“Immediatist vs. Incrementalist” debate analysis, Part VII: So fundraising is wrong?

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by Clinton Wilcox of Life Training Institute

On one hand, a favorite punching bag of T. Russell Hunter is pro-life fundraising.

11122396_916351231756876_1989993906_nOn the other, Hunter’s group Abolish Human Abortion is incorporated, has a for-profit arm through which it sells t-shirts and other wares, and rents office space (see screen shot right; click to enlarge).

It was these contradictory positions Hunter had to balance in his April 25 debate against Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Gregg Cunningham.

Hunter contended (1:06:10 on the video) that one reason Christians aren’t actively involved in anti-abortion activism is because they donate money to pro-life organizations to do the work for them. (See also 1:14:24-1:16:26.)

Nevertheless, from timestamp 1:39:55-1:41:31, Hunter alleged he wasn’t opposed to fundraising per se.

But not only did this contradict Hunter’s earlier statement, it contradicted a multitude of Facebook posts in which he and AHA have castigated pro-life organizations for fundraising.

All this while two of AHA’s leaders, Don Cooper and Todd Bullis, actively engage in fundraising under the AHA banner. Click to enlarge…

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As it is with their own incremental bills, it seems AHAers agree with fundraising as long as it fits their own agenda and not that of the larger pro-life movement.

The problem is some people can’t feasibly stand against abortion because they work, have families that demand their attention, and maintain other responsibilities. They simply don’t have the time to be out there “in the trenches,” as Hunter would say.

So, giving funds to pro-life advocates who have devoted their life’s work to the cause is their way of helping.

Donations help pro-life advocates like myself, the organization I work for (Life Training Institute), Jill Stanek, Gregg Cunningham/Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, and all the other pro-life advocates keep doing what we do. As Scott Klusendorf reminds us, there are many more people working full-time to kill babies than there are working full-time to save them. And as Cunningham mentioned in his debate, a part-time movement of volunteers is not going to end abortion.

We also don’t receive billions of dollars in taxpayer funding, as organizations like Planned Parenthood do.

Pro-life organizations subsist on generous donations so we can sustain pregnancy care centers, make a difference in the political realm, maintain full-time presence at abortion clinics, educate pro-lifers on how to effectively share their views so as to convert our culture, and conduct a multitude of other pro-life work.

Hunter, while decrying the fact that pro-life organizations fundraise, hypocritically uses the fruits of those organizations’ labor.

For example, AHA uses images of abortion victims that Cunningham’s group has spent millions of dollars to acquire over the years. CBR was the first pro-life organization to compile an archive of broadcast quality video and still photographs.

At 1:15:45 in the video, Cunningham astutely observed that while Hunter may not fundraise, he allows CBR to do the fundraising for him, because Hunter benefits from CBR’s work. And Hunter knows it, as shown in this email from Hunter to Cunningham. Click to enlarge…

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An example of AHA’s ineffective strategy was the debate itself. Despite having months to prepare, AHA produced a substandard video using substandard cameras and audio equipment. Had AHA fundraised – with the foresight to effectively reach the public – the group could have afforded professional equipment to make a high quality recording so arguments by both participants could easily be understood for posterity. (Fortunately, Cunningham has done just that and also recorded the debate with much greater clarity.)

Capture5As previously mentioned, Don Cooper (pictured left), who holds himself out as AHA’s Executive Director, also fundraises. Cooper’s organization, named Abolitionists Northwest, made $101,159 in 2013 – $96,645 of which came from “[c]ontributions, gifts, grants, and similar.”

I don’t fault Cooper for this. As St. Paul reminds us in I Timothy 5:18, “For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.'” Activists are an essential component to ending abortion in the United States, and fundraising is an essential component to enabling us to work full-time to stop abortion. Pro-life people, like everyone else, have bills to pay and families to support. If we had to work full-time in another arena, we wouldn’t be able to devote ourselves single-mindedly to work to end abortion.

