NRL News

How we blend appeals to the heart and to the mind to persuade the undecided to join us in defending unborn children

by | Dec 12, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

I have had the privilege of sharing a workshop at the National Right to Life Convention with two other  people who are among the absolutely best pro-life communicators. In a sense what the three of us offer will resemble music you hear on Sirius FX’s “Cover Channel.”

That is, our remarks will be a tribute to the leader of the band, the late Jean Garton, who was the first person I ever asked to join the group in this workshop on persuasion. Jean was the master communicator and taught us by word and deed how persuasion ingeniously blends an appeal to the head and to the heart.

I mention this because I [again!] heard a song today –“Canvas and Clay”–by Pat Barrett, one of my favorite artists. Somehow, although I had listened to it a dozen times, I had totally missed the significance of what he was singing. I listened through “Canvas and Clay” rather than listening to Mr. Barrett.

The beginning is familiar to pro-lifers. Pat sings about how God not only formed each and every one of us in our mother’s womb but also loved us before we took our first breath. And

When I doubt it, Lord, remind me
I’m wonderfully made

I want you to listen to Pat’s song for yourself so let me discuss just two additional considerations.

#1.None of us is a “mistake”; perfection is an illusion. 

I know nothing has been wasted
No failure or mistake
You’re an artist and a potter
I’m the canvas and the clay

What about that most awful of words: “wantedness”? That says everything about us and nothing about the unborn child.

#2.  Pro-lifers, by experience and because of the values we live by, fully understand that an unplanned pregnancy presents tremendous challenges. 

Maria V. Gallagher wrote this about a young woman who had been pressured into having an abortion: “She firmly believes that if a single person had supported a decision for life on the day of abortion, her baby would not have died. A noteworthy national poll bears that out. The survey of post-abortive women indicated that the vast majority of respondents would have decided against abortion if just one person had offered support. Just one!”

A woman with an unplanned pregnancy could very much use help from many people but without that one person…. 

When Pat sings this, he may be referring specifically to trials and tribulations overcome or to the situation when a woman has given into the pressure but subsequently finds spiritual hope and reconciliation:

There’s a healing light
Just beyond the clouds
Though I’ve walked through fire
I see clearly now

It’s a beautiful sung song that is powerful, inspirational, true to life, and touches heart and head.  And (as I always ask my adult Sunday school class at the end of our time together) “What is the most important takeaway?” 

What I will takeaway most from “Canvas and Clay” would be is this:

You make all things work together
For my future and for my good
You make all things work together
For Your glory and for Your name

Categories: Pro-Lifers