The word "ichthus" is Koine Greek (the language in which the New Testament books were written) for "fish." It was used by ancient persecuted Christians as a secret symbol so they would know one other.
The Greek letters spelling ichthus - ΙΧΘΥΣ - formed an acrostic for Jesus, Anointed, God, Son, and Savior, meaning "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." Today you'll see the ichthus fish symbol all over the place in Christian art, bumper stickers, etc.
So it is ironic that this year's 40th annual Ichthus Music Festival, which ran June 17-20, would force pro-lifers to go underground with their message....
Yesterday afternoon I was standing in front of our booth at Ichthus Festival with duct tape on my mouth with the words "Silenced 4000 a day" on it. I was also holding a homemade sign that read "During your 4 days at Ichthus Festival almost 16,000 babies will be killed by surgical abortion"....
After an hour... I was approached by festival staff who told me that I was offending people; she told me 5 parents of older kids complained about being offended....
I was told they don't want anything that says abortion is wrong but only come at the issue from a positive perspective. I showed them several signs on our booth that say "Jesus Heals and Forgives" and showed them our post abortive healing literature. I asked if the booths that are speaking against porn and human trafficking are offensive and I was told that that was different....
I was told again that the term "silenced" was offensive because women who have had abortions will then think they silenced their babies.
I was told to stop playing our slide show that had pictures from the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity and that I could not have anything with the word "silenced" and on duct tape. We have two shirts, stickers and buttons with the word "silenced" on them that had to be taken down.
Ridiculous. How in the world can abortion be portrayed as "positive"? I was heartened by Bryan's report that 2 bands, Men as Trees Walking and The Wedding, wore his t-shirts on stage after hearing about the censorship.
Meanwhile Bryan spotted "several booths that have what we call rip off shirts where they just change a companies logo into a christian shirt including parodies of Vodka and Beer logos."
The Ichthus Festival's "silencing" of abortion exemplifies exactly why the apathetic Church is in no small part to blame for the continued killing of preborn children - by those exactly the age attending the Ichthus Festival.
What is the difference between Ichthus Festival and the pro-abort Lilith Festival?
And while Ichthus organizers and offended parents are busy burying their collective head in the sand, it is possible a girl got pregnant at their milk toast music festival - or met a nice guy by whom she soon will be. But they quashed the powerful pro-life message that will now be missing from her conscience in 6 to 8 weeks.
"I was told again that the term "silenced" was offensive because women who have had abortions will then think they silenced their babies."
Nothing hurts like the truth. . .
Undoubtedly, they knew that many women attending this Christian festival would have had abortions. Sad.Posted by: Lori Pieper at June 22, 2010 1:17 PM
Seems Catherine Palmer hit the issue like a laser beam in her article on "Hurling Abortion Across the Room" when she said of the prevailing sentiment,
"... After all, I don't want to offend anyone. I don't want to push my beliefs on someone else. I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable. Being pro-life has become private and passive. Indeed it is just that: a being, not a doing. It is something we believe and do not proclaim, think and do not effectuate. We are too fearful."
Well, I for one am going out to download Men as Trees Walking and The Wedding albums on amazon RIGHT NOW!!!!Posted by: Christina H at June 22, 2010 1:24 PM
And they pretend that the Church doesn't have an abortion problem.Posted by: Lauren at June 22, 2010 1:26 PM
Nauseating.Posted by: Kel at June 22, 2010 1:30 PM
This is sick!!! ALL Christians should be speaking out and supporting others who speak out against our most grievous national sin. I don't know anyone who is against women who have had abortions. These women are broken and need the love and support of Christians. I see the women as victims, too. They've been lied to by the abortion industry who cares only to make money by killing their children. When abortion minded women see their ultrasounds, 90% choose life. This is why the abortion lobbyists fight so hard to keep women ignorant of fetal development and the pain the baby will feel, as well as the many risks and potential complications for the mother, both short and long term.Posted by: Christy at June 22, 2010 2:00 PM
Just sent them this email: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?created&&suggest¬e_id=405706494719Posted by: Josh Brahm at June 22, 2010 2:03 PM
It was a pastor that gently but firmly told his congregation about abortion. I was the post abortive mom listening and needing healing. My pastor was the one who spoke the truth to me and held out his hand without condemnation.
