Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I had always wondered about this, but never really had an appropriate context in which to pose the question. Here goes:

If Catholics are, in the most high-profile way, categorically opposed to abortion, then do other religious antis, including other Christian denominations ever feel isolated or poorly represented in the anti movement?

I think about this frequently. Maybe it's just because Catholics are the first group of people that come to mind when I think "anti". I suppose on the flip side another individual might think of Evangelicals, or simply Repubs. This may also have to do with my past personal experience with some Catholic meanies. I have, however, encountered objective evidence of the monopolization of anti-choice activities by Catholics and its subsequent turn-offing of others. I disclaim that this is a singular incident, and not necessarily generalizable (but probably so!).

As my new pro-choice passion is escorting, I've begun overhearing bits and pieces of anti rhetoric on the sidewalks in front of a local clinic. While I typically ignore the drivel, I couldn't help but pay some attention (albeit little) to a conversation that one of the regulars was having with a city worker. Allow me to set the scene: we escorts are informing patients and passers-by that the loonies on the sidewalks are just there to preach and that it is not necessary to take their handouts, listen to their speeches, or even be polite to them, particularly if they start getting too close for comfort. A woman in a city employee uniform comes around the corner to empty the trash. She is not getting an abortion today.

Anti: Good morning ma'am, yadda yadda.
Me: Just FYI, you don't have to feel obligated to take the information or listen, feel free to ignore if it bothers you.
Woman: Well I can't when I'm on the job, but it doesn't hurt to listen.
Anti (smugly): Well, it's just that these people out here don't realize that Jesus loves them, [insert bible-babble here].
Me: *rolls eyes*

At this point I can't really butt in, I just let them have their conversation and keep my eyes out for other patients. I'm curious to see where this is going though, so I slip in and out.

Woman: Well, you know hearing the word of God never hurt anybody, [other words that indicate that she and the anti have found some common ground].
Anti (peppy): Exactly! Please join us at church some time *hands flyer*. It's a Catholic church on the following intersection: xxxxx & xxxxx
Woman: Oh, it's a Catholic church?
Anti: Something something.
Woman: Something something, but we all worship the same God, something else.
Anti: *tries to recover*
Woman: Something about a unified Christian effort, not necessarily with respect to abortion but generally speaking.
Anti: *flounders*
Woman: *walks away*

What happened?! YOU HAD HER AT "HELLO"!

If nothing else, this is just another example of how sharply divided and generally ineffective this kind of anti action is. Lesson 1: Women who want abortions will get them, and blocking their way on the sidewalks only makes them resent you and not want to be your friends. Lesson 2: Bloody crucifixes, tapestries of the Virgin Mary hung from lampposts, and the "Salve Regina" do not appeal to all folks, even the antis. Even if you can get someone to agree with you on the whole anti thing, why would you scare them off with a "No Protestants Allowed" policy? I notice one regular anti who is clearly not Catholic, and tends to segregate himself from the rest of the bunch. Not that he's unwelcome in their group per se, but let's be honest. He's uncomfortable. Do the antis realize how much that fails? How stupid their tactics are? How simple measures could be monumentally more effective in bringing down abortion?

Let's hope they don't wise up too soon. I rather enjoy choice.

1 comment:

  1. Hm, interesting that you say this. I've always thought the more massive national anti-choice orgs are either evangelical Christian or don't claim a denomination but are obviously non-Catholic. National Right to Life, Operation Rescue / Operation Save America, Focus on the Family if you want to go a little broader, etc. The American Life League is Catholic, true, and the Catholic Church in general has a massive network that allows many little groups to be active without a separate umbrella I

    It seems to me like a Protestant anti and a Catholic anti each would have places to take them under their wing -- but it's really funny how shaky their ability to make alliances is. They talk about doing anti-abortion work together but can barely look each other in the face because of their big bad theology concerns. Which is also funny because Catholic eschatology, at least, is big on how faith alone is not enough and good works will help you get to heaven, so you'd think they'd be better about partnering up to get their "good" works done. But I always forget that theology /= practice for many people who call themselves religious.


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