Ohio State University-Genocide Awareness Project (GAP)--and Evangelism?

GAP Offers Dialogue, Reconciliation at OSU

On one side of the police barricades two pro-lifers, a white female and an African-American male, blocked a large sign. They intended to protect it from misuse or attack. The sign depicted the genocide of Jewish people, African Americans, and unborn babies. Facing them on the other side of the barricade stood a pro-choice female student with a camera. A tall male student stood beside her, dressed in a costume designed to mimic a nude, faceless woman. He turned around to "moon" the pro-lifers.

"Are you afraid to talk about the signs?" asked a pro-lifer. "What do you think about abortion?"

"I wish my mother had aborted me," stated the pro-choicer with the camera.

"God is glad your mother didn't abort you! God loves you both so much, and has a wonderful plan for your life!" the pro-life worker responded. A lengthy discussion of issues ranging from the definition of a human being to the love of God ensued. The pro-lifers and pro-choicers exchanged first names and shook hands.

Is GAP confrontational? Yes. Does GAP offer love and hope? Yes.

Another encounter involved James, an African American pro-lifer from New Jersey. James said he felt the "still, small voice of God" directing him to call a pro-choicer out of the crowd. James pointed to the young student, and asked him to come over. "Your parents are Christian, aren't they?" James said. "They pray for you everyday. But you have so many questions that haven't been answered."

The pro-choice student smiled in agreement.

James continued, "I'm from New Jersey, and you're from Ohio. How do you think I know these things? It's because of God."

James explained that "God is real. We don't claim to have the answer to everything. You have a soul. These babies" (James pointed to the photos of mutilated, unborn babies) "have a soul. God is love. Only love will make me talk to you."

The pro-choice student stated that he doesn't understand about Heaven. James said, "You have friends. Do you let everyone in your house that is not your friend? God is like that. He wants you to be His friend, and be in Heaven with Him."

The student, surprised that James knew about some of his inner thoughts, agreed that it was true. "All things happen for a reason, and God works in funny ways," he said thoughtfully.

Dialogue with confused, hurting people occurred dozens of times a day during the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) for one week in October, 1998. The pro-lifers discussed issues related to the genocide of human beings (GAP is a secular display, and is not overtly Christian). However, often the pro-choicers themselves steered the conversation to a discussion involving God. Many pro-choice students seemed to search desperately for answers, at the same time that they claimed to be atheists, lesbians, or homosexuals. Young people who would not set foot in a church heard the Gospel during GAP week at OSU. Some came away from the experience cursing; others thoughtful.

Overheard during GAP week...

A young woman came up to the display, and remarked that she did not understand the comparison of the photo of Jews killed by the S.S., African-Americans lynched by the K.K.K., and a baby killed by P.P. (Planned Parenthood.) She said, "The Jews were forced to be killed, the blacks were forced to be killed, but the woman isn't being forced to have an abortion." The pro-lifer said, "Yes, but the baby does not have a choice. This is our point." The pictured victim is an aborted, bloody baby, not a woman.

A pro-lifer made the aquaintance of Eric Busch, the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs. He asked Mr. Busch what he thought of the display. Mr Busch replied, " I feel sorry for the people" (who are) "offended by the photos." The pro-lifer said, "When I was in school, we were shown the pictures of Holocaust victims and lynched blacks. The photos of the unborn babies need to be shown, too." Mr. Busch said, "I'd rather not discuss it." So much for "higher learning."

"Perhaps the greatest danger in the widespread practice, and by some acceptance of, abortion, is the devaluing of human life. When we cross the line and "play God" by labeling some people as less human, there is a slippery slope downward to rationalizing the discrimination and the "right to die" of any persons considered less desirable. This puts large sections of the population at risk including the aged, sickly, disabled and mentally ill."--Readers' Forum, The Ohio State Lantern, Friday, October 23, 1998

A professor entering Graves Hall exclaimed about the display of genocide photos, "That's disgusting!" A pro-lifer replied, "We agree."

A pro-choicer yelled curses and insults at a pro-lifer taking pictures. The pro-lifer responded with "God loves you."

"God! We killed Him!" ridiculed the pro-choice youth.

"You'll get to tell Him that yourself," responded the pro-lifer.

