Pro-life movement moves beyond the womb, goes global

By Dan Merchant,
NW Filmmaker, Lord Save Us From Your Followers
Dan Merchant’s Blog

Last Monday, January 12th, my favorite USA Today columnist Tom Krattenmaker presented a terrific column on what he described as a new wrinkle in the Evangelical Pro Life movement.  Krattenmaker proposed that by carrying the Sanctity of Life argument beyond the womb to include on-going efforts to thwart slavery and human trafficking, Christians engaged in this effort were in fact expanding the Pro Life agenda.  I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to hear the conversation expanding into to such a forward thinking space.

Pastor Rick Warren has long expounded on adding to the agenda by including extreme poverty and AIDS hospice work to the traditional Pro Life (read anti-abortion) platform.  And while eliminating (reducing) unwanted pregnancies and abortions is obviously still a primary concern and focus, the inclusion of these other long neglected facets of need actually lend credibility to the Pro Life platform. 

While interviewing Dr. John Perkins for Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, he described to me a more “holistic” approach to the Pro-Life agenda, one that specifically called for our amplified attention on the issue of poverty.  “I agree with Dr. Dobson that we should be concerned about the babies in the womb, but I wish we would care more about them when they are out of the womb,” Perkins said.  Yeah, pretty basic I know, but such simplicity and clarity reminds me not to over think the issues.  It also reminds me to do what I can to help.

Compassion First founder Mike Mercer, featured heavily in the USA Today piece, mentioned to me that, “10,000 new non-governmental organizations could all focus on ending human trafficking and slavery and they’d all be busy.  There is room for everyone to help.  We need everyone to help.”   Mercer’s involvement in the human trafficking issue came as a result of a personal encounter.  While on a fact-finding trip he came face to face with young women who were trapped in a life of sexual slavery and debt bondage.  Mercer describes the burden as highly personal, “Now that I know their names I am unable to ignore them.  They are my problem now.”

This past fall I had a lunch with Justin Dillon, director of the excellent concert/cause film Call + Response.  We talked about the impetus for his filmmaking journey and I was struck by how similar the description of his motivation was to Mercer’s – again it was personal.  Dillon told me about being on tour in Russia and meeting some young women who were in the midst of being trafficked.  Appalled and surprised by the bold corruption, Dillon’s vow to expose this world of Human Trafficking evolved into Call + Response.  We should pick up on the clue that when someone encounters such pure evil they are personally changed and, beyond that, driven to enact change.  I appreciate the sacrifice of the hundreds, maybe thousands by now, like Mercer and Dillon.  Regular guys, not men of great means, but men who have had their hearts broken by the suffering of others and are strong enough of conviction to rally others to the rescue.  I only pray we can move quickly enough.

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