Skip to main content

The Effectiveness of Intimidation

By Greg Stetski


“We were dealing with another pro-life campaign, where there had been vandalism to our billboard.  Irrespective of the messaging, we reserve the right to decline any advertiser based on a number of factors, one of those being public outcry.”  

And so ended the attempt of my wife and I to sponsor a billboard asking prospective mothers to allow their babies to live. In all honesty, I was stunned by the advertising agency’s refusal to produce my pro-life billboard.

My response, sent by email, was the following: “I now understand the effectiveness of the approach of intimidation and threats.  Through this scheme, one group of citizens has effectively silenced another group of citizens.  Innocent companies are caught by this intimidation, and are forced to give up simple business contracts.  Free speech has been effectively attacked and cancelled.

Many years ago, I gave up a professional engineering career to move into the inner city of Winnipeg and help the poor.  I know what it is like for people to have no voice, no protector, no help, and no one to care.  But it was a joy to be there helping the poor until my retirement.

But my heart has now been captured by those people who cannot speak even one word on their own behalf, those babies in the womb.  I will admit that I sometimes cry as I go to sleep, as these defenseless little ones cannot even beg for their lives, and can only give silent screams as their lives end.  And anyone who attempts to speak for them is vilified, condemned and silenced themselves.”

My wife and I were able to sponsor this same billboard ten years ago without any problem!  What is going on??

The battle for truth is raging, and the enemy does not give up!

Our charity, Bible for Children, has also experienced this battle first hand:

We were distributing Bible stories to home printers around North America through the largest printer manufacturer in the world, at their request.  The plan was to expand this program to other languages and other countries.  The European branch of the company objected.  Suddenly everything stopped. 

We were preparing Bible stories for a major literary company that was established by top world figures to convert English publications into many third world languages.  We submitted many Spanish Bible stories, and it suddenly stopped. 

We were publishing Bible stories in the largest English language newspaper in the world, the India Times.  It was very interesting to see our Bible stories up next to articles on Krishna and Indian religions.  Suddenly it stopped. 

In every case, someone who was supportive or at least open to Bible stories had started working with us, and then someone higher up in either administration or ownership ended it.

More than thirty years ago we experienced similar pushback from cable TV systems with Genesis StoryTime, our TV channel of children's storybooks.  Ten percent of the stories were Bible stories.  We were told by one top executive of a major US cable company that they would put us on all of their cable systems if we would remove the Bible stories.  We refused.  We were able to operate this cable channel for 14 years, but had to stop after constant opposition.

We expect this will only get worse, so what are we as Christians to do?

We live in a pagan society, where God commands us to be 'in the world, but not of it'.  We must love God, not the world.  We must love our neighbors, but not become like them.  We must fill our minds with the Word of God, not with the media of this world.  (A radical suggestion – throw out the TV!)

Our homes should be places where our children are protected from the world.  We should let only godly influences enter our homes: Christian reading material, Christian radio and music, Christian videos.  The media of the world is a powerful tool of our enemy.  And it has become increasingly difficult in this age of computers and smart phones to stop the flow of the destroying influences.  Our most powerful weapon against the world is to make the Bible the centre of our homes, gathering the family daily around God's Word.

And we need our brothers and sisters – we need the Church!  We have come under attack the last few years, especially due to the pandemic.  A difference of opinion has sharply divided us, but we must come together.  The only way is to truly love one another, with love overwhelming our disagreements. 

Let us look at communist countries today to see what we may face tomorrow.  The state controls the actions and movements of its people.  The state forces all citizens to obey its will.  The state takes control of children away from their parents.  The state especially attacks the churches, pushing them out of the public sphere, and driving them underground.  The state even attempts to control the very minds of everyone, telling them what they can think!

But we can look at our brothers and sisters in those countries, and see that through all their suffering, our God is faithful.

Each of us must seek the Lord in our own situation, and walk as He directs us.  Jesus has led the way, through the Cross, and we must follow.

Oh, and about that billboard.  Ten years ago, we wanted it to speak on behalf of those dear babies still in the womb, who cannot speak for themselves.  We proposed the words, “Mommy, I love you.  Please let me live.”  That was too ‘radical’ even ten years ago.  It somehow went against their ‘advertising standards’.  We finally agreed to approach it from the perspective of a baby who had survived and been born.  But they still would not allow us to use the word, “Mommy”.  The final, ‘acceptable’ version of the billboard had a picture of a baby in the arms of its mother, with the words, “Thank you for letting me live.”