Skip to comments.Evangelical school refuses pro-life display on campus
Posted on 11/08/2012 5:39:45 PM PST by Coleus
Before class last Tuesday morning, Oct. 30, Seth Gruber stood outside his school's dining hall with a sign showing a tiny pair of red, severed hands. Some students who walked by him during the next four hours stared down at their feet as they passed. Others shot him dirty looks. Several told him the graphic pictures of aborted babies were inappropriate and disrespectful.
Gruber, a junior at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., knew his pro-life activism wouldn't make him the most popular guy on campus. But he didn't expect to meet with so much opposition.
Westmont is an evangelical Christian school, with a mission to serve "God's kingdom by cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world." It requires trustees, administrators, and faculty to confess the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Its statement of faith affirms the trinity, the resurrection, and the inerrancy of scripture.
But for three years in a row, Westmont's student government association denied Gruber's request to bring a pro-life display to campus. The display, known as the Genocide Awareness Project and sponsored by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), contains billboard-sized photos of aborted babies. Some are whole, others in pieces. Gruber admits the display is graphic and horrific, but he believes it's truth that students need to see.
"I have a professor who once said we should care more about the truth than our own reputations," he told me. "People who talk about an inconvenient truth will be hated. All cultural reformers have been. But we won't outlaw an injustice until we stop caring about what people say about us and care more about the lives of unborn children."
Jane Higa, Westmont's dean of students, said the school doesn't disagree with Gruber's pro-life position, but administrators don't agree with his methods of communication. Gruber accuses the school of refusing to take a stand against abortion, something Higa didn't deny. "Within our community, there is a range of perspectives on that," she said.
For Gruber, the school's unwillingness to show pictures of the reality of abortion amounts to intellectual dishonesty. He said too many people at Westmont claim to be personally pro-life but say they are unwilling to force that choice on someone else. If they really took a look at what abortion does to babies, Gruber believes they would find their neutrality on the issue impossible to maintain.
For the last three years, Gruber has worked as an intern at CBR, a controversial organization even within the pro-life movement. But CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham says graphic photos are necessary to the cause: "Abortion is inexpressibly horrific. No words can adequately describe it."
Cunningham said the fights against slavery, child labor, and segregation all included vivid images, and they played a key role in influencing public opinion. CBR takes its traveling display of abortion images to colleges all over the country. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the activists the right to set up the billboards at public schools. But almost every private Christian college has turned them down.
Gruber, who embraces Cunningham's approach to cultural reform, started a pro-life student group when he enrolled at Westmont in 2010. The next semester, he applied to bring CBR's display to the school. When the student government turned him down, he hosted a debate about abortion. Higa said the debate, attended by about 300 students, did an excellent job of showing two different perspectives: "That's the kind of way we want to engage students, with thoughtful dialog around these topics."
The next year, Gruber applied again to bring the display to campus. The student government took a week to turn him down the previous year. Gruber got his second denial in less than 24 hours. Both times, council representatives told him the display was too graphic and might offend students or visiting parents. This year, he didn't even make it through his entire presentation before Director of Campus Life Angela D'Amour stopped him. She had heard his pitch the previous two years and assured him it would be denied again. The display didn't fit in with Westmont's ethos, Gruber recalled her telling him. Students need to feel safe at Westmont, she said. This just isn't the right venue.
"The whole thing boils down to them putting the feelings of born people ahead of the lives of unborn people," Gruber said.
Convinced he would never get permission to show the graphic images on campus, Gruber decided to do it anyway. At 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 23, Gruber and CBR activists Timothy Eaton and Todd Bullis took up their positions in front of the Dining Commons. Each held a sign showing parts of aborted babies. About an hour later, two administrators approached the trio and demanded they leave. Eaton and Bullis, who aren't Westmont students, complied. But Gruber held his ground. As a tuition-paying student, he had every right to be there, Gruber told them.
Whether you agree with him or not, this is a courageous young man. It was people of this kind that rescued Jews from the Nazis when they knew they could pay with their lives.
I need to re-educate myself on the term Evangelical. I thought it meant pure, or holy. Now I think of it as a Progressive form of religion the easy way out. Divorce and abortions are okay for evangeliacans. What ever makes you feel good, and ya get to still be a “christian”.
I have to ask: how can one expand the kingdom of God, which requires a second birth, when one denies them a first birth?
No, it comes from evangelize, which means:
1. - to preach the gospel to.
2. - to convert to Christianity.
1. - to preach the gospel to.
2. - to convert to Christianity.
But their life style and choices are not of the gospel.
You know, the Truth. (yes, even Leviticus)
How many evangelicans have tatoos, get divored and remarry and have had abortions? And they still consider themselfs a good christian woman? I’m no saint, but I know what the Truth looks like.
