery is wrong), post-abortive women filled with either anger or regret, people who thought we were just religious bigots intent on jumping down people's throats and telling them they were going to hell--and then were seriously surprised when we were kind, calm, and respectful.
Our very last day on campus was kind of an odd day for me--I didn't feel as if I got into many good discussions with people, and it was harder to hand out the literature and information we had. But I got into one conversation with a man who stopped to talk to me, and when I asked him his opinion on abortion, he rather uncertainly told me he thought it should be a woman's right to choose since it's her own body. So I walked him through the facts and arguments--how and why a baby in the womb is separate and alive and human, how and why no exceptions were justifiable, so on and so forth. By the end he looked at me and said, "Actually, you totally just changed my mind right now."
It was the first time someone had said that to me in so many words. And it made me realize--this is what I'm here for. Even if I had only talked to that one man, that's one more person who sees the light, knows the truth, agrees that abortion should be unthinkable. That's the kind of change we need.
On our way out of Florida, we stopped at the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, which was good. Depressing, because honestly sometimes the way America handles itself is sad, but good. At the end there was a small section of movements that were inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the US--in China, South Africa, and so on. I got so excited thinking: Someday the fight against abortion is going to be here. Someday the things we've said, the pictures we've shot, the videos we've taken, the demonstrating we've done, the lives we've changed, the babies we've saved--those are going to be here. I'm a part of that history in the making.
Our country is built on the principle that all men are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Did you hear what the first item in that list is? Life. Yes, life. So abortion really is just another form of discrimination--taking away the right to life of the unborn. Who are we to do that?
Wow. Okay, off my pulpit. This has seriously been such an incredible, meaningful, life-changing week for me. I'm planning on doing more outreach here on my own campus, and for many years to come until I see a time when abortion truly is unthinkable. It's impossible for me to just go back to my normal, everyday routine after having learned so much, actually working to make a difference, and seeing the change. This is something I believe in, and it's something I believe in hard. I'm not going to stand by and do nothing about it.
If you have any questions about abortion--whether you agree with me or not, whether you count yourself as pro-life or pro-choice, whether you simply want to know how to defend your beliefs better or get involved or ask about exceptions or stats or whatever--email me. I've learned so much and I'd love to share some of it.
Hope your week is going fantastically, friends. Let me know your thoughts, or if you've ever done anything similar, or what you are doing/have done on your break. Also, Florida was incredible. I'll show you photos soon.