A Conversation to Save a Life: One Year in the Pro-Life Movement

WW1 Somme Trench

WW1 Somme Trench

It’s not about activism, sin, or condemning other people. It’s about saving the life of an unwanted child. And it’s about bravery in the heart of men. Now it seems God must give the mantle of bravery to women after the men have rejected it. The question before us are we willing to save American lives even if no one ever cares if we do? As a young man I felt that saving innocent American lives was one of the noblest things one could do.

Feburary 5, 2014. A security guard verbally confronts the leader of 40 Days for Life. The security guard was later let go by the abortion facility.

Feburary 5, 2014. A security guard verbally confronts the leader of 40 Days for Life. The security guard was later let go by the abortion facility.

As a young man in my early twenties I would stand with the other out of shape guys on the social fringe of our church and hold signs in support of the pro-life movement. I would spend long hours in prayer. When I move to Charlotte, one of the first things I did was join the pro-life movement.

Pro-Lifers in Charlotte October 6 2010. Here I am meeting various pro-lifers including the leader of 40 Days for Life for several years on the far left.

Pro-Lifers in Charlotte October 6 2010. Here I am meeting various pro-lifers including the leader of 40 Days for Life for several years on the far left.

Feb27-P1180435Having been in the pro-life movement now for a long time, I have observed the challenges to the movement succeeding saving lives. Already right now the pro-life movement saves the lives of over four hundred children’s lives a year here in Charlotte alone. What I have also encountered among many people is the ignorance that we are saving any lives at all.

March 4, 2014. Pro-Life activists scatter over the sidewalk and entrance to the abortion facility. A separate organization staffs the ultrasound RV seen parked in the background.

March 4, 2014. Pro-Life activists scatter over the sidewalk and entrance to the abortion facility. A separate organization staffs the ultrasound RV seen parked in the background.

We wonder about Catholic men, their piety, or their lack of it. The temptations they weather, and collapse into; and why so many of them do not participate more in the life of the church or evangelization. I’m not a statistician and do not know all of the reasons why. In my many experiences I do know that pro-life activism among regular parishioner’s seems to fall between %1 to %5 of the total. A lack of involvement in the pro-life movement is not a man’s issue it is a church issue.

March 8, 2014. Fr. Winslow from St. Thomas Aquinas parish leads pro-life group Helpers of God's Precious Infants in a procession.

March 8, 2014. Fr. Winslow from St. Thomas Aquinas parish leads pro-life group Helpers of God’s Precious Infants in a procession.

As a church, I feel we have unfortunately accepted the philosophy that support of the pro-life movement can be accomplished through thinking positively about it or through voting for a Republican candidate every election. I feel that is like saying one is pro-taxes, thinking positively about taxes, voting for pro-tax candidiates but never actually paying personal income taxes every year.

March 10, 2014. Flip Benham and other pro-life activists pray together after several hours of saving lives.

March 10, 2014. Flip Benham and other pro-lifers pray together at the end of their day here.

The American Revolution was about taxes and debt. Taxes the northern colonies did not want to pay, and debt the southern colonies could not pay off. The American revolution succeeded with about %30 of the population in support of it and with a broad religious, social, and governmental base ready to keep society normalized throughout and afterward. We have perhaps one to one and a half orders of magnitude less then that in the pro-life movement.

March 20, 2014. Flip Benham often comes to the abortion facility save lives even when he has a busy schedule.

March 20, 2014. Flip Benham often comes to the abortion facility save lives even when he has a busy schedule.

In states friendly to the pro-life cause even with a lack of activism it is still possible to push back abortion. Perhaps sympathizers to the pro-life movement as a leviathan that cannot walk, but they can certainly roll over in a few states and push back the creation of abortion mills. I assume this shrinks the availibility of abortion to the rich who can afford to travel, and the few surgical hospitals and fertility clinics who gain apparent immunity from the conservative pro-life movement because what they do is secret, not advertised, and not given on demand.

IT IS TIME TO SAVE A FEW LIVES

march22-website-P1180550-P1180552By going out, your not guaranteed to save a life. You could go out about twenty-two times a year and not be guaranteed to save a single life. You still should try. What is the worth of life to us? What is the worth of a life- quite often underprivileged and African-American? The pro-life movement in Charlotte is a majority white movement. The lives we saved are majority African-American and often in need of liberal governmental support. Things like school lunches, section eight, WIC, better schools, utility support, and charitable assistance. If they make it through high school though, they can look forward to massive amounts of private and public support to attend college and easily be hired at a good job aftwards. The paradox of the pro-life movement is that it is conservatives advocating for liberalism, whites standing for the lives of blacks, and a movement without participation or honor from the majority population of their own parishes.

March 28, 2014. Nurses who work on the ultrasound RV proudly show the pink folders showing women who have chosen life for their unborn child.

Nurses who work on the ultrasound RV proudly show the pink folders showing women who have chosen life for their unborn child.

If you save a life in the pro-life movement you will not be honored. If you try to save an unborn life you will probably be forgotten. Honor is saved for leaders of ministries whose names get into the parish newsletters or the Catholic Herald. Honor is given to those who are blessed with good genetics, dress in expensive clothing, and say the right things to make other people feel flattered.

