In the summer of 2010, I was invited to present at Lutherans for Life’s national conference. The topic: Biblical Manhood and what Men can do to Further the Pro-Life cause.
In the course of this presentation I raised the story of Ruth from the Old Testament. In this story, we learn that the widowed Ruth is shown pity by a man of Israel named Boaz. Ruth, in turn, relies on her knowledge of Boaz’s character and lets him know that she believes him a decent man to marry. Boaz is a man of action. Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, declares to Ruth: “…the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
Boaz did indeed act that day. He went into town and took care of what was necessary to make Ruth his wife. And why is this story in the Bible? As it happens, Boaz and Ruth would have a child named Obed- the grandfather of David- and the rest, as they say is history, as it was in the line of David (and Boaz) that the savior of the world would come.
Because Boaz was a man of action, character, and principle, he received the honor of being an integral part of God’s plan. Ruth and her mother-in-law knew that Boaz was such a man, and relied upon it. You might want to take a minute here and read the book of Ruth. It’s short.
My challenge to the men listening to me at the conference: if Christian men throughout the nation were men like Boaz, we could lick abortion on demand in half a generation.
And I believe it.
I do not accept the premise that since it is women who bear the child only they have a credible voice in the pro-life debate. At the very least, it must be acknowledged that men had some part in the matter! They contributed, did they not, to the beginning of that life!
There is in fact a great deal that men can do, not least of which is to raise up young men to treat women with respect and decency and not ‘contributing’ to the problem by having sex outside of wedlock. A lofty goal, perhaps, but not in my view unattainable.
Project Boaz is my vision for how the Christian men of America can end abortion on demand in this country in half a generation. And this without reversing Roe vs. Wade or getting the approval of women! That’s right, I have a plan. It’s ambitious, but it is really quite basic: call Christian men in America to be men like Boaz- men of principle, men of character, men of action, and men who are known to be reliable.
I am anxious to present the details of this project. I’d be happy to speak at your men’s group, for example. Naturally, more information will be posted here when I can.
However, the essentials are quick and easy to lay out, so listen up.
I don’t know about you, but the thing about the abortion issue in this country that really gets me is just how little there seems any one person can do about it. If you take Roe vs Wade as an example, in order to reverse this you need to get a court case to the Supreme Court and you need justices who will actually apply the US Constitution. In order to get those justices, you need to elect your guy to be president, and even then the odds are against the president appointing the right kind of person, and then that person has to get through the Senate confirmation process… you know, we’re talking about a sequence of events here requiring more than 50,000,000 to move together in a certain direction… frustrating, right?
That’s all true, and yet it is also true that even if abortion were illegal there would still be women considering them. In short, our work is basically the same: persuading people, one person at a time, to choose life and promote it in every important place. This is the only way to get to the hearts of that fifty million and the process has this very important side effect- in the course of it you have the opportunity to actually save lives… one at a time.
We are experiencing an apathy of impotence. We feel like we can’t do anything so we don’t do anything. What follows are some things you can do. Honestly, I hate gimmicks. I hate ‘programs’ and ‘recipes.’ This sort of smacks of that, so let me just say that if you can think of something else to do, then by golly, do it. That’s the point.
Build a team.
No one of us can do it alone. There isn’t time in the day. You need to identify a group of men who will join you in being a man of action. The different assets you bring to the table will be invaluable. More eyes looking means more opportunities for action spotted. How many on the team? I would say at least 5 and no more than about 25.
Equip yourselves with knowledge.
First of all, get knowledge. Don’t wait for someone to spoon feed it to you. Go and get it. Learn who is most likely to get abortions. Study the issues. Most importantly, acquaint yourself with how life issues manifest in your own local area. Don’t try to save Washington DC. Save your own city, and if your city is too big, save your neighborhood block. Divide and conquer by having each member of the team do some research.
Equip yourselves with assets.
