Exclusive video: Bryan Kemper about what happens when he wears pro-life t-shirts on airplanes
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an era where political opinions that are not politically correct can get you blacklisted or worse, Bryan Kemper isn’t afraid to be visibly and outspokenly pro-life. Earlier this month, the activist – who heads up Stand True, the youth outreach for Priests for Life – proved it when he wound up sitting next to "pro-choice" U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, R-IL, on an airplane and used the opportunity to talk to the senator about abortion.
LifeSiteNews caught up with Kemper last week to talk to him about the experience, and to ask him how everyday people can take a bolder stand for life. Kemper told LifeSiteNews it’s all about the icebreaker: His personal favorite is his collection of pro-life t-shirts, which he wears even under formal business attire.
“It’s funny, earlier that day [the day of his encounter with Sen. Kirk], Troy Newman from Operation Rescue tweeted to me and said something on Facebook about me wearing my pro-life t-shirt at a press conference earlier that day with Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Chris Smith, and he’s like, ‘Bryan, you’re the only one who can get away with wearing a pro-life t-shirt when everyone else is in suits,” he said. “And I told him, ‘That’s what I do. That’s how I get my message out everywhere I go.’”
Kemper told LifeSiteNews his favorite place to wear his pro-life gear is on airplanes, because he has a captive audience as he strolls back and forth up the aisle during the flight to use the restroom or stretch his legs.
“It starts conversations,” said Kemper. “That day, as soon as I sat down on the plane, a woman came up and said something to me, and started a conversation, and the whole plane heard, and so people started talking about abortion.”
“That day” is when Kemper encountered Sen. Kirk, who replaced Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate after the latter’s election to the presidency. The senator was seated next to Kemper on the plane, and Kemper recognized him.
“We began talking,” Kemper said. “I was showing him pictures of my daughters and my sons, and he told me about how much he wished he’d had a daughter; that was one of his biggest regrets in life, that he never had a daughter to spoil.”
As the two men continued to talk, Kemper said Kirk told him he was passionate about stopping human trafficking. But when Kemper asked him about abortion, Kirk paused, then said, “Well, I’m on the other side on that one.”
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“It was such an opportunity,” Kemper told LifeSiteNews, “to take what this man had just told me about how much he wished he had a daughter, about how he was passionate about human trafficking, and relate some of that to what’s going on in the abortion industry – that it’s killing innocent children, that it’s hurting young women, and that if you would stand up against human trafficking, why wouldn’t we stand up against killing those young children?”
Kemper said, “I believe we need to be prepared at all times to share that message, to tell people about what’s going on.”
Asked how he would advise those who aren’t leaders in the pro-life movement to approach the issue, Kemper said that arming oneself with the facts is key.
“One thing that’s important to know about me; I’m a high school dropout,” Kemper told LifeSiteNews. “I didn’t go to college; I didn’t go to university. I was a drug addict; I was a dealer; I lived on the streets.”
After coming to faith in Jesus Christ and leaving his addiction behind, he said, “I started to teach myself. I started to read; I started to research. I would come to the March for Life and sit down with Fr. Frank Pavone – he used to sit at the March for Life every year and answer all my questions about pro-life stuff. I would just go to these pro-life leaders, and ask them, and talk to them.”
For those without in-person access to the leaders of the movement, Kemper recommends harnessing the power of the internet. “Go to the websites. Go to Priests for Life. Go to Stand True. Go to these websites [and] read LifeSiteNews every day,” he said. “You’re going to get links to the best articles, you’re going to get links to the best websites, and you’re going to be able to get access to different pro-life leaders.”
Kemper said anyone who wants to learn more about the pro-life movement can feel free to contact him.
“If you e-mail me, you’re going to get answers,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Learn the facts. It’s not that difficult.”
He smiled and pointed toward himself, adding, “If a high school dropout can be doing this, anybody can do it, I think.”