The pro-life community has been buzzing for a week now about the “180” documentary. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it for free at 180Movie.com. I had the opportunity to interview Ray Comfort, the author and filmmaker behind “180,” to ask him some questions about the movie. You can listen to the full audio interview (12 minutes) by clicking here, or you can read the transcript below.
Josh Brahm: Ray, how did you come up with the idea for “180?”
Ray Comfort: Well, I was – actually it wasn’t planned. I wrote a book called Hitler, God and the Bible and told the publishers, WorldNetDaily, that I was going to create a video called Hitler’s Religion and go with it, took part of the manuscript and made it into a TV script and found it was just too big, too long, and too confusing and I actually gave up. I said, “Look, I’m taking a camera out in the streets to find out what people believe about Hitler” and we just abandoned the script. And I came back with 14 interviews of people who didn’t know who Hitler was. That really, really blew me away. And then I bumped into a guy named Steve who was a neo-Nazi, black-hating, Jew-hating, Hitler-loving, America-hating atheist who had a 14-inch blue Mohawk and that was very colorful footage. And then I was heckled by a German neo-Nazi, Jew-hater and we managed to get him on a hidden camera and a hidden microphone and then I bumped into a Russian Jew who happened to have lost his relatives in the Holocaust.
So, all this was totally unplanned and I looked at the footage and I go, “What have we got here? This is quite amazing.” And as I went through the Holocaust, I read about some Jews that were shot by the Nazis, pushed into a mass grave and then [the Nazi’s] brought in bulldozers and buried them while some of them were still alive and that horrified me so I decided to go out and test people’s moral character by asking if they had at gunpoint would bury Jews alive. And people would say, “No, no, I wouldn’t. I would never do that. I could never do that.” And I say, “Well, you’re a compassionate person.” They’d say, “Yes, I’m very compassionate.” I say, “How do you feel about abortion?” And they’d say, “It’s a woman’s choice.” So I’d reason with them and I’d ask them one question and it greatly surprised me but the question made them change their minds about abortion. It was in seconds and so we sat back and thought, “Boy, this is not a video about Hitler at all. This is a pro-life video.” So we changed the name to “180.”
Josh Brahm: Let me ask you about something you just said. You said there was hidden camera footage in the movie?
Ray Comfort: Oh, yeah, yeah. The guy that had got the blurred – have you watched it?
Josh Brahm: Yes, twice now.
Ray Comfort: The German guy that had a blurred face. We used a hidden camera and hidden microphone for him, and he actually called the ministry this morning very angry, not that we’d filmed him. He didn’t mind being on the film. He just said we’d misrepresented what he – Christianity. That’s what he was mad. He wanted us to have his Nazi views. So yeah, there was hidden camera footage and I think it’s exciting as long as you hide somebody’s face and leave their identity out, it’s quite legal to do so.
Josh Brahm: Okay. That’s what I was wondering ‘cause again all I know is that California’s a two-party state and I wasn’t exactly sure what the laws were on that.
Ray Comfort: Yeah, as long as you blur their face.
Josh Brahm: What are you hoping to accomplish with the film?
Ray Comfort: We want to change people’s minds about the horror of abortion that it’s not right to kill children in the womb. We’re like living in Nazi Germany in 1940. We have what’s called the American Holocaust by many, 50 million Americans being killed by people who think they can choose to kill babies in the womb and we want to put a stop to that.
Josh Brahm: Now you often compare abortion to the Holocaust and a lot of pro-lifers do this. Ray, tell me how you respond to people like Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who doesn’t believe that abortion and Holocaust are comparable?
Ray Comfort: That would be because he doesn’t believe that it’s a baby in the womb but science has told us. Now we know. We’re without ignorance any longer that at six weeks, six days a baby in the womb has a mouth and has hands and has eyes. It’s got a heartbeat. It’s a living person within the womb and if you redefine Jew as being non-human, it justifies the murder of Jews en masse. Now if you redefine what’s in a woman’s womb as being not human then you may do so and take the life of it.
But God highly prices human life. If you look at Genesis 9:6 of the Jewish scriptures, you’ll see that God says if you take the life of another human being, if you spill their blood, your blood will be spilled. In other words, you’ll give your life for it. Capital punishment.
And then it says, “For he is made in the image of God.” Man is not like an animal. He’s not a beast. You can’t murder a horse or a dog or a cat. That word ‘murder’ is reserved for human beings. And that’s because God highly prizes human beings above the animals and if you take the life of someone, you lose your life because their life is valued.
So when you take the life of a baby in the womb, then you are murdering them according to God’s book and you’re responsible and this is something that should horrify every one of us including survivors of the Holocaust.
Josh Brahm: What percentage of people interviewed, not just shown on the movie but interviewed, changed their minds on abortion?
Ray Comfort: Oh, boy, I couldn’t try to put it out. 50-60%? Because I didn’t interview anyone that was pro-life. I didn’t want to change their minds on that and I just find out if someone’s pro-abortion. So, most people I interviewed, they changed their mind and then we put people that just said, “No, you’re never going to change my mind.” One lady who was gay, she’s homosexual, she wouldn’t change her mind at all. Another couple that were there said, “You would never change my mind about abortion. My mind is made up. It’s wrong. I wouldn’t do it myself but I think that a woman should have the right to choose to kill a baby in her womb if she so desires.”