"The (GAP) event is sponsored by a number of OSU groups, and takes a radical approach to looking at the issue of abortion, by calling abortion genocide and comparing it to the atrocities of black lynchings and the Holocaust...the group, the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) believes that because 'The Randam House Dictionary of the English Language defines 'genocide' as 'the systematic destruction of a national group' the definition 'readily applies to abortion.'

In one of their pamphlets they state that "the national group" is American unborn children and they are now being "destroyed" at the rate of nearly one out of every three conceived. They say "killers can't get much more systematic than that."

They support Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Leven's argument that each form of genocide differs from all the others, whether it be lynching, abortion or the Holocaust, but the common thread is that this involves the "systematic slaughter" of innocent people while denying them their personhood...Indeed there are multiple sides of this complex issue. But, I must side with the supporters of the display, and with the Rev. Tom Short, campus evangelist and frequent "guest lecturer" on the Oval.

"Any time you say that any human being is not a full and complete human being you open the door for atrocitites, and that's exactly what's going on," Short says. "Move ourselves back 100 years. Didn't people say blacks weren't people? Move ourselves back 50 years. Didn't people say Jews weren't people?'"--All Abortion Opinions Deserve Respect, The Ohio State Lantern, October 21, 1998

"University police arrested an unidentified female student Thursday for criminal mischief after she allegedly charged the Genocide Awareness Project display with a knife, apparently trying to slash the controversial images.

Although a campus police dispatcher confirmed the arrest, she did not provide details of the incident.

Greg Cunningham, director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, witnessed the incident, which happened about 2 p.m. on the Oval near the main library...Cunningham said that a group of about 40 people approached the display and divided into several groups. While one group distracted the only police officer on duty, the second group charged another side of the display, he said.

The (second group pushed against the signs and covered them with cardboard," Cunningham said.

The unidentified woman moved through the crowd and pulled out a knife, attempting to cut one of the display signs, Cunningham said.

"When my partner observed her placing the knife against the sign, she ran full speed the other way," he said. "An officer detained her."'--The Ohio State Lantern, front page, October 23, 1998.

On the second day of GAP, pro-abortion groups arrived to protest and "debate". The group Students for Choice was present and also an unidentified group of pro-abortion lesbians. The lesbian group consisted of approximately 7 young women, a male, and a young girl of about 8 years old. The women were quite rowdy and engaged in behavior that was meant to be offensive. For example, several women kissed, exposed themselves, and performed sexually explicit acts in public.They would do this while keeping an eye on GAP members hoping to achieve a reaction. They were ignored.

They also took some Bibles from the hands of a few onlookers and proceeded to throw them on the ground while jumping on them and grinding them into the pavement. They threw the Bibles on the ground a number of times while laughing and cheering. After one Bible had been vandalized, the vandal tried to hand it back to it's owner with a smirk and a comment I could not hear. He refused to accept the Bible back. I imagine the owner figured they needed it more than he did. This coused an outbreak of what the protesters called "Bible juggling".

Finally, they made a human pyramid, coached the little girl to learn their chants, and they sang children's playground rhymes with their own violent lyrics. One specifically called protesters to "kick pro-lifers in the head. Don't you wish they all were dead?" A far cry from the image the media presents.

Also on the second day, I met a wonderful woman who was pushing 3 month old twins in a stroller. She said she wanted to come by to visit us and offer encouragement. She proceeded to tell me her story. She and her husband had adopted the twins (brother and sister) from a woman who had been scheduled to abort them, but changed her mind at the last minute. The woman went on to tell me that she and her husband had tried to concieve, but could not. They felt very fortunate to have been blessed with the 2 babies.

At the end of our conversation, she told me that she had not always been a Christian. When she was 18 she became pregnant and had an abortion. The "safe" procedure left her incapable of becoming pregnant. She aborted the only child she would ever conceive. Now, God has forgiven her and provided her with 2 babies to love.

Personally, I see this as a reflection of God's great love for His children. First, He allowed this woman to rescue these babies from abortion; to protect them like she could not protect her own child.

Second, He blesses her with 2 children. She receives the baby that she and her husband were praying for, a representative for the child they could not conceive together. God gives her a second baby to help fill the void left by the one that was lost. Finally, He offers her forgiveness and gives her an opportunity to share her testimony with other women, possibly protecting them and their babies from going through the pain she has gone through. Her story is one I will never forget.
Where do you want to go--eternally?

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