A national pro-life organization sent out a fundraising letter highlighting a blog penned by one of their assistant directors.The blog shares the assistant director's personal experience with an abortionist on an airplane trip and how he handled the unexpected encounter.*
As I read about the encounter, it broke my heart how he handled the experience, but even worse, the national director lifted up his encounter as a witness for the pro-life cause and praised him for his efforts.
I decided to write to the assistant director and his boss to express my view that this whole fundraising story was a disaster and was not how pro-life leaders should handle a great opportunity for a witness to the evil perpetrators of child sacrifice.
Below is the correspondence.I changed the names of the two leaders that I am writing to, to have mercy on the guilty.
(First is the fundraising letter sent out by the organization)
When you are working or volunteering in the pro-life movement day in and day out, you can easily get consumed by the big picture and lose sight of what is happening every day in our nation's abortion mills. As we worry about money, politics, and time away from family, we can get too immune to the killing.
But then you sit next to a late term abortionist…
Last Saturday, I was boarding a flight coming home to Virginia from Omaha, Nebraska. I had been in Kearney, last weekend speaking to students and local pro-life activists about how to create a Culture of Life in their community and how we are all called to the pro-life movement. Oddly enough, a lot of people asked me that weekend how I kept up my busy travel schedule and where I get my passion and energy. It is the moments like what happened on my flight Saturday night, confronted by evil, that keep me going.
When I sat down and looked across the aisle, I saw none other than notorious late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart on his way to kill 3rd trimester babies, as his does every Sunday morning, at his Germantown, MD facility. I was face-to-face with a man who has killed thousands upon thousands of babies with his own hands, who is responsible for the deaths of at least two women and who has so callously defended his business.
And I had no idea what to do.
What do you really say to someone like that? How can you reach them?
I wasn't sitting close enough to have a conversation as the aisle and his wife were between us. Plus, I felt he would shut me down right away, anyway. I knew I couldn't sit that close to a man who represented so much evil. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably.
So, I asked to be moved up a couple rows where I couldn't see him, but he could still hear me. Then for the next 2 hours, I prayed out loud for his conversion and an end to abortion. When we landed, I waited for him to walk past me, and I called his name. He looked me right in the eye, and I said, "LeRoy, we're all praying for you." He mumbled something incomprehensible and stalked off, but I knew I had gotten to him.
I'm not the first pro-lifer to confront Carhart and, hopefully, I won't be the last. Just as with any dialogue or conversation with an abortion-rights supporter on a campus, in church, or at work, each of us is only responsible for planting or watering the seed of truth, hoping and praying that it will one day bear fruit.
And while we might not always know the impact that our actions have on campuses and communities across the nation, we cannot forget what abortion really is, the lives and souls that are at stake every day across America.
Sitting next to LeRoy Carhart reminded me of one thing for sure…we cannot let fear, intimidation, or our busy lives stop us from action. We cannot rest until abortion is abolished from our nation.
I hope today you can send in support to our organization as we transform our nation by empowering and equipping young people to be courageous leaders for Life.
(My response to "Bob's" blog)
I read your fundraising letter yesterday highlighting your encounter with abortionist Leroy Carhart on the plane.
I am in full-time pro-life ministry as well, going on thirty years. My hero, Kortney Blythe Gordon gave me the public title of "Uncle Don" years ago and so I am known among friends and co-laborers by that name. You see, Kortney is my niece, and much of what I do was inspired by her powerful devotion to abolishing abortion through her commitment to Jesus Christ.
So as I read your story of speaking to the serial killer Leroy Carhart, I was imagining what Kortney would do given that moment.. or better yet, what would Jesus do with that opportunity. I'm confident that both of their actions would be the same.
But I also know that during my thirty years of opportunities to engage those in darkness, I have choked or dropped the ball on more than one occasion. Case-in-point occurred about twenty-five years ago having the divine appointment to share a dinner with Sarah Weddington, the attorney who represented Norma McKorvey; Jane Roe in "Roe v Wade."
Sarah is responsible for 55 million more abortions that Leroy Carhart's rampage.
As I sat across from her at the table, I was weak at best, engaging her in dialogue. I would give anything to rewind to that day and get a second chance to get it right.
In the years that have followed I committed to being more equipped and courageous in those divine appointments and many, many more opportunities have come into my life since.
One such opportunity came on a plane as well, as I got the last seat available, only to be seated next to a drug rep who sells abortion pills to abortion centers. I made the most of that encounter and everyone sitting around us on that plane ride into San Francisco got an earful of stimulating conversation.
Bob, I want you to be able to fill Kortney's shoes and continue to make your own footsteps on the sands of time while in this battle for the hearts of people.
That is why I am writing to you.
Let me illustrate what I would like to convey to you by giving you a picture of what I believe your letter should have read like. And although there are other possible approaches running through my mind that you could have employed with Carhart, this one written below is a good springboard for my exhortation to you.
As Field Director for College Warriors on Campus I travel often and pray before getting to my locations that the Lord will give me many divine appointments throughout the day.
One of the best opportunities for engaging folks is on a flight from one speaking engagement to the next. I wonder who God will sit me next to on the plane for stimulating truth-filled conversation.