My point is that AHA is hypocritical on the issue of fundraising.

In the debate, Hunter not only failed to present any sort of plan for ending abortion under his immediatist regime, he failed to present any sort of plan as to how we can end the fight for the rights of the unborn without fundraising and all just working part-time to speak out against it, a proposition which, as I stated, is disingenuous on Hunter’s part to begin with.

This is simply an untenable view, and one Hunter fraudulently claims AHA adheres to.

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Clinton Wilcox is a staff apologist for Life Training Institute. He specializes in training pro-life people to make the pro-life case more effectively and persuasively. He is also a certified speaker and mentor for Justice for All. He keeps a personal blog, and you can also follow him on Twitter.

Read previous posts:

Prologue
Part I: Let babies die today, we can save the rest later
Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?
Part III: Social justice history vs TR Hunter
Part IV: Straw men and the Bible
Part V: Sacrificing children to the idol of abolitionism
Part VI: Christians and the legislative process
Scott Klusendorf: Debate between Gregg Cunningham and T. Russell Hunter
Jonathan Van Maren: Four observations from the Cunningham vs. Hunter debate

25 thoughts on ““Immediatist vs. Incrementalist” debate analysis, Part VII: So fundraising is wrong?”

  1. Clinton, Can you produce any fundraising appeals in the past 2 years? Didn’t you think perhaps it was tried that the *movement* do as the one we all repented of and left did? Do you not notice we try to at least make the attempts so it can be said “Hey, ya know what, we actually did try that, but it didn’t work.” You further prove my point for me by attacking the video quality. You know why it’s so poorly done? Because those producing it didn’t do any fundraising to make it all nice and fancy. It was basically produced by God’s providence. The men and women who produced it walk humbly with the Lord and know he will provide for their missions. It’s why we don’t do fundraising as a whole. It should also be noted that we are not an organization, so if individual societies want to fundraise, that’s their individual decision and has nothing to do with the movement at large. Also, how ridiculous is this? Blog number 7 and you’ve written 2, yet there is still a debate waiting for you. I must say, Russell must have you all on the defense if you’re investing so much time in trying to slander the movement. This blog and the last one have me truly praying for you, brother. To what ends?

       4 likes

  2. Devastating commentary, Jill.

    A friend of mine who took notice of AHA’s work nailed when he said that AHA “rides the backs of giants.” CBR being one of them.

    How is the mid-west pro-lifer who has no abortion clinic in his neighborhood supposed to be of help? Or the elderly who can no longer leave her home? For some people it isn’t physically possible to get to an abortion clinic. So, THEY DONATE. By AHA’s argument, they’re being apathetic because they’re not out on the streets and meeting AHA’s approval.

       12 likes

  3. We’re on the defense because we’re exposing your lies and your errors? Bahahahaha…okay. Well then…we must have had you AHA cultists on the defense first! Because you spend ALL your time wringing your hands over us pro-lifers and hardly any time you know…ending abortion!

    The fact is you AHA guys were caught in yet ANOTHER lie. Clinton proved it. But once again the pride of the pharisees in AHA gets in the way. Instead of admitting hypocrisy and apologizing (or repenting as you AHA folks like to say) you deflect and lie again.

       5 likes

  4. Cranky Catholic,
    Your first error is to assume that going to abortion clinics is all anyone can do other than writing a check. Your second error is believing that Jill or Clinton have an honest bone in their bodies. This is perhaps the most intellectually dishonest ant-AHA blog post I’ve ever read.

       3 likes

  5. You wanna know why our footage was so bad? Because Gregg showed up at the last minute and made crazy changes to the debate like “turn off all the lights.” And then the sound board at the venue unexpectedly had no option to plug our sound equipment into.

       2 likes

  6. Caught in what lie Sydney M? Please show me anywhere in this “article” that he proves anyone was lying?

    Define “ending abortion” since combating self defeating and internally incoherent strategies and ideology doesn’t qualify in your book. Let me guess, legislation? That’s been “ending abortion for 40+ years?” Are you sure you know what the word “ending” means?

