Every so often I (Sean) re-watch the movie Amazing Grace, which focuses on the efforts of Christian politician William Wilberforce, among others, who laboured tirelessly for the abolition of the salve trade in the British Empire. I’m due for another biography/historical account of the events soon. Much can be learned from his example when it comes to opposing the great blight on our own society today: abortion.
The following scene stood out to me in connection with the recent events that have unfolded surrounding Planned Parenthood. [Note: I realize this is not historically accurate but creative license as comes with all movies based on on real life events. The scene, however, is powerful in its own right. Also, the first few seconds are extraneous…coding wouldn’t work to start at the right point…].
No one wants to have their day ruined. No one wants to be made uncomfortable, or more realistically, feel sick to their stomach. No one wants to scroll through their social media feed on their lunch break only to be greeted by graphic images of dismembered bodies. No one wants to go through their mailbox to find the same. It’s shocking. Horrifying. Disturbing. But that’s the point, isn’t it? We’re supposed to feel that way because what’s happening is shocking, horrifying, and disturbing.
Often, however, our reaction is to lash out at the one who exposed us to the offence as though they are the one who caused the offence. In other words, we shoot the messenger. If only we stopped, though, and considered why we’re provoked, we may better channel what we think and feel towards the real reason for our offense, which in this case, would the be the murder of the pre-born.
If I were to be honest, I’ll admit that as a teenager in a Catholic high school I didn’t enjoy watching a video of an abortion. That’s a movie reel I can easily replay in my head. I don’t enjoy seeing graphic images of dead children. I had to brace myself before watching the recent videos that have come to light. I needed to take time afterwards to process what I was thinking and feeling. I don’t enjoy the inability to unseen what I’ve seen.
So why do it? Because it’s far too easy to go through life as though on a cruise ship with fine dining and music. Because I needed to be shocked out of my comfortable reverie. Because a peace-time mentality is my default even though I’m living in a war-zone. When the casualties are burned onto the inside of your eyelids they are much harder to ignore.
I appreciate, among others, two comments Wilberforce made:
If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.
You may chose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.
I invite you to not look the other way. Whatever your view on the acquisition and editing of the footage, the legality of what Planned Parenthood does, and whether they intended to make a profit doing so, the unavoidable fact is that the discussion still centres around the destruction of the pre-born. The body parts of a child are sifted through at one point in the video. This cannot be denied. Yet still, I invite you to press play, hit full screen, turn up the volume, take your fingers from the trackpad, and watch, with eyes wide open, the consequences of a culture of death. You won’t be the same, yet perhaps you’ll be stirred enough to act so that current affairs remain anything but the same.
You’ll probably need some time to digest if you do watch, and some of you may know you just can’t handle the footage, which is totally understandable. No matter your choice regarding the video, all of us should act. What should you do? Tim Challies has some good thoughts here, and there are plenty of action items listed here from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (note that there are graphic images on the home page and other pages on their site).