WOW! Did God raise the bar for me the other day on my flight home as I found myself next to none other than abortionist Leroy Carhart, one of the most notorious serial killers in America.
When I realized Carhart was within conversation range of our seats, my heart began to beat faster and the Word of God pierced my conscience with the words from the New Testament, "For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind... Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech."
So with God's spirit leading me, I leaned over towards Carhart and said, "My name's Bob. Are you folks traveling on vacation or for work?"
Carhart looked up from his laptop and said, "I'm flying in to do some work."
"Oh, what kind of work do you do?"
"I'm a doctor assisting at a Health Specialist Clinic in Germantown."
"That sure seems like a noble career. You must feel a great sense of accomplishment helping save people's lives.
"I guess you could say that. I have good days and bad days on the job."
"Well, I want to thank you for spending your life healing people and helping the world to be a better place. What, may I ask, is your specialty? Are you in the field of Fetalogy or at the other end with the seniors?"
At this point Carhart looked at me a little irritated and I said, "Forgive me if I am being a little too nosy."
He smiled and said, "I am in practice with Reproductive Health Specialists."
"That's awesome. If I were a doctor, that's the field I would specialize in...helping couples secure those little pre-born babies in the womb and protect them during the most important growing time of their lives. That whole area of Fetalogy and all the scientific discoveries coming out of Embryology is fascinating and sure leads me to believe that the whole womb was designed and not randomly put together. One more evidence that there is a God out there."
"Well, I don't know about all that. Seems to me if there were a God, He sure let things get all screwed up and has kinda left us to ourselves."
"That's one way to look at it. Seems to me, though, that we spend our time pointing the finger at God rather than looking at ourselves as the ones who messed up what God gave us. My worldview concludes that mankind has squandered the creation and brought about a curse called sin onto the creation. What's your take on that idea?"
"Church, religion, and all that crap is fairy tale stuff. Science and logic conclude that it's all about the survival of the fittest. Tomorrow we die and become worm food."
"I'm a little perplexed. You are spending your life helping people. How is it you have such a hopeless worldview, if I may ask?"
"I've seen what religious people have done in the name of their God. A good friend of mine, who was also a doctor, was killed in his church by a religious nutcase. I think if you knew what I really do for a career, you'd become one of those religious nuts and want to kill me."
"Please Mr. ...?"
"Call me Leroy."
"Please, Leroy, don't suggest such a thing. I would not follow in the footsteps of a religious nutcase who uses his religion as a cloak to cover his misguided dogma and actions against someone else. In the worldview I embrace, Jesus, God's Son, who left Heaven to show us how to get life right. It is not in His teaching and commandments to go out and murder someone. Jesus taught that all human beings are intrinsically valuable from the moment they are conceived.
That's why He told us how to get our minds right and how to prepare for eternity. Jesus told us we will not become worm food after we die. In fact He says if we do not turn from our reckless ways of breaking God's commandments and be changed through something called repentance, we will die in our sinful state and go to where 'the worm does not die.'"
"I think I've heard enough of your crap and don't wish to carry on this conversation."
"Thanks for talking with me Leroy. I appreciated the conversation and would like to give you this brochure that I carry with me for moments like this. It gives folks a little more information about what I do to help make the world a better place. My email address is on the back if you ever want to talk to me about what we talked about."
I gave him a brochure that we use to clarify the need for repentance towards God through Jesus Christ, in order to receive the forgiveness of sin.
Leroy Carhart gave me a stern look, but took the brochure and said, "I do have to say that you did not come across too much like one of those religious zealots, or I would have shut you down a long time ago. Thanks for being civil."
For the rest of the flight I prayed and thanked the Lord for placing me "in such a time as this." I have to admit that I was tempted to let fear and intimidation cause me to run and seek another seat so I didn't have to figure out what to say and face this man.
I'm sure glad there weren't any empty seats to tempt me.
The Lord sought out evil men and sat with the wicked. Then He told us to do the same for the cause of the Kingdom. I almost failed Him. That's why it is so important to be filled with the Spirit before I get on the plane.
I thanked the Lord for bringing to mind the important things to say and in the right spirit to this evil and lost soul. I almost bailed and hid behind the overused cliche "I'll pray for you." It'sgreat to find direction and examples in the Scriptures on confronting those in darkness. I'm glad I was empowered and equipped by God to be bold and courageous in this moment.
I write this to you as a creative way to let you know that I was disappointed by your fear and intimidation in that great moment.
You admitted that your body was shaking uncontrollably and you asked for another seat away for Carhart, You also state that you then prayed so loud for two hours so that Carhart could hear you.
As I picture this scenario in my mind it made me wonder why the crew of the plane and the other passengers didn't escort you off the plane for your loud and troubling behavior. If I saw some guy's body shaking uncontrollably as he was praying out loud, it would have sent out warnings to me that possibly an unstable guy was on-board our plane.
I think you put a spin in your letter about that plane ride that was less than courageous and bold.
