The Assure Women’s Center held its seventh annual “First Step to Life” banquet in Omaha on Thursday, drawing over 2000 guests to the CHI Health Center in Omaha. The banquet, which has been held since 2016, has featured keynote speakers such as Ben Stein, Franklin Graham, and Dennis Prager. Pam Tebow, the mother of Tim Tebow, was the emcee for the event, and other speakers included Gov. Jim Pillen, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, and Dick Bott of Bott Radio Network.
The keynote speaker for this year’s event was Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, a satirical news site with a Christian and conservative focus. Dillon was a guest on the Joe Rogan podcast in Aug. 2022, and he had a tense discussion with the host on the topic of abortion. Rogan asked Dillon if he would still oppose abortion in the hypothetical case of Rogan’s 14-year-old daughter becoming pregnant through rape. Dillon said that he would.
“There’s no middle ground on this issue. Life is either valuable, or it isn’t,” Dillon said of the exchange. “I refused to meet Rogan in the middle and grant an exception even for the hard case of rape, the hard case of the rape of his own teenage daughter, which was the scenario that he was bringing up. The moment you start making exceptions, you give up your footing. If life is ever sacred, it’s always sacred.”
Dillon went on to outline seven takeaways from his exchange with Rogan.
- Take the time to learn to articulate not just what you believe but why you believe it. “I wasn’t expecting to talk about abortion. I figured we’d talk about censorship, satire, or the Babylon Bee … but I was prepared to talk about it.”
- Keep the main thing the main thing. “Don’t get distracted by red herrings. … Don’t let highly charged emotional scenarios steer you off course.”
- You don’t have to compromise to be effective. “We often feel the need to find some kind of middle ground, usually because we want to be agreeable and avoid being offensive. … There’s an obvious, undeniable place where the line should be drawn, so we should draw it clearly and defend it unapologetically. Every time we compromise between right and wrong, wrong wins.”
- You don’t need to have a uterus to discuss abortion anymore. “They started screaming, ‘trans women are women’ … They can no longer appeal to biology to get men to stop saying true things while they’re in earshot.”
- You can’t have an honest discussion about abortion until you get the deliberately dishonest euphemisms out of the way. “Abortion is not health care … it’s a procedure that intentionally kills a baby. … You don’t whitewash something unless you know it’s dirty. Cut through their deceptive euphemisms with precise, accurate language. and their justification falls away.”
- The goal doesn’t have to be changing the mind of the person you’re talking to. “Say it to the people on the sidelines. Every interaction you have, especially online, has an audience, and not everyone in that audience is firmly in one camp or the other.”
- The more boldly you defend life, the more they’ll hate you for it. “I get a ton of hate mail. You’d be surprised running a comedy site how much hate mail I get. Telling jokes makes people angry.”
Dillon also added an eighth takeaway, “Don’t drink too much whiskey during a debate.” Dillon stayed after the event concluded to visit with guests, as did Pam Tebow and a few of the other speakers.