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Monday, January 25, 2010

Gotta Luv the 1st Ammendment

Just so we're all clear from Jump Street, I didn't take any of these pictures of Anti-Abortion Protesters, but they all could have been part of the demonstration that occurred Sunday morning in front of The Episcopal Church of St. Paul in Chatham, NJ.

And, they all made about as much sense as this sign.

In fact, of all the placards I saw on the web, this one is most iconic of my experience of the logic of the Right Wing Nuts who protest against choice.

Let me put this into perspective. The New Jersey Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (NJRCRC) met on Sunday afternoon at 4 PM at St. Paul's, Chatham.

The event was entitled, "A Gathering of People for Choice". The purpose of the gathering was to build an even wider coalition of faith-based people - a new generation of leadership - for this very important pro-choice organization which advocates for the intelligent life choices of women.

NJRCRC works on a variety of issues related to Reproductive Rights. You can get a sense of this from our website, but I've been most active in lobbying congressmen and senators around efforts concerning abstinence-only education, providing training sessions to prepare "Partners in Peace" (escorts who protect patients entering Women's Clinics from the harassment of Anti-Abortion Demonstrators), and working to provide pastoral counseling sessions for clergy who are either helping people make choices or dealing with grief issues after the loss of a pregnancy due to either miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, birth defect or inability to conceive.

Doesn't matter to the Right Wingnuts. All they are able to think about is "Abortion" and how it is "M.U.R.D.E.R."

After that thought, their minds snap shut. They are unable to listen to or hear logic or reason. They certainly don't want any more information. Their minds are made up.

When you do talk with any of them, they make as much sense as the sign in the picture above: "Everyone who supported slavery was free.  Everyone who supports abortion was born."

If someone can translate that and tell us what it means, I'd be grateful.

On Sunday morning, in an overcast and cold-drizzly winter rain, about 30 minutes before the principal Eucharist was to begin, a parishioner alerted me to the fact that there were protesters on the sidewalk in front of the church.

"She was screaming at me," she said. "Something about 'baby killers'," she added, her face frowning, "These are really nasty people."

One of my parishioners had also had an encounter with the same woman. He's a lovely older gentleman of a certain vintage who doesn't even know how to be rude, especially to a woman.

She was holding a sign that said, "Episcopals Kill Babies."

"Umm . . ., " he said, "Actually, that should be, "Episcopalians."

"What?" she asked.

"It's 'Episcopalians' not 'Episcopals'," he said.

"Oh," said she, "should I change it?"

"Well, only if you want to be grammatically correct," he said.

"Okay, so it should say, 'Episcopalians Kill Babies', right?", she asked.

"Yes, that's right. Well, it's wrong, but it's grammatically correct."

The woman looked confused but seemed pleased with her corrected sign.

Sort of gives new meaning to the term, "civil disobedience," right?

At any rate, the Anti-Abortion folks didn't come back for the four o'clock meeting. The wisdom of some of the NJRCRC folks is that they were trying to intimidate the good people of St. Paul's into rescinding our invitation to host the NJRCRC event.

Didn't work.

We held it any way and had a great discussion.

I see a new placard in the making "The Episcopal Church - Changing the Way People Protest. One Placard At A Time."


Kirkepiscatoid said...

Well...if you can't be right, be grammatically correct, I always say. Better to simply be wrong, than wrong and stupid.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Isn't that one of the 39 Articles?

Anonymous said...

So all pro lifers are "stupid"? Sounds pretty narrow-minded and absolutist to me, but then again, this is consistent with your thought process on a whole host of issues: Either agree with Elizabeth or be mocked and scorned.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

You know, they didn't give me that memo when I was confirmed--about how I was supposed to start "killing babies" once I joined TEC.

How many should I have killed by now? I've been an Episcopalian for nearly 14 years and I haven't killed a single one! (I've been tempted to kill my teenager a time or two, though...does that count?)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, please, Anonymous (can I call you 'Anon', since you've posted here so many times?). Obviously, if I post your (snarky) comment, I'm not agreeing with you but I'm also not 'mocking and scorning' you either.

Besides, your grammar looks correct to me.

BTW, next time you want to post "Anonymously" please have the decency to leave your name.

This is your last warning. I will no longer post any "Anonymous" comments on this thread unless you leave your name and a way to contact you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Clearly, neither one of us got that memo, Doxy.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Well, I understand what the woman's sign says, but I am not sure that I could explain it. It is one of those self explaining statements.

Everyone who supported slavery was free.
The folks who benefitted from slavery were the free folks, not the slaves. So only free folks supported the institution of slavery. Slaves, one would think, were not in support of slavery.

Everyone who supports abortion was born.
The folks who "benefit" from abortion are alive. Only folks who have escaped being aborted before their birth support abortion. Aborted fetuses, one might assume, are not in support of abortion.

