Dr. Lyle D. Roelofs, President,
Dear Dr. Roelofs,
I had written a letter to you in response to your article in the Berea College Magazine (Volume 86, Number 3) where you referenced Francis A. Schaeffer’s book, How Should We Then Live? (HSWTL), but I accidentally deleted the letter and didn’t have the heart to write it again. I have occasion again to write to you.
When I was a student at
Berea, I once traveled to Covenant
College with a Berea professor and my future wife Edie
Weatherford to hear Francis Schaeffer speak. The professor was a personal
acquaintance of Dr. Schaeffer through her father’s work. I had by then read and
studied Schaeffer’s work, not in any academic program, but out of personal
interest. Edie and one of her sisters later visited L’abri in Switzerland after a Berea College Country Dancer
tour in England.
I am very concerned that your article misappropriated Schaeffer, first in that your
article had little relationship to the content of his book, and second, by
linking its title to a certain kind of tolerance of sexual disorientation. No
doubt he would be an advocate of radical love, but never at the expense of
biblical truth, which is that sexuality belongs exclusively between a man and
woman in a lifelong commitment. The Berea
magazine article that followed yours stood in sharp contrast with biblical
truth.* Sexuality, as such, however, isn’t the subject I wish to discuss here.
You said that Schaeffer wrote HSWTL (subtitled, The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture) near the end of his life. Perhaps you are unaware that Schaeffer wrote two important works after this book. They are Whatever Happened to the Human Race? and A Christian Manifesto.
“Whatever Happened” is about abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. What I chiefly remember about the book is that it contains one of the strongest apologetic arguments against abortion, one I incorporated into a science-fiction story published this fall in the Mad Scientist Journal. The story is “Ships Passing in the Night: Romance and Marriage between Lovers from Anti-synchronous Worlds” in which a man sees his child grow younger and smaller until she is un-born, and then she un-develops in her mother’s womb until fertilization when she ceases to exist.
One need not read “Whatever Happened” to know what Francis Schaeffer thought about human abortion. He presented the heart of his understanding in the pages of HSWTL where he discusses the breakdown of morality and the law, in particular within the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade.
Much of my adult life has been living the challenge Schaeffer presented in his writing. While at
Berea I attended an
evening convocation at Phelps Stokes Chapel led by the Rev. John Powell, who
had written the book, Abortion: the Silent Holocaust. Later, I attended
a Sunday evening chapel in Danforth led by a speaker who made a personal appeal
to me to dedicate my life to ending abortion. Those speakers were among the
many influences that led me to the pro-life activism I’ve been doing for the
past 30 years. I majored in Agriculture at Berea,
and my goal was to be involved in agricultural development in Third World
nations, particularly in Bangladesh,
which had suffered so much in those years from floods. It’s a long story about
how I came close to fulfilling this goal, and how the diversion toward trying
to protect preborn children was consistent with that goal—serving where the
greatest need is and were the fewest people are involved. So, it is natural for
me to write to you to express my dismay at abortionist and Berea
alumnus Willie Parker being a speaker at a
convocation on November 10, which happens to be the Thursday prior to
Homecoming weekend. I’m dismayed even more that this abortionist will present a
case that his Christian faith compels him to abort pre-natal children. Berea College
As an accident of my prolife activism, I have become a campaigner for free speech. I have been arrested several times resulting in interesting court cases in both state and federal court, one case resulting in lasting legal results here in Asheville. I have helped take the huge, graphic anti-abortion display, the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to some 50 colleges and universities in the Southeast and elsewhere, including
EKU, and . I was an organizer
when we held signs showing images of aborted children along Transylvania
University Chestnut Street where it passed though
campus in November, 2013. In considering all aspects of free speech, I
understand its limits, both legal and moral. It’s immoral to advocate for
murder, for example, and it will be illegal in many cases. In Germany it’s
illegal to deny the Holocaust. I believe it is immoral and should be illegal to
advocate for killing children in the womb and for its legality. This is precisely
the atrocious message of Willie Parker, and not only his message, but what he
does. He is, in short, a serial murderer, and Berea College has no business
giving him the credibility of a platform, just as it would surely deny a
platform to an outspoken racist or anti-Semite, let alone a person who
advocated and boasted of holding slaves or of killing Jewish people, however euphemistic
his language might be, however it might be rationalized.
I hope you will cancel the appearance of Willie Parker at your convocation.
Some years ago,
College, as part of its Service
Learning Program, allowed students to work as escorts at the Femcare abortion
site in Asheville.
