|My lovely sisters and yours truly waiting in line for the gallery|
When I and a number of my family members went to the state capitol in Austin, The contrast between good and evil was more stark than I ever remember seeing. While standing in line for over eight hours in order to flood the senate gallery with blue-clad, pro-life supporters, I had a great deal of opportunity to observe the actions and persons of demonstrators on both sides. Some things were surprising, others were not. It gave me pause to reflect and to contrast the nature of our cause and theirs. If I had to boil the differences down to one word it would have to be the word “Love.” This word defines our cause in more than just an abstract philosophical sense for few things in life are stronger than the natural love that a mother feels for her baby. Love defines not only our strategy but our tactics. The contrast in behavior that I witnessed that day, was not coincidental – it was a natural extension of each side’s worldview.
For their part, the pro-death crowd didn’t seem to have an endgame. What I mean is that the tactics they employed hardly seemed targeted at winning the hearts either of their opponents or those on the fence. It was simply an ugly display of rage. In fairness, there were a number of pro-aborts who seemed to be trying to go out of their way to be nice. However, there were a lot more of them in the rotunda beating drums and carrying on like demons from the pit. Particularly disturbing was an old woman on the second balcony of the rotunda who had a collection of signs that she individually displayed from the railing. Periodically she would scream unintelligible slogans to the floor of the rotunda. Her manner denoted a degree of rage the was truly shocking to see in a woman of her age. Something about her was profoundly disquieting and as I watched her I couldn’t help but speculate that this woman had had an abortion earlier in life and had hardened her heart against the guilt instead of finding peace and forgiveness from God. (When told about her my dad independently speculated the same thing.) When two nice-looking young girls from a church group placed themselves behind an individual who was being interviewed in order to hold up pro-life signs for the camera, this woman angrily rushed over and held up one of her enormous signs to completely block them out. I don’t know who she was aiming to impress with this ugly display, but quite frankly it didn’t appear that she was calm enough to even care. When we would sing “Jesus Loves Me”, “Jesus Loves The Little Children,” or “Amazing Grace” the pro-death crowd seemed to become even more enraged. Songs had some sort of uncanny infuriating effect on the pro-aborts all out of proportion to their volume which seldom rivaled that of the mobs’ own preferred form of worship. The chants went on and on sometimes rising to a screaming pitch as they echoed through the rotunda. Throughout the day we saw pro-aborts displaying obscene slogans and images either on t-shirts or signs. There was worse to come. After we left we heard that the capitol police had advised pro-life demonstrators to leave – so angry where the pro-death crowds. The police confiscated, paint, glitter, jars of feces, and used feminine hygiene products from pro-abortion demonstrators attempting to enter the senate gallery. Just what they were planning to do with those items is better left unsaid.
By contrast, the polite, orderly pro-life crowd remained mostly silent. It was a conscious decision on the part of pro-life organizers to remind everyone that unborn infants have no voice to raise in defense of themselves. And yet this does not do entire justice to the pro-life crowd for their orderly and quiet demeanor was more organic than organized. A “petition of peace” was passed around for pro-lifers to sign. It stated the undersigned’s resolve to use only peaceful, orderly means of demonstrating. All of us signed it, but nothing could have been more unnecessary. Looking around me I couldn’t see any pro-life demonstrators who looked remotely likely to do any of the things forsworn by the statement. Here were people showing up in recognizable family groups – something that pro-aborts seldom seemed to do. There were pro-life groups moving through the capitol halls, where the line for the senate gallery coiled ponderously, passing out snacks and water to those in orange as well as blue. I couldn’t help but think that if a person from another planet came and viewed the scene, without ever knowing anything about the issues at stake, he could come to the right conclusion about who the “good guys” where just by watching their behavior. Most of the pro-lifers stayed out of the rotunda but a few stalwart souls had walked into the middle of the chanting crowd to hold up signs. Still others had formed a sort of circle, albeit incomplete in places, to surround the chanting mass with pro-life signs. While I couldn’t help but admire the courage this must have taken, I wondered if this was a good idea.They stood there calmly, making a mute appeal that I think must have penetrated to the consciences of the pro-death crowd. Whether these pro-aborts were simply enraged or whether they really were trying to drown out that “still, small voice,” their ability to go on yelling for hours seemed almost inhuman. Pro-lifers, I am told, gathered to pray in the rotunda. When word came that the capitol was no longer safe for them, many pro-life demonstrators retreated to the offices of politicians who had graciously volunteered them for just such a purpose. By contrast, there was not the slightest suggestion of pro-life violence against pro-death demonstrators. The events of that day made it clear, if it had not been before, that proponents of abortion identify with hatred much more than with love.
As I have had pause to reflect on my experiences I have come to realize that our means of carrying out this war must be as fundamentally different from theirs as the still, small voice is from enraged shouting. We have accomplished nothing if we participate only in a shouting match. Our goal must be to get people to listen to that voice by showing them what God’s love in action looks like. At heart I believe most people understand that abortion is not a medical issue but a moral one. Deep down I think they understand that abortion takes an innocent human life. We must make them see how ugly that is and that when they are championing that cause it makes them into uglier people. We won’t do that by shouting back. We can only do that with love.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”