Recently I posted a movie review which generated a lot of discussion on my Facebook page and Linked In groups. That’s how I met Joseph Stong. Joseph serves as Director of Stewardship and Development for the Catholic Diocese of Savannah. He has also worked in donor development for other ministries, working closely with the leadership at American Life League, the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life education organization in the United States. As such, he’s an advocate for life who is articulate, patient and persistent in voicing his views. He challenged my notion that cowardice is at the heart of abortion.
If you missed that post, my premise is that abortion is always a cowardly act. It may not be cowardice on the part of the woman involved–she may be coerced or worse. In those cases, the cowards are the ones controlling the decision. Joseph asked me to go beyond this view of women who are not coerced. He referred to a well-known work from Paul Swope title Abortion: A Failure to Communicate. Swope’s findings on the psychology of abortion-minded women indicates that panic is the problem, not the character of the woman involved.
My response is that panic reveals character–often bringing the latent cowardice to the surface. Joe countered that cowardice implies premeditation.
I know for certain that this is a vital question as we form our opinion on abortion. To be a coward is to run from responsibility; to lack courage to endure danger, difficulty or opposition; to choose one’s own interests above the needs of someone weaker and dependent. According to Revelations 21:8 no coward has any hope of heaven. Facing my own cowardice was the beginning of my redemption. Allowing the love of Jesus Christ to change my heart could never happen as long as I continued to defend against the deepest deficit of my character. This is one reason I am so very grateful for my recovery. Cowardice and the other character problems were pervasive–causing me not only to acquiesce in the abortion choice others made for me, and but keeping me trapped in an overall shame and fear of judgment.
I’m still turning over the nuances in my mind, and I was so inspired by the depth of our discussion that I invited Joseph to be our guest. We’re hoping to bring you Paul Swope in a future broadcast too–to talk about a new view of the trauma of abortion.
But this week, I wanted you to gather ideas from someone who is literally just your average Joe. He’s a faithful servant, working for the Catholic Diocese of Savannah. We talked about how he came to be persuaded to be 100% pro-life. We examined the empathy he has developed for women who are vulnerable to the abortion decision due to the pregnancy being perceived as a threat to self and future happiness (Swope’s view). We also talked about Joe’s work in the pregnancy help movement and his mother’s legacy–what he learned from her example as she served to advance the cause of life in her generation.