Willis, then retired from Berea,
was a trustee of Warren Wilson. I acquired the names and addresses of all the trustees
from an alumnus and sent each of them selections from a transcript of the on-campus
training program for abortion escorts. I had asked someone to record that
program, and it was fairly disturbing—especially the foul language and silly
outlook. Shortly afterwards, the college discontinued its relationship with the
abortion business. I remember giving Willis a copy of my cover letter and the
transcript. We never talked about it because, sadly, he passed away just a week
or so after that time. The Femcare place eventually was forced to close because
of health and safety violations, and it opened up again briefly, but closed
down permanently shortly afterwards. We, the group I work with, Life Advocates,
were involved many years in protesting there and sidewalk counseling, in which
we offer help to women at the last moment.
Willie Parker would be as potentially controversial with
and alumni as the Asheville abortion place was
I don’t speak for the extended Weatherford family, but I know that the ones I
have communicated with so far are upset at you having him scheduled. I’m
certain that when Willis was president at Warren Wilson College Berea
he never would have allowed an abortionist to speak at a convocation. Edie
tells me that Willis purchased the HSWTL film series for .
I believe that his name attached to Berea College Berea
College’s “ ”
stands as a testimony against what you’re doing with this convocation speaker. Christian Center
There are some issues so big and divisive, that neutrality is impossible. Abortion is one of them. At the very least, attempted neutrality favors the status quo, which is to hold abortion to be a fundamental right and legal in most circumstances. My experience is with the public university, and as publically supported institutions they’re subject to the First Amendment and a battery of Supreme Court cases. That is how we gain access to the university campuses with GAP. Private colleges and universities aren’t bound by the First Amendment, and therefore can favor one position over another as an institution. What views they allow to be asserted on campus reflect the values of the institution. A private college or university may allow viewpoints it fundamentally disagrees with to be given expression in the spirit of fairness, or for educational purposes, or it may deny those viewpoints access to the campus without a threat of legal penalty, though either way, financial repercussion is another matter.
With GAP we show horrific images of aborted children. Having only civil, polite discussions and debates about the “issue” doesn’t do justice to the reality. Below is the narration from the conclusion to the PBS Frontline historical documentary, “Memory of the Camps” that shows graphic moving images of victims of the Holocaust.
The dead have been buried. It remains for us to care for these, the living. It remains for us to hope that Germans may help mend what they have broken, and cleanse what they have befouled. Thousands of German people were made to see for themselves, to bury the dead, to file past the victims. This was the end of the journey they had so confidently begun in 1933. Twelve years? No, in terms of barbarity and brutality they had traveled backwards for 12,000 years. Unless the world learns the lesson these pictures teach, night will fall. But, by God's grace, we who live will learn.
The truth about abortion makes it clear that inviting and allowing the abortionist Willie Parker to present himself as a Christian who is acting in love when he aborts pre-natal children stands against everything good
in the past, and should represent in the future. It does, however, make a statement about what
College stands for at present, and that
is not good. Berea College
Parker is helping women kill their children, and any person who participates in the murder of an innocent person is bound to suffer psychological and spiritual damage. He hurts women. What does the subtitle of his speech, “New Wine in Old Wineskins” even mean? As I recall, according to the metaphor of Jesus, new wine bursts old wineskins. Does Parker represent new wine bursting the “old” wineskins of the Old and New Testaments, the character of Christ, and centuries of Christian ethics and tradition? (In HSWTL Schaeffer cites the Council of Ancyra, a.d. 314, and the Synod of Elvira, a.d 305-306). I’m familiar with the many distorted interpretations of the Bible that attempt to legitimize abortion as being something other than the deliberate killing of an innocent person made in the image of God.) Parker is not the Good Samaritan, as he seems to think. Rather, he’s the robber who left someone naked and bleeding in a ditch—the mother—and someone dead—her baby.
Again I would refer back to your article in the
magazine. You mentioned Berea’s
seventh great commitment, which includes the aspect of having “concern for the
welfare of others.” Abortion is the anti-thesis of concern for the welfare of
others, both mother and baby, fathers and grandparents, siblings and cousins. Berea
College should cancel Parker’s appearance, but it should also go much further
by taking an active, even aggressive role in helping women in troubled pregnancies,
so they will not consider abortion as a viable option, and in helping save
pre-natal children, in part though the education of your students about the
true nature of abortion.
Meredith “Mick” Eugene Hunt, ‘79
P.S. Here is a link to my blog post about our past project at
Please watch the introductory video at http://www.abortionno.org/.
I see that Parker is speaking on November 11, at the
with lunch. Draper Building
*In HSWTL Schaeffer mentions Alfred Charles Kinsey’s books: “[T]heir real impact was the underlying conception that sexual right and wrong depend only on what most people are doing sexually at a given moment in history.” The situation today differs in that sexual right is what any people are doing, provided there is consent between participants.
cc: Loretta Reynolds, Thomas Ahrens