Josh Brahm: You know I do a lot of work with Justice For All and we go out and we train pro-life people to dialogue with pro-choice people about abortion in the most effective ways possible. Would you encourage other pro-life advocates to use hypothetical situations the way that you did when talking to pro-choice people?
Ray Comfort: Absolutely. If you want to change people’s minds about abortion, try it. It works because you’re appealing to their reason, their logic, and their conscience. I’ve done it without the camera. On a plane, I sat with a guy and I reasoned with him the same way I do in the video and he changed his mind about abortion. Then he looked at me and he said, “You know, I like the way you do this because you don’t push ideas on people. You just give them the information and leave them to make their own minds up.” And that’s exactly what happens on the video.
So this is something that works and I encourage every person that’s pro-life to talk to other people and learn how to do this. We’ve got a course that’s commended by Kay Arthur. She actually helped me put it together and the same with Randy Alcorn and it’s a 64-page book that will help you to learn how to do this, help you to learn how to address someone’s conscience, how to reason with them. It’s not something that takes tremendous intellect. I mean I don’t use big words. All I do is use logic and reason and that does work.
Josh Brahm: Your video showed graphic images of the Holocaust. What do you think about the need for pro-lifers to show graphic images of aborted children and how effective do you think they are?
Ray Comfort: Well, that’s a great question and it’s something I wrestle with. When people say I showed graphic images of the Jews in the Holocaust, actually I didn’t. I held back on showing decapitated heads, shrunken heads, human skin used for lamp shades and teenage girls being hung by the neck and Nazis laughing at them. I just felt they were too graphic because I did an experiment. I put in graphic images of cut-up babies and I watched people closely to see how they would react and people that were tender-hearted, that were just brokenhearted with abortion, I watched them look away. They couldn’t look at those images and I thought, some people that can handle it, they can look at that and go, “Well, that’s terrible.” Other people just turn away and I don’t want to turn people away. I want people to stay for the gospel presentation because that’s the most important part. And so we did wrestle with it and we decided not to put in too many graphic images both of bodies of Jews and of bodies of babies.
Josh Brahm: A lot of Christian ministries avoid talking about abortion because it is a controversial issue. Based on your experience, do you find that it has been effective to get people to talk about their beliefs?
Ray Comfort: Yeah, the reason I think a lot of Christians don’t want to talk about abortion is because the secular press or media have demonized those courageous Christians that stand outside abortion clinics, that made them out to be hatemongers and doctor killers and fundamentalist, narrow-minded bigots that want to take a woman’s choice from them. And so, it’s quite intimidating for a Christian to get involved in the pro-life movement as it is at the moment.
And I’m sure many good Germans actually got into the pro-Jew cause in 1949 and ’41 and perhaps stood outside concentration camps and protested or maybe wrote something on a pamphlet and lost their lives because of their cause. We don’t need to pay such a price. What we can do is use this video, either send 180movie.com via e-mail to someone, encourage them to watch it, or they can get the video from us. We sell them at $1 each. We’re giving away 200,000 in universities across the country. 100 universities this month in one day.
And so there is something we can do and when people realize that they don’t have to muster the courage to stand outside abortion clinics and be demonized because there are other things they can do, I think we’re going to see a groundswell of movement towards speaking up against the murder of unborn in our country.
Josh Brahm: The first 20 minutes of your movie got a really good review from a pro-life non-theist on the secular pro-life blog. But that person was disappointed in the evangelism, last part of your movie. What do you think of non-Christian participation in the pro-life movement?
Ray Comfort: I think it’s wonderful. Just as everybody, not only Christians, should have spoken up against the killing of the Jews in the Second World War, everybody should speak out against the killing of the unborn. And I can understand why they were offended because the gospel has an offense to it. But now I’ve got more chance to flossing the back teeth of the lions in the L.A. zoo at feeding time than I have of getting the gospel out, because that’s the reason I created that movie is to tell people how they could find everlasting life.
So if they want a pro-life video that’s effective, they have to take it as it is. That’s why we’ve got that FBI threat at the beginning not to duplicate this movie because we knew that secular people would say, “Boy, this is [unintelligible], let me just cut off that gospel stuff.” Well, we’re not allowing them to do that because that’s so important.
Josh Brahm: Final question. How can pro-life people get involved, Ray?
Ray Comfort: Well, they can do as I said, see that the social media is just such a powerful force, the video that we’ve got on 180movie.com within one week is just hitting nearly half a million views. And that’s huge. This isn’t a one-minute “Charlie Bit My Finger” YouTube clip. This is a 33-minute video that people commit to watching.
So we’re absolutely ecstatic and we just want pro-lifers, whether they be secular or Christian, to send this all over the world, all over the Internet and encourage other people to watch it and pass it on. And also they can get the – they can go to HeartChanger.com and get the actual video for a dollar each and pass them out outside their local school, wherever people are going to take a free video. It takes – it’s got perceived value. It’s worth about $10. So especially with today’s economy, if someone giving away free DVDs, people are going to take them and watch them.
Josh Brahm: Alright. As much as we’d love to spend more time with Ray, he has a series of more interviews to get to. Ray, thanks for joining us. We’re going to do our best to get “180” in front of even more people.
Ray Comfort: Oh, thanks so much, Josh. God bless you.
Thanks to Margie Miguel for providing the transcript. Thanks to Trent Horn, Jojo Ruba, Kelsey Hazzard and Roni Melton for coming up with some great questions.