An excellent point from Students for Life of America’s Director of Apologetics
It was only two months after launching Equal Rights Institute last year before we facilitated our first outreach. We had our training seminar developed by then, but we hadn’t yet had the opportunity to design our own outreach tools. So we utilized our favorite poll table option that we learned during our work with one of our favorite pro-life organizations, Justice For All. The sign on the table asks “Should Abortion Remain Legal?” This sign always stops a good number of people who see it, giving us a chance to engage them in productive dialogue.
On September 26th, 2014, Equal Rights Institute trained a group of Biola University students. Then on September 30th we brought them to CSU Fullerton so they could put what they learned about dialogues about abortion into practice. We set up the “Should Abortion Remain Legal” poll table the way we have for years.
This spring my friend Dr. Charles Camosy reached out to me to ask me to preview his upcoming book, Beyond the Abortion Wars. It has now come out, and I would highly recommend reading it. We don’t always agree with his conclusions, but even the places where we disagree are well-researched, well-argued, and well-explained, and they help me to think more clearly about my own beliefs. Charles Camosy is a very unusual, very interesting voice in the pro-life movement and any pro-life advocate would benefit from wrestling with him.
While reading it I came across this section. These are excerpts from pages 26-29: (emphasis mine)
I rarely do speaking events in Fresno these days, but I’m looking forward to training pro-life people in the most undervalued argument in the movement at this event at Free Grace Church. I’ll also be talking about some recent discoveries we’ve made at Equal Rights Institute about the kinds of questions that are good to ask, and the kinds of question you should NOT ask. Will be followed by a Q&A session.
Lunch is provided. Please RSVP at the Facebook event page so that they can buy enough food.
||October 4, 2015
||12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
||The Most Undervalued Argument in the Pro-Life Movement
Free Grace Church
||3385 East Shields Ave
Fresno, CA 93726
||Click here to register.
||Click here for more information.
Want me to speak to your group? Click here to check my availability!
The Students for Life clubs at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University are bringing Equal Rights Institute’s training seminar to Michigan! Josh and Tim Brahm and Jacob Nels will teach and mentor you personally to make sure you get the most out of the day. This seminar is designed to train you to have productive conversations with pro-choice people, using the arguments and dialogue skills that will be most likely to change their mind.
NOTE: If you attend this seminar, you will be working with an experienced mentor who will help you to learn the concepts and be able to put them into practice. Because there is a limited number of mentors, there is a cap on the number of people we can effectively train at this seminar. Filling out this registration form is the ONLY way to guarantee a seat at the seminar. If we still have room left for more people on the day of the event, it will be first come first served until we meet our cap. If you’re planning to attend, please complete this form to guarantee a seat.
- When: Saturday, September 19th. Registration starts at 9. Seminar starts at 9:30 and ends at 4:30.
- Where: Eastern Michigan University – Room TBA
- Food: Lunch will be provided, as well as snacks and refreshments.
- Cost: Free! The event is being co-sponsored by the two Students for Life clubs.
- When: Monday and Tuesday, September 21st & 22nd, from 9 am – 4 pm.
- Where: Location to be announced at the seminar.
||September 19, 2015
||9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
||Equal Rights Institute Seminar - Michigan
The Students for Life clubs at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University - Room TBD
||900 Oakwood St
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
||Click here to register.
I received an email from a follower I’ll call “Mike” who wanted some advice on how to initiate a dialogue about abortion with his pen pal. I thought some of my tips might help you if you’re trying to figure out how to use relational apologetics.
I’ve removed some of the details from Mike’s email to help protect his identity.
Since you spend a lot of time writing about how pro-lifers ought to communicate their views when conversing with others, I thought I’d email you with a question I had. I’ve been emailing a pen pal of mine for a few months now, and we mostly talk about our own lives and mutual interests. We’ve never discussed the abortion issue before, and it’s not something I really want to bring up, but I also want to be able to discuss other topics without worrying about whether or not it will eventually lead to a full-blown abortion debate.
