Abortion, Black Lives Matter, and the Disagreement Between Wheaton College and Ryan Bomberger

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A tempest has arisen in the teacup that is the conservative blogosphere.

Let me try to shed a little light in the midst of the heat.

Last month, black pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger spoke on the Wheaton campus about abortion and race. A link to his speech is below, but what is not seen in the video is a question-and-answer session in which Bomberger made comments that several students found objectionable, and said so publicly. Bomberger took exception to their objections and said so publicly.

The blogosphere has taken it from there.


As I said, let me try to shed some light.

First, Wheaton College is doctrinally pro-life.

That’s correct—life “from conception” is in our community covenant. Faculty and students agree that we will, “uphold the God-given worth of human beings, from conception to death, as the unique image-bearers of God (Gen. 1:27; Psalm 8:3-8; 139:13-16).”

Wheaton has demonstrated its commitment to this deeply-held value. It was Wheaton College that sued the Obama administration over the HHS contraceptive mandate. And we won. That lawsuit came from our pro-life commitments. Forbes reported:

“We are grateful to God that the court recognized Wheaton’s religious identity and protected our ability to affirm the sanctity of human life,” said Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College.

You can’t teach or go to school here if you don’t affirm life, from conception forward.

So any “Wheaton College is not pro-life” comments (as I’ve seen in some places on the Internet) are simply false.

Black Lives Matter

Second, I believe black lives matter.

People can go ahead and take my statement out of context. I’m fine with that. And, not only do I believe black lives matter, but I think it is unhelpful to say “all lives matter” in response.

Obviously all lives matter, but there are some in the African American community who wonder if the rest of the world believes their lives matter.

So, let me say it again: black lives matter.

Let me also say, unborn lives matter. (Ever notice that people don’t snap back, “All lives matter” to that?)

Now, Black Lives Matter, the organization, is quite another story. Some of its stated values are quite contrary to many values an evangelical would hold. I’ve posted many articles here at The Exchange that point out that reality.

Unborn Black Lives Matter

It is irrefutably true that the African American community has been disproportionately impacted by abortion. Tens of thousands of unborn black lives have been lost to the tragedy of abortion.

That’s the primary message Bomberger brought to Wheaton’s campus and the reason I am writing this article. I’ve watched his presentation and share many of his concerns.

Furthermore, he has a compelling life story that powerfully undergirds his message— he was conceived in rape, adopted, and now is a black pro-life activist. I imagine that we’d get along quite well and we share some similar values.

In fact, Bomberger spoke at the Chicago March for Life this year, an event where I spoke last year.

However, after his presentation on the Wheaton campus, reports say he and several students disagreed concerning how to best respond to some issues concerning race, not abortion. I don’t know what they discussed beyond that, but students were bothered by his answers. They communicated their concerns to their student government leaders, and those leaders communicated the concerns in an email to the student body.

Actually, our student newspaper wrote about the incident:

… Wheaton’s student body president, who played a key role in drafting the school-wide email, said Bomberger went from “political disagreement into a place of a racially-aggressive speech that left students crying and feeling really unheard … their question wasn’t really addressed in a respectful manner.” Bomberger affirmed that students were upset, but denied that anyone had cried.

The student body president wasn’t there, but was representing what she was told by students who attended.

I wasn’t there either. But, clearly Bomberger knows that some folks were upset with his post-talk answers, and wrote (and wrote) about it in several on-line forums, including LifeNewsThe Christian PostTown Hall, and LifeSite News, with the title, “I went to Wheaton to talk abortion. The student gov’t flipped out.”

Other conservative sites then ran news stories based on his columns. Some joined the outrage, believing that anything bad about a Christian institution must be true, while others actually had the integrity to report facts.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer