Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Note to Abortion Protestors

Unlike most of my readers, I am "pro-life" - an awful, misleading term, but nevertheless the closest one in the political lexicon to describing my position on abortion. I do not, however, consider myself to be a part of the current "pro-life movement". The hateful, vengeful, ideological message it sends about both its opponents and its own message does not represent me.

If you're reading this post on my blog as opposed to the imported version on Facebook, you'll see a video below of abortion protestors disrupting Sonia Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing. I have some questions I hope these protestors can answer: What did you do for your cause and our shared belief this week? In what way are the unborn children of our nation better off now than they were before you loudly interrupted the hearing? Is the public now aware of Judge Sotomayor's views in a way they weren't before? Were the slogans you screamed persuasive enough to change her mind, or the minds of anyone on the Senate panel or watching at home on television? Did you manage in your five seconds to make a more articulate point than any of the pro-life Senators questioning Judge Sotomayor? Because if not, I must ask, why did you do it?

A peaceful protest or march with signs and speeches can raise public awareness of an issue, but disorderly conduct never helps a cause. If anything, it is a counterproductive measure. The audience is going to look at you and think you're a rude buffoon, dismiss what you say since it's short slogans rather than in-depth arguments, and then reflect their negative view of you onto your cause, sending your movement BACKWARDS rather than forwards. A good rule of thumb for any form of advocacy is to alway ask: How is my cause going to be better off after I take this action than it was before? And if the answer is, it won't, then don't it. So to the abortion protestors at Sonia Sotomayor's hearings, to my fellow "pro-lifers," I say: your actions make you look like disrespectful jerks and do nothing for the infants you seek to protect. Please, learn some respect and stop poisoning our national discourse.


FranIAm said...

Thanks for posting this Nathan. I, like you, am pro-life, but I find it a hard term to use for myself. It has been entirely co-opted.

And I feel the same way you do about the protesters. Ugh.

The other day I was on a retreat (i am RC) and the priest had a great homily at mass... He read aloud a newspaper clipping about some folks in Oklahoma who were protesting LGBT marriage and that gay folks were now "a worse danger than terrorists" to the US.


His point in reading it was to wonder aloud and to dialog with us about what those folks could possibly get out of such negative actions.

This reminds me of that - what is the point? Where is the goodness of Christianity in all these hateful demonstrations?

Jordan said...

I don't think the point was to protest any sort of opinion's Sotomayor may possess, but to just act out their anger publicly.

Cany said...

And the worst part is, this is mild action for some.

Nathan Empsall said...

But Jordan, the point remains - if anything, this is only counterproductive to their cause, and is therefore stupid.

The New Arch Druid's take on the news said...

I happen to be pro-choice, but I would have to say that pro-life actually fits you better than it would most anti-abortion radicals today. Because of one reason, you haven't forgotten your bible.

Anti-abortion radicals on the other hand will only resort to it to make a political case for "their side." But do not find much cause to live up to its standards when it applies to their neighbors. And the fetus wouldn't someday be the "neighbor" they'd ultimately have cause to hate? You rock, dude.

Nathan Empsall said...

Thanks, Druid!
And Fran, thanks for the note about the retreat priest.

Jordan said...

Who said pro-lifers will intelligent? :P

Seriously, they don't care about "what's good for the cause." This type of people only care about what's in front of them right now.

Jordan said...


Well there goes my credibility! :D