    Your dismissive treatment of the concept of repentance is very telling. Just an FYI, us AHA “cultists” (another word that has an actual definition and can’t be used interchangeably with “people Sydney M. doesn’t like” btw) didn’t invent repentance. It can be found all over this really cool historical document you might want to check out called The Holy Bible and was taught by fringe wackos like John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth.

       3 likes

  7. Because Gregg camera guy knew he would be operating in near total darkness.

    Jill, would you like to comment on my claim here that you are a straight up liar? This post couldn’t be more dishonest if the devil himself wrote it.

       1 likes

  8. Toby, the article is mine, not Jill’s. Any error made in it remains my own, not Jill’s. In what way do you think I was lying in this article, and do you understand the difference between a lie and an error?

       7 likes

  9. Deanna,

    “Clinton, Can you produce any fundraising appeals in the past 2 years?”

    I’m not privy to that information. All I know is that what AHA has said publicly seems to contradict other public statements they have made (such as Hunter’s comment during the debate that he’s not against fundraising *per se*, and the fact that he is constantly deriding the pro-life movement for fundraising.

    “Didn’t you think perhaps it was tried that the *movement* do as the one we all repented of and left did?”

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand your question. Can you clarify?

    “Do you not notice we try to at least make the attempts so it can be said ‘Hey, ya know what, we actually did try that, but it didn’t work.’

    In what way was fundraising tried and discarded as a failed tactic? Was it because no one was agreeing to donate to AHA? I fail to see how fundraising could be tried and rejected as a “failed strategy.”

    “You further prove my point for me by attacking the video quality. You know why it’s so poorly done? Because those producing it didn’t do any fundraising to make it all nice and fancy.”

    Exactly my point. If they had, they could have produced a quality video. As it was, it was difficult to understand what was being said, especially during the Q&A when things got heated. If AHA fundraises, they can produce professional quality videos. As Christians, I think God deserves no less than our absolute best.”

    “It was basically produced by God’s providence.”

    You’re saying this is the best God can do? Gregg produced a better video. Why wasn’t that provided by God’s providence? Why do you think if we fundraise we’re not trusting in God? Don’t you think when we fundraising, we’re trusting *in* God to provide for our needs?

    “The men and women who produced it walk humbly with the Lord and know he will provide for their missions. It’s why we don’t do fundraising as a whole.”

    Many in the pro-life movement walk humbly with the Lord, too. I fail to see what this proves.

    “It should also be noted that we are not an organization…”

    Balderdash.

    “…so if individual societies want to fundraise, that’s their individual decision and has nothing to do with the movement at large. Also, how ridiculous is this? Blog NUMBER 7 and you’ve written 2, yet there is still a debate waiting for you.”

    Yes, I’ve written two articles. I also write articles for the LTI blog, I’ve written an article for The Gospel Coalition, I’m writing an article for Christian Research Journal, and I’m writing two books. I’m also a professional musician, playing the music for our church service on Sunday morning, so I have to rehearse the band. I am also putting a program together for a charity event in June. This is what I do for a living. My time is limited. I told him that I have a number of projects working on, so I’ll need a little flexibility with my time. I’m also waiting for him to get his opening argument up so I can respond to it. This is a red herring and has nothing to do with the argument made in this article.

    “I must say, Russell must have you all on the defense if you’re investing so much time in trying to slander the movement.”

    First, if it’s in print, it’s libel, not slander. Second, after all the lies and misinformation AHA has done toward the pro-life movement, no one has any right to claim pro-life people are slandering/libeling AHA. Third, there is no libel going on here. Everything I wrote has been supported by evidence. Everything I say about AHA is true based on my own experience. The problem is everything we say about AHA is dismissed as “slander” or a “strawman.”

