Entering Enemy Territory: Dismantling the Culture of Death on a College Campus

By: Karly Brown, student at Temple University

“Yours is the gigantic task of overcoming all evil with good, always trying amidst the problems of life to place your trust in God, knowing that his grace supplies strength to human weakness. You must oppose every form of hatred with the invincible power of Christ’s love.”
—St. John Paul II

Pictured: Karly Brown on the far left standing with Lila Rose, president of Live Action, and a friend at the Pro-Life Rally Against Bullying in May 2019 in Philadelphia.

As I travel daily into the heart of Temple University’s campus, it is evident that we are drowning in the culture of death—a culture that is saturated in isolation, selfishness, and a disrespect for the beauty and dignity of the human person.

There is a great battle to be won on college campuses across the nation, especially with regard to pro-life issues. But who is going to fight? Who is going to take up such a demanding task? Who will be the ones to reveal the joy and peace of the Gospel of Life? According to one of the most famous figures in history, one of the greatest saints of our time, John Paul II, it is going to be the young people. This man reminds me, as a young woman, of the gentle words of the Good Shepherd in John’s Gospel: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

As I ponder the words of Jesus and consider what this “abundant life” truly is, I am moved to act. I am moved to consider all of the things of the world, and on our campus, that keep us from this abundant life. I am moved to fight primarily against the effects of abortion on our culture, especially among college kids. I am irate that the joy, vibrancy, and hope of the young person is being stolen away by a culture that offers nothing but a false freedom and a litany of lies about how to attain happiness. Such motivations have led my friends and I to lead a Students for Life of America chapter on campus, engage in 40 Days for Life outreach, and visit Philadelphia’s abortion clinics on a weekly basis. This is what Jesus has called us young people to do, and although the task is daunting at times, we are all filled with an incredible joy and peace because we know that this is something we have been personally invited to do.

It is safe to say that this work is not popular around campus. It is pretty unpopular, in fact, to stand in front of a Students for Life outreach display that exposes the atrocities of Planned Parenthood. It is pretty unpopular to pray outside of an abortion clinic and offer women alternative options. It is pretty unpopular to speak out against the harmful effects of abortion on women, children, and men alike. It is pretty unpopular to expose the culture of death for what it is—a wasteland of broken hearts and lonely souls.

But we do not care. We have been given special graces from God to lead us in restoring and rebuilding the culture of life in the lives of young people. We have seen a third of our generation destroyed in the blink of an eye by abortion. We have seen the lives of both women and children sacrificed on the altars of convenience and fear. We have seen men and women lied to by the abortion industry for the sake of turning a profit. After meeting Jesus, knowing his healing touch, and hearing his gentle voice, we have come to know what this “abundant life” consists of and we have been called and invited to reveal it to our own generation.

The thief of abortion has come to “steal and kill and destroy.” It has come to teach college students that it should always be “me first.” It has come to cast a shadow of fear over young women and convince them that they cannot pursue their hopes and dreams as a mother. It has come to teach young people that a life of sacrifice is worthless and that true joy and peace can only come through satisfying our own needs.

There is clearly a battle to be won on the college campus. There is a culture that is begging to be restored and it is evident that the Lord is calling young people to do this. He is asking for our gifts, talents, vibrancy, and hope in order to reveal the truth of his love to all of those who have been affected by the scourge of abortion. He is asking us to bring his abundant life to the campuses of America, to the hearts of the young. I am saying “yes”—will you?

(Article published in the Pro-Life Union’s July 2019 newsletter update.)

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