A few weeks ago I volunteered to go down to our local version of Planned Parenthood to protest abortion. Our purpose was to pray and stand against abortion in a public way. I was a little nervous about this because sometimes these things can go wrong. I was somewhat relieved to see that the police had arrived to deter any violent acts against us and protect our right to assemble and exercise free speech. Later, I learned that the police were present to protect the clinic’s visitors and staff from us!
The pastor and I were the only ones from our church that day but there were a number of folks from the Catholic church present. We were confined to the public sidewalk outside the clinic and had to stay a certain number of feet away from the entrance. The priest had a life size cut out picture of Mary like you see on those candles you can buy at the grocery store. I wondered what people made of that since there really were no clues given about what it was supposed to mean. For those without religion or knowledge of Catholicism it would have to appear very odd. Our Catholic friends were sincere and gathered in small groups and prayed aloud in Spanish. It was all done in a very ritualistic manner with the words being repeated over an over. Instead of prayer, it sounded much like a mysterious incantation or spell from a Harry Potter movie.
For the most part the day was uneventful. An occasional supporter would drive by and honk their horn but most people drove on and tried to ignore us. One person walked by and said in a derisive tone, “Don’t you guys have anything better to do”? The pastor had a quick response and said “There is nothing better we can do!” Good one, I thought. I also felt a little bad about it because it seemed to me that, on some level, he must have wanted to engage us. I wished we could have talked to him on a more meaningful level and we missed that chance.
I am not sure we accomplished much aside from the invisible effects our prayers may have had. I fear that our message may be overshadowed at times by our weirdness.
R.C. Sproul has given the best defense of the Christian point of view I have ever heard: