In the midst of his crazy schedule of starting the 2016-17 NFL season with a new team (the Baltimore Ravens), helping his wife Kirsten raise their five kids, running his non-profit organization (One More), promoting his new book (Under Our Skin), and being a sought-after voice of reason in America’s current racial tensions, my friend Benjamin Watson was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat about God, football, abortion, and race in America today, for our Turning Point blog interview series. Once on the phone, we chatted for almost an hour, so due to length it will be posted in three parts. Please make sure you tune into our social media over the next few weeks to catch the future links and read it in it’s entirety! Here is Part 2 below:
TPPRC: What would your counsel be to a young man who just found out his girlfriend is pregnant, and doesn’t know how to feel or what to do about it?
BW: The first thing I would say is “Congratulations,” and I would make myself available. That very scenario has happened in the locker room before. The last few years I have been considered the old guy in the locker room because I have been married ten years, and I’ve got 5 kids. Once you get to double-digit years (in the NFL), you’re the old guy. I actually had that conversation with a teammate on a previous team. His girlfriend was pregnant and he had that look like, “I don’t know what to do” and I know that abortion may have very well been a possibility, although we didn’t discuss it specifically. My whole speech to him was encouraging him about what an awesome opportunity it is to raise a child, to give the child a home, to love that child, and that God entrusted him with another life, and what a responsibility and the privilege that is. And then being real and saying, “Look, it’s not going to be easy. There are going to be some sacrifices that are going to come.” If they come over to my locker, I’m gonna tell them they can’t go home and play video games, they need to go be there for their child, and for the baby’s mother. I tell them they’re never going to be a perfect dad because no one is. But we have a perfect Father to model ourselves after. And we fall short, I fall short all the time, but my job as a father is to be the best example of our heavenly Father as I earthly can. I am not going to be perfect, but I need to be honest with them that daddy needs forgiveness just as much as they do, because I need the blood of Jesus just as much as they do. However, we do need to be the provider, be a priest, a protector for them, so that they get a little glimpse of the sacrificial love of the heavenly Father.
TPPRC: You recently wrote the book, Under Our Skin, about the racial divide in America. Do you have any unique insight about how race factors into the issue of abortion?
BW: I wouldn’t say I have any unique insight. I do know that blacks kind of represent a large portion of the abortions, and I do know that honestly the whole idea with Planned Parenthood and Sanger in the past was to exterminate blacks, and it’s kind of ironic that it’s working. We (as minorities) support candidates, and overwhelmingly support the idea of having Planned Parenthood and the like, and yet, that is why she created it. We are buying it hook, line, and sinker, like it’s a great thing. It’s just amazing to me and abortion saddens me period, but it seems to be something that is really pushed on minorities and provided to minorities especially as something that they should do. In the public, it seems to be painted that when minorities get pregnant they need to get abortions, especially when it comes to teen pregnancy. It’s like when black girls are pregnant, it’s like a statistic, but when white girls get pregnant, they get a TV show. My book talks about race, and how all these things are kind of forced into our brains. When we think about abortion, what’s the picture we get in our minds? It’s usually a minority, and those images are reinforced in culture. We sit here and talk about advancing the black agenda, whatever that means, we talk about our interests, and what’s important to us – like having political power and advancement and all those things – and then we are turning around and we are killing our children. And we are buying the lie that it’s our personal decision to make. Honestly, I am sympathetic, I am. Because I know it’s a hard decision. I don’t know exactly what it’s like to be pregnant and to be a single mom, or even to be a married mom and not want the child. I would never assume people are having abortions flippantly. I know people have them for convenience, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a tough choice for the mothers to make, so I always want to be sympathetic to that.
TPPRC: Men are often told they aren’t welcome in the discussion on abortion because it is a “female” issue. How would answer that challenge?
BW: It’s a women’s issue, but a lot of the women wouldn’t be having abortions if the men would step up and be a part of what they are already biologically a part of. Raising children and having children, even though the women birthed the child, is designed for two people to do it. And there is so much undue stress and pressure on the woman if the other one isn’t there. So, really one thing we do is say it’s a woman’s issue, forcing the woman to have to deal with it on her own, so that way men don’t have to. As a man, I am going to passive-aggressively tell you you are in control, when really I am just telling you that because it makes my life easier, cause that way I don’t have to step up and make a decision. I obviously think that a man has just as much invested in that child as the woman does. He need to be there to support her through the physical changes of the pregnancy, and help and provide emotional strength, and do it together. As much as he has a role in making the baby in the first place, it needs to take both of them the whole way through. Any idea that a man doesn’t have a role in it is not true, and is simply more about politics and making a man’s life easier. If you are going to say, “It’s your choice” and she decides on an abortion, then at least be man enough to go with her through the entire process. You should have to sit with her through the entire procedure (and recovery) if you are going to go that route…
Did you miss Part 1? Read it here!
Thanks for coming back to read Part 2 and make sure you tune in next week for the exciting conclusion!