I would like to say more, but hope you consider my admonition to you so in the future you can share stories that follow Scripture and show your victory over fear and intimidation during those divine appointments...and you will have many more as you walk among those in this Culture of Death.
In His Steps,
At the Well Ministries and Project Truth
(The National Director's response to my letter to "Bob" is below)
I understand the heart behind the message you sent to Bob, but I think that it was an inappropriate way to go about it. Bob often feels like he is living under the shadow of Kortney, and even took this job to honor her, and beats himself up every time he perceives that he has failed her. This semester, in particular has been very stressful on him and he has struggled personally with his desire to remain in the movement.
Sadly, your email to Bob did more harm than good by exhorting him by invoking Kortney. In fact, I was even shocked that you sent it to him and was pretty angry at you. Bob was upset, and I told him not to respond to your email. I was hoping you would let the matter go.
I, for one, was proud of Bob, he saw his weakness and cried out to God. And that's why I shared his blog with our supporters. It was real, heartfelt, and carried a great message. You weren't there, nor do you know the words or actions God was requiring of Bob on that flight. For all we know, Bob did and said the exact thing he was supposed to and to jump in and question his actions – which were a stretch for him – basically calling him a coward was not the best course of action.
It would have been far better for you to remain silent or to just exhort him in comparison to himself (After this experience you will do better next time with this kind of opportunity!). He can not go back in time and have the conversation you came up with – all he can do is use this experience to fuel his passion and prepare for the next time he is face to face with an abortionist.
Remember, Bob is young and even at his age Kortney had a longer and wider experience than he has had, you cannot expect him to be her or be as good as her in confronting evil head on. While we miss Kortney everyday, we are grateful for Bob. God has given each of us different gift, and we are at different places in our sanctification and in our calling. Bob has many gifts that are individual to him that are invaluable to our team – gifts that set him apart from Kortney and that Kortney did not have. We love him and accept him for who he is, and where he is at in his calling.
Thank you for your effort to encourage him, I do know it came from a good place.
For now, please let this matter drop. Continuing to email Bob about it, will only serve to open this wound. Linda and I have both assured Bob of our love and support of his tireless work at our organization.
(Below is my final response to the Director's weak rebuke towards me)
In respect to your request, I will not be communicating with Bob about the fundraising letter further.
May I give a few thoughts to you about our correspondence?
I would like to recommend a book called "Born for Battle" by Arthur Matthews. It contains 31 (one a day) brief challenges for the Christian in ministry, written by a former missionary to China. At the end of the first chapter is a prayer that reads:
Oh Lord! Help me to accept the fact that I am born for battle and am responsible to seek the doing of the will of my Father on earth by resisting the enemy's attempts to reverse that will. To this end I pray that the will to disentangle myself from the smothering absorption of civilian living may be strengthened in me, so that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And "Oh, may no coward spirit seek to leaven the Warrior Code, the calling that is ours."
Your response to me, Lynn, was troubling and I think perhaps lacked some discernment on this issue. Your team is not exempt from meaningful criticism or rebuke when you put out a letter such as what Bob wrote across America, giving the impression that Bob's actions were how abolitionists should act during divine appointments. Several leaders in our movement were bothered by the misguided and questionable words of the fundraising letter and were hoping you and Bob would respond to my admonition in a teachable way. It does not appear that this is happening.
Bob's actions were unsatisfactory for those who are in leadership and your rationalization, claiming his actions on the plane were "maybe what God ordered" and being angry that Bob was "wounded" by my letter, is also perhaps lacking in wisdom.
It is written "The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy."
I had hoped you and Bob would have read more carefully my correction and admonition towards you, but it appears from your response that you let your anger and, dare I say, lack of Biblical direction in this matter cloud your thinking and response.
Bob's actions on the plane were more closely aligned with the illustration of Jonah's lack of courage in an important moment, as Bob sat in the belly of the plane.
The direction and marching orders from Scripture do not afford you or Bob the freedom to rationalize away his lack of courage when you state:
"You weren't there, nor do you know the words or actions God was requiring of Bob on that flight. For all we know, Bob did and said the exact thing he was supposed to and to jump in and question his actions – which were a stretch for him – basically calling him a coward was not the best course of action. "
Lynn, you cannot invoke the idea that "I, Don, was not there on the plane." I "was there" on the plane. You took us there through your fundraising letter, and I have personally been there many times, as I confessed to Bob in my letter...including my confession of choking on occasion. I think you did not read the content nor context of my letter to Bob.
And I know "what God was requiring of Bob..." because the Lord makes it clear in His Word:
"For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind... Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech." II Timothy 1:7
Bob's actions in his letter had none of that. According to his own letter he states, "I felt he would shut me down right away, anyway. I knew I couldn't sit that close to a man who represented so much evil. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably. So I asked to be moved up a couple rows where I couldn't see him, but he could still hear me. Then for the next 2 hours, I prayed out loud..."
Lynn, what in this story do you find squares with Scripture or reason?"
I could give you so much more, but do not sense you are open to correction on this matter.
I hope all you do honors the Lord Jesus Christ and you save many people from the American Holocaust.
The Bob blog/letter was not your or his finest hour. I wish you could see that.
In His Steps,
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