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Monday, September 13, 2010

Being a good sport

Editor's note: As part of our new Secular Sidewalk program, Monday blog posts will be written by sidewalk counselors. This week, our guest blogger is Heather from Virginia.

So as I stated in my last post, I go to Planned Parenthood every Saturday when they perform abortions to offer better options to pregnant girls. Now as you know I am not religious and I don't push religion on the women going in to the clinic but many others out here do. At first I thought it was wonderful what they are doing, besides many in this group helped me out in my time of need, but I did start to see somethings I definitely did not agree with. Since I have been out there with them I have only seen one what we call "confirmed saved" meaning a mother who has completely changed her mind to keep the baby. I get frustrated sometimes when all I see is girls walking in not giving us but maybe a quick glance. I really want to reach out to these women but I feel like I can't say what I really want to because of the other pro-lifers with me.

I believe we would be more successful in helping these girls if we would leave God out of it. Now not that I don't think the Catholic Church or other Christians haven't done a great deal for the pro-life movement but when you are reaching women who are not religious, what gets them to listen to you in the first place? Obviously calling out "God loves you" is not going to persuade minds. And I have learn too that when your pro-life you have to fight that negative stereotype that all pro-lifers are radical evangelical Christians- and trying to explain to people as to why you're pro-life yet not religious can get old real fast! But I keep strong in my belief abortion is not the best solution to an unwanted pregnancy. Sadly I have seen how closed minded some individuals in our group were when a counter protester from Planned Parenthood came over to debate us. It was two men (funny how they would send two young gay men to argue over something they will never have themselves) to belittle the group and possibly break us up. As the debate went on one of the other pro-lifer leans over and whispers in my ear, "This guy comes every now and then and takes pictures then threatens us he will put the pics in the newspaper." Clearly I could see he was not from the "real" local media, and I started to talk to him. As I was making ground with him to see our side of the issue, and that I was not there to personally attack or make fun of him in any way- he started to listen very closely to my opinion. We actually started to stop arguing and just have a normal mature conversation, but as I would tell him I'm not religious and I don't judge him on his homosexuality that's when one very conservative Christian man in the group walks over and says an anti-gay slang comment to him. The counter protester (we'll call him Jacob) says "See, that's what I'm talking about, every time I come over here all they do is make fun of my clothes, my friend or me being gay and never really hear why I'm here." I felt really bad since I was trying to defend the same guy I was debating.

So I say I'm sorry for the ignorance of the fellow pro-lifers and actually got to know Jacob and by the time it was to go home, me and Jacob were not at war anymore. I even let him hold my little son (which he loved, and I think it proved my point) and gave him a soda and said good bye. We have never heard from Jacob or his friend after that, and why, well because I had compassion was fair and did not judge. I also was more open minded than the other people in our group. The sad thing is Jacob will go back to Planned Parenthood and tell them that a bunch of crazy "anti-women" people are out there and not to pay them any mind, but hopefully I was different and maybe he knows that and doesn't come back. So I am on here to say, that when doing sidewalk counseling, don't judge people and don't jump to other issues other than abortion and the facts. Because when you do, you become weak in your argument and the pro-choice side can easily stomp out your fire. See, if all the pro-lifers that day would have been as open minded and factual in their opinions, Jacob would not have kept coming back to argue. And they would have shown a strong group of people that Planned Parenthood needs to be afraid of because they are going to take away the business for good. But that's not the case now and I am bound and determined to change this! I want to save babies and the only way I will is to be kind, open-minded, factual and non-judgmental, and I want to get other young people in with me too! So if any one in the Roanoke area wants to come and support us, you're more than welcome to!

I have so much more I could say about this subject but that will be next week. I guess the moral of this week is to keep on subject when talking or debating about abortion to people you know or especially at the abortion clinics! And don't jump or get on to religion, gays, or any other hot political issue because your there to save babies not argue political science. Hope to read your comments and hear what you guys have to say.

10 comments:

secularprolife.org said...

Non-judgmental conversations are always great. It stinks that we can't always know what impact we'll have years down the road, but it sounds like you may have planted a seed in Jacob's mind. I certainly hope so! If you do ever see him again, consider connecting him with one of SecularProLife.org's gay members, or with the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

"I really want to reach out to these women but I feel like I can't say what I really want to because of the other pro-lifers with me."
What exactly would you like to say? And have you talked to the other sidewalk counselors about it? I realize that this is probably something you'll talk about in a later post, so don't feel like you have to answer right away. Just don't assume that they're against it until you've spoken to them. SecularProLife.org has many Christian supporters; it's all about saving babies.

I've been thinking that it would be interesting, as an experiment, if you or another non-Christian sidewalk counselor wore a sandwich board that said "I'm an atheist; let me help" or something along those lines. If you've only had one save in the entire time you've been out there... it couldn't hurt.

Nulono said...

I think that's a great message (and the reason I unsubscribed from PersonhoodUSA's Twitter feed).

However, as a little constructive criticism, a little proofreading never hurts. :P

Kelsey, "non-Christian" and "atheist" aren't the same thing. ;)

secularprolife.org said...

LOL Nulono, I know. I was trying to get across that HER sandwich board would say "I'm an atheist," but it doesn't have to be her.

Yonmei said...

Non-judgmental conversations are always great.

If you sincerely believe that, why on earth are you routinely promoting someone who thinks it's her God-given mission to go to a health clinic on Saturday mornings and hang out with a bunch of homophobes in order to harass the women going in to have abortions?

You can't get more judgemental than a pavement bully outside a health clinic. It's pretty much the archetype of arrogant judgemental behaviour.

So why are you promoting this small-minded judgemental bully who likes to hang out with homophobes? I know it's a matter of doctrine among pro-lifers that it's better to harass 20 women than to prevent 2000 abortions, but still...

Nulono said...

This again? After we're debunked you "sidewalk counseling is harassment" BS a million times over? After we've made it clear we're for all non-abortive methods of reducing abortion? After we've explained how we're not judgmental? They should call you Yawnmei.

Yonmei said...

Well, I suppose it would be typical pro-life false advertising to wear a sandwich board claiming to "help".

Truth in advertising: "I just hate women. God's got nothing to do with it."

"Come over here and let me abuse you."

"Amateur Bully: Will Yell At Women For Food"

Yonmei said...

I want to save babies

But instead you're hanging out with homophobic pavement bullies who do nothing but harass women?

If you want to "save babies", why not join Planned Parenthood and work to prevent abortions and provide healthcare to pregnant women?

Oh. But that would involve real work, and it's way easier just bullying women and telling yourself you're doing good by doing so.

Yonmei said...

(funny how they would send two young gay men to argue over something they will never have themselves)

Funny how you're so contemptuous of their politics. Many gay people believe in human rights for all - and believe in working to help their fellow oppressed people against the bigots, whether homophobic, misogynistic, or racist.

And many gay people hate bullies. Your gang of bullies likes to harass women: a homophobic gang likes to harass gay people: a racist gang likes to harass people of colour. Your bullying tactics would make you a gay person's natural opponent. Your contempt for them may have been disguised, but you obviously felt it as much as the ruder folks who made homophobic comments out loud.

Yonmei said...

I guess the moral of this week is to keep on subject when talking or debating about abortion to people you know or especially at the abortion clinics! And don't jump or get on to religion, gays, or any other hot political issue because your there to save babies not argue political science

Crap. You're there to bully women and to justify your right to bully women. You're not even trying to "save babies" - bullying women is not any way to to do that.

darkcougar555 said...

Very said well, Heather!

Yes, I agree with Secular about talking with pro-lifers about how you do feel. Maybe you should, but it is up to you. I'm forward to see your next blog. =)

Cheers~