This past Saturday, August 22nd, at 10:00 A.M., I and a group from my church participated in the nationwide Planned Parenthood (PP) protest. There were several PP protests happening in the greater Seattle area. The one that was closest to me was at 2001 E. Madison Street. It was the first time that I participated in an organized protest. I never thought I would ever join a protest because as a minister of the Gospel, I felt the tension of becoming too politically minded at the expense of my responsibilities as a lowly undershepherd of Christ’s flock. But, like many who have been tremendously burdened by the publication of the now seven videos clearly incriminating PP workers for harvesting and selling (yes, selling!) “fetal cadaver” parts for profit (one lady jokes, “I want a Lamborghini!”), I was convicted to do something. I became clear that this is not a political issue, like the “pro-choice” people assert. Not in the slightest. The war against the unborn (i.e., abortion) is certainly and most definitely a moral issue. Therefore, we who claim have the absolute truth and know the absolute truth have the responsibility to take action. As I say often from the pulpit, “Orthodoxy without orthopraxy is dead faith” (Jas 2:17). So, I decided to participate in order to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Pro 31:8; NIV). As a way to encourage you to obey the spirit of Proverbs 31:8, here’s what I experienced at the PP protest:
Leading up to our arrival, there was a small degree of anxiousness in my mind because I did not know what to expect. Who would be there? Who was leading it? What “faith groups” would be represented? Would there be belligerent counter-protesters? Would there be a false gospel preached? Would things get violent? Would there be professing Christians resorting to prideful name-calling and antagonistic treatment of the opposition? Would police have to intervene? These were the questions that were raging through my mind. I knew I was taking a risk by exposing my flock to this event, but also my eight-year-old son and my six-year-old daughter.
Other than a few horn-blowers, unwholesome finger-gestures, one loud-mouthed woman, and a PP worker diligently warning protesters to stay on the far side of the sidewalk, I can honestly say I’ve never experience a more unified setting of perfect strangers. Were all the attendees born-again Christians? No, but this was not a church service or a religious event. Were some attendees on the more radical spectrum of the anti-abortion push? Sure, but they were self-controlled to my knowledge and did not bring bloody, grotesque images of butchered “fetuses.” Were there some counter protesters? Yes, but they were very few in number and kept quiet. Overall, there was peace, patience, and camaraderie among the 300 plus men, women, and children present.
Among the attendees, I can confidently say that the great majority were Christians banding together to end the American Holocaust and slay the Goliath that is PP. This was abundantly evident because 1) the church that led it is a reformed evangelical church, 2) other speakers were pastors and laymen/women from other like-minded churches, and 3) the event was concluded by the signing of several theocentric hymns (e.g., “O the Deep Deep, Love of Jesus“). I walked away thinking, “This was a more holy time of corporate singing than many churches on a Sunday morning!”
The time I also spent with my fellow co-laborers was also refreshing and super encouraging. I got to meet other pastors, elders, and faithful lay people from all throughout the Seattle area, where the spiritual climate is generally very cold. The time I spent with a few people from my own church gave me a unique opportunity to get to know them better. Last but not least, the education that my children got was nothing less than priceless. The weekend was a Deuteronomy 6:6-9 moment. They helped me make a sign, my wife and I explained to them what abortion is and why people do it, and what they saw at the protest taught them more in one hour than an entire week at school. In other words, the opportunity helped me see how we’re to be “in the world, but not of it.” The fellowship was sweet among the protestors, my sheep, and my own family.
I walked away from this event with hope in heart for two main reasons. Firstly, the Gospel was preached…boldly. The name of Jesus was mentioned without fear or hesitation from the speakers. The ultimate hope for humanity was made known to all who were within hearing distance. We who are known by God, understand that the only power to transform the human heart bent towards murder is the Gospel (Rom 1:16). One of my wise pastor-friends said, “The reality is, murder stems from the heart. We know that. And the only thing that can change the heart is the Gospel.” I can’t speak for all the PP protests that went on around the country, but rest assured, the Good News of my Lord Jesus was offered to all at 2001 E. Madison Street.
Secondly, I become more hopeful that this very well could be the start of another great abolitionist movement our country so desperately needs. As a man who still loves his country, it causes me much grief to admit that collectively this nation, founded upon biblical morality and justice, has little-by-little succeeded in doing what the Israelites did in the book of Judges—doing what’s right in our own eyes. However, that doesn’t mean that our nation can’t repent of its shedding of innocent blood, one of the things God hates with passion (Pro 6:17). With perseverance and prayer, I believe that together we can win the war to end human abortion. Remember, it took William Wilberforce 20 years of abolitionist campaigning until the British parliament past the Slave Trade Act of 1807— an act that abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. Likewise, the fight against the murder of innocent babies will not be won with one victorious battle overnight; rather, it will be a long war over years or possibly even decades.
As a concluding call to action, will you consider the Psalmist’s plea?
O Lord, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth, Render recompense to the proud. 3 How long shall the wicked, O Lord, How long shall the wicked exult? 4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves. 5 They crush Your people, O Lord, And afflict Your heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger And murder the orphans. 7 They have said, “The Lord does not see, Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”
8 Pay heed, you senseless among the people; And when will you understand, stupid ones? 9 He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see? 10 He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke, Even He who teaches man knowledge? 11 The Lord knows the thoughts of man, That they are a mere breath.
12 Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, And whom You teach out of Your law; 13 That You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, Until a pit is dug for the wicked. 14 For the Lord will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance. 15 For judgment will again be righteous, And all the upright in heart will follow it. 16 Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?