I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice. I am not in a position to make this choice for someone else. I believe that to be their own private decision to have to make, and I believe that those who have to make it do not usually make it lightly. I would hope that folks are not choosing abortion as a common form of birth control. And if there are folks who are using it as birth control, I am in support of offering them help to be able to move beyond having to use abortion in that manner.

The anti-abortion folks seem to be of the mindset that all abortion is being thoughtlessly used as birth control. Even to the point that they have convinced a number of women who have at some time chosen to have an abortion to rethink that decision and second guess their initial decision and so have now convinced themselves that they were duped and made the wrong decision.

The anti-abortion folks will never allow themselves to understand the healthcare that Dr. Tiller provided. They will not allow themselves to imagine a woman's health in danger, whether physically or psychologically. They have to believe that all abortion is being used as birth control or it gets a foot in the door of their mind that then asks questions they want to believe do not exist.

All this from someone grateful that he has never been in and never will be in a position to have to make this personal decision.

BTW, Madre, look at your fourth paragraph from the bottom. You have confused your organizations there I think. You seem to have NJRCRC opposing itself.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hello, Dahveed, mi amigo! Thanks for that translation. It makes sense to me now in a twisted up kinda way. When I try to get my brain to think like that, I get a headache.

Thanks for the tip about that 4th paragraph. It reads right, I think. The NJRCRC wisdom was that the Anti-Abortion folks were trying to intimidate the St. Paul's folks into recinding their invitation to host the NJRCRC event. See? Then again, maybe it's easier to understand the placard logic.

Paul (A.) said...

Just out of curiosity, did your protesters have coordinated synthetic knitwear?

Doorman-Priest said...

Great post. Thanks.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, dear. They do this with our Day Care Kids so no one gets lost. Sigh.

Rachel Stampul said...

Oh thank you for the great giggle again, Elizabeth! A hearty "here here!" to the sober gentleman from St. Paul's.

NancyP said...

As with any issue, a certain proportion of protesters are in it for the self-righteousness, need to be seen as a hero, and other psychological benefits. There are thoughtful anti-abortion activists who have some consistency in their overall ethical approach, there are people doing activism because (like all such activities) there's some socializing with other church members or because the priest said to protest, and then there are people who are just angry and are targeting the type of people, women in a stressful situation, that are least likely to deck him or make him look like a fool. The angry people are almost always men, particularly those who never got over being dumped by a girlfriend 20 years ago or a divorce 10 years ago.

The thoughtful anti-abortion people aren't usually found on the protest lines. There's something about the protest act or venue that results in people reciting the memorized talking points rather than thinking and responding to actual people.

word verification positively Biblical: cometh

Bradley said...

Gee, my parish has a baby changing station in the men's room....if I get tired of mhy old one, can I trade it in on a new one there? Sorry, it makes as much sense as that sign.

Note to Anti-abortion protesters: Do you adopt? No? I make my point.

NancyP said...

BTW, the fetus picture shown in the post, beloved of anti-abortion activists (because there is no woman?), is that of an aborted fetus.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks for your visit, Rachel. You too, PaulA and Bradley.

NancyP - That's been my experience, too. The folks who work the other side of the aisle in the Senate are sharp, savvy, worthy opponents. It's the folk in the protest lines seem to be working something out.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

NancyP - Irony abounds

cyndee said...

I would appreciate not being referred to as a right wing nut because I don't concur with your beliefts. I would also prefer to be referred to as a pro-life supporter, not someone who is anti-abortion. In my opinion, those who support abortion should not be referred to as pro-choice, but murderers.
I chose to support pro-life as I believe life begins at conception rather than birth (especially opposed to abortion in which the fetus would be viable but is killed while still in the womb).
Please note that I am not a right wing nut, a bigot, or any other derogatory name you could come up with.
P.S. I'm sure that you've never made a spelling error because after all, you are so perfect (irony)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Okay, so cyndee, let me get this 'straight' as it were:

You think this post was aimed at you - not the 'footsoldiers' of the Rightwingnuts whose only aim is to ratchet up the argument, not find solutions.

You, of course, are an intelligent, well-informed, reasonable person who is 'pro-life' - except, of course, when it comes to the life of the pregnant woman to make a choice about her own life.

You also think that anyone who disagrees with your position is a "murderer". (Note: This is not exactly a calm, reasonable approach.)

And, you think that sophisticated humor in the face of flat-out rage is not a way to manage the rage and bring it down a notch, but rather, to humiliate.

Well, cyndee, I am grateful that you at least had the courage to sign your name - or something - but you did not leave a way to contact you.

So, if you want to say something to me, you can certainly send in a comment. I'll not be publishing it, however. Not unless you meet both requirements.

Besides, as someone who is stridently anti-abortion and anti-choice, you really don't want to engage in any process that might reduce the 'heat' of this debate and shed more 'light' on it, so that we might move forward.

I'm certainly not the most intelligent person on the planet, but my momma didn't raise no fool, either.

Here's a piece of very simple advice: Don't want abortion? Don't have one.