Taking our “Choice” signs to Berea College on Friday, November 8 was a homecoming for me.
When Fletcher Armstrong of CBR told me about the GAPs planned for Northern KY University, Eastern KY University, and the University of KY, it seemed natural to go to nearby Berea on the extra in between day. That weekend, quite literally was Homecoming at Berea. Since my youngest son is now a student there, my wife and I, both of us alums, have special impetus to becoming involved in the college again.Years ago when I was a Berea student, I attended a convocation at which the speaker spoke on abortion as a silent holocaust, and that presentation, I’m sure, was a factor in leading me into full-time pro-life work. My son said that the college, having become far more liberal since then, would never have such a speaker now. Not that they would boast of it, but the Berea graduate, Dr. Willie J. Parker (class of 1986) is an outspoken abortion advocate and practicing late term abortionist. He’s been the “medical director” of Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC and he is the 2013 winner of the “2013 George Tiller, MD, Abortion Provider Award” whatever that is. Parker is not only an abortionist but is a “Christian,” he says. He explained last year (May 27) in the New Jersey Star Register,
“In listening to a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, I came to a deeper understanding of my spirituality, which places a higher value on compassion. King said what made the good Samaritan “good” is that instead of focusing on would happen to him by stopping to help the traveler, he was more concerned about what would happen to the traveler if he didn’t stop to help. I became more concerned about what would happen to these women if I, as an obstetrician, did not help them.”
Parker doesn’t seem to notice that in the Good Samaritan story, he’s the violent robber who leaves the traveler in the ditch, naked, and bleeding.
Berea College, too, projects a skewed, incomplete perspective on certain aspects of Christianity. When college president Roelofs learned of our intention to bring Choice signs for students to see them as they crossed the highway that intersects the campus, he sent out a campus-wide e-mail. In the e-mail he wrote these words:
“In 2003, our community (persons from Berea College, the City of Berea, local churches, and others) developed the following statement expressing our collective commitment to “love over hate,” and it seems appropriate to revisit this thinking:
“For God so loved the world .. . that’s all of us! United and Diverse. We believe all people have been created in the image of God and are loved by God. We believe this divine origin and love invests each person with an inherent dignity and worth that should be respected and cherished. We believe God’s love toward us is not dependent upon our condition or actions. God loves all because God is love.”
It seems clear from the rest of the letter that Berea College does not include children before birth in the human family. That they are not created in the image of God, are not loved by God, do not have inherent dignity and worth that should be respected and cherished. That love for pre-natal children is dependent on conditions.
Or maybe they weren’t thinking about abortion at all when they composed their statement. Perhaps they should have been. But that’s why we brought the images and printed arguments to Berea.
During our GAP tour I led a short devotional with the team each morning. Before Berea, my text was (from Philippians 4) “Let your gentleness be known to all. The Lord is near.”
The students who passed us were respectful. True, a couple female professor types stood back out of brochure range as they waited for the light to change, but by in large everyone else was either friendly or receptive to our presence. We handed out so many brochures, the one titled “Unmasking Choice”. A black student asked one of our people, “Is this a religious organization?” The answer essentially was no. “That’s why your arguments are so cogent!” he said with enthusiasm and waving one of the brochures. Whether or not CBR is religious, we primarily make secular and scientific arguments as to why abortion is wrong.
Passersby, that is, drivers in vehicles often responded, and most expressions indicated strong support. Berea is a liberal college in the middle of a rural, conservative region, and you could see that clearly. A few people pulled over to get out and make a comment, or people just gave a thumbs up or called out encouragement. A few didn’t know if we were for abortion or against it, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone could think people who supported the choice to abort a child would show pictures of that dead child. But some people get confused that way. Innocent unsophistication, I guess.
We also had the Choice Truck driving up and down the road for most of the four hours we were there. A U.S. Marine Corps medical corpsman in dress uniform and at Berea for homecoming stopped to talk and thank us. I spent a good amount of time talking with the director of campus safety. He was my age and had had long experience as a police chief and with security for governmental leaders.
The editor of the student newspaper, the Pinnacle came by for a while. He wrote an editorial that favorably compared our use of graphic imagery with a similar approach for issues important to him, such as war and mountain top removal in coal mining. He did however say that our “protest” was not much newsworthy. “I didn’t see anything particularly timely or gripping about this demonstration,” he wrote. “Did this particular group break any new information about abortion? No they did not.”
Probably he’s right. But it’s a sad state of affairs when the aborting of children in the womb is so customary, routine, and “old” that it can’t be news. We are in a sorry condition when cogent arguments against the ongoing legal killing of children don't break any new information.
In the instance of us bringing the graphic images to Berea College, we were the true reporters and journalists. We were the media, the “guardian of the student’s right to know”, the byline of the Pinnacle. This information about abortion was new to most of those students. We brought that missing convocation out on the sidewalk, and hopefully some student will make a decision for life for her baby, or will someday become a prolife activist, or won’t become another misguided Dr. Willie J. Jackson. By advocating for children in the womb, we represent a missing element in the fulfillment of Berea’s motto, taken from the Bible, “God made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”
Let’s go back again soon.
Read another account of this project HERE.
Read another account of this project HERE.