Are Pro-Lifers Allowed To Be Angry?
by Jonathon Van Maren
The pro-life movement is unique in the history of social reform in that anger is considered something of a taboo. Many are uncomfortable with strong wording, anger about abortion, or even a more direct-than-usual passion. We are instead told to be gentle, compassionate, loving, and even at time non-confrontational.
Now, I’ve written numerous times on how we absolutely have to be gentle, compassionate, and loving—although I must confess I’ve never said we should be non-confrontational. Being good ambassadors when confronting the public with a message of hard truth is essential. On the streets, talking to abortion supporters, absolutely. Sidewalk counselling in front of an abortion clinic, without doubt. Speaking with angry pro-“choice” protestors who have been clearly hurt by abortion or other people, for sure.
However, we must realize that when we simultaneously tell a culture that millions of babies are being butchered but that they can’t be angry about it, we send a mixed and even incoherent message. It’s not wrong to be angry about abortion. I have seen more pictures of abortion victims and video footage of abortions in progress than I ever want to see, and a good deal more than the average person, and they still make me angry every time. That may make some uncomfortable—but that is simply because they are mistakenly confusing my anger with hatred.
I feel not a shred of hatred for the girls who come up to us and angrily ask why we’re not pro-“choice.” But I feel anger for the culture that told them their offspring are a “choice” as opposed to a human being with intrinsic value. I feel no hatred for the costumed and profane abortion supporters who come out to protest us. But I feel angry when I realize that many of them are protesting from a place of deep hurt, and that many of them have been brutally betrayed by those closest to them. I feel no hatred for the girl who shares with me that she has had an abortion. But I am angry when I think of the cowardly “boyfriend” who often pressured her into it, and the “clinic" workers who helped perpetrate it.
If the cowardly act of abortion, which decapitates, dismembers, and disembowels the body of a helpless and vulnerable pre-born child in the one place it should be safest, does not make us truly angry, we cannot fight for their lives. Some people get offended when pro-lifers get angry about abortion. When I look at the pictures of their shattered bodies, I get offended when people are not angry. If you are pro-life but not angry about abortion, you are not fully aware of just how gruesome, just how violent, and just how unjust abortion actually is.
Would it be wrong to be angry about the genocide in Darfur? Would it be wrong to be angry about the devastations of the Holocaust? For that matter, would it be wrong to be angry about the kidnapping and murder of a single child? I think not.
I emphatically repeat: This is not to say we should ever succumb to bitterness or hatred. Those things will destroy us like a cancer. Nor is it to say we should abandon our commitment to be good ambassadors, which I mentioned above. This is to say that moral outrages should outrage us—that the broken bodies of children should spur us to action, and that we should be angry at the cultural attitudes that has allowed such a genocide to occur. We must recognize that the victims are both pre-born and born, and we must always act in a spirit of compassion. But we must never forget that the sewers of our cities are running red with blood of pre-born children. And that is not something to react casually to.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.” I propose that we take his approach: Anger at injustice brought about by a lack of love spurs us to eradicate the injustice.
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