(Photo: Durell Hicks)
A small Florida church’s display of 4,000 white crosses on its lawn, meant to represent the number of babies lost to abortion each day in the United States, is making a startling impression on Gilchrist County drivers passing by on a busy highway.
Four white banners on the corners of the display boldly state “4000 Babies Murdered Each Day – Each Cross = One Child Each Day.” On the bottom of the banners, in an effort to direct people to watch evangelist Ray Comfort’s recently released pro-life film, the movie’s website address is printed: “www.180movie.com.”
Lead pastor Keith McConnell of First Baptist Church of Trenton told The Christian Post that he had a vision three years ago to break down the tragically high number of abortions (more than 50 million in the United States since Roe v. Wade) into a number that was more easily visualized.
It is estimated that anywhere from 3,300 to 4,000 abortions are performed every day. The white crosses at the church cover about a half-acre, with 50 crosses per row, each 27 inches apart.
“The Lord laid this on my heart three years ago. I got the pieces cut. We had everything on palates ready to go, but things would happen and we couldn’t get it together,” McConnell explained.
More than two weeks ago, McConnell said he told the church that he would really like to make the cross display a reality. The next weekend, “180” was released online and the pastor showed it to his congregation.
The 33-minute video documents the responses of young adults to questions from Comfort about their stance on abortion, but also includes discussions on Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust in Europe.
“That is what really set the fire for our congregation,” McConnell said. “On Monday, church members, mostly teenagers, began painting the crosses and staking them into the ground.”
The crosses have been up since Saturday and received mostly favorable responses from the community, the pastor said. Now, McConnell wants to raise enough money to hand a 180 DVD to everyone in Trenton, which has a population of 1,400 people. Eventually he would like to be able to pass them out to the entire county of 15,000, he said.
“We believe that we can make a difference,” McConnell said. “We are in a small town, but we are located on a major highway in town. It’s the main road in the county.
“The majority of the community is saying things like, ‘Wow, I never imagined that many (lives lost to abortion).’ You don’t understand how many lives have been taken until you’ve seen the crosses. Hopefully, this will raise enough curiosity for people to go see the movie.”
Although most people have supported the display, church staff members have reported that some people driving by have made a point to voice their opposition by yelling out derogatory statements.
"It's a personal choice, morons! It's a personal choice!" one woman shouted, a church staff member said.
McConnell said he appreciates what Comfort has done in producing "180." As of early Tuesday evening and just a little more than a week after its release, the video has nearly a half-million views.
“I think it is a good teaching tool for the church. It helps people who don’t really know how to be effective in helping people understand the horrors of abortion,” McConnell said. “He (Comfort) described a real situation for people so they had to make a decision based on choices and then turned it towards the same decision in regards to abortion.
“I think it is really effective in helping people understand our individual roles in making a difference and helping stop abortion in our nation.”