by Clinton Wilcox of Life Training Institute
On one hand, a favorite punching bag of T. Russell Hunter is pro-life fundraising.
On 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…
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…
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.)
As 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.
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:
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