“Never be silenced.”
That was Ryan Bomberger’s opening, not his conclusion, when he spoke to a room full of people at the Values Voter Summit in Washington this year. He had my attention from the start.
I had heard Bomberger once before, at the national March for Life, on a bitter and overcast January day. That was when I first heard of him and his Radiance Foundation. He deals in blunt truths delivered with exuberance and a wry sense of humor. His organization distributes bright, eye-catching handouts with large headings that make the reader stop short. That’s his style: upbeat, challenging, optimistic. “I self-identify as a person who loves the Lord and who loves people enough to tell the truth. Love illuminates.”
He is biracial – “which gives me an interesting perspective on race” – which makes the fact that he’s being sued by the NAACP somewhat curious. The Alliance Defending Freedom has the story about Bomberger’s parody on the NAACP’s name, arising from a 2004 NAACP resolution defending the “right to choose.” The outcome of that piece of litigation ought to be interesting.
He is one of the human beings who could have been aborted under abortion-regulation laws with exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape. “We need to defend ALL life.” He capitalized “ALL” simply by the force with which he uttered the word.
He wanted his Values Voters listeners to leave with a determination to speak up. “Silence is never an option. Words are revolutionary. That’s why evil does everything it can to silence those words. Remember, God spoke creation into existence. You never know whose shackles will fall off when you use the power of words.”
Never come after Ryan Bomberger as a speaker. If not for my notes, I’d have no idea who came next on the program. His speech is as fresh in my mind now as when I heard it in Washington last month. Quite a challenge, really: reclaim language from abortion advocacy and careless journalism, and use it along with prayer and action to celebrate and defend life.
Note: this post has been edited from its original version to remove the NAACP parody in dispute. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending Bomberger against the NAACP lawsuit, “In a surprising move, however, the judge sided with the NAACP and banned Bomberger and his foundation from ever mentioning the name in question again and parodying the NAACP’s name in the future. The judge’s interpretation of the law may even make it illegal for us to tell you what the parody is.”