The name of my blog is inspired by my favorite cartoon teenager, Candace Flynn. Throughout the show, Candace eschews normal teenage activities in favor of her everquest to “bust” her brothers. Candace isn’t vindictive. Her desire to bust her brothers springs from a desire to keep them safe. Her brothers are geniuses who spend their time building questionable contraptions that, to any casual onlooker, should probably be handled by experts and tested for safety before being used by the hordes of neighborhood kids. But, Candace has a problem: every single time she gets her mother’s attention, the boys’ contraption has vanished and it appears that the boys are just doing normal, childhood things. Candace is persistent. She calls her mom over and over, freaking out about her brothers and her mother never gets it.
What does Candace Flynn have to do with the pro-life movement? Nothing at all, personally. However, as I watched an episode of this cartoon with my kids, I realized that Candace suffers from the same trouble the pro-life movement has: no one listens and they are done responding to the freak-outs.
See, at various times, Candace actually finds an adult who can see what she sees and they also freak out, but it is to no avail because her mother is absolutely deaf to Candace’s position that the boys are up to “something.” No one can really blame her mother. Candace has been screaming at her mother to come look at nothing for years. At this point Candace’s mom is so used to finding nothing in the face of a prime flip-out that it doesn’t phase her when Candace finds another person who also flips-out.
Recently, my family had a Facebook debate about the Planned Parenthood videos. The gist of the debate was that graphic images don’t change minds, they just make pro-lifers look crazy. But, I think that pro-lifers, myself included, may just be suffering from a Candace-complex – the audience we need most is used to ignoring us.
Let’s not be hard on Candace. She is the oldest and truly loves her brothers. They do very dangerous things and her mother never does anything about it. If you walked out to find your little brothers loading up neighborhood kids onto a several-stories-high roller coaster they built in a matter of hours you’d be worried, too. Candace’s responses are not out of proportion to the events she witnesses. The only problem is that Candace’s mom usually never registers the danger and so never sees a problem.
And, this, ladies and gentlemen, is my point. The pro-life movement has every right to “flip-out” about the sale of baby parts, unregulated clinics, and the millions of people lost each year to abortion, but our audience hasn’t seen it, yet. There’s no good reason that they haven’t seen it, but no amount of our “flipping out” will make them see it. They are happy to ignore us.
Candace had every right to continue to try to confront her mother with the truth; she even had the responsibility since her mom wasn’t watching. Pro-lifers, too, have that responsibility because we must stand up for those who have no voice. Yet, we’re going to have to realize that no matter how loud we yell “Mom!”, she’s just not yet ready to see what we’re talking about. Should we do it, yes. But, we’re going to have to put out a Candace-level effort to show up, to witness, and to help. Candace never stopped trying and neither should we. We should be at the clinics offering help, demanding that political candidates do something to protect women from a predatory industry, trying to get our friends involved, and watching out for safety concerns where we know there is little to no supervision.
Although Candace never gets her mom’s attention, her constant witness to her brothers’ dangerous schemes allows her to be uniquely position to help save them from the danger they create for themselves and she builds a loving relationship with them just by always being around. I don’t have the answers, but for now proclaiming the truth of life, showing the love of Christ to the victims of abortion, and witnessing to the lives of our little brothers and sisters in the womb is all we can do. We’re going to have to accept looking crazy because the truth just can’t be seen, yet. We pray for better days.