What is the best way to change hearts and minds about abortion? I have participated in “40 Days for Life” (40DfL) the past 3 years and am now part of the local leadership team. If you haven’t heard of 40DfL it is an ecumenical peaceful prayer vigil located outside of abortion facilities worldwide. Participants pray and fast for 40 days in the spring coinciding with the 40 days before Easter and in the fall late Sept to early Nov (October is Life month).
The best way to show people the truth about when life begins is to be like Christ! Jesus came to save not to condemn (Luke). How easy it would be to look down on these women from a state of moral superiority. To intimidate and emotionally manipulate them with threats and graphic pictures of dismembered unborn babies is not a path of love. So instead of dressing up like the Grim Reaper outside of Planned Parenthood protesting against abortion. As part of 40DfL we kneel, walk, or stand outside PP witnessing for life via prayer. We try to love them both. One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr quotes is as follows:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate, only LOVE can do that”
This past fall my prayer hour happened to coincide with the presence of a prolife non-40DfL group. Mary, the 80 year old prayer warrior that had the hour after me, said her husband refers to them as the “go-to-hell people.” They had bloody baby signs (which I didn’t particularly want my 3 year old seeing) they would yell, “Repent” through a megaphone and had a video camera set up taping cars that drove in. They had a sign that quoted the bible I’m assuming, “Do you hate me because I speak the Truth?” Their signs scream abortion is murder and you are wrong. Does this approach work? I don’t disagree that abortion is murder, but are we here to change hearts and save babies (and mothers)? Or are we here to piss people off and make it easy for them to dismiss us as judgmental asses?
I personally don’t believe cramming the truth down someone’s throat works. It is true that the Holy Spirit can work in many ways, and could use that graphic picture to pierce a hard heart. But more often they will just choke and spit it out and be shy to ever look into the whole “Jesus thing” again. I much prefer to try to be the Light of Christ. To strive to be like Jesus with the woman at the well and at first out of curiosity they may wonder. Then later they may try a taste, and though it is bitter truth at first they may realize that this is the Love that can endure anything.
Of course easier said than done, since the pro-aborts don’t love you! (They assume you are the former prolife zealot). One lesson I learned long ago as a catholic worker is that it is much harder to treat people like Jesus when they don’t act like Him! You have to discipline yourself to be patient, kind, and persistent, which comes more naturally to some than others!
Now my last blog, I ended saying my brother was right. He had emailed me some harsh and graphic forwards implying guilt by association if I voted for the democratic candidate in the impending election. I actually don’t agree with his methods. I don’t think he knows how much he hurt my feelings. But in hindsight, seeing the negative impact that the Obama presidency has had on Life issues, I’m glad that I never voted for him. I’m also glad that I got more involved in the pro-life movement, although I wish my brother could have spurred me in a different manner. As an eye doctor it is a great feeling being able to help people see better, but optometrists rarely save anyone’s life. However, as a prayer warrior I may have already helped to save a life!
I heard a statistic today from a (former) abortion clinic director that said it was common that the days the pro-lifers were outside their doors (praying) they would have a 75% no-show/cancellation rate! Considering 92% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion related that is saying something!
If you have any fears holding you back from being a part of one of the 500+ prayer campaigns let me ease your fears and give you courage! Visit www.40daysforlife.com to sign up for a site near you. Join the more than 600,000 prayer warriors world wide. Still not convinced the 40 DfL method is effective? Since 40DfL has gone national in 2007 there have been 88 clinic workers quit, 44 abortion facilities closed and 8,245 babies saved in direct correlation with one of the 2,786 campaigns. The spring campaign begins Ash Wednesday (the day after Mardi Gras) this year and every year. We’re not going away until abortion does. Please join us. You just might save a life!