Self-Righteous Pro-Lifers…

I remember when I first started leading 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh…back in 2011. I just couldn’t understand why more churches would not get behind 40 Days for Life. I had spent a year developing a database of about 1,400 churches from…and I had poured my time into calling and emailing pastors, begging them to let their congregations know about 40 Days for Life. I was shocked to learn that not all places that call themselves a “church”, were pro-life. In my naive mind, I just assumed that if someone was Christian, they must be pro-life…since their self-proclaimed Savior was once Himself a fetus inside the womb of an unmarried teen girl.

Once I figured out which denominations were not pro-life, I narrowed my focus to reaching out only to those churches that were pro-life; basically the Bible-based Evangelicals and the Catholics. There were a few Evangelical churches that were extremely pro-life in their preaching that were huge mega-churches…and I really worked hard to get them to participate in 40 Days for Life, but I couldn’t seem to get anywhere. Finally, in frustration, I reached out to about 4 pastors of Christian Mega-churches in the Pittsburgh area…simply asking for 5 minutes to talk with them face-to-face. I wasn’t trying to “sell” them on 40 days anymore. I simply wanted them to tell me WHY they didn’t want to take part in 40 Days for Life…since I knew how passionate they were about preaching pro-life sermons and always getting a bus to the National March for Life. I just wanted them to tell me to my face, what is it about 40 Days for Life that they don’t like?

One of the mega-churches shut me down completely. The secretary scolded me on the phone for thinking that the pastor…who was pastor of “thousands” (her words)…did not have time to meet with me. Ever. The other three churches were a little more diplomatic. They pushed me off to their associate pastors, but at least they did give me my five minutes. The meetings were very eye-opening for me. As someone who did not grow up particularly Christian, and certainly not Catholic…I was not aware of the prejudice that some Christians have against pro-life activists. It became clear to me, as I spoke with these pastors…that they wanted nothing to do with 40 Days for Life because they see pro-lifers who pray in front of abortion clinics as being judgmental, self-righteous and unkind. I also came to see that, for these mega-churches…with their state of the art rock and roll worship bands and perfectly choreographed worship services…standing in front of an abortion clinic…looking like a goof-ball, all bundled up with red, runny noses…was just not a cool look.

So now we know what our image is to the world…even to many Christians. We are self-righteous, judgmental activists, who want nothing more than to make girls feel bad about getting an abortion. I am writing this blog to try to convince you to join us! How am I doing so far?

The reason that I am writing about this is that when I prayed about Monday’s first reading…it got me to think about the need to accept punishment with humility. The reading was from 2 Samuel and was the story of King David having to flee Jerusalem after his son, Absalom, had rebelled against him and was trying to kill him. The reading says:

As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. his head was covered, and he was walking barefoot.

2 Samuel 15

As if that wasn’t bad enough…a man named Shimei, (a relative of King Saul)…who was standing on a ridge above David, began to curse at him and to throw dirt and stones at him! One of David’s men practically begged David to let him go up and lop off the head of Shimei. (I don’t know why, but the image of this makes me chuckle.) But David responded with these humble words:

Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.

2 Samuel 16

I think that David accepted the humiliation and curses of Shimei…and the betrayal of his son Absalom, because he knew it was a punishment for the sin he had committed with Bathsheba. After his adultery with her, and then the murder of her husband in order to cover up his crime…God had told him that, even though he had been forgiven…the sword would never leave his household as a consequence.

So…back to our humiliations as pro-life activists. As we stand (or kneel) on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood….we may appear to be condemning and judgmental to those who see us. We may face some cursing. Hopefully no one throws stones at us (although I remember that did happen to one of our beloved team members a few years ago…Jim Shantz). He got a couple stitches and was right back to the sidewalk the very next week!

But my point here is this: Do we accept these humiliations as King David did…or do we complain about them? Do we recognize the fact that we actually DESERVE them? Even if (by God’s grace), we have never taken part in an abortion ourselves…have we contracepted, or fornicated…taken part in any sort of impurity? I know that I am certainly guilty of many crimes against God’s goodness…which, thanks to His mercy, I am forgiven, but that doesn’t mean that the consequences aren’t still there! The consequences of our nation’s sin of abortion have saturated our world, and we all have to live them. So, instead of complaining and acting like we don’t deserve to suffer the disdain of our fellow Christians who see our pro-life witness as being harsh and judgmental…maybe we, like David, should humbly accept the humiliation…and offer it in reparation for our sins and the sins of our nation.

As David said in today’s first reading…”Lord it is I who have sinned. Punish me.”

May God have mercy on us.

Hope to see you soon!


6 thoughts on “Self-Righteous Pro-Lifers…”

  1. Nikki. Very helpful insight and reflection. It is so much a part of our culture to believe the lie that it is mean to speak the truth that will help someone reform and look at Gods will for their life. Humiliation and humility never have been very popular.

  2. Aldrea Reese-Brown

    Wow, Nikki! Really well-written commentary. I pray you see great results and that you will see more disciples who follow Jesus than followers of big name leaders, aware and praying along with you!! Humility is our Bible study topic this afternoon and i am letting your words sink in to my heart.

  3. Great commentary, Nikki. I never heard the story about the church leaders and their condemnation of us as judgmental, unkind and self-righteous. That is very eye opening to me. Obviously, they never checked on this reason in person. Everyone I have met in 40 Days is quite the opposite of arrogant or unkind.

  4. I love reading your articles, Nikki. Many years ago, while volunteering at a pro life organization, I contacted churches inviting pastors to an event. I was also met with much hostility. It was a real eye opener that I never forgot.

  5. excerpt from:

    The first account of Mary – or the first sign of Mary – can be found in the so-called Proto-evangelium. There it says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. And she will crush your head.” What does this account tell us? It speaks of a victory. But also the last account, the one of the latter times, talks about a victor: a woman clothed with the sun. It all started in Lourdes. In Lourdes the Mother of God introduced herself as the Immaculate Conception.

    “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and she will crush your head” (Gen 3:15). Mary appeared in Lourdes and identified herself: “I am the victor of all times.” Just at the time when the serpent raised its head through atheistic Marxism, Mary spoke in Fatima: “I am the victor.” May I recall some of these victories to your mind?

    Europe was threatened by the Turks. The Turkish fleet was far superior to the Christian fleet. What did Pope Pius V do? He mobilized all the Christian kings and their soldiers and called all of Christendom to pray the Rosary. The then Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, was reported to have said, “I am not afraid of the Christian kings, of their cannons and fleets and generals, but I am afraid of their prayer.” That prayer is the Rosary.
    In Venice there is still today a painting of this battle with the inscription, “Not through our power, nor through our cannons, nor through our courage, but through your help have we won.”

    the Turks stood before Vienna in 1683 with an army 200,000 strong. Jan Sobieski advanced from Tsehenstochau with his 30,000 soldiers praying the Rosary. They had all received a medal from the Cardinal of Tarnawa.
    Imprinted on one side there was a picture of the Sorrowful Mother of God; on the other the word “Mary.” When they attacked the Turks on September 12, they shouted, “Jesus, Mary, help! Help us! Be at our side!” And they won. We could give so many examples. But the Mother of God had prophesied her greatest victory at Fatima: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” This means that Love will triumph – the truth, the good, the mercy of God. The Heart of Mary is a song of the mercy of the heavenly Father.

    So, we fight the battle of babies being murdered But IN THE END…. “In the end my (MARY’S ) Immaculate Heart will triumph

    keep praying decades & decades for the moms & dads & babies . May God bless us all.

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