In recent weeks, and especially since last Tuesday, the point has been recurring to me that God’s people should have been speaking their values more frequently and more loudly for the past four decades. Perhaps if we had been more vocal back when it was fairly easy and acceptable to speak about God’s will for man, people with moral virtue would have remained the majority in America. We often knew the right things to do and some even practiced them in our homes, but most of us have surely been remiss in expressing truth at the crucial times and to the people who most needed to hear. You are aware, as am I, that when good people do nothing, evil wins by default.
Recently I ran across the following manuscript of a speech given by my son Caleb when he was in high school. With this speech, he represented the state of Tennessee at the conference of The National Right to Life. He was blessed, thereafter, to be able to speak this message in many venues. Whenever I reread it, I am reminded of the responsibility that’s ours not only to believe truth, but to promote it daily with our spoken and written words, with our monetary gifts and with every ability to influence others. This is especially true when our influence has the propensity to save innocent lives.
So today I give you Caleb Colley in a retro-message from his high school days. But, as he says…”Truth doesn’t change.”
I remember the day that I lost my innocence about universal parental love. See, in my kindergarten mind, I thought all babies had families who couldn’t wait for them to be born. After all, when I was three years old, the upcoming birth of my baby sister was the topic of much delightful discussion, from dinner-table chats to deep prayer for her safety and health.
The early stages of childhood, for me, were an amazing adventure of sharing, learning, and vibrant living. So, by the time I was in kindergarten, it still hadn’t occurred to me that there could be innocent babies who, because of choices made by their mothers, were not even given the chance to experience growing up.
Then that day came. One afternoon, my family and I went to a busy metro area of a large city and stood in a long line of people. We were all holding up signs, and I remember that I heard my parents say things about ‘abortion.’ As I didn’t have any idea what was going on, it was only natural for my simple, childish questions to come. And I got answers. No, some of the answers about specific abortion procedures weren’t too graphic, but I learned enough on that day to let me know that I hated abortion.
My first question was quickly crafted. “What is abortion?” My parents explained to me that abortion was when an expectant mother decided she didn’t want to have her baby, and so the baby was killed—the end of my innocence. As I have gotten a little older, I have learned that there are various, very advanced methods of taking young and innocent human life. One common procedure is called “suction abortion.” This method is used during the first three months of pregnancy. Another is called “dilation and extraction,” a procedure only used after thirteen weeks of pregnancy. In dilation and extraction, the unborn child is dismembered with plier-like forceps. Partial-birth abortions are used from the fourth month through the end of the ninth month of pregnancy. You know, these are the ones that actually deflate the brains of babies —even full-term babies who’ve already traveled through the birth canal and have even begun their exit. So vicious is this procedure that twice in the last decade, both houses of our legislature have banned this kind of abortion only to have that ban vetoed by a pro-abortion president. These late-term abortions are regularly used to kill healthy babies who, it has been scientifically proven, pose no danger or threat to their mother. Saline amniocentesis is used after sixteen weeks, and it is a process of injecting a concentrated salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The baby breathes and swallows it and dies over an hour later of acute salt poisoning. There are at least four other common methods of abortion, including chemical abortions such as the kind women induce when they take the new abortion pill, RU-486.
At five years old, I had no idea how available abortion was for a mother who chose death instead of birth. I hadn’t yet considered the fact that she could do it without anybody but the doctor, his assistants, and the Lord knowing it even ever happened. Amazing how a procedure so private and one so vaguely understood by a young woman or teenager could create such large ghosts of guilt later in life.
Another question followed inevitably. “Why would a mom want to kill her baby?” Maybe she is not ready for the way becoming a parent will change her life; it would be hard to keep her job, continue her education and care for her other children, or she can’t afford a baby. The list goes on. In rare cases, health issues may even be a concern.
But really, let’s be honest. Right now, 95% of all abortions are convenience abortions. Oh, lots of reasons may be on her mental list, but they can likely all be summarized by the word inconvenient.
So next I asked, “What can I do to try to change the mother’s mind?” The answer for me when I was five years old was that we can be heard in those city-wide life chains. We can tell young women about responsible choices like adoption. We can pray for our leaders who can make big decisions to limit and hopefully one day stop the killing. We can love and respect all human life, because life doesn’t have to be productive to society to be sacred.
Now I’m older, and things are a little different. I can get involved in church and community programs that are actively and non-violently protesting to government officials and against abortion providers. I can be heard in letters to news editors. And I can still offer my prayers to the Almighty God that He will give the cause strength and growth, and that He will help us all to be ready to defend innocent life—a principle at the very heart of liberty in this country.
I was five. I hadn’t yet been introduced to many of the horrors of a grown-up world. I was five. I could comprehend simple truths my parents were teaching me like, “Never pick on someone because he’s small,” and “The right thing may not always be the easiest thing.” I learned amazingly powerful and simple lessons from Scripture, like, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When I was five, I also was being introduced to one of my favorite authors. You know him too. He’s Doctor Seuss, and you’ve probably read some of his practical life-lessons for kids, like this one from Yertle The Turtle: “I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down at the bottom, we too should have rights.” In Horton Hears a Who!, Dr. Seuss dutifully explained that “a person’s a person no matter how small.” You see, statistics change. Laws change. Procedures change and evolve, but the simple truths are still the same as when I was five. Truth doesn’t evolve with society. Truth is not flexible. It is eternal. But we must all personally care about truth. It was Dr. Seuss who said, in The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”