After three years of appealing The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Genocide Awareness Project to Westmont College, which would bring the truth and reality of abortion to the students, and after being denied by the Westmont College Student Association for three years, I resolved to show the students what the college was choosing to hide from them.
This morning (10/23/12), starting at 8:30 am, I stood outside of the Dining Commons with Timothy Eaton (friend and local videographer) and Todd Bullis (CBR friend and colleague) to show students what abortion is and does to a living baby. We used Church Project signs to exhort Westmont to action with key verses below the image. Given the early start time, it was quite awhile until the Westmont “powers that be” came out to shut us down.
Most of the students just walked right by as if we were either invisible or a force to be avoided at all costs. There were some though who stopped to talk and one woman who ended up allowing us to interview her on video, in which she stated that though previously undecided on the abortion issue, the graphic reality of the abortion imagery pushed her to establish a pro-life stance. She thanked us and wished us the best.
Soon after that, we encountered two rather argumentative students, one whom hated the fact that we were standing outside of the eating area, and another who simply refused to acknowledge the importance of graphic imagery to expose the horror of abortion. At one point, she brought up the “economic status” pro-abortion argument, at which point I asked: “Should we allow parents to kill their toddlers when they get expensive?” She immediately said that those were two different cases “because I don’t think that a four week fetus has the same status of personhood as a three year old toddler.” Keep in mind; this is a Christian woman at a Christian college.
It was at this point, about 9:50 am that the Westmont “powers that be” came to shut us down. Two Westmont officials who hold significant positions came and asked if I had approval to stand on campus with the imagery and when I said no, he said that he had to ask us to leave and put away the images. I told him that I refused to do that and as a tuition-paying student, have every right to exercise my free speech. He then proceeded to make sure that Timothy Eaton and Todd Bullis left the campus, but not until both Tim and Todd got out a word or two.
The conversations that ensued from this point on were essentially “gang-up-on-Seth” and all but a couple rare individuals were vehemently opposed to my “tactics” because the feelings of born people were going to get hurt and offended. I was at a loss for response when three separate women began crying in response to my unwillingness to turn the imagery away when preview students passed by or my general refusal to put the images away for the sake of the security of students on campus. It is almost illogical for these women to be so grieved by the feelings of their peers that I will be hurting, when there will be roughly twenty-five babies killed this week in Santa Barbara. Talk about misdirected grief. The focus on the feelings of “others” over the lives of the unborn made me sick and confirms my belief that something radical (such as showing graphic abortion imagery) is needed to call this college’s conscience back to the gospel.
Some of the views that the faculty and student leadership expressed were beyond odd and left me at a loss for words. For example, a complaint that was repeatedly brought up was the fact that my display was not optional and students shouldn’t be forced to see these horrific images. They recommended a more optional approach. This suggestion is odd because had they approved a Genocide Awareness Project, their wishes for students to be notified and given the choice to opt out would have been granted. A Genocide Awareness Project functions specifically to notify students with warning signs posted as far as 100 meters out and I had even recommended, had the GAP been approved, that the college send out an all student email to notify people of the presence of this display on campus. In other words, I agreed with these people that students should be given the opportunity to not see these images, which is exactly why I proposed a Genocide Awareness Project for three years in a row. This is a prime example that pro-aborts and pro-lifers that don’t agree with the use of graphic imagery will always raise the bar higher and give more reasons for why we’re wrong.
At least one important victory was won today and that is that Westmont did not make me leave or require that I put away the images. They asked me to stop, but after I refused, it was clear that they really weren’t sure what to do. It is quite obvious that Westmont has never had an abortion abolitionist enroll in their school and they are now in foreign territory. They aren’t entirely sure if I will do this again or how soon or how often. The ball is in my court and I intend to score. There are still many intellectually honest people at Westmont and many who were very affirming today and set aside time to thank me and encourage me in the Lord.
There were obviously many Christians who expressed strong disagreement with what I was doing, but someone is wrong and someone is right. Our God is not a God of relativity and if He is, then I don’t want to serve that God. It is not possible for one spirit-filled Christian to acknowledge that abortion is a good thing that needs to remain legal or that is “pro-life” but won’t effectively engage this evil for fear of offending others, and for another Christian to say that abortion is an indefensible act of violence that takes the life of an innocent unborn human person. I don’t want to be on the wrong side, and for the sake of the gospel and the sake of the precious unborn babies, I don’t want Westmont on the wrong side either.
In the end, Westmont must ask themselves if they care more about the feelings of born people or the lives of unborn people. Babies’ lives are at stake, women’s health is at stake, and the response of the Church is at stake. Time will tell whether the heart of Westmont will be burdened for life or not.
Written and signed by,
Seth David Gruber
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. -Dietrich Bonheoffer