(ProLifeCorner.com) – 8-27-2012 – On Thursday, August 18th 2012 the Prolife Action League organized three prolife protests around Rockford. One of their volunteers was Chris Iverson. He has been involved in prolife activism since 2004 and has a passion and enthusiasm for the movement. I asked Chris to tell us a little about himself, about how he got involved in the movement and about some of his experiences. Here’s what he said:
All Pro-Life Activists Are Not Christian
To understand my passion for pro-life activism we have to start back when I was a pro-choice atheist. I grew up in the MTV culture being taught what I call “atheism-lite” in public school. Material possessions and pleasures of this life were what I craved. I had no church or religious experiences to speak of and I didn’t hear the pro-life argument until I was 19 or 20. I had never seen a picture of an abortion. I didn’t understand why anyone would be against abortion. I liked abortion because if I got a girl pregnant, abortion was my way out. Then one day, an older friend of mine said abortion kills a baby. That confused me and I asked him to explain. I had never thought of it in those terms. I walked through the argument that the preborn must be alive and must be human. Therefore, abortion takes a human life. In light of that fact, I realized that the pro-choice arguments were seriously insufficient. I realized abortion shouldn’t be legal. I had become an atheist that was pro-life.
Years later a friend invited me out to a protest organized by the Prolife Action League. By this time I had become a protestant Christian. It was my first protest and I still have the t-shirt from that demonstration with the year 2004 on it. I was excited to make such a powerful statement to so many people with the sign I was given. I was also nervous and thinking of comebacks to anything someone might say. I remember that initial nervousness, so now I try to become friends with anyone that’s new to a protest.
Kids Are Naturally Pro-Life; It’s The Adults That Over-react
Over the past 8 years, I’ve gotten into arguments with pro-choice people during protests. I don’t think it accomplishes much, so I try to avoid that now. I’ve been to enough events that the nervousness has dissipated and I no longer feel the need to engage every person that complains. I know that kids are naturally prolife and automatically support people that are trying to save babies lives. If the kids are disturbed by anything, it’s typically the parents that won’t keep calm. In fact, pro-lifers often bring their kids out with them to hold signs. Also, I know that activism history teaches us that the victims must be seen and seen often before people will make positive reforms.
I’ve Had My Share Of Hecklers
I’ve noticed the number of positive responses from people driving by the Face the Truth protests has gone up over the years. There’s still the middle fingers, screaming out the window and honking horns which I forget as soon as the car is gone. I have had pro-choice people block my sign, I’ve had my sign spit on and once a guy got out of his car and punched my sign in Niles, Il. I’ve also had my share of hecklers. I actually like them because they get the people passing by to pay more attention. In 2010 in Rockford a guy came out with a homemade sign saying “I’m with stupid” and stood next to me. We ended up having a fun time talking. Another time downtown I had a young guy hold up his notebook next to me saying “This man is a product of incest.” Both times I had a chuckle about it and talked to the guys. They warmed up to me and it was an opportunity to have a peaceful dialog. I try to make sure they understand that I believe all human life has value and should be protected under the law. That tends to resonate with everyone. Really, the prolife argument is so simple and clear cut that it’s easy to leave a pro-choice person without a good response from them. Unfortunately, many people have become so politicized that they are okay with holding untenable positions. That’s why I try to focus on people that still have an open mind.
Some Weird Arguments
Maybe the weirdest argument I’ve ever heard was that the signs were pornography. You know they’re running out of arguments when they fabricate something that ridiculous.
Chris went on to say: One time in Aurora I was with two other people doing a small protest and we had a Unitarian church counter-protest us. That was interesting. They started pulling out one of my yard signs that said “No Abortion No Regrets.” I retrieved my sign after a passionate conversation with them about it. A member of their church which was an atheist apologized to me for his fellow church members actions. I found that whole situation to be very ironic. You run into situations in the pro-life movement you just can’t find anywhere else.
Typically The Police Do A Good Job
I recall another event years ago when a friend of mine organized a protest outside of then representative Melissa Beans campaign headquarters. He had a banner that said “Melissa Bean the Abortion Queen.” I thought that was hilarious. The police came out and the guy organizing the event told the police he had an attorney on speed dial, bail money in his pocket and he knew exactly where public property began and ended. He definitely has more guts than me! The police did a great job at protecting our right to free speech and we taught a lot of people about Melissa Bean. Typically the police do a good job in most cases protecting our right to free speech. Even if they don’t agree with us, they are usually fair and that’s certainly to their credit. I try to thank the police when I get the chance to do so.
Being Pro-Life Involves More Than Protest
I’ve done a lot of other pro-life things including helping a pro-life college group hang up posters, going door to door handing out pro-life DVD’s in trailer parks, praying in front of abortion clinics with other pro-lifers, advertising for a crisis pregnancy center, protesting with a group in front of a Planned Parenthood fundraiser and protesting with a group in front of an abortion doctors house.
More recently, I’ve started a prolife group on Facebook called Prevail: Prolife Events & Activities of Illinois. On that Facebook group, I post prolife opportunities in Illinois that I hear about. Everyone is welcome to join. You can find it here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/146763195422016/
Video Is A Powerful Tool To Promote The Culture Of Life
Also, I’ve enjoyed making short videos that show quick scenes from a day of protesting. It’s time consuming, but I really enjoy making these videos. Check them out and share them around. You can find them here: http://vimeo.com/user5235373/videos
PLC: You’ve been involved with the culture of life for some time now. How do you see things today?
Chris: From a bird’s eye view, I’ve found that pro-lifers are passionate persevering people that are eager to act and keep the pressure on the abortion industry. Pro-life activism for me is a passion. It’s such an important cause. It’s exciting to take part in events, get to know fellow activists and come up with new ways to promote life. I try to get along with everyone in the movement as best I can, even if we don’t agree on every political or religious issue. I like that after the Face the Truth events we sing Amazing Grace because it appeals to Catholics and Protestants. There’s no need to alienate either group and I encourage that kind of atmosphere where everyone can be comfortable joining in. The pre-born babies need us to be effective and we can be effective when we have that kind of real solidarity. I’m grateful to all the prolife groups around Illinois because of the opportunities they give us to be engaged in this work. If we’re grateful for what we have and passionately creative about what we can do to add value and momentum to the movement, we’ll be in a position to take this movement to the next level. Whether it’s protesting, sidewalk counseling, legal work, crisis pregnancy center work or critical behind the scenes work, there’s really a place for each of us in the pro-life movement. If we think big and research the opportunities out there, we can find the prolife work where we can be useful and inspired over the long term to be part of the change so desperately needed.
The staff at the ProLifeCorner would like to thank Chris Iverson for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us today. With young men like Chris stepping up to the cause for life, offering service and leadership, the future of the pro-life movement is in good hands. May our Lord richly bless Chris in all that he does to promote the culture of life.
Chris may be reached at: Prevail@usa.com
Video By Chris Iverson: