When my son, Jeff, graduated high school, I took him to the beaches of Normandy, France. On June 6, 1944, our U.S. Army Rangers hit the beach and the first wave sustained nearly 90% casualties. Here’s why:
- The tides were wrong. Our guys were told that they were going to be dropped into water that was 10-15 feet deep at the most, but in some cases it was actually 30 feet deep. The guys who were wearing 100 lb. packs went straight to the bottom and drowned before they even got a shot off.
- Those who didn’t drown had a different problem. They had to ditch their packs and run across a beach with no weapons while they were being fired at from in front of them and from either side.
Now you understand the carnage depicted in the first forty minutes of Saving Private Ryan.
As I took my son to Omaha Beach, we waded out into the surf, as part of a guided tour. Jeff then wanted to tread back to the beach on the route that our soldiers must have taken and try to visualize what that must have been like.
We were immediately overcome with emotion.
I was blown away by the realization of what it would have been like to be under fire with no weapons with which to engage.
Which leads me to today’s Pro-Life position.
How can we equip ourselves to engage on the Pro-Life issue on hostile turf?
Many of today’s young adults have been raised in schools or homeschools where they have been taught respect for the Word of God, they attend Church Youth Groups where Youth Pastors have patiently instructed them in the things of God, and they are about to land on that “beach” known as the “Secular University”. At that moment, many of them will feel outgunned and in way over their heads, especially when it comes to an issue like abortion.
Waiting for them on that “beach” are professors like Dr. David Boonin of the University of Colorado Boulder who wrote The Defense of Abortion – without question the best argument for abortion you will ever read. It’s very persuasive. In his introduction, Boonin writes:
“On my desk, in my office, where most of this book was written, there are several pictures of my son, Eli. In one, he is gleefully dancing along the sand in the Gulf of Mexico, the cool ocean breeze wreaking havoc with his wispy hair. In a second, he is tentatively seated in the grass in his grandparent’s backyard, still working to master the feat of sitting up on his own. In a third, he is only a few weeks old, clinging firmly to the arms that are holding him and still wearing the tiny hat for preserving body heat that he wore home from the hospital. Through all of these remarkable changes that these pictures preserve, he remains, unmistakably, the same little boy.
In the top drawer of my desk, I keep another picture of Eli. This picture was taken 24 weeks before he was born. The sonogram image is murky, but it reveals clearly enough a small head tilted back slightly and an arm raised up and bent with a hand pointing back toward the face and a thumb extended out toward the mouth. There is no doubt in my mind that this picture, too, shows the same little boy at a very early stage in his physical development. And there is no question that the position I defend in this book entails that it would have been morally permissible to end his life at this point.”
Boonin bites the bullet. He basically says, “I agree with ‘pro-lifers’ that my son, Eli, at 24-weeks before birth is the same little boy then as he is today.
And it would be okay kill him back then.”
And the book goes on to say why.
He says it would have been permissible to kill him because, as we learn later in the book, Eli lacked organized, cordical, brain function. This means that his brain was not developed enough to be able to have a desire to go on living. And, until you have a desire to go on living, you do not have a right to life.
That is who awaits our young adults on that “beach”, known as the University Campus.
There will be others, who aren’t as clear about their intentions and who aren’t as blatant in their ideology.
But there are many who have bought into the worldview that moral truth on the issue of abortion cannot be known.
One day, I was at the park with my other son, Michael, pushing him on the swing. When he was between four and six-years-old, so long as he was on a moving swing, he would be content for hours! Well, one day, we were playing on the swings when a woman came by and set her daughter into the swing next to Michael. She then asked me the question that I hate getting:
“What do you do for a living that allows you to come to the park in the middle of the day?”
I responded, “I do lectures on bio-ethics.” Nobody EVER asks me what that is.
She said, “Oh, you talk about things like abortion?”
“Yeah, I talk about abortion.”
Then she said, “I don’t like abortion. I think it’s bad. But, I’m glad it’s legal because I don’t think I should impose my views on someone else.”
Very gently, I asked her, “Do you mind if I ask why you are personally opposed to abortion?”
She answered, “I’m personally opposed because everybody knows it kills a baby.”
I then clarified, “So, you personally oppose abortion because you say it kills a baby, but you want it to be legal to kill babies?”
There was stunned silence for about 20 seconds while she pushed her daughter on the swing. To her credit, she then said, “You know, you’re right. That is what I’m saying. And it doesn’t sound pretty when you take the spin off it.”
She had bought the notion that when it comes to moral truth on an issue like abortion, we should no more claim that our view is True, with a “Capital T”, than we should claim that our favorite flavor of ice cream is True with a “Capital T”.
That’s the “beach” our young men an women are landing on.