Life Chains

Two thoughts here: Why it's not necessary to have a "passion for the unborn" in order to do something meaningful to save them, and why "life chains" may do more harm than good.

Our last caller raised an issue I actually intended on talking about today. His question was about pro-life "life chains."The last two nights I was at different crisis pregnancy events-- a maternity home on Friday night and a crisis pregnancy center on Saturday night-- working really hard to raise funds for them. I'll be speaking at another fund-raising banquet later this week.

Once I was asked this question: When did you get a passion for the unborn? Our last caller was saying he doesn't understand those who don't have a heart for the unborn. My response was surprising to him. It might be surprising to you. I don't think I have a passion for the unborn. I have a passion for some things, but I don't think the issue of unborn is one of them.

You might be thinking, "That's crazy. I've heard you talk about the unborn. You speak at banquets. You've done 'Death of Humanness.' You were on Focus on the Family. You have a whole section of Stand to Reason devoted to bioethical issues, including abortion."

And you're right, on all counts. Those things are part of my life, true enough, but not because abortion is "my thing." It's not because this is my "calling." It's not because I have a particular passion for it. It's because I have an opportunity to do something that is right. I don't think we need to have a passion in order to act to save the lives of innocent, precious, unborn human persons.

This isn't a "thing" for me. It isn't "what I do." It's something that we all ought to take some concern in because it's a serious issue of justice, where innocent human beings are being sacrificed in this country for frivolous reasons at the rate of about 4,000 a day. I don't need to have a passion to respond to that.

It's also not my goal to whip you up into a passion when I speak about these issues. It's my goal to show you what's true about the circumstance and, hopefully, when you see what's true, you'll change your life, spend your money differently, talk differently, and act differently in light of the truth.

Which means that you won't get an abortion if you're thinking about it. Which means that you'll discourage someone else from getting an abortion if they're thinking about it. Which means you'll reach into your pocket and dig out some money to help crisis pregnancy centers who are making it possible for people who don't want to have abortions to carry their babies to term.

These are small things that can be done. I don't think anyone needs to have a heart for this or a passion for this, but they do need to give something or do something considering what's at stake.

One of the things pro-lifers do to make a difference is participate in life chains. There's a life chain scheduled for today, in fact. My roommate was leaving the house this morning and said, "I'm on my way to the life chain." I said, "Life chain?" And he said, "Yeah, that's when we stand in the street and hold up signs indicating our support for unborn children."

I didn't want to discourage him. I'm glad he went. But I did say I wished every person who was standing in that life chain would give at least $25 to a crisis pregnancy center. It would have done more good than holding up signs.

Here's my concern. Please hear my heart in this. I don't mean at all to be critical, but I want to put this into perspective. We have many people in this country who are pro-life, millions of them. But of the millions of people who are pro-life, hardly a one of them ever lifts a finger to do anything to actually stop the killing.

There are some exceptions. Some will come to a banquet, like last night. But coming to a banquet doesn't save children; it only gets you fed. I told folks then, "Look, if you came here and you paid your money for dinner, just keep in mind just being here does nothing for the children. You bought yourself a meal." We need to do more than arrive at a banquet and eat dinner.

What I'm concerned about is that somebody might come to a banquet or stand out in the street and hold up a sign-- I'm not saying it's bad-- but I'm afraid they'll do just enough to assuage their conscience, but they won't do enough to save the life of one child.

Am I saying life chains don't do any good? Well, I don't know, to be honest with you. I don't know if life chains save any lives. I hope they do. I think there may be some value in this kind of show of force, showing that there are a lot of pro-life people who are at least willing to stand in public with a sign.

But you know what? I'd much rather every person who is in a life chain calculate the time they spend at the life chain meetings before the event, and preparing placards and signs, getting in their car and driving to the life chain, standing in line on the street and driving back home. Calculate that. What would that be? Minimally, three hours and maybe six or seven hours. What is minimum wage? Five or six dollars?

If you paid yourself minimum wage for the three hours minimum time you spent involved in a life chain and took that $18 and gave it to a crisis pregnancy center, I guarantee you'd be doing much more good than you did by standing on the street with a sign. I'm certain of that. Why? Because money sent to crisis pregnancy centers saves the lives of children. I'm not sure what standing on the street with a placard ultimately accomplishes.

Now, of course, the best combination is to do both. Be vocal about your concern, but don't let your concern stop there. Don't do like James says, "Go ahead, be warm, be fed..., but don't give them what they need." Do both. Speak up on behalf of the unborn, but also do something substantial to help organizations like crisis pregnancy centers stay in business, saving the lives of children.

We need CPC's to save children. And we need people to save the CPC's, giving money and help to CPC's so they can save the lives of children.

My deep concern is that people will be satisfied with standing on the corner with a placard--an act that may be more symbolic than actually helpful--when they could have done much more good by writing a check and sending it to a local CPC and then spending those three hours watching a football game. Frankly, that's what I'd rather see.

quick thought |
Greg Koukl

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