One result of the varied company I keep is that for any given issue, I usually have an array of opinions represented in my friends list. It’s remarkable how different something can look based on who’s looking at it.
I’ve been seeing a lot about this March for Women’s Lives in DC last weekend. I wanted at first to write a long post quoting different perspectives, but I thought I’d wind up pissing off most of my readers. Nutshell version: IMHO, protests bring out the worst in people. Both sides have a lot to be ashamed of.
Instead, I’m just going to piss off half my readers. Because right now, I’m not feeling very impressed with the pro-choice movement. Disclaimer: I’m not on “the other side”. I’m religiously agnostic. I probably qualify technically as pro-choice, simply because I believe that all questions of morality aside, everyone must excercise sovereignty over his or her own body. But I’ve marched and demonstrated on the pro-life side in my past, before I got disgusted with the whole business.
This is completely subjective, but this is my impression culled from personal experience, friend’s experiences, and news reports: there appears to be more outright rage and hatred on the pro-choice side. In my experience those who are demonstrating for abortion rights were the ones most likely to have sour, pinched, glaring demeanors; to be screaming epithets and flipping the bird; and to use deliberately offensive slogans. The pro-life side employs horror and guilt to get their message across; whereas the pro-choice side seems to enlist the latent anti-christian anger common in their adherents. Some of the reports I’m reading from this past demonstration suggest that to some of them, at least, it’s more about generally doing their best to piss off Christians than specifically about abortion rights.
Because of the kind of people whose company I tend to enjoy, I hear a lot of anti-christian angst. And I’m used to it and I understand it and I expect it, but somewhere deep down there’s a part of me that’s pretty fucking sick of it. Sometimes I just want to tell people get over it already!. Move on! Every day you continue lashing out in anger against the hypocritical church which hurt you as a child is a day that same church, that same past, still dominates you.
I’m not saying that all the harm the church has done is in the past. There is still a huge number of christians who would like their morality to be enforced as law. I believe in standing against that. But I believe in doing it with a spirit of hope, love, and optimism. You don’t do yourselves any favors on national TV when your opponents are the ones crying, praying, and singing; and you are the ones screaming epithets.
I look forward to the day when more children grow up in athiest, agnostic, pagan, and apathiest homes – simply because maybe they’ll be able to frame their debate with the church in rational, rather than emotional, terms.
Can we get linkies to some of what you’ve read?
all I can say is ………. exactly.
Thank you Avdi. I have *felt* the same way, and really didn’t know how to constructively express it. You rock.
*agrees with Scott, and by default, Avdi, of course*
He’s got a habit of doing that, doesn’t he?
>I look forward to the day when more children grow up in athiest, agnostic, pagan, and apathiest homes – simply because maybe they’ll be able to frame their debate with the church in rational, rather than emotional, terms.
While I agreed with a lot of what you said, I don’t really understand why you would want to separate feeling from thought. Religion in general is an intensely emotional thing. It’s NOT rational by definition. Religion is based on faith or a belief.
Feelings are natural – why not use them? Thought is natural – use it too! But they are not polar opposites.
Hm. First of all, I should say there’s an element of sarcasm to that last sentence. I don’t really care what religion or lack thereof kids are raised with. I’m really complaining about people who spend all too much of their lives in reaction to their past.
I know people who would disagree heartily with your statement about religion, and others who would agree just as strongly. I know devout Christians for whom religion is not in the slightest an emotional experience. I know others who would insist that emotion is essential to religion. I’m not sure how I feel about it.
It’s not passion I object to. Passion is essential. Reaction is the problem. Not that you and others are demonstrating out of reaction – not at all! My impression, rather, is that the loudly religious people who occupy the pro-life side in this conflict tend to trigger deep-seated emotional reactions which have nothing specifically to do with the abortion issue. That angry gut-level reaction then gets bound up inextricably with the cause. And personally, I don’t think anger is a constructive emotion in that context.
I agree with you. I think in general, people like to bitch or be angry about something. When they find something that they can latch onto, and furthermore others will agree with them about this *hate* then they feel more empowered with what they are doing is right. Others I’ve known who protest in a hateful way do it because it gets them attention and they will take any kind that they can get. “If it’s poisonous to the mind get rid of it because it cannot lead you to happiness”. So there you go…. and that’s the rest of the story, good day.
I would agree that right now, there is more anger and hostility there. However, I would attribute that to feeling threatened. When prochoice was more clearly a popular position and supported more broadly by the administration, prolifers were more hostile IMO. It is always easier to be rational and calm when you feel your stance has the firmer basis in the current political situation.
Check this out… I feel like this is what the marchers are really saying.
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