Bold and Compassionate
Agitation, though in the modern world a term with mostly negative connotations, is the exposing the evil deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) for the sake of those who are weak and oppressed and for the sake of the Gospel.
Agitation is simply the disturbance of passivity and apathy. How this disturbance is caused, however, is much more important than whether or not a disturbance has been caused. If a disruption is caused because a so-called abolitionist is being belligerent, hostile, impatient, and dis-compassionate, that should be marked out as antithetical to the goal of causing disruptions for the benefit of those trampled upon by the world. It is very possible that bystanders are upset at bad behavior and not upset because the Holy Spirit and truth is convicting them. The Glory of Christ and the righteous exposing of evil is the goal, not just causing a ruckus. If the truth is causing an uproar, so be it.
As abolitionists, we have a strong desire for society to wake up to the injustices around them. Frequently one hindrance to bringing about effective change is that injustices are kept behind closed doors. Abolitionists work to inform, persuade, and reform society by exposing society to the sins that are kept safe, hidden, and private. This exposing is what can cause the disturbance: the agitation.
One form of agitation is the use of graphic imagery of injustice. We know that throughout history that the use of raw and sometimes disturbing images have been useful in fighting injustice. The abolitionists of human slavery employed images of lynchings, men women and children packed into ships, whippings, beatings, and most notoriously, an image of a slave kneeling in shackles. They sought to bring repentance to the slaveholding South and to wake up the apathetic North. In much of the same way, the German Church during WWII was mostly silent against the injustices happening to the Jews, and others deemed undesirable. It was not until Allied soldiers forced the people to walk through the death camps that they shuddered at the pure barbarism of the Nazis. Pictures of Nazi crimes serve as a good and needed reminder of what happens when men who call them self good do nothing to oppose evil. Anti-war journalists and activists know that by showing the grim realities of war, men and women might come to understand the human cost of violent conflict. Pictures of burned villages, murdered children and woman, and soldiers killed in combat are all graphic, and lead people to think long and hard about the consequences of war.
These are the sociological and psychological reasons to expose evil. The public must know about the injustice to stand against it, evil men like to keep their depravity hidden, and the most apparent reason why we hold signs and distribute material with graphic imagery is to restrain the shedding of innocent blood directly.
Though graphic imagery can be defended and has its uses, abolitionists are NOT only seeking an emotional and cognitive awakening but a spiritual awakening. The use of graphic signs and resources is but one means of righteous agitation. When abolitionists proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ they are participating in agitation.
Abolitionists want society to acknowledge truth and react rightly to that truth. We are seeking to spread knowledge, but the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.
The lost have no firm foundation. They can not make sense of their world, much less their claims that abortion is a “right.” They exist in the realm of opinion. They are operating under mere preferences. They cannot justify calling rape wicked anymore than they can justify abortion as a right. But we stand on the firm foundation of God and his Word. Yes, we can answer their questions, and yes, we can reason with the lost, but the Gospel is not something to be tacked on at the end. Whether you are giving evidences, making philosophical arguments, or appealing to the graphic nature of your sign, speak knowing that they are suppressing the truth, and understand that it is God that saves bodies and souls. Not your signs. Not your arguments.
Agitation takes on many forms. For many it is holding signs or passing out material. For others it may be writing poety, producing multimedia content, or preaching. What makes abolitionist agitation righteous agitation is that it is never about the abolitionist and always about honoring Christ. Agitation is never prideful, never hateful, never impatient. Agitation is the disruption caused by the Gospel coming into conflict with a world that hates God and hates people.