On our website is a page that addresses the most common objections we hear during our “Face the Truth” Tours, when we show pictures of abortion victims out on the streets—as we’re preparing to do at 24 sites in and around Chicago starting this Friday.
But in this post I’d like to focus on another objection that I must admit I find it hard to get my head around. Namely, the charge that showing abortion victim photos in public is uncharitable—and yea, even un-Christian—especially because of the supposedly damaging effects it has on children.
Personally, I find it understandable that the average secular person might get angry upon seeing a display of pictures of abortion victims.
But I’m gobsmacked when Christians try to claim that showing the victims of abortion in an effort to awaken people’s consciences is actually contrary to our faith.
Showing the Victims of Abortion: Unpopular, But Necessary
As Christians, we know that on that first Good Friday, Our Lord Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be mercilessly scourged, crowned with thorns, and forced to stumble — battered, bloodied, and grotesquely ignominious — through the streets of Jerusalem before being nailed to the Cross. It’s surely safe to assume that there were children among the crowds that day — these were public streets, after all, and the city would have been teeming with families who had come there on pilgrimage for Passover.
Just as our faith demands that we face squarely the brutality that Jesus underwent for our sake in His Passion and Death, and to share this truth with our children — “Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it” (Proverbs 22:6) — our duty as Christians requires that we face squarely the brutality being done, with the full sanction of law, to more than 3,000 unborn children in our country every single day.
In the Catholic liturgical calendar, one week ago was the commemoration of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church — a day recalling that our forebears in the Faith were decidedly unpopular for proclaiming Jesus “and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). So too, we should not expect to be popular for showing what abortion does to unborn babies.
Still, it has to be done.
The very reason we go out there on the streets showing the victims of abortion is that so many of our fellow citizens — of whatever religion — need this reminder. They’re not thinking about abortion. Much less are they thinking about those of us who are in the pro-life movement — when they’re not thinking of us as “extremists” who are trying to “force” our beliefs on the rest of society, they’re not thinking of us at all.
If in the wake of a Face the Truth Tour, a thousand conversations begin with “I saw a bunch of wackos today…” and end with a frank, and long overdue, discussion of abortion, we consider the insults we have the privilege to bear well worth it.
“Lambs among Wolves”
The reality is that following Jesus Christ is not easy. This bears repeating:
The reality is that following Jesus Christ is. not. easy.
In fact, it’s extremely demanding, and can be very dangerous — as Our Lord told His disciples: “Behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). And, it always requires sacrifice.
Now, if our intent as Christians who show pictures of abortion victims were rooted in pride and vindictiveness, I would agree that doing so is the wrong course of action.
But that’s not at all our intent. Rather, our intent is rooted in love: love of God, first of all, and also of the babies He created who are victimized by abortion — and whose bodies we have given a proper Christian burial whenever we have been able to recover them.
Our intent in showing abortion victim photos is also rooted in love of the parents who are considering abortion, as we do not want them to do something terribly wrong and that will cause them enormous emotional pain, as well as in love of those who have previously been involved in abortion, that they may seek the mercy and healing that can only come from the one true God whose Mercy is endless and whose treasury of compassion is inexhaustible.
One woman who has been participating in our Face the Truth Tours for years once told me that she never looks forward to going out on the street and showing pictures of abortion victims. In fact, she dreads it.
Why? Because she hates the fact that we have to do it, and she prays for the day that we won’t have to.
When we show the images of the victims, abortion comes front-and-center into a community and ceases to be just another “issue.” Precisely because abortion is so astoundingly destructive — and has touched so very many lives — nobody wants to talk about it.
As the advocates of unborn children — who are unable to speak for themselves — we have to break that silence.