Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 29, 2012

The Price of Silence

Riau Islands, Indonesia

“I was silent,” she confessed. “Every time a friend or co-worker told me they were going to abort their baby, I was silent. I said nothing. I did nothing.” And then, wiping the tears from her eyes, this young woman made a commitment in front of her peers that she would never again remain silent. That was the dramatic ending to our day of sharing with church leaders about the sanctity of human life. Those in attendance today were shocked and disturbed to learn that although abortion is illegal in Indonesia, an estimated two-million babies are aborted here annually. My friend Bill Velker, a Vice President at Life International and Director of their International Prayer Center for Life, gave a sweeping overview of the many ways in which the sanctity of human life is violated around the world. At the end of the day, Bill challenged those in attendance to become champions for life and then led us in an intense prayer time.

Teaching about the sanctity of human life.

I was deeply touched by the confession of the young woman who remained silent while her friends and co-workers opted to abort their babies. Her confession reminded me of Edmund Burke’s oft-quoted statement: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” But, are we really good if we do nothing? Are we good merely because we do not participate in evil or avoid doing that which is wrong? When I was a kid, my grandfather once told me that it’s ok to be good but that it’s better to be good for something. I agree. Good people must actively engage in the battle against evil. 1 Peter 3:11 tells us to “turn away from evil and do good.” James 4:17 adds, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

Remaining silent is among the worst things that any of us can do in the face of wrong. Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, summarized the price of remaining silent in the face of evil. He wrote:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Through her tears, the brave young lady who publicly confessed her silence today also said that from this day forward she will use her voice and influence on behalf of preserving and protecting life both in and out of the womb. Today, she joined the ranks of life-givers — those who are committed to protecting and advancing the sanctity of human life. Today, she took an intentional step toward doing good.

Our concluding prayer session.


  1. Amazing! Praying for you and Life International.

    • Thanks for your prayers, Sterling.

  2. First, let it be understood that I believe each abortion breaks the heart of our Lord, and I do not in any way condone it. However, I feel I must add that the abortion of an existing pregnancy may appear to a woman to be the only answer to a terrible problem. If those two million children had been born into Indonesia’s society, it’s likely that a large majority of them would have entered into a life of want and need, and often, abuse. Their mothers knew that, and knew also that they could not stand up to the stress of yet another mouth to feed, so they made a very painful choice.

    This is true throughout the world, certainly in economically stressed lands, where children grow up hungry and sick. There are societies on this planet that simply could not absorb another two million people. It’s also true, in some cases, even in countries like the US, where often the mother knows she just cannot support one more without going on the treadmill of the public dole. This does not excuse abortion, but it does help to explain it. It’s still wrong, and as much as it is wrong for these women, it’s even more wrong for those who abort their child simply because it would be “inconvenient.”

    The answer, of course, lies in education and contraception. I’m confident that the work done by those with whom Omar is affiliated involves these two concepts. I know it’s difficult to accomplish everywhere, especially so in certain countries where there are religious or cultural biases against birth control. Still, it is very clear that we will never end the practice of abortion until we manage to somehow stem the tide of conceptions. Once conceived, the problem becomes very real to that distressed mother. Conception prevented – no abortion needed. No life to be destroyed. (Yes, I know there are sharks in these waters, but that’s another story.)

    Here’s another hard truth. In America, and in other similarly “advantaged” countries, many women have multiple abortions because they are so readily available, and thus avoid the “inconvenience” of birth control! Perhaps we need to change the balance of convenience. But that, too, is another story.

    I apologize for the length of this, but there are no short answers here.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Lanni. You are absolutely correct in that there are no short answers to the many questions concerning abortion. That’s why I believe so much in the ministry of Life International. They are committed to providing women with a more comprehensive understanding of what is at stake when dealing with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy. The Church Leader Training that will be offered in Indonesia next month covers biblical worldview considerations about the sanctity of human life, sessions on sexually transmitted infections, an in-depth look at what happens in the womb during a pregnancy, extensive information on the post-abortion guilt and stress that women suffer with in silence, and answers to the various arguments that often lead women to think that abortion is their only option. Please pray for the team that will follow-up on our work here and give women and church leaders the comprehensive answers and information they deserve.

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