It was only 9:37 a.m. on a muggy summer morning in June 2011 and I’d already had one of those mornings that forces you to stop and think about who you are and the world around you.
It started off as a photojournalism project. Just a simple photostory. Snap a couple of pictures, record an interview, edit them together, export as a quicktime movie and then screen it in class to the other students taking JOU 3355 Media Photography: Introduction.
Some of the topics of those photostories range from individuals who love animals, following around celebrities (e.g. Robert Griffin III) or visiting a local tourist attraction. Seeking last minute inspiration (it was a Thursday morning and the assignment was due Friday), I chose to visit Pro-Life Waco’s efforts to stop abortion.
Driving up to the Hope House (they have a house next door to Planned Parenthood now, thanks to an anonymous donor), I realized the gravity of this effort. It was Thursday, 7:30 a.m., the morning that the abortionist preforms surgical abortions on women and child.
Not thirty feet from where I was standing that morning, taking photos and talking to people babies are being aborted and families’ lives were being shattered. Just thirty feet from the playing children and the praying adults.
It was my first time at a Pro-Life Waco gathering. I’ve donated money and attended pro-life functions before but I’ve never been on the front lines.
Before today, I’ve never seen the cars going into parking lot with women in them, I’ve never seen the abortion doctor flip the pastor off before entering the back door. Before this morning, I’ve never thought you could ignore activists by simply putting up tarps and running a leaf blower to drown out the simple exchange, ‘God loves you.”
I know that I was only taking photos, recording audio and asking questions. It was a small contribution to the effort, but nevertheless, it was a contribution.
I found the boy, Donny, that had helped me when I first arrived, inside the Hope House playing with a Light Brite with his friend.
The question caught me off guard as I snapped a few photos of a pro-life newspaper publication laying on a nearby table.
“Yes,” I answered.
Donny continued. “It’s sad then, that people would kill innocent babies.”
Such a simple statement containing the truth of some of the workers.
“Are you a Christian?” Donny’s friend asked half-interested in the answer, half-interested in his artistic creation. He picked up some more Light Brite pegs and continued making his pattern.
“Yes, I am.”
“Good, we’re all Christians. We’re all Christians.”
I wrote the above piece in my personal blog the morning after spending my morning out on the street in front of Planned Parenthood. But today not much has changed since that morning I stood out on the sidewalk documenting what happened – abortions are still happening.
The more I seem to work in the pro-life movement, the more I realize that the problem cannot and will not be solved in just a quick act of legislation. Laws and mandates would help, but what about what lays in our hearts? What we need is renewed sense of the importance of life, to create a culture of life.
Abolishing abortion is just the first step, the long term solution requires the acknowledgement that life is indeed a precious gift from God. Our brothers and sisters – regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation – are all created in God’s divine image. Life is precious, it is what we are promised by a creator who loved us so much that he humbled himself to become one of us.
Today’s Advent challenges is this, remember the pro-life movement in your prayers. That those who work for these organizations are refreshed with a sense of importance and their efforts are fruitful. For those who make legislative decisions, give them the courage to make the right decisions. And for those facing unplanned pregnancies, give them the courage to say yes and the resources to do what’s best for their unborn child.