Black History month has been an enlightening time this year. Our spirits have soared watching Hidden Figures reveal the story of the black women whose scientific minds and talents helped NASA make it to the moon, even while they navigated the deep space of discrimination in the age of segregation.
And our hearts have been broken to be reminded once more of the legacy of slavery that lingers in our nation’s DNA. When you think you have grasped the depth of it, a fresh reminder renews the grief. (video from Atlanta Black Star on Facebook)
As I learned more about the lives of black children during their enslavement in the US, I realize that the utmost care is needed when we draw a parellel to slavery and abortion today. Their suffering can never be reduced to an object lesson on the evils of dehumanizing young ones.
And yet, there is so much that they can teach us.
African American pro-life advocate Walter Hoye says, “Black history is one big personhood movement–a fight to be recognized as persons, to say that freedoms apply to us as well. Abortion takes us back to, ‘Not everyone is a person.'”
I asked Hoye directly if sharing what happened to Emmett Till in the context of abortion is a misappropriation of his story and the lesson of his life. A very brief summary of his murder from Smithsonian.com:
In 1955, Emmett Till—a 14-year-old African-American visiting Mississippi from Chicago—was murdered after whistling at a white woman. His mother insisted that her son be displayed in a glass-topped casket, so the world could see his beaten body. Till’s murder became a rallying point for the civil rights movement, and his family donated the casket in which he was buried to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf makes the case for using very frank images of abortion victims (in a very controlled setting and with permission) by telling the dehumanizing details of Emmett’s death, followed by saying, “It’s time we opened the casket on abortion.”
I mentioned to Walter that as I share Emmett’s story with students today, sadly many do not know of his martyrdom. His life and death awakens their conscience and they understand the need to expose the truth of how abortion destroys its victims just as racial hatred destroyed Emmett.
Hoye responded that he became pro-life upon the premature birth of his son. Seeing the tiny body changed his heart forever.
He says the fetus is a person, a living, breathing human being, and their very bodies teach the value of every life, saying, “Abortion is a form of discrimination. Making the comparison to slavery and the Nazis and anti-Semitism is very appropriate.”
What is so striking about Walter’s activism in the face of so much hatred and death, is his quiet resolve to keep speaking, keep rescuing, keep fighting with the weapons of love and truth. Scripture is his guide and he cites Jude 1:22-23, “On some have compassion, making a difference. On others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
Perhaps more than most people I’ve met, I think of Walter Hoye when I recall the words of Helen Keller, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
From his bio:
Walter B. Hoye II travels around the country and the world, full time, to convey a unique pro-life message only he can share. He addresses the “Pro-Life Movement” with special emphasis on the impact of “Abortion in the Black America”, “Personhood” and the “Role of Men Meeting the Physical and Spiritual Needs of Women.” As a National Black Pro-Life leader, Walter speaks for those who have no voice, understands that abortion takes the life of a child, an innocent human being, views the woman and child as one and demands men embrace their biblical roles as protector and provider.
His Issues4life Foundation targets and works directly with Black American leaders nationwide to strengthen their stand against abortion on demand and resolve the questions surrounding the bioethical issues that impact our humanity. We are committed to protecting both the civil and human rights of the child in the womb by recognizing the inherent dignity and unalienable rights of all members of the human family, so that in law and in practice every life is valued.
Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion provides affirmation and hope after abortion from the Scriptures. Here are more resources for help and healing. If you are pregnant and need free, confidential help call 1-800-712-HELP. If you’ve had an abortion and need immediate help call 1-866-482-LIFE.
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