- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2009

When a 14-year-old black youth from Chicago was murdered in the South in the 1950s, the killers sent the body to his mother in a sealed casket. The mother opened the casket to find her son’s body bloated, distorted and unrecognizable. To everyone’s surprise, she decided to have an open-casket funeral. Over the next few days, 50,000 people saw the body of what used to be Emmett Till.

Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks saw images taken by photographers, according to Fletcher Armstrong, southeastern director of the Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR).

“That image galvanized them to resist at that time,” he said. “[Images] galvanize people who are already on your side to stand up and do something.”

Mr. Armstrong said those images pushed reformers to “resist racism.” Several weeks after Emmett’s funeral, images of black men and women being attacked by dogs and sprayed with hoses appeared on the national news. Images make a difference to every cause, Mr. Armstrong told a group of students last week at Liberty University, the world’s largest and fastest-growing Christian evangelical university.

Mr. Armstrong said this idea also can be used to change how the country views abortion.

“We have to change the hearts and minds of the American people. There’s not a consensus in the country to stop abortion right now,” he said. “We need to convert more people to [the] pro-life position.”

The Liberty University Student Government Association educated its 12,000 students about abortion at “the largest pro-life week ever held on a college campus,” according to SGA President Matt Mihelic.

Liberty was established by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1971 in Lynchburg, Va. Its mission is “training champions for Christ.” The school’s pro-life week kicked off Nov. 11, when Mr. Mihelic presented an award to Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, for her work in the pro-life movement.

Mr. Armstrong was one of several speakers that week, including Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican; Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican; and former abortion nurse Carol Everett.

The SGA’s theme was “Reclaim Others’ Sacred Existence,” or ROSE. The group used the term along with images of roses on several poster designs, including an image of a rose on a swing and a partial image of a young girl holding a rose, to advertise the week to the student body.

Mr. Goodlatte thanked students at the “politics and abortion” forum at the Schilling Center on Friday for “recognizing the importance of this issue.”

“You’ve taken the stand that you’re going to protect human life, including that of the unborn,” Mr. Goodlatte said. “What each and every one of you do personally … is how you’ll win the battle to make sure that human life is protected under the law.”

As an elected official, Mr. Franks said, he fights for the unborn through the legislative process. His faith in God helps him, he said.

“The main reason I’m pro-life is because I believe the image of God has been stamped on every human being … we are all his children,” Mr. Franks said in an interview at Liberty’s Snowflex Centre. “The idea that we would kill the most innocent among us for convenience or economics is beyond my comprehension.”

The importance of family values and protecting the sanctity of marriage “all stem from first grasping the importance of life,” Mr. Goodlatte said, and these issues are protected in the founding documents.

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