This post is to catch you up on the most exciting developments at Equal Rights Institute, where we’re headed next year, and how I’d like you to prayerfully consider partnering with us financially.
It’s been a busy season of speaking at ERI! Last year we gave 36 speeches and seminars all over the country as well as Canada and Denmark, speaking to 3,978 people. That’s a 44% increase in the number of speeches, but to roughly the same number of people we spoke to last year, meaning we spoke at more small events than we did last year, like high school/college clubs and church groups. All in all Tim, Rachel, and I spoke in Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, California, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Canada, and Denmark!
Let me share a few stories from the last few months since I’ve already talked a lot about my international trips training the pro-life movement abroad in the first half of this year.
I give an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes at the ERI office, regarding recent speaking trips, making the video series analyzing “Reversing Roe,” and an update on the sidewalk counseling course.
Click here to watch my video series Reversing Roe: Exposing the Bias
In my first article on this subject, I explained that political discussions with extended family are some of the most complicated dialogue situations to navigate due largely to the power dynamics. I also discussed several reasons why the holiday dinner table is not an ideal time or place for persuading people to change their mind about abortion.
But what if your pro-choice aunt does bring up abortion or another political topic at the dinner table and tries to pull you into a debate with her? Here are seven tips for making the best of that situation:
Author’s note: This is part one of a two-part series on being an effective pro-life advocate over the holidays.
I’ve been speaking about relational apologetics more often lately, a phrase that I define as “cultivating relationships with people who have different beliefs, for the sake of genuine friendship and for discovering truth together.” One of the most frequent questions I get asked after discussing this topic is how to handle potentially volatile political discussions with family members, such as in the context of a big family dinner at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even Saturday Night Live has made light of how politically charged Thanksgiving dinners can become:
As my colleague Rachel Crawford noted during a discussion of relational apologetics that we recorded for the Equipped for Life Course Podcast:
I think that a large part of long-term apologetics is going to be coming from what sort of relationship you have with the other person. . . . Having relational apologetics with a family member, especially if they are your mother or your grandmother and they are not a peer, that is going to be especially difficult. . . . that poses an extra challenge.
Family members present several challenges that may make engaging in discourse with them particularly difficult if you want to be persuasive. I’d like to explain why that is and offer several practical tips for optimizing your chances of changing people’s minds in this context.
Here are six things to keep in mind before you arrive at a big family gathering this holiday season:
On September 18th, Netflix released a documentary about abortion called “Reversing Roe.” I watched it, hoping that it was made in an unbiased way, fairly showing both sides of the debate. Unfortunately, as with most documentaries about abortion, this one was edited in a very slanted way, I think to intentionally manipulate the audience. As someone who studies video editing in his spare time (I know, I’m fun, aren’t I?), I recognized lots of subtle editing tricks the filmmakers were using to make people feel comfortable with pro-choice people and uncomfortable with pro-life people.
I decided that the best way for me to equip pro-life advocates to have productive conversations with their pro-choice friends about this documentary was to make a series of videos showing clips from the film and then provide commentary, both on the biased editing tricks as well as responding to the more substantive pro-choice arguments in the film. I spent the next few weeks doing a careful analysis of the film, shooting about 90 minutes of footage of me responding to the documentary, and then working with a new volunteer on editing them into shorter clips to post on YouTube. I’m modeling a video style that’s become very popular lately, where an expert (like a doctor or lawyer) watches clips from a show or movie and then comments about it. I haven’t seen any other pro-life advocates use this style, and I think these videos came out so great that we might do more in the future.
Click on the embedded playlist below to watch the clips for yourself, but I’ll make a few of my points below to give you a sneak peek.