Honor is for those whose jobs in theory save American lives. Honor is for soldiers, police, firemen. Social honor in churches is for the beautiful and the titled and the wealthy. Not in the pro-life movement. The women (and it’s mostly women and kids) will not be lifted up for honor in their churches. Neither will they be prayed for in the daily or weekly masses even by category. First responders and soldiers get a mention in many churches. But not these women who are saving American lives every week. They are forgotten in the liturgy.

April 29, 2014. The sidewalk pro-life movement has its own divisions. Pictured right, is Chris whose

April 29, 2014. The sidewalk pro-life movement has its own divisions. Pictured right, is Chris whose bitter interactions turns women away from abortion just as it enbitters the pro-life women near him

In the pro-life movement, you will be forgotten and will hope to be forgotten. Those who do not hate you will ignore you and hope you go away. Are you willing to hit the pavement to save a life even without honor? The most powerful emotional need in men is the need for respect and glory. They will find that in other careers and vocations. Not here. Most people in the church have said no to the pro-life movement. I want you to say yes.

IT IS A MINISTRY THAT WILL DRAIN AND CHALLENGE YOU

May 1, 2014. Several pro-life women counsel a woman who was considering abortion.

May 1, 2014. Several pro-life women counsel a woman who was considering abortion.

You will go to a sidewalk, pray, and occasionally talk with those considering aborting their children. Most of the conversations you have to save a life will result in failure. You must hold your emotions in check with an iron discipline. To what shall I compare sidewalk ministry to? It is like being a Medic in the Revolutionary War or even World War I: You must march to the front lines where you are needed, and stand up straight to make it even easier for you to be targeted. You will be shouted at. You will be ignored. There is a giant cross before you. You also may experience the divisions among the pro-life movement.

May 7, 2014. The pro-life movement here in Charlotte is organized six days a week by Cities 4 Life. They have to apply every week for the loudspeaker permit.

May 7, 2014. The pro-life movement here in Charlotte is organized six days a week by Cities 4 Life. They have to apply every week for the loudspeaker permit.

If you are a praying pro-life Catholic, you may be heckled or shouted at by pro-life Protestants. This used to be more common and is now more rare but still exists. It’s easier for them to pick at the extremely few Catholics who do show up rather then go back to their churches and tell them to stop sitting in the pews and start saving lives. Also once you are involved in pro-life sidewalk ministry forget also volunteering at the pro-life pregnancy resource center- they don’t want people like you.

May 21, 2014. The voices of the women of Cities 4 Life are compassionate, reasonable, and feminine.

May 21, 2014. The voices of the women of Cities 4 Life are compassionate, reasonable, and feminine.

You will (hopefully) pray before coming and pray after leaving- usually alone. Come together, leave alone. I feel a sense of camraderie among protestants, that is missing among the more formal, introverted, and spritual focus of catholic pro-life activists I wonder where people are to prevent this evil. There are about 775,202 people in Charlotte. Approximately 392,872 of them are Christian. Among them there are about 247,000 registered Republican voters. Of those people there may be anywhere from five to fifty of them on the sidewalk at any given time. That means about only %0.2 of all in name only ‘pro life’ people actually are out there trying to make a difference. Think about that.

OCCASIONALLY A LIFE WILL BE SAVED –

July 19, 2014. Fr. Mark Shuey from St. Nicholas Ukranian Greek Catholic Mission joins with the Helpers of God's Precious Infants a local Catholic pro-life group.

July 19, 2014. Fr. Mark Shuey from St. Nicholas Ukranian Greek Catholic Mission joins with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants a local Catholic pro-life group.

But not by you. The effort came from someone else to the side. It’s just statistical inevitability. There’s more people to the right or to the left so it is more likely to be someone else other then you. You will not be able to say to yourself, ‘I saved a life.’ Instead, you will say, ‘Someone here saved a life’. Most often this is after the fact and happened while you weren’t even looking. Therefore you will not have ‘a moment’ where you can feel satisfied and happy.

IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY STAND UP AND DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL WITH YOUR LIFE

October 10, 2014. The power of the human voice with an amplifier is a important tool for Cities 4 Life.

October 10, 2014. The power of the human voice with an amplifier is an important tool for Cities 4 Life.

Not that anyone cares. If you go and ask your friends to go they will look at you as if you sprouted a second head or as if you turned invisible. They will make excuses not to go. There’s a new concert, or some other cultural event that day that they would rather go to. Your friends will realize your invitation to join the pro-life movement is irrelevant to their pursuit of a career or the vocation of marriage and they will be right. They have their own lives and you have your own.

January 22, 2014. Seminarians from the Josephinum join the March for Life in Washington DC. Tens of thousands of people march for life.

January 22, 2014. Seminarians from the Josephinum join the March for Life in Washington DC. Tens of thousands of people march for life.

You may stand on the sidewalk- and watch a young pregnant woman enter the Ultraclear Ultrasound RV. Her boyfriend is talked to by the director of the pro-life resource clinic. You may also talk to him and after what seems like a discussion that lasts forever he finally admits that he cannot kill his girlfriend’s child even if it was a product of rape. She comes back and her father comes back and that day they decide not to abort the child she is carrying. Her boyfriend looks shaken, but he is not about to give up just yet (that, and he works for her dad).

You have gone through with the process, but the victory is not yours. It is Gods.

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: