Earlier today on an e-mail discussion list, someone raised some questions about the best ways to spread a pro-life message, especially to a younger audience. I e-mailed a response to part of the question, suggesting the way that I would want to address a pro-life message to children. Since e-mailing it, I have been thinking about the issue a bit more and would be interested to have the input of a wider group. I would love to know what approaches the readers of this blog have found most helpful in this area and which approaches they would avoid.
The following are some of my hastily assembled thoughts from the e-mail:
Particularly when reaching a younger audience, I wonder whether it wouldn’t be better to leave the issue of abortion completely to the side. Ultimately, we only stand against abortion, because we stand for other things.
If I were trying to reach a young audience, I would try to focus almost entirely upon this positive message and even go to lengths to avoid introducing abortion into the conversation. I would want them to see for themselves the preciousness and wonder of life in its most fragile forms (a video like this is a perfect example of the sort of message that I would want to expose them to). I would want them to become sensitized to the needs of pregnant mothers and to the ways in which they and their communities can support such women. I would want to give them a very positive message about the value of marriage and the good ends of their sexuality. I would want to teach them how to attend to the ‘least’ in their communities in a way that would make them recognize when vulnerable parties are suffering as the escape valve for the tension of our injustices. I would always want to relate things to the concrete lives of their communities, rather than to abstract ‘issues’ or political conflicts. I would want to expose them to Christian examples of fatherhood and motherhood, who could explain the character of those vocations in a realistic but compelling manner. I would want to usher them into a realization of their own value as creatures made in God’s image and what it means to ‘nourish and cherish’ one’s own flesh, whatever its form or appearance. I would want to give them a deep sense of God’s delight in and concern for his creation, his grace and forgiveness, his profound goodness, expansive welcome, and the way that he wants us to be the ministers of these things to others.
I have blogged on the subject of abortion before. It is an issue that I would like to address in much closer detail at some point in the longer term future, from a range of different theological angles. At this point, however, I would love to hear from you. Which approaches have been most successful in your experience? How have you taught ‘pro-life’ values to your children? Are there any organizations whose work and example you would especially commend in this area?