The Culture-Building Impact of the Abolition Now Conference

A person will believe something if they are persuaded of the arguments for that belief. But they are much more likely to believe it and become committed to a cause when they become part of a culture of people expressing by action the same commitment.

Accordingly, Abolitionists Rising has done a good many things to grow the Abolitionist Movement, but none, perhaps, more impactful than the annual Abolition Now Conference.

Since 2020, it has brought together hundreds of abolitionists to exhort and educate one another with teaching and conversation, refresh each other with abolitionist fellowship (which could be rare depending on how near you are to other abolitionists), and stand arm-in-arm as we take the gospel of the kingdom and the message of abolition into the streets of the host city. Nothing is more persuasive than that.

Many attendees over the years were long-time abolitionists who came because they love the movement and the conference. Others were interested pro-lifers coming to see what the Abolitionist Movement was all about. One of those former pro-lifers is Austin Beigel who attended his first Abolition Now Conference in 2020. Here is his review of Abolition Now.

I had called myself 'pro-life' since I was a child, and worked with a pro-life organization for nearly 8 years. But as soon as I stepped into the Abolition Now Conference I knew something was different. I talked to the people and realized that these were the people who would be the ones to end abortion in a way that honors God. The people were kind, self-sacrificial, and repentant. I had heard of abolition before, but the teachings there were eye opening and instrumental in leading me to calling myself an abolitionist. I never would have had the courage to do what was right without the people and lessons at that conference. It changed my life and I would say it is crucial for every American to attend and understand what is really going on in the fight against abortion."

Austin is now the President of the abolitionist organization End Abortion Ohio, leading the charge in his state. The journey to where he is now began with encountering the salt-of-the-earth people at Abolition Now. Seeing their self-sacrifice for the cause inspired him to do likewise. Seeing their sincerity and repentance convicted him of the need to step boldly into abolitionism and out of pro-lifeism. Engaging the culture of death alongside them showed him that there was a better way than that of the Pro-Life Movement. (Austin joined us to talk about the emotional story of his leaving the Pro-Life Movement here.)

Another brother, Austin Meeker, became an abolitionist at the 2022 conference.

The Abolition Now conference transformed how I view the fight against abortion. The most stunning realization was how it is pro-life Republicans – not pro-murder Democrats – who stand in the way of banning abortion on the state level.  The Republican Party has the means, votes, and power to abolish abortion in numerous conservative states, yet it is pro-life Republicans who kill the only bills which would actually end abortion!  

We must hold pro-life politicians accountable, and speakers at Abolition Now laid out exactly how to do so.  Former Oklahoma State Senator Joseph Silk explained how individuals can strategically work to communicate with and influence their local state representatives.  It was empowering to learn how state politicians are not inaccessible – it just takes the right actions and consistent effort to get on their radar.  We CAN end abortion, and our political leaders finally will once the people demand it."

It wasn't as if we had never made those arguments online or in print form. But, as Begiel talked about, there's something about being around your brothers and sisters that makes otherwise abstract ideas come into focus.

In the back of the auditorium on the last evening of the same conference where Austin Meeker became an abolitionist, yours truly asked out an Abolition Now attendee for breakfast. Sam Riley even captured a picture of the moment!

Eight months later, we married! Abolition Now grows the movement by converting people and also by helping create families. One of the movement's youngest abolitionists, Geneva, was born to my wife and I in July. If you're single or have single friends and family and the former arguments for attending Abolition Now weren't persuasive enough, let that one push you over the edge.

Whether you're a long-time, five-tenet abolitionist or just discovered us, the Abolition Now Conference really is a special time and you're missing out if you've never been. Movements are built on culture and we build the culture of the Abolitionist Movement together when we coalesce for four days every year, united by Christ and our commitment to loving our preborn neighbors as ourselves. Come shape and build the culture of the Abolitionist Movement with us at the 2024 Abolition Now Conference in Charlotte April 18-21.



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