By Jim Sedlak
It’s the dog days of summer. As temperatures and humidity rise, time seems to pass in slow motion. This August, there is a diversion as the Summer Olympic Games are being held in South America for the first time. Many people have been watching the games, or have at least kept up with medal counts and interesting stories.
The results are inspiring, though many are predictable. Swimmer Michael Phelps continues to add to his medal count; the United States, China, and Russia have the most medals won. But one of the most inspiring surprises comes from the Pacific island nation of Fiji, whose rugby sevens team won the country’s first Olympic medal—ever. Its team defeated Britain to not only win a medal, but to win a GOLD medal.
The excitement and joy are tremendous. I look at the Olympics and then think about our fight against Planned Parenthood. At first glance, the two things seem worlds apart. But, when you look deeper, you understand the similarities.
Let’s compare the Olympic athletes with those who dedicate themselves to the fight against Planned Parenthood. To begin, I do not know anyone who expects Planned Parenthood to close its local center the first time a protester shows up outside and prays. Closing a Planned Parenthood facility takes dedication and perseverance. Just as Olympic athletes spend hours every day training for their sport, those opposed to Planned Parenthood spend a great deal of time researching the local center and becoming an expert on what it does and where in the community it plies its trade. Frequently, the typical anti-Planned Parenthood activist knows more about the organization than PP’s own employees and customers.
In addition, those opposing Planned Parenthood must establish a prayer life. After all, in the end it is not human action, but intervention by God that results in doors closing. Stories abound of the faith sustained by the Olympic athletes. Many make a sign of the cross before or after an event, thank God publicly, or state how much their faith has shaped them or gotten them through difficult times.
Furthermore, just as Olympic athletes train for years, or even decades, to prepare for that final success that often comes at a fast pace (50m freestyle world records are under 21 seconds), the same thing often happens with those fighting Planned Parenthood. The joy of an Olympian winning a gold medal is rivaled by the joy of a dedicated, long-suffering, anti-Planned Parenthood activist who opens his newspaper one morning and suddenly discovers that the very PP clinic he has been fighting for years has closed. It must have felt like a gold medal week in Indiana last month when on one day PP announced the closing of one of its centers. Then, the next day, it announced the closing of another. A couple of days later it announced that a total of six clinics would close. Imagine the joy at this gold-medal week!
These victories do not come every day; there are many out there who have been fighting their local Planned Parenthood for decades and who have yet to see a victory. Even this parallels with the Olympic athletes. Can you imagine the anguish of doing all the training and preparing day after day and then falling in a practice run at the Olympic site (as one skier did in a recent Winter Olympics) and breaking your leg?
Yet, both the Olympians and the Planned Parenthood opponents know that it would be worse if they had not even tried. What a horrible thing it would be to live your life and to face your Creator only to realize you could have done more.
As you watch the rest of the Olympics over the next few days, please remember the need for participants in your local efforts to oppose Planned Parenthood. When you step out in public against PP, you are taking on the organization that operates 48 percent of all the abortion facilities in the United States—an organization that not only admits to committing 888 abortions a day and a total of over seven million since 1970, but that targets our teenagers and is intent on leading them into lives of sexual sin.
Then, remember the Olympians from Fiji. This island nation appeared in its first Olympics in 1956. Over the next 56 years, athletes appeared in 13 separate Olympic Games and never won a single medal. You can just imagine that, as they were preparing for their 16th games this year, there were many naysayers who said, “Why bother? We never win anything.” But the athletes did not listen; they persevered. They prepared as best they could and they went to the Olympics ready to win a medal. And their dedication and perseverance paid off in the form of a gold medal!
This week, and every week going forward, it is your turn to compete. It’s your turn to allow God to use your efforts to win gold in your town. But, in your town, gold is not the color of a medal; it is the permanent closing of your local Planned Parenthood facility and the saving of the lives of numerous preborn babies and the souls of many teenagers.
God has gold waiting for you, but you have to be on the playing field to win it. Be ready!
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League and founder of STOPP International. He is a recognized expert on Planned Parenthood and travels the country helping those opposed to PP to fight against the organization in their town.