Funnily enough, we’re both interested in bioethics, and she’s asked me what bioethical issues interest me the most. I’m not really sure if I should use this as an opportunity to mention my views as a pro-lifer and consistent life ethicist.
Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.
I’d use the bioethics common ground to tread a little into abortion waters. Say that the bioethical issue you’re most interested in is the ethics of abortion, and that you’ve actually been a little worried that mentioning that might make things awkward. Say that you’d be really interested in her take on that if she’d be willing to share it. Say that you’re not one of those obnoxious pro-lifers that shouts opinions at people. You’re interested in both sides learning from each other and having respectful dialogue. You would especially like to do that with a friend since it gives more opportunity for learning from each other, since you can both research each other’s statements and then go back again for clarification.
And then let her take that where she wants to. If she doesn’t want to get into it, respect that. She may love debating that stuff though, and now you have a great launchpad into that topic.
Question: Do you have any advice for Mike? Post it below in the comments!
We published an article today called “Don’t Be Too Nice,” where we encouraged pro-life advocates to hold people to a higher standard of etiquette if they get nasty.
A pro-life friend of mine whom I met in Canada last year asked a really great follow-up question on Twitter:
That’s a great question. Far too many times I’ve been at a pro-life outreach event and I’ve seen female colleagues and volunteers being treated with noticeable condescension from male students, especially if these females are on the shorter side. Sometimes I’ve walked up and joined the conversation and immediately received noticeably more respect. This is horribly unjust. I’ve particularly noticed this appalling behavior from male students that study philosophy. They assume women haven’t thought about it as deeply as they have, so they take on this completely unearned role of a teacher.
I know women can call people to a high standard of etiquette in dialogue, but they probably have to be especially careful to not come across like they’re just personally offended. We call people to being polite and reasonable because good dialogue isn’t possible without it, not because our feelings are so sensitive that we can’t handle someone being rude. Be extra clear that their behavior is unacceptable because it shuts down rational dialogue; it isn’t that you’re some sexist concept of a poor sensitive woman that can’t have a conversation without getting emotional.
That’s about as much insight as I have on this point at the moment, being a man. I’d be really interested to hear from women: how do you deal with this problem? Do you have any practical techniques to offer?
This post is adapted from a newsletter I wrote while on staff with Justice For All.
“Gracious confrontation” is not a contradiction in terms; it is an essential part of mastering the art of good dialogue. I learned this in April of 2014 at a Justice For All outreach after two conversations in one day showed me that sometimes mere “niceness” isn’t helpful.
My friend Holly and I were having a very polite and productive dialogue with a pro-choice student when I noticed another student named Jeff. He had been trying (unsuccessfully) to subtly eavesdrop on our conversation. When I invited Jeff to join the conversation and share his thoughts, the tone of the discussion immediately changed. He very confidently espoused a worldview marked by moral relativism, and he denounced everything Holly and I had said as ridiculous.
Back in my high school days, I was rude and pushy in conversations about abortion, so in my first few years of full-time ministry, I erred too heavily on the side of being polite. As I asked Jeff questions and very politely tried to engage him, he continually cut me off and met my politeness with aggression.
I decided to try something different.
Live-Tweeting Tonight’s GOP Debate
Josh and Timothy will be live-tweeting tonight’s GOP debate from the @JoshBrahm twitter account.
The debate starts at 6 pm PST but we’ve already begun.
Info on how to stream the Fox News debate is here.
This morning Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released their fifth undercover video. It is the most visually graphic and disturbing yet, and it is also the most damning to Planned Parenthood.
In this post, I’m going to summarize the most important parts of the video, because it’s important that we don’t miss any of this. Rather than putting them in the order they appear in the video, I’m organizing them based on the type of evidence they provide.
I’d encourage you to watch the video for yourself, even though, again, it is very graphic.
Evidence of Planned Parenthood Changing Abortion Procedures to Harvest Baby Parts
The two main legal critiques of Planned Parenthood since the CMP videos started coming out are:
- That they change abortion procedures to procure baby parts against their consent-agreement with the children’s mothers;
- That they are financially profiting from selling, not merely donating baby parts.