It was such a typical conversation. I wasn't surprised to hear it. But my reaction did surprise me.
I was at the farmer's market today with Esther to buy some bulk honey for some Christmas presents I plan to make. Now, the critical information that you need to know here is that Bloomington is a very liberal, crunchy, atheistic town. And in our much beloved liberal, crunchy, atheistic town (and we really do love it here) the farmer's market is like the Sunday worship where all the like minded people meet on a weekly basis. So being as such, it was no surprise that there was a table there to protest some deer killing going on at a local park that is apparently over-ridden with deer.
I happened to be by the table for a minute and overheard a very passionate conversation going on. Two women and a man were going on about how pro-life people only care about babies inside the womb, but after they are born, they couldn't care less. Their words oozed with pride at how much they clearly cared for children and how right their stereotype was.
Now, I have heard statements like this before, and I usually don't speak up, because I doubt that my opinion can change anything. But as they went on and on, my blood began to boil as I though of the years of my life that I have spent in full time service to kids (out of the womb!!) in need through foster parenting. In fact, I have met many foster parents over the years and know for a fact that there are many more pro-life foster parents than pro-choice.
I decided that living in the town that we do, their stereotype had probably never been challenged, so without much forethought of what I was going to say, I spoke up. "Excuse me, I don't think that you can say that all pro-life people don't care about babies after they are born. My husband and I are foster parents and have sacrificed a lot to serve children in need. We care about children both in and outside of the womb."
Their response was to play this off, that I was the exception to the rule. But I stood fast. I wanted to ask them how many of their liberal friends had sacrificed years of their lives to serve foster children, but instead, I just said, "No. Its not even most pro-life people who don't care about babies outside of the womb." To which they finally backed down to saying that some pro-life people don't care about babies outside of the womb, since "they wont vote to give more money to schools".
We ended the conversation cordially, they asked about Esther, she gave them her favorite line ("I'm free") and after a minute she and I walked away.
Some thoughts from this interaction:
1. Money is different than your time and your life. It is one thing to vote to give a little more of your paycheck to kids in need (especially when the brunt of the money is going to come from someone else's paycheck and not your own.) It is a vastly different thing to sacrifice your time and your life to serve kids in need. Children in need usually come from broken homes. They don't need money so much as positive relationships, true mother and father figures in their lives. But most people would rather throw a little money at them and feel like they did a good thing to prevent these children from starving, when in reality the real starvation is for love, not food.
2. Evangelism - As I walked away from the conversation, the man followed me. He stopped me and asked how many kids we have. I told him that we have two biological children and have been able to serve six foster children. He told me (this is pretty much an exact quote) "I am ok if you have two biological children as long as you don't have any more."
Um, excuse me, when did it become polite conversation to tell someone else how to run their family? But I wasn't surprised to hear his opinion on this. You see, in our culture, anyone but Christians are allowed to share (even push) the tenants of their religion. For the man I talked to today, the gospel of his self-made religion is all about abortion, politics and family size. But if I had turned around and tried to share the Biblical gospel with him? I would have been seen as pushy and intolerant. This is a double standard and Americans needs to wake up and see it as such.
3. Deer vs. Babies - The irony didn't phase me, but people, can we please all notice that they are giving their time to protest a few deer being killed, but celebrate babies being killed?
4. Did my speaking up make a difference? Should I have even said anything? This is a question I discussed with Alex after we got home.
In the end we came to the conclusion: yes, it was a good thing. Honestly, I do think my words affected the two women. They even thanked me for sharing my thoughts before I walked away and seemed to truly take in the things I said. I probably didn't change their mind, but they might think twice before loudly sharing their opinion on this topic again.
But more than changing people's opinion about politics or even abortion, I want people to hear the true gospel, that Jesus Christ died to save sinners, including prideful baby-haters like them, and prideful rule-lovers like me. And I didn't get to share that with them today, but we prayed for them that this conversation will prepare them to hear gospel and accept it in the future. Who knows, maybe God will even allow me to be the person to share it with them.