    “This blog and the last one have me truly praying for you, brother. To what ends?”

    Don’t pray for me based on my articles. Pray for me in general, because I need it.

       4 likes

  10. Clinton,
    Jill could tell exactly which “errors” you made but instead of correcting them she knowingly published this false blog post. That is blatant dishonesty on her part. Just straight up deception.

       1 likes

  11. “Has a for profit arm through which it sells gear”

    False. The Basileian Group LLC is a small business that four Abolitionists invested in to get up and running. It has permission from ICAS to use the symbol to produce gear and resources for Abolitionists and societies who do not or cannot produce their own. It is not an arm of some organization called Abolish Human Abortion.

    “AHA rents office space in Norman Ok”

    False. Consider your sources. You took information from pro-aborts that can’t distinguish between our local church and an ideology.

       1 likes

  12. “Don Cooper who holds himself out as AHA’s executive director”

    False. AHA has no executive director or any other positions. Jill knows this. I find it nearly impossible to believe you don’t know this. Abolitionists who started down the path of that model abandoned it nearly as quickly as we began it. Don Cooper does fundraise for his local society, but not for AHA.

       1 likes

  13. Toby, it seems you have an axe to grind with Jill. How is it not dishonest to target Jill instead of me with your accusation?

    “You took information from pro-aborts that can’t distinguish between our local church and an ideology.”

    This is just the genetic fallacy. The fact that it comes from pro-choice people/organizations is irrelevant to the truth or falsehood of the information. Plus, considering all the distinctions those in AHA are incapable of making, I don’t think you want to compare notes. What do you mean by “our” local churches? Whose local churches?

       5 likes

  14. “In the debate, Hunter not only failed to present any sort of plan for ending abortion under his immediatist regime, he failed to present any sort of plan as to how we can end the fight for the rights of the unborn without fundraising and all just working part-time to speak out against it, a proposition which, as I stated, is disingenuous on Hunters part to begin with”

    Wait, when the debate about fundraising take place?

       0 likes

  15. Pro-life is many things…

    Pro-life is a message…. Teaching the public about the sanctity of life and our need to protect it.

    Pro-life is a charity…. Caring for women and their children, providing healthcare and ultrasounds, at no cost to those in need and at no cost to taxpayers.

    Pro-life is a lobbying advocate…. seeking laws to protect women and children, educating voters, engaging lawsuits.

    All of these things require resources — volunteer time, prayer time, professional skills and leadership, and that most liquid and versatile resource: Money. Nearly all of this comes from the donations of pro-lifers.

    AHA may have some quirky notions about the strategies and mission of other pro-life groups. But it is very odd that they condemn us for seeking donations to do our work!

    If they want to accuse us of using donors’ money poorly, then that would be a useful revelation. (After all, we repeatedly expose how Planned Parenthood uses taxpayers’ money poorly.) Pro-life is an honest and efficient movement — we accomplish so much with so little! We are transparent; we are not afraid of scrutiny.

    But to assert that our pro-life mission is unworthy because we ask for donations to advance the mission — that is absurd. Even AHA needs and uses pro-life money to advance their message.

       9 likes

  16. Toby,

    “Wait, when [did] the debate about fundraising take place?”

    In the debate, they argued about fundraising. I don’t have exact timestamps for you off-hand.

    Would you please answer my question:

    “What do you mean by ‘our’ local churches? Whose local churches?”

       4 likes

  17. “If they want to accuse us of using donors’ money poorly, then that would be a useful revelation. (After all, we repeatedly expose how Planned Parenthood uses taxpayers’ money poorly.) Pro-life is an honest and efficient movement — we accomplish so much with so little! We are transparent; we are not afraid of scrutiny.”

    Exactly. This is one of the oddest complaints from AHA I’ve seen yet, along with the whole “Catholics will never save babies” schtick (even though Catholics are still the majority of those caring about the abortion issue and working on it, in my observation!). And it’s massively hypocritical for them to criticize pro-lifers for donations, as Jill pointed out they accept donations themselves. And even more hypocritical, they actually charge for their drop cards. So basically, they charge people to do pro-life work. Nice.

