By Scott Tibbs, October 21, 2008
A letter to the editor on Thursday responded to the 2008 Life Chain, questioning what the goal of the demonstration was. I obviously can't speak for everyone in the group, but one goal was to remind Bloomington that abortion is much more than a surgical procedure involving "reproductive health" - it is the destruction of an innocent human life. It is to stand as a witness against a terribly wicked practice targeting the most vulnerable.
How many people will the demonstration convince? Realistically, not many. The signs, with a very simple message, don't go deep enough to counter many arguments supporting abortion rights. But it did bring the issue of abortion to the front of people's minds, reminding them that a significant number of people oppose it and will continue to work against it. Similarly, the frequent protests against the war in Iraq are not likely to convince anyone who supports the war to oppose it, but the anti-war protests do bring the issue to the front of people's minds.
Janice Neaveill wrote in her letter "I'm proud of my adopted hometown for how often we exercise our right to free speech, but persuasion is not accomplished by force." I am at a loss to see how a peaceful demonstration against abortion is "force". No one was prevented from going about their daily routines by the demonstration, nor was anyone denied the "right" to seek an abortion. That statement was unnecessary hyperbole.
That many people turned out to demonstrate against abortion does not preclude help to women in difficult pregnancies. The Crisis Pregnancy Center provides many of the services that Neaveill calls for. But we cannot ignore that killing an innocent human being is something to be condemned, and we must condemn that killing in the very strong terms. That is why we call a spade a spade - abortion kills children and abortion is murder.
Neaveill repeats a common misconception about Jesus, urging those who participated in the Life Chain to practice "the love that their Jesus held instead of appearing to condemn other lifestyles". But that bears no similarity to the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus never advocated glossing over sin. After all, He violently drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip. When he shamed the Pharisees who were prepared to stone an adulteress in John 8:3-11, he instructed the woman to "sin no more" when she left.
The purpose of demonstrations like the Life Chain, or anti-war demonstrations at the County Courthouse, is not necessarily to change hearts and minds, although that is certainly a goal. The purpose is to raise awareness and keep the issue in front of the public. With children being murdered every week on South College Avenue, we simply cannot be silent about this wickedness, and we will make sure that this evil is not ignored.