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Weekly Salvo

April 28, 2016

Speaking Words for Life

An excerpt from an article in the upcoming Summer 2016 issue of Salvo:

Speaking Words for Life: An Interview with Josh Brahm of the Equal Rights Institute by Marcia Segelstein

After twelve years of working full-time in the pro-life movement, Josh Brahm, along with his brother, decided to change course. Still strong believers in the cause, they had both come to believe that the movement itself could use some tweaking. They decided to focus on training pro-life advocates not only in making good arguments, but also in skills such as knowing when to talk and when not to, how to ask the right questions, and how to be truly engaged with those who are pro-choice. Thus the Equal Rights Institute was born. Brahm now spends much of his time speaking and conducting seminars at colleges, churches, and conferences around the country.

. . .

SALVO: What are some of the mistakes pro-lifers make in arguing against abortion?

Brahm: There's a phrase we coined on our blog called Fetus Tunnel Vision. Sometimes pro-lifers have a hard time acknowledging publicly other human rights injustices without at least comparing them to abortion. For example, every year on the anniversary of 9/11 there are Facebook posts talking about the fact that 2,900 people died but then adding, "Do you know how many people died on 9/12? Three thousand babies." Or when a big shooting happens. That day, there will be pro-life leaders comparing it to abortion, asking how many babies died today. And that's problematic.

I know those people really do care about the people who got killed in the shooting. But it doesn't look to other people like they care. It looks to other people like they have one pet issue—abortion—and that their mission, their agenda, is to take advantage of whatever the big news story is that day and get people talking about abortion. And then it looks like their moral compass is broken. And that's a problem because people aren't going to take our moral view seriously if they think our moral compass is broken.

So we want to help pro-life people communicate well not only about abortion, but also about how horrible sex slavery is, or rape. Often it comes across that we only care about the baby and that we don't care about the survivor of rape. I gave a speech once at a pro-life conference talking about how we ought to respond to rape. A woman came up to me afterward and told me I was the first pro-life speaker she'd ever heard who convinced her I actually care about rape. And that's one of the most tragic things that has ever been told to me at a conference. I want pro-life men, in particular, to know how to talk about this with real empathy, with a real acknowledgement of how horrible rape is. Because sadly, pro-choice people—even though maybe they ought to—don't know that we care about anything other than abortion. So coming across like we have Fetus Tunnel Vision is a common mistake.

I think sometimes that being more focused on winning the argument than on the person is also a common problem. There are people who aren't going to change their minds in a day. In fact, I think that's where most people are. I have stories, like most pro-life people do, of people changing their minds in a day. And those are great stories, and there are things we can learn from them.

Read the entire article when it's published—Subscribe to Salvo today for only $19.99 and receive the special Salvo Science & Faith issue FREE.

Also in the upcoming issue >>>

You Gotta Believe: Atheist or Not, You Already Have More Faith Than You Realize by James S. Spiegel

College Prep: How Can Students Stand Strong for Their Faith in College? by Sean McDowell

Greater Than the Sum: Why the Design in Living Things Goes Far Beyond Machinery by Jonathan Wells

Salvo has had many interesting interviews over the years with people such as Austin Hughes, Dinesh D'Souza, Jennifer Roback Morse, Cal Thomas, Fr. Roman Braga, Eric Metaxas, J. Budziszewski, Robert P. George, Russell D. Moore, and many more.

See the complete list of interviews at

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