       9 likes

  18. Lissa–the lies that they don’t believe in selling merch or fundraising yet they do that.

    I have no problem with repentance. I have a problem with pharisees such as yourself telling Godly people to repent because you don’t like the work they do. The pharisees in the Bible also told Jesus to repent for healing people on the Sabbath. You AHA folks are legalistic to the extreme and nasty and prideful. I’ve dealt with you folks long enough to know how fleshly you are. Your love is self and the more you can try and feel that you are somehow better than others the happier you are. You are very much like the man in the Bible who began to pray “Lord I thank you that I am not like THAT sinner there….” that is the vain spirit within AHA.

    It is unfortunate because I believe you guys are spot on about a few things but then you ruin everything with your lies, your pride and your willingness to join forces with the abortion industry to let babies die. But that is always Satan’s way isn’t it? Take truth and just twist it enough to confuse and destroy people?

       4 likes

  19. Toby,

    1) It was RT who brought fundraising into the debate, and early on, at 11:20 in the video. He brought it up again at 1:06:13, and again at other times, as time-stamped and linked above. It is disingenous to parse that while regional and local groups under the AHA banner may do fundraising, AHA doesn’t. TR may think it’s a noble sign of martyrdom to be stuck penniless on the Arizona desert with a broken down vehicle (http://tinyurl.com/kyh7x3u); others would call that something else.

    2) You, like RT, are under the mistaken impression that I hang on every word you utter and every twist and turn of AHA’s saga. If Don Cooper is no longer the ED of AHA, then he should either remove his post saying he is, or add a disclaimer.

    3) As for your claim it is false to say AHA has office space, I can only refer you to AHA itself (http://tinyurl.com/lwujy7x), which noted, “They are reaching into the bottom of barrel and are seeking to pressure our land lord on the basis of false and libelous allegations.” What does “land lord” mean to you? Are you going to get into semantics now and hide behind Door of Hope Church, AHA’s worship outlet?

       4 likes

  20. If you’re going to present the beauty of God’s Truth, we owe it to Him to present it beautifully.

    What did AHA do? It promoted the debate as a necessary big deal, then delivered a 6th grade class project.

    Mary broke the alabaster jar for Jesus. AHA offers a pile of straw.

    Ultimately the lesson I learn from AHA is that its key people are immensely immature. As a Catholic I could go deeper as to the root of the problem, but that goes outside the point of this blog’s analysis.

       6 likes

  21. I haven’t paid much attention to AHA thus far. I have been content to trust that they mean well and do good work, although perhaps a bit eccentric.

    So now you are telling me that, in their single-minded laser-like focus on abolishing abortion, they find time and energy to bash Catholics and the Catholic Church? Really?

    Then here is my response: Whom does Planned Parenthood fear and hate the most?
    – Is it AHA?
    – Or is it Catholics and the Catholic Church?

    – Is there even a contest?

       6 likes

  22. AHA — It is time for you to give an accounting of yourselves. Right here, in the comment section of this blog.

    There is only one metric that matters; by this you will be judged:

    Can you answer any of the following questions in the affirmative?

    – Have you saved a single life from abortion?
    – Have you helped a single woman to turn from abortion?
    – Have you helped a single person find healing after abortion?
    – Have you turned a single heart away from abortion? Has anyone left the abortion industry and become a pro-life activist because of your effort?
    – Have you caused any pro-life or abolitionist legislation to be debated or passed by your effort?
    – Have any court case advancing pro-life or abolition been heard or won by your effort?

    I have searched your website for testimonies and reports of success. I found nothing, but perhaps I missed it.

    So… give us a reason why you should continue to exist, as an organization or movement. Show us some sign that your work has been blessed with any measure of success.

       9 likes

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