I heard a quote many years ago that has stuck in my mind…and I think of it often. I am not sure who said it, or if I am quoting it exactly, but here it is:
“Courage does not mean a lack of fear…it is the willingness to do what’s right anyway.“
This past weekend my husband and I went to see Dinesh D’Souza’s latest movie, “Death of a Nation“. It compared Abraham Lincoln to President Trump. Although much of the historical and political stuff went over my head…(I am just not smart in that way)…one part of the movie hit me like a hammer.
The movie told the story about Sophie Scholl, the young college student who, during the Nazi reign in Germany, courageously led a group of students to print out flyers, warning of the terrible human rights violations that were happening under Hitler. They printed and distributed the flyers as secretly as they could, but eventually they were caught. At just 22 years of age, Sophie was executed.
What really got me about this was the cold, calculated method of the whole thing. When they arrested her and brought her to the police station, an officer sat across a wooden desk from her and read the flyer that she had written. He was shocked that she was so outspoken in her criticism of Hitler…even calling him “evil“. As he read her words back to her, she looked scared and ashamed, almost like a school girl called in to the principal’s office. After reading the flyer, he looked at her and told her that if she was convicted, she would be sentenced to death. And he asked her, “So, was it worth it?” Her answer was profound. With a voice quivering in fear, she replied, “An end in terror is preferable to a terror without end.” At that, he shook his head in seeming disbelief that this beautiful young girl would sacrifice her life for this cause, and he walked out of the room. The next scene showed Sophie being led into the execution room. She was dressed in her regular clothes, and walked into what could have been any medical examination room…except for the stockade-like device at the end of the table. Two men helped her to lay down on her stomach and place her head in the stockade. They locked her head in place with the top of the wooden block and the scene cut just before the blade came down.
The emotion that overwhelmed me as I watched this on the big screen was SHAME. Shame for my own cowardice. Here was someone who was willing to put her LIFE on the line in order to speak out against the evil that was happening in her own time. And here I am…80 years later…living through a similar time, where vulnerable human beings are being killed in just as cold, calculated a way as Sophie was. Their mothers sit across a desk from Planned Parenthood “counselors”, as they discuss the method that will be used to end the life of the child within them. In Sophie’s time, the Nazi’s would eventually kill almost 20 million people. In my time, our Government has sanctioned the killing of 60 million…and counting.
Sophie was afraid…but she was more concerned about speaking out against the evil of her time. She risked death by what she did, and she paid the ultimate price. So…how about us? What are WE willing to risk in order to speak out against the evil of abortion? We certainly don’t risk being executed, as she was! At the most, we may be insulted and cursed at. Even in the rare case of someone spitting at us, or acting aggressively…it is a very small price to pay compared to what Sophie paid.
Right now, we have a greater opportunity to save lives then ever before! Our year-long sidewalk advocates have noticed a dramatic increase in turn-aways from Planned Parenthood recently. In fact, there have been almost as many turn-aways since this past June (NINE!!!) then there were in the entire year of 2017! I think we may be seeing more people change their minds lately because so much is being spoken about in the media these days about the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being overturned! Just that possibility is enough to plant the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the so-called “right” to abortion. Then, when that hesitation is already in their mind, and they show up to Planned Parenthood to find people who are willing to offer them loving alternatives…they are more likely to turn away from abortion.
So NOW is the time to be courageous and selfless…as was Sophie! Add YOUR name to the list of those who are willing to sacrifice their time and comfort to stand (and kneel) on the sidewalk to pray! Our 40 Days for Life vigil is beginning to fill up, with 20 church groups already signed up! Will you take a look at the fall schedule and let me know what hours you can commit to? Go to https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ and then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Also, please consider using our attractive, full-color flyer or bulletin insert to spread the word at your church! Either print them yourself, or order them from me for just $4 per hundred! View the flyer HERE.
We also need to fill our fasting calendar as well! Our goal is to have at least two people fasting every day during the 40 days. Go to: https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2398861/false#/invitation to sign up!
Make sure to mark your calendars to attend our fall 40 Days for Life Kick Off Event!!! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION!!!
WHEN: Tuesday, September 25th at 7pm
WHERE: Synod Hall, next to St. Paul Cathedral, corner of N. Craig St. and Fifth Ave in Oakland
Come and enjoy the music of Katy Blythe, and be inspired and motivated by speakers, such as Pastor Adam Stump of the Creekside United Methodist Church and Fr. Chris Donley from St. Raphael Church. There will be opportunities to get 40 Days for Life merchandise and also to sign up for vigil hours! Come and join us as we prepare to storm the gates of Hell with our weapons of peaceful prayer and powerful fasting!
I want to close by asking you to consider doing two things. First, I want you to know that our ranks of year-long sidewalk advocates are severely depleted. We are not able to provide any presence in front of Planned Parenthood on Thursdays (an abortion day)…and there are many times on other abortion days when only one person is there and even many times when no one is there. Many people who had committed to being a sidewalk advocate, and have taken the training, have gotten discouraged and quit. I believe it is because they feel inadequate to say the right words, and feel like failures when abortion bound couples ignore their offer of help and walk in those doors of death anyway. So, I would like to propose a solution. Since being a sidewalk advocate is a calling, and not many feel equipped to do it…I would ask you to consider simply being an ON-SITE PRAYER PARTNER to someone who is already a sidewalk advocate. If we could assign a prayer partner to every SA, we would be able to cover more hours in front of PP, and wouldn’t have to leave any SA’s all by themselves. (For instance, I am scheduled to be alone this Friday from 9-10am). No training is necessary to be a prayer partner. You could wear an inspiring, loving and encouraging sign if you like…or you could simply pray. You could hold pro life literature if you like, in case someone asked for help…but you would not have to if you don’t feel comfortable. If this is something that God is putting on your heart, please contact Sue McGrath at email@example.com to see where you could plug in to our year-round schedule.
Secondly, I would like to ask you to consider donating to Women’s Choice Network. They are the closest pregnancy help center to Planned Parenthood, and that is where we direct abortion-bound women for an ultrasound. They have been targeted by the recent “Expose Fake Clinics” movement, and have been harassed with protests in front of their doors, “fake-clients” visiting their clinics and video taping them, and having false negative reviews posted on their web reviews. This is taking a toll on them. To compound the problem…although it is a good thing…the numbers of women seeking their help have dramatically increased…and their staff is stretched to the max. In fact, we had a young woman recently (a teen), who was entering Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test, and we were able to talk her out of going to Planned Parenthood and were going to bring her to Women’s Choice Network…but when we called, their schedule was just too jammed to be able to take a walk in. Thankfully, we were able to walk the young woman to Catholic Charities instead. But this really made me realize how critical it is for all of us to support Women’s Choice Network financially! Go to www.mypregnancycenter.org to donate.
Thank you for reading this long post! I hope to hear from you soon!
Your sister in Christ,
40 Days for Life Pittsburgh