On April 10 at 9 p.m., Franciscan University of Steubenville hosted author, film producer, humanist and self-proclaimed anthropologist Jason Jones. While some attendees were attracted by the free Chick-fil-A sandwiches, dozens left the Gentile Gallery with their spirits fuller than their bellies.
Renowned for his work in the pro-life movement, Jones shared his testimony of conversion and humanist activism as a Catholic in the modern world.
Jones adamantly encouraged his audience to “not be seduced by an ideology that tries to bury the unborn with endless credential issues.”
“If you seriously struggle to live a life in solidarity with the most vulnerable .… I can promise you that we will see in our life the culture of death turn into a culture of life,” Jones said.
Jones’s presentation began with the story of his first child, Jessica. At the time his girlfriend shared she was pregnant, Jones was 16, “a boy with a man’s reality,” he said. After enlisting in the army and corresponding with his girlfriend, he soon discovered that her father forced her to abort their daughter in the third trimester of pregnancy. Jones remembered the phone call clearly, recollecting his girlfriend’s tears, saying, “Her soul was crying.”
That moment began Jones’ fight to change the world.
With advice from his infantry captain, Jones mapped out his 40 year plan to end abortion and began by studying at the University of Hawaii. There, Jones began a very successful pro-life club and Young Americans for Freedom association. He, an atheist at the time, worked alongside diverse pro-life activists, including “an Italian democrat, a fallen-away Catholic and a Republican and Jewish state representative.”
“We were all pro-life,” he said. “It was a great show.”
Working as executive director for Hawaii Right to Life after college, Jones faced his first defeat and was encouraged to pray for assistance in his efforts. To prove God’s existence, atheistic Jones begrudgingly asked God for people who were famous, rich and powerful to help him defeat abortion.
Within the next 10 years, Jones said God put famous, rich and powerful people in his path so that he could produce pro-life films, one of which was presented to the United Nations.
Yet still the nations of the Western world would not join him to end abortion.
“And then it just hit me like a flash,” said Jones. “The problem is with our will. God wills the vulnerable to be protected. We will abortion. That’s what our country wants.”
Jones’ conversion of faith and will propelled his movement in a new direction: to inform the people of this world of their identity as God’s children and their power to protect others through legislation and charity.
In the 26 years of his efforts, Jones has produced films such as “Bella,”“Crescendo,”“The Stoning of Soraya M.” and “Eyes to See,” alongside other activists such as Eduardo Verástegui and Pattie Mallette. He continues to be a driving force in multiple humanitarian foundations, traveling worldwide to spread the love of God by protecting the vulnerable in all nations.
Thomas Mosier, senior theology major, appreciated how Jones encouraged his audience “form unity on common ground.”
“We all care about helping others,” he said.
The presentation was sponsored by Young Americans for Freedom and Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Chick-fil-A sandwiches and tea were sponsored by Young Americans for Freedom.