There is nothing worse than coming across a person in need, wanting to help them, and having nothing to offer but an encouraging word and a heart felt prayer. So what do you do? Ring up social services? Fish out the $20 from your wallet and wish you had more? Call up your church and hope that a committee moves fast enough to make a difference- or hope that what they do makes a difference at all?
Rubbish. Each member of the team should set aside money and resources every month so that when some kind of opportunity to act arises, you can act. No committee. No bureaucrat. No empty wallet. The funds are there and set aside for this very purpose, and if you can’t pull it off out of your own reserves that’s why you have the team.
Watch for Opportunities
Your team is assembled, you’ve studied the issues and you’re familiar with how they pop up in your area, and you’ve each been setting aside money, diapers, food, (whatever- depends on the issues in your area), so now its time to look for opportunities.
Learn that a girl on your block is pregnant and wondering if she’s considering an abortion? Knock on her door and see what she needs. Does she need a ride to a pregnancy crisis center but the nearest one is two hours away? Gas money will be a breeze. Buying her bus ticket- no problem. Arranging for food and lodging while she’s there? No skin off your back. Depending on how well you know her, of course, maybe you can take her yourself. Or, since you’ve thought about it all in advance, you’ve already lined up someone in the area who you know will relate better.
This is just one scenario. The point is that there can be any number of possible scenarios and now that you’re watching for them and have been preparing yourself to deal with them when they actually arise, you can be the man of action you know you want to be.
Mentor the young men.
As stated above, in every case of a vulnerable pregnancy, we know that there was a man involved. You cannot change the whole culture, but as a team you can reach out to the young men in your neighborhood or church. You can teach them how to treat a lady, how to resist temptation, and how to step up and take responsibility for one’s actions. Every young man brought up to wait until their wedding to have sex is a potential ‘unwanted’ pregnancy off the table. Changing the attitudes of all the young men in the country is impossible. Those within your own sphere of influence? Completely possible, with unknown positive consequences rippling out into the future as that young man becomes a mature man and in turns mentor other young men.
Seek out ways to undermine the mission of the pro-choice advocates in your area.
Why keep to the defense? Go on the offense. Pro-choice advocates push their agenda in a number of different ways. It doesn’t always involve throwing up an abortion clinic. Keep informed about what is going on in the schools and churches in your area. Know what your government is doing. What grants are coming into your area? Be thinking about what you can do to fight back and when the moment comes, since you’ve been equipping yourself with knowledge and resources and you’ve trained yourself to look for opportunities, you can be a man of action.
Don’t turn into a committee.
Tell your pastor that you’ve got a team together but don’t even think about delegating this off to some committee at church. That’s what has brought us to this point in the first place. Boaz took action personally and directly. Today we delegate it off to some overworked one or two persons who carry all the water and then we wonder why nothing gets done. At the same time, though you’ve got to have some measure of organization in order to function, you need to fight off the tendency to hyper-organize. What we need are men, stout men, ever vigilant and ready and able to act. What we don’t need are men delegating things off and putting decisions in the hands of other men when they themselves know exactly what needs to be done and are perfectly able to do it themselves, thank you very much.
That’s the summary of the proposal. Much more could be said, and much more will be said. The gist of it is to drive men to understand that their task is not to save the world but rather to be active in their own sphere of influence… and if every man did that, the world would be saved.
What, no women?
You may be asking yourself why this couldn’t be carried out just as effectively by women, or with women. Ok, ok. That’s probably true. Yet, having said that, I do believe that the flavor of an all men ‘team’ would be different than a co-ed one, or an all women one. I can see the value of having married couples work together- this being yet another ‘flavor’ of the effort. What I’m getting at is the need for more testosterone being added to the mix, but more than that, testosterone leading the way. This is a ‘flavor’ in the pro-life movement that is largely absent and it is my view that there will not be long term success until it is present, and perhaps even dominant.
Obviously, you can do what you want. I have no power over what you decide to do and how you want to do it. If you think otherwise, do otherwise. It’s as simple as that. It’s the ‘thinking otherwise’ and ‘doing nothing’ that I object to.