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The Shrug That Scares Me to Death

If They Only Knew?

Many in the pro-life movement think the problem in our culture is one of ignorance. If just enough Americans knew what was really going on in these abortion clinics … If only they saw the freezers full of baby parts … If they could see how we chop up the unborn and sell off their parts … they would be outraged and would demand we stop the carnage!

So, we have blamed the media for not covering these stories sufficiently or for reporting them with blatant bias. That blame is justifiable. Media bias remains one of the strongest obstacles to the pro-life cause.

Still, we assume that once our fellow citizens see the victims, once people realize that there is always a dead body after an abortion, once people see the bloody reality behind our euphemisms like “products of conception,” and “fetal tissue,” and “reproductive health,” then they will finally say, “Enough!”

I hope that assumption proves right.

But it scares me to death that we may be wrong. It frightens me to think we live in a society that knows full well what we are doing and simply doesn’t care.

The shrug is the sign we have become a shell of humanity—a soulless society where the baby hearts we sell are bigger than our hearts that are still beating. We live in a world in which people can look square into the faces of tiny human beings and talk about how much money their organs will bring in.

“Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder,” says Leon Kass. The absence of societal shuddering in response to the Planned Parenthood videos frightens me more than the videos themselves.

God, Open Eyes

What does this mean for us as we go forward? At the national prayer breakfast in 2012, when Eric Metaxas shared the platform with President Obama, he compared the pro-life movement to Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer, explaining how we are to treat people whose eyes are blind to the humanity of the unborn:

Wilberforce saw what the people in his day didn’t see, and we celebrate him for it. Bonhoeffer saw what others did not see …

Apart from God, we cannot see that the unborn are persons. Those of us who know the unborn are human beings are commanded by God to love those who do not yet see that. We need to know that apart from God we would be on the other side of that divide …

Metaxas is right. That’s why we must pray—that God will open eyes to see the gift of human life and the tragedy of our killing clinics. After all, had God not opened our own eyes, we would be shrugging too.  

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Trevin Wax is first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ. Trevin currently serves the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. He has been a regular blogger since 2006 and regularly contributes articles to publications such as Christianity Today. He authored two books, "Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals" (2010) and "Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope" (2011).