California is one weird place. Daniel Webster was right. If you put northern Europeans in a warm bright climate where it never freezes, they eventually go crazy. Northern Europeans evolved in a cold climate devoid of much ultraviolet light. Their brains are hard wired to work best in such a climate. Most of California never sees freezing temperatures or snow. Factor in the huge amount of marijuana these people consume and the lunacy becomes understandable. Evangelical Christians? Try decadent lowlifes.
It could be done without overt gore and still say it very well. A montage of sonograms (including a display showing one in motion if possible), a scene showing the “doctor” with sinister looking tools and a “DON’T” thought balloon out of the baby’s head, some scriptures, that sort of thing. Gore is good when it’s possible to show it, but there’s no need to make gore the hill to die on.
Actually, that was brought up in the very early church. The new gentile (non jew) converts were being told they had to conform to the Mosaic law, the issue was resolved by a council in Jerusalem which included members of the apostles. They came to the following decision (Acts 15:1-21 [CEV]):
Some people came down from Judea teaching the family of believers, Unless you are circumcised according to the custom weve received from Moses, you cant be saved. Paul and Barnabas took sides against these Judeans and argued strongly against their position.
The church at Antioch appointed Paul, Barnabas, and several others from Antioch to go up to Jerusalem to set this question before the apostles and the elders. The church sent this delegation on their way. They traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling stories about the conversion of the Gentiles to everyone. Their reports thrilled the brothers and sisters. When they arrived in Jerusalem, the church, the apostles, and the elders all welcomed them. They gave a full report of what God had accomplished through their activity. Some believers from among the Pharisees stood up and claimed, The Gentiles must be circumcised. They must be required to keep the Law from Moses.
The apostles and the elders gathered to consider this matter. After much debate, Peter stood and addressed them, Fellow believers, you know that, early on, God chose me from among you as the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and come to believe. God, who knows peoples deepest thoughts and desires, confirmed this by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, but purified their deepest thoughts and desires through faith. Why then are you now challenging God by placing a burden on the shoulders of these disciples that neither we nor our ancestors could bear? On the contrary, we believe that we and they are saved in the same way, by the grace of the Lord Jesus.
The entire assembly fell quiet as they listened to Barnabas and Paul describe all the signs and wonders God did among the Gentiles through their activity. When Barnabas and Paul also fell silent, James responded, Fellow believers, listen to me. Simon reported how, in his kindness, God came to the Gentiles in the first place, to raise up from them a people of God. The prophets words agree with this; as it is written,After this I will return, and I will rebuild Davids fallen tent; I will rebuild what has been torn down. I will restore it so that the rest of humanity will seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who belong to me. The Lord says this, the one who does these things known from earliest times.Therefore, I conclude that we shouldnt create problems for Gentiles who turn to God. Instead, we should write a letter, telling them to avoid the pollution associated with idols, sexual immorality, eating meat from strangled animals, and consuming blood. After all, Moses has been proclaimed in every city for a long time, and is read aloud every Sabbath in every synagogue.
This illustrates how the movement of new progressive/socialist “Christ follower”, who do not want to offend anyone or be too intense. That is why they stayed home. They don’t want to say they disagree with gay marriage or killing babies.
There is a huge movement in the country. It starts with Rick Warrens teachings.
The Rick Warren, Joel Olstein- Oprah movement.
There’s certainly a danger of “Purpose Driven Lives,” if they do not go beyond, becoming “me oriented” because the focus by definition is on the personal life rather than upon the Lord and what the Lord is doing and wants done.
Re the article. Corporate Trademarked Institutional Business Christianity has drifted so far from its moorings that the two (Bible based Christianity and contemporary religion) aren't even similar.
“Whether you agree with him or not, this is a courageous young man. It was people of this kind that rescued Jews from the Nazis when they knew they could pay with their lives.”
Absolutely. And some people need to be awakened to these atrocities by visual aids.
You know, I was thinking along the same lines, my idea was to put a picture of an unborn baby with the instruments used for abortion superimposed over the baby’s picture. The instruments of abortion are scary enough without the actual gore.
I imagine that too was the reaction of many of the German people when they were shown pictures of the concentration camps after the camps were liberated.
Exactly. The control God and the Holy Spirit and Jesus and the purpose of Jesus’ ministry.
The Purpose Driven movement is not based on Jesus or the word of God. It is a NewAge, feel good, self help movement.
It is full of problems, but people flock to it, like a drug.
“The control God” ... ?
The modern Christian church is a disgrace.
OOPS. TheY control God. Guess I need those glasses ALL of the time. ;)
What is the litmus-test for the church?
Jesus said: I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.
How much do members of the church love other members?
Being exasperated isn’t the same thing as not loving them. We are also to correct, rebuke, and admonish other members.
You misunderstand. Real love is not soft, squishy "feel-good" shit; but the motivation to correct/rebuke/admonish, because real love wants what's best for them.
Most haven't the love to be the slightest bit confrontational, and those that are confrontational are often lacking love, being nothing more than clanging cymbals.
Okay now I’m not sure what point you’re making or if you disagree with me or whatever.