After reviewing the April 1996 issue of the LIFE ADVOCATE, I noticed that a 6 or 7 inch square had been cut out of one of the pages. Ron who is my long time friend, a man I consider to be my brother, had borrowed the issue, a rare exposure to this magazine for him. I was not too happy about the surgery he had performed, and was concerned since my husband frequently refers to articles in back issues of the LIFE ADVOCATE in researching pro-life events.
I knew that when I ultimately returned the LIFE ADVOCATE to him, there would be questions concerning what had been removed - and why. When I questioned Ron about the situation I was so moved by some of the things he said, I wanted to share them with the rest of the pro-life community. My hope is that it might just be the right thing to impact someone, like him who has been somewhat out of touch with the battle for the unborn.
Ron is a two-tour veteran of Viet Nam. He was a medic, and served both in an EVAC hospital and in the field, during some of the heaviest action of that terrible war. He has seen some gruesome sights in his life, but by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, has suffered neither the guilt, nor the memory flashbacks that haunt many other vets. In the ten years we have been close friends, I have not known him to dwell on the horrors of his experience.
In fact, it surprised me to find how little he refers to Viet Nam other than to describe a friend or an escapade that amused him. Ron, like so many pro-lifers, was active at one time, and even was arrested in a rescue back in the late 1980's. When this war dragged on and clinics were not closed, he, like others, went on with his life, supporting the movement in a more indirect manner.
"What did you cut out of Don's LIFE ADVOCATE, Ron", I asked. Of all the informative articles in this issue, the thing that struck him most was the casualty chart - something that has been around for quite some time, and frankly something that I pass over, with only a rhetorical comment such as "isn't that terrible".
Each cross on this chart represents 50,000 people killed by a combat related death for every war the United States has participated in, from the Revolutionary War thru the Gulf War, and then compares those casualties with the deaths sustained by the babies in the war against the unborn. I do not think I will treat this chart lightly again.
Ron explained how important "body count" was in Viet Nam. "This was something tangible, a gauge for military commanders and politicians alike, measuring the "success of the war" - success measured in blood. In that conflict, 59 thousand Americans were killed and perhaps 200 thousand Vietnamese.
In light of the war against the unborn, that is a comparatively small death toll, yet the war had major repercussions, both politically for the nation, and personally for the thousands who served in combat including my buddy Ron.
If "body count" was truly an indicator of national interest, why was a war with 259,000 casualties reported and condemned as tragic and immoral in nearly every American periodical of the time, and just 25 years later, the death of 32 million innocent victims glossed over as just a woman exercising her right?
Anti-war Demonstrations, sit-ins, even violent confrontations with the authorities were reported on the front page in such a manner as to evoke sympathy for the cause. Those few students shot by National Guard troops at Kent State were applauded in the media as heroes and martyrs to the cause. Had that event occurred in the 1990's for the cause of saving the unborn, the media depiction would likely have been that domestic terrorists had been shot.
For Ron, the two years in a combat zone also had a major impact on his personal life. He said, "I treated maybe 500 people, both Americans and Vietnamese. Some folks don't have their name on that wall because of me - and some folks I worked on, are on that wall anyway. I couldn't save them. There was so many of them dead, but they were only a drop in a bucket compared to the 32 million babies killed by abortion." Trained by this same government to evaluate destruction in terms of body count, the numbers impressed Ron as a measure of how devastating this current war is - and how much blood covers this nation.
Ron told me of an incident that came to his mind, triggered by the chart. One time near his location, some South Vietnamese troops had engaged the enemy in a fire-fight and won. They had lined up the bodies of the enemies dead - side by side - displaying them as trophies. Some sixty bodies stretched approximately thirty feet along the side of the road. Recalling this incident, he wondered how far along a road would the bodies of 32 million slain babies stretch, if the pro-aborts were also to display them as trophies. Assigning an average length of 4" to each baby, allowing for 3 babies per foot, and 5,280 feet per mile, the line of slaughtered infants would stretch from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast - and then some.
The blood covering this nation stretches from" sea to shining sea". The extent of the slaughter expressed in these terms struck home with me as well. Ron framed and posted the chart in his room. "I never want to forget" he said. "When we came home from VietNam and landed in California, crowds of people came out to the airport and called us baby killers. I get the feeling that some of those same folks are supporting the real baby killers in abortion mills right now. We were not killing babies, not intentionally, we didn't want to kill anybody, just behave honorably and get home in one piece.
These same folks don't seem to mind the baby killing going on in their own home towns right now. If they do, they sure aren't going out and confronting the real baby killers." Ron continued, " They built that VietNam Memorial Wall. Everybody walks by it and cries - even me. That wall stretches maybe 200 foot long. If we built a memorial wall for the babies killed by abortion it would have to be twenty miles long - easy. Maybe we need to do that. Maybe we need to walk folks past that wall. After we took the concentration camps in Germany at the end of WWII, Eisenhower ordered the towns folk to be marched through the camp, to see the ovens and the open pit where the bodies of murdered prisoners where dumped. Maybe we need to march the church Christians and ministers of the churches passed the bodies of the babies they could have helped to save. "
Maybe we all need to frame and hang that casualty chart where it will be a daily reminder of the body count in this war against the unborn. We can debate the issue of abortion with politicians and theologians ad nauseam, until the fact that babies are dying each day becomes clouded in a mist of rhetoric and "good arguments".
Our logic permits us to compromise in subtle ways. Even some of our leaders have backed off defending the babies. They support politicians who would permit babies conceived by rape or incest to be legally murdered. Expediency rather than right has become the measure. Unless we, the church repent, and seek to return to the covering of the Blood of Jesus, and His righteousness, the blood of the innocents covering this land will cry out for judgment. We need to constantly remember the babies being slaughtered. I pray that all Christians will do what Ron has done, and post that chart in their heart - lest we forget.