Friday, November 11, 2011

Defend the cause of the defenseless

I walked down the hill from my Spanish class already in poor spirits after fifty minutes of rumination on my utter lack of comprehension. (Lo siento, me duele la cabeza, como se dice "fail"?) I feel discouraged. I feel resentful that Spanish isn't easy for me, and I'm beginning to despair of ever mastering it. This is confirmed for me first thing in the morning every single Monday/Wednesday/Thursday. And will only get worse next semester! Anyway.

I saw the signs from a ways away, even though it was early and the display wasn't fully assembled. "WARNING: GRAPHIC PICTURES AHEAD" and "GENOCIDE IMAGES". In smaller letters at the bottom (I was wearing my glasses) I read, and in an instant I felt sick to my stomach. I didn't looked too closely as I passed the posters on my way to work, but the whole display was awash with red. Over the two days it was stationed outside of the student center, I never approached the demonstration, but I knew well enough what it said.

Each time I left the building for class and entered the building for work, I kept my ears open. Everyone was talking about it. Commentary littered my school friends' Facebook statuses. At work I buried my head in my hands as I listened to my coworkers' conversation in the back room—"I've never had one, but if I needed to, it would be my F***ING RIGHT!" Part of me was dying to speak up, and the rest of me felt crushed under my conviction, assured that I could not defend the defenseless while simultaneously speaking the truth in love.

How could I engage calmly, rationally, graciously on a issue of life and death? How could I "agree to disagree" on a matter of God-given rights? What was my witness to my coworkers supposed to look like?

In my public speaking class last semester, our professor read us the most healing goodwill statement on the topic of abortion that I'd ever heard. I cried in my seat when she read it because it was so thoughtful, so engendering, and so true . . . and I also cried because I knew where her alliance lay. I would have given anything to have that goodwill statement this past week, that perfect wording to address the hurt and the humanity.

I saved the coverage the whole demonstration received from our school newspaper: an op-ed from faculty denouncing the Center for Bioethical Reform, an article on the response protest assembled by the Womens Studies and pro-choice crowd, a sidebar on the importance of political engagement. Indeed, the faculty seem to be relieved that the students of my school are capable of caring about something, anything. 

Mostly people were incensed that "necessary misfortune" of abortion was being compared to the grossly complex magnitude of genocide. Is it a false comparison? I don't know. I don't really care about the demonstration, the graphic posters, the people pushing pamphlets. While a discussion on means is certainly important, this week I was preoccupied with the ends. Grieving, that abortion continues to be a reality. A justified reality! How, how do they speak in favor of it so boldly?

Forgive them, Father. And end this atrocity. 


Caitriona aka Catherine said...

Here in the blogosphere, you have spoken in the written word for those who can not speak for themselves. All of us who know and love you want you to keep on wrestling and figuring out how and when to engage in a matter. Discernment and wisdom do not come easily - to most of us. The struggle over the issue of abortion reveals the unseen ongoing battle of war in our midst.

One time I went to a demonstration in Washington DC long, long ago. There were very few "shock and awe" graphics back then in the 20th century. It was a strange trip. I was a new Christian, new wife and mother of one. I didn't carry a sign, raise my voice or even engage in a conversation. I was one of 300,000 on the National Mall. It was peaceful and the outstanding picture in my mind is the clear 20 foot high balloon with a peachy colored baby in the womb. I didn't see a whole lot of red like you did.
Thank you for writing and I hope your dear friend add to this conversation.
Love to you and your dear family. Mrs. M

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

PS Sorry for mistakes especially the "friend" error. It is suppose to read FRIENDS.