Satan loves the silence and the darkness.Posted by: carla at June 22, 2010 2:09 PM
This reveals a serious and common problem in American churches: an aversion to negative messages. Don't preach about sin, because that's a negative and someone will be offended. Preach about the good things to do, because people warm up to that. Goodie, goodie.
Jesus called sinners and told them to stop sinning. At the same time he called others hypocrites and vipers. He flipped the tables of money-changers. Would today's Christians find Jesus' behavior offensive?
What are today's churches teaching?Posted by: Cranky Catholic at June 22, 2010 2:32 PM
Christ on the cross. Bloody, torn, pierced.
Is that too negative to these liberal Christians?Posted by: Cranky Catholic at June 22, 2010 2:44 PM
I put an post on their facebook voicing my disgust. I tried to email them directly but the box was full; hopefully from outraged prolifers.Posted by: Patrick at June 22, 2010 3:39 PM
Bryan shouldn't have been silenced because his message was obviously reaching people...
Maybe what happened to Bryan is a blessing in disguise. The Ichthus Festival has a whole year to plan how they can minister to post-abortive women in a positive way. They could collaborate with many groups, such as Silent No More.
Josh Brahm @ 2:03,
For those of us who don't do Facebook (I know, I know), would you mind posting the email you wrote? Thanks. :)Posted by: Janet at June 22, 2010 3:50 PM
Pretty sad that a huge secular rock festival in Middle Tennessee allowed a pro-life presence and distribution of young one fetal models. Meanwhile our fear-filled brothers and sisters in the faith are unwilling to allow the same witness. Remind me why it's hard to go to church on Sundays? the silence is deafening. And deadly.Posted by: Lee Harris at June 22, 2010 3:59 PM
The Silence of the "church" is deafening!
The blood of the innocents is on the hands of the enablers....Don't be one!
Just some thoughts....JohnPosted by: John at June 22, 2010 4:33 PM
It hurts tremendously when fellow Christians refuse the truth, just like the many who remain silent on the Death Penalty. A man was murdered by UT taxpayers and firing squad last Friday. It was abhorrently unjustified as he was no longer a threat since succesfully confined by law enforcement.
And there is even an ever increasing national stat of 138 exonerees since 1973. Our Lord Jesus was a 'bloodied, torn, pierced' victim of the DP but few American Christians care to consider this truth.Posted by: Mary at June 22, 2010 4:51 PM
How do you Christian pro-lifers account for the fact that not all Christian denominations take a pro-life position? Do you think that they are heretical churches? Do you think that they are "Satanic?" The idea of "personhood" from the point of conception is not held, universally, by Reformation churches so to say that the pro-life position is Christian is not entirely true. (See the American Episcopalian, UCC, Unitarian, certain Lutheran denominations, Methodists)Posted by: Jill at June 22, 2010 5:26 PM
I wonder if ROCK FOR LIFE was there and if they were also silenced?Posted by: LizFromNebraska at June 22, 2010 5:55 PM
Please pick one name and stick with it. Thank you.Posted by: Bobby Bambino at June 22, 2010 5:58 PM
"How do you Christian pro-lifers account for the fact that not all Christian denominations take a pro-life position."
Simple. They are wrong.Posted by: Lauren at June 22, 2010 6:18 PM
A dangerous thought in our pluralistic, relativistic culture, Lauren...:)Posted by: Bobby Bambino at June 22, 2010 6:24 PM
Reminds me of the 'dead babies r us' folks who objected to the words 'choose life' on license plates.
They objected because these same two words are found in the bible, side by side.
Therefore the license plate was unconstitutional because it obviously violated the 'separation of church and state'.
These folks at the Ichthus Music Festival were concerned that post abortive women might infer from the tee shirts and the duct tape that perhaps they had 'silenced' their pre-natal child.
[A galactically humongus: DUH!]
..."Ichthus organizers and offended parents are busy burying their collective head in the sand,"...
[Their collective head was/is where the 'sun don't shine', but it is NOT the 'sand'. They should all continue to pray watch and listen for the 'pop'.]
What a bunch of hyper sensitive stained glass saints.
[Praise a little louder brethren and sistren, and turn your head the other way, and do not forget to put your spare change in the collection plate. You cain't out give god. Sow to your need.]
Surely they are to be included in one or more of the seven 'ekklesias' enumerated in the book of Revelation.
Pergamum or Thyatira? Perhaps both.
[We all qualify in one way or another to numbered amongst the sheep or the goats.]Posted by: yor bro ken at June 22, 2010 6:25 PM
what a joke.Posted by: Jasper at June 22, 2010 6:30 PM
"what a joke."
