I plead with pastors and church leaders to not play it safe, to not be people pleasers, and to fail to speak prophetically into people’s lives. If we do not periodically allow people the option of seeing what abortion really is (not just hearing about it), will we be held accountable for this before God? “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
If you plan to read further (some have stopped already), please note graphic pictures of the results of abortion are included at the end of this article. It is very rare that I do this but I do it because some people will not really have the light turn on about the true nature of abortion until they see it with their own eyes. Note that you do not have to look at these pictures! But if I don’t include them I rob some viewers of the chance to see the truth and thereby have their hearts forever changed on this issue.
I wonder how many children’s lives have been lost, how many women’s lives have been horribly scarred because church leaders feared the criticisms that would come from people if they allowed terrible pictures to be seen in the assembly. People’s preferences to not see photos can be easily accommodated—just as I’m doing here—since they can be warned in advance and told they can close their eyes when the short video or photos are shown. How odd and illogical, then, that we would not show such photos to any of our people, preventing many who could have come to grips with abortion for the first time from even having the opportunity to keep their eyes open and be touched deeply by what they see. The way to respect both groups of people is to show the photos and allow people to choose for themselves.
The same thing applies to showing pictures of starving children. It is unpleasant, it makes us feel guilty about our lifestyles, and we want people to feel safe and comfortable in our church services. But does God call us to make people feel safe and comfortable, or sometimes to feel profoundly uncomfortable so that we might be moved to obey God? The truth that makes us uncomfortable is ultimately the truth that sets us free. And Satan, the liar from the beginning, wins his biggest victories when God’s people don’t come to terms with the truth—including that he is not only a liar but a murderer. John 8 says it all. It isn’t our job to simply make each other feel good, but to help each other be good. It is our job to prepare our people to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. And to prepare ourselves as well.
I’ll never forget years ago when a prolife candidate ran television ads showing aborted babies, and people were outraged. A CBS Evening News reporter declared the abortion debate had reached a “new low in tastelessness.” Strangely, there was no outrage that babies were being killed... only that someone had the audacity to show they were being killed.
The question we should ask is not “Why are prolife people showing these pictures?” but “Why would anyone defend what’s shown in these pictures?” The real concern about pictures of unborn babies isn’t that they’re gory, but that they prove the accuracy of the prolife position.
The Holocaust was so evil that words alone couldn’t describe it. Descriptions of Nazi death camps had long been published in American newspapers, but when these papers started printing the pictures of slaughtered people, the American public finally woke up. If not for the pictures, even today most of us wouldn’t understand or believe the Holocaust.
I visited a college campus where a prolife group had set up displays of aborted babies alongside the victims of the Nazi death camps, the killing fields, American slavery, and other historical atrocities. Signs with warnings about the graphic photographs were posted clearly, so all those who looked did so by choice. I witnessed the profound effect on students and faculty, including those who didn’t want to believe what they were seeing.
Animal rights advocates argue that in order to make their case they must show terrible photographs, such as baby seals being clubbed to death. If there’s a place to look at such pictures, isn’t there a place to look at pictures of abortions? And if abortion isn’t killing babies... then why are these pictures so disturbing?
Was the solution to the Holocaust to ban the disgusting pictures? Or was the solution to end the killing?
Is the solution to abortion getting rid of pictures of dead babies? Or is it getting rid of what’s making the babies dead?
A later abortion:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Top photo by Max Bender on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.