Let’s Fire the Gun and See
By: Rolley HaggardPublished: June 12, 2014
In a recent Life Report podcast, esteemed colleagues Steven Ertelt (founder and editor of LifeNews.com) and Josh Brahm (director of education, Right to Life of Central California) took issue with the notion there can be a “silver bullet” to ending abortion. The discussion centered around one “silver bullet” in particular: something I proposed in a 2012 BreakPoint piece titled “We Could End Abortion ‘Overnight’—If We Really Wanted To.” The plan I proposed is called The One-Minute Strategy to End Abortion.
Responding to the article, Ertelt stated, “We can’t, unfortunately, end abortion right now, even if we wanted to, and many of us do.”
Brahm concurred. “My concern,” he said, “was [the strategy] doesn’t deliver on the promise. . . . I agree with [Haggard] against apathy. . . I’m just concerned with the way the article is written because it basically says if every pastor spent one minute on Sunday morning talking about abortion, like, the church would unify, and we would raise up, and . . . end abortion . . . ‘overnight’. . . What if everybody rose up; then what?”
I think my friends miss the whole point of the One-Minute Strategy. It is not about the “then what?” It is aboutgetting to the “then what?” The first and greatest obstacle to ending abortion is the apathy we agree is rampant. Overcome the apathy—i.e., get the church to “unify” and “raise up” —and we’re nine-tenths of the way home. And that’s the point of the One-Minute Strategy: to overcome church apathy.
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, understands the need for this. He wrote in response to my article:
Is the Church too reluctant to address the issue of life from the pulpit?
Even more to the point, why doesn’t the scourge of abortion shock more Christians? . . .
If people saw the faces, as God does, if people saw snapshots of the lives that were to be, I think more would see and agree that every child deserves a chance and has a right to life.
And if that were to happen, yes, I think we could end abortion overnight.
The One-Minute Strategy is all about making people “[see] the faces, as God does.” Abortion is far too much “out of sight, out of mind.” As a result, the vast majority of those who call themselves pro-life do exactly zero to actually help bring about the end of abortion. There’s no better place to change that than the pulpits that reach tens of millions of people every week.
Two years have passed since the One-Minute Strategy was proposed, and it remains largely unimplemented. A possible explanation is that it has no merit. That would comport with the views of Ertelt and Brahm.
Another possible explanation is that the non-implementation simply proves the thesis advanced in the proposal: that the chief problem preventing a speedy end to abortion is pastoral apathy. Church leaders simply refuse to implement it.
Putting the Question in Perspective
To even ask if there is a “silver bullet” to end abortion is kind of like going back in time and asking General Eisenhower before the Normandy invasion if D-Day is going to be successful. The point is, if you have a plausible strategy, unless it is patently a fool’s errand, you can’t not try it. Too much is at stake.
We have a plausible “D-Day” strategy for ending abortion quickly, and it is no fool’s errand. It doesn’t require the scrapping or overhaul of any of the many strategies currently in place. It preserves and complements and even leverages all of them.
What sets it apart, besides stunning simplicity and ease of implementation, is that it directs the focus of efforts to the number one problem hindering a relatively quick end to abortion: the church.
Is it truly a “’silver bullet”? The only way to tell for sure is to pull the trigger. The better question to ask is, can we afford not to try it? Surely, 41 years and 57 million dead give us our answer.
The ‘Silver Bullet’
The One-Minute Strategy is an almost embarrassingly simple plan, calculated to make the evil of our age the burden of our age. Until abortion becomes the intolerable burden of the majority, the tide will not turn.
The Strategy will hasten the process in two stages. First, it will make abolishing abortion a top priority with every pew-sitter by making it a de facto priority with every pastor. Next, it will lead to congregation-led non-violent direct action to end abortion as people begin to ask, “What can we do?”
Non-violent direct action, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., noted, “create[s] such a crisis and foster[s] such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”
The One-Minute Strategy is predicated on the belief that if an awakened church en masse makes enough noise, the community–the voting public, the political apparatus, and the courts–will be forced at last to confront the issue in a definitive way.
If the “silver bullet” is the strategy, then the “gun”’—the mechanism of delivery—is the church. Earlier I stated that the church is the number one problem to ending abortion quickly. Now I’m suggesting it is the solution. I’m not contradicting myself. The church is the number one problem precisely because it could and should be the solution but thus far has failed to be.
Imagine if law enforcement officers refused to enforce the law. Overnight, crime would become rampant. Policemen would go from being the solution to being the problem.That is exactly where we are with the church.
‘Refuse’ is a strong word, but sadly, it fits. As Franklin Graham noted at the Family Research Council’s recent Watchmen on the Wall National Briefing, the church has steadfastly refused to step up to its God-given responsibility to preach on abortion. Addressing a room full of pastors, he made this stinging indictment:
Who are the cowards [of Revelation 21:8]? A coward will not confront an issue that needs to be confronted due to fear.
God hates cowards. And the cowards that the Lord is referring to are the men and women who know the truth but refuse to speak it.
We have a responsibility to speak on the moral issues. Abortion, homosexuality, these are moral issues.
As Graham observed, the problem in the church is lack of courage among the leadership. The leaders aren’t leading, so naturally, the followers aren’t following. With precious few exceptions, those entrusted with pulpits are practically silent on abortion.
The Dwight Eisenhowers of today’s fierce spiritual battles are looking the other way, fingers crossed, hoping the war on abortion and a plethora of other moral evils will somehow be won without firing a shot. As a result there is Babel-like confusion among the troops, with everyone speaking a different language regarding how, or even whether, to seek to end abortion. The One-Minute Strategy can provide a common tie binding all, so that, Pentecost-like, every Christian is enabled to hear the same thing at the same time: namely, that ending abortion is a priority with Christ.
‘Firing the Gun’
So how do we implement the One-Minute Strategy? How do we “fire the gun”? The same way peaceful people with freedom of speech have effectively overcome problems throughout history. By holding the leaders accountable. By calling on them to lead.
Start by sharing this article with your pastor, teacher, seminary professor, and other Christian leaders. A sample One-Minute Prayer—the kernel of the Strategy—is provided below in the comments. Urge them to make this an ongoing practice.
Because the Strategy is so simple and undemanding, the only possible obstacle to its implementation is unwillingness, what Reverend Graham rightly called cowardice. If it ends up not being deployed in a given church, it won’t be a matter of “can’t,” but “won’t.”
Is this a “silver bullet”? I believe so, though some of my respected friends disagree. But since the effort to implement is so little and the potential so great, why not just fire the gun and see?
Rolley Haggard is a feature writer for BreakPoint.