Posted by: Jasper at June 22, 2010 6:30 PM
that's what she said.Posted by: Praxedes at June 22, 2010 6:37 PM
Haha, I forgot Bobby. Nothing is wrong except saying something else is wrong!Posted by: Lauren at June 22, 2010 7:22 PM
So Sabra is Maevis is Jill is Pat...Posted by: Janet at June 22, 2010 8:55 PM
True, not all Christian Churches abhor abortion. Some even embrace it. But as Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23
""Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
So in answer to your question:
"How do you Christian pro-lifers account for the fact that not all Christian denominations take a pro-life position?"
Jesus Himself has answered you today, because His Words are living and true.Posted by: Gerard Nadal at June 23, 2010 5:35 AM
@ Janet, here's my letter:
To Whom It May Concern,
I'm very personally troubled by the way my friend and colleague Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries was treated on June 19, as reported at his blog. I can understand if he had been using graphic pictures with kids around, but there is nothing about the word "silenced" that should be considered offensive. Honestly, it's tame compared to other equally descriptive and accurate terms that could have been on Bryan's shirt, like "killed," "slaughtered," "dismembered," and "decapitated." Please understand, I'm against people using "shock and awe" just to get attention, but Bryan wasn't doing that! He was simply sending a message that the likes of William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr and our Lord Jesus Christ would.
As a traveling speaker on the issue of abortion myself, I'm often asked why I speak in churches so often, instead of purely secular audiences. My response? The Church is where the message is needed the most. Why? Because 70% of abortions are done on women who claim to be Protestant or Catholic. (Source: Alan Guttmacher Institute, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3422602.html.)
Yes, that means many women at your festival are post-abortive, and we should be very careful about the way we spread our message. But the mistake pastors often make after considering the post-abortive women sitting in their pews is to just ignore the issue. According to countless post-abortive women who have gone through the healing process, they were not helped by their pastor ignoring the issue. They were helped when the pastor spoke clearly and carefully about the issue. Sadly, many of these women are unaware of the Christian counseling services available for them, and only find out when a pastor mentions it during his sermon on abortion, or at a booth like Bryan's.
I will be following this story closely, and I hope very much to see a formal apology made to Bryan. I host a youth-oriented podcast (http://ProLifePodcast.net/) heard in 5 out of 7 continents, and we will be sharing this story in a future episode. It will be at least a week before we shoot this episode, so if an apology is made by then, I'll be sure to mention that as well. Hopefully there can be a semi-happy ending to this story, but it will be very telling if your organization sticks to its current policy of censorship.
If you have any questions or want to respond, my contact info is below.
A Saddened Brother in Christ,
Josh Brahm @ 11:01,
Thank you for posting your letter. Let us know if you get a positive resonse! The statistic you quote from the Guttmacher Institute (that 70% of abortions are done on women who claim to be Protestant or Catholic) is staggering. I wonder what percentage of pastors realize it is so high.
In my area of the country, we have well-known post-abortive counseling groups, but I don't think they are advertised in the community as well as they could be. Maybe these groups could make fliers available to churches (paid for by church donations) so parishioners can distribute them around town. I like to think that if I place a flier or two on a billboard in a grocery store, some one who needs help might see it. Sometimes it's the little things we do that work best. Thanks for all you do for LIFE. God bless.Posted by: Janet at June 23, 2010 11:32 AM
I really don't get the whole duct tape over the mouth silence thing. Every baby my wife and I have had the priviledge of being a part of saving, we spoke with the mom. We haven't seen silence save one yet.Posted by: Scott Evans at June 23, 2010 11:37 PM
A similar message about slavery might have been as unwelcome among Southern Christians in America 150 years ago. Those genteel ladies' sensibilities just might be offended, and we can't be having that, don'tcha know!Posted by: rasqual at June 24, 2010 2:17 AM
i saw you standing out there with your sign, and i bought a pro-life shirt that says "would it bother us more if they used guns?" wouldn't you call that offinsive? and that booth was up the whole 4 days. but i had no idea that this happend until now. hopfully this will never happen again. i just cant understand it. and i really dont know what to do about it, i love ichthus, and i love what they do, but i cant understand why they would do this. if theres anything i can do to help, with whatever this is, just tell me, im only 15 but i want to do somthing!Posted by: Jordyn Brook at June 25, 2010 1:12 PM