Introduction and Personal Invitation to Deliberate Engagement

I’m awake and running (ha!) on about 3.5 hrs’ sleep (don’t you just love head colds!) and it seems there ought to be some sort of introductory narrative to open this thing.

I’m Laura. I grew up nominally Methodist, in a family who considered any sort of public statement – much less activism! – excessive, unnecessary and more than a little embarrassing. I haven’t figured out yet how I came by this passion. My relations are shaking their heads over it, too.

Matt’s mom was a strong pro-life worker; as we say in the South, he gets it honest.

I have never obtained a clinical abortion (but was on the Pill for several years, so I may have some surprises waiting for me in Heaven), but there was a season in my life when I likely would have, had I become pregnant. I really do understand the panic, the sense of being cornered and “no-way-out” that can torture women in crisis pregnancies and make them such easy prey for the abortion industry.

Of course, nowadays it’s very likely that someone you know has had an abortion. The first girl I knew to get one was a classmate and coworker. It was 1974, and we were juniors in high school. When she found out she was pregnant, she took a hard look at her boyfriend, who said he would marry her, and realized he was too immature to live up to the responsibility. This was back in the old days when there was still a lot of embarrassment over being caught having sex outside of marriage, and so her mom carried her up to Chapel Hill and “got it taken care of.” Only a couple of us knew about it. She couldn’t talk about it, afterwards, but I could see it in her face – she was hurt.

Since those early days of legalized abortion, we’ve discovered clinically what our hearts should have known already: abortion victimizes women even as it kills the unborn. The industry provides a depersonalized, conveyor-belt-type service, and, since the providers insist on receiving their money up front and have no standing professional relationship with the client, they don’t care what happens to her afterwards.

What’s more, medical technology has progressed to unimagined scope in the past 35 years. Where “viability” in the ’70s was much the same as it had been since time immemorial, now premature babies who recently never had a chance are routinely saved. Instead of five pounds being the point where we held our breath and hoped and prayed for a miracle, now babies just under a pound are pulled through with increasing frequency. In the light of these advances, the whole issue of abortion as it was accepted in the 1970s is manifestly in need of re-evaluation, for the greater protection of the unborn and for the mothers who bear them.

Instead, certain members of our Nation’s House and Senate trying to railroad legislation that would compound the problems of Roe v. Wade many times over. The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is one of the most offensive pieces of legislation ever to be introduced and threatened to become law; our President-elect, Barack Obama, has promised repeatedly in the past two years that enacting FOCA will be his first item of business after taking office.

I believe we are in the balance. The ramifications of FOCA, which we’ll be discussing here in coming weeks, threaten our nation on too many levels for Christian people to sit quietly by and keep telling themselves that it’s not too bad, or it’s none of our business.

Matt tells me that “Deliberate Engagement,” in Army terms, is one where the time spent planning and the resources brought to bear as well as the intended effect on the enemy are significantly greater than the other types of engagements. Often, in debating or disputing the abortion issue, pro-lifers conduct themselves like soldiers engaged in either a “meeting engagement” or a “hasty attack,” or even guerrilla raids.  These are not solid tactics to rely on for a decisive victory; sometimes those can even hurt the bigger battle if done poorly or carelessly.

What we’re interested in here is orchestrating the “real” fight – turning the fight around and doing it on our terms instead of letting the other side dictate where, when, and how. We have “intel guys” and “special ops guys” and even “special weapons guys” like high-powered churchmen who are also high level lawyers admitted to the bar. We draw on these specialists so that we can rationally and graciously respond to our opposition.

The “prayer warriors” also have a role.  See what Matt had to say in his Rules of Debate page, top of the blog. Our objective, at the risk of ruining the analogy by stretching it too far, is to win the hearts and minds of our “opponent” populace.  There is no “enemy” in this but “The Adversary” (1 Peter 5:8).

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