Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pro-life students face vandalism, theft

Students for Life of America is raising a firestorm over a recent incident at Western Kentucky University (WKU).  The pro-life student organization there, Hilltoppers for Life, put on a Cemetery of the Innocents display, with a "cemetery" of 3300 small crosses to symbolize the average of 3300 abortions that take place each day in the United States.  Several WKU art students came by and draped condoms over the crosses.  The Hilltoppers for Life contacted campus police, who said that the act was technically not vandalism and that there was nothing they could do.  That may be true-- the condoms can at least be removed, unlike spraypaint-- but it sure is a pain in the butt for the Hilltoppers, who had the university's permission to use the area for the display.

Making this even more interesting, the students claimed that the condoms-on-crosses display was an art project approved by their professor.  In other words, they trespass on the pro-life group's reserved space and get college credit for it. Call me a Philistine, but I'm unimpressed by an "art project" that's so disrespectful and, frankly, immature.

Students for Life is taking it one step further, saying in a recent email that "the desecration of the crosses at WKU is sacrilegious, offensive, and borders on a hate crime."  I'm not sure I agree with this statement, which emphasizes the religious meaning of the crosses.  I've seen Cemetery of the Innocents displays done with many symbols, including American flags, pinwheels, baby shoes and flowers.  Disruption of these displays would be equally unacceptable.

On the other hand, I completely sympathize with Students for Life's frustration.  They've been dealing with a wave of pro-abortion vandalism in recent weeks.  The pro-life group at Dartmouth had their American flag Cemetery of the Innocents run over by a car, pro-abortion vandals at Northern Kentucky University stole donated baby clothing (which was destined for local needy families) from a clothesline, and the incident at WKU is just the last straw.  

Pro-abortion students have the right to express themselves legally.  They do not have the right to infringe upon pro-life expression or destroy pro-lifers' property.


Lisa Twigg said...

I almost do not have words for this kind of bigotry. This is the height of intolerance and usually on college campuses "tolerance" is a constant theme. These people are very rightly called "vandals." Free speech does not equal "shouting" over the other side by using sabotage and thievery. Ugh. Ok. Now I have no words.

Anonymous said...

Pro choicers win the victim card game. Ironically, it's the pro choicers that have successfully avoided shooting anybody over this issue.

It's such a shame that christian radicalization and terrorism is such an issue in the pro-life movement. It's to be expected though, because christianity is an inherently violent religion. said...

Secular Pro-Life has never advocated violence and never will.

I have to correct your statement that "it's the pro choicers that have successfully avoided shooting anybody over this issue." That simply isn't true. Michigan activist Jim Pouillon was shot in cold blood while holding a pro-life sign.

This is a terrible website and you should feel bad said...

Pouillon was shot at 7:20 a.m. EDST by a gunman in a passing vehicle as he protested across the street from Owosso High School in Owosso, Michigan. One witness recorded the license plate number of the vehicle, and an hour later police arrested Harlan James Drake. Drake indicated to police that later that same morning he had also shot Michael Fuoss at the gravel business Fuoss owned.[1] Authorities said Fuoss was not connected to the pro-life movement.[2]

Police said Drake was offended by pro-life material that Pouillon had displayed across from the school for the previous week.[1] Center for Reproductive Rights spokesperson said the shooting did not seem to be tied to the abortion debate, due to the murder of Fuoss.[2

Nice try. this is another blatant "fox news style" attempt at false equivalence.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't "several" art students, it was one art student and a friend. It wasn't *actually* a pain in the ass, because the student took the condoms down herself, which she had been planning to do in the first place. It also wasn't "pro-abortion," at all, but rather a statement about unwanted pregnancies that could have been prevented via the use of birth control. Condoms = less pregnancies = less abortion. How on earth is that a pro-abortion stance?

Hilltoppers for Life put up a highly political [and equally offensive imo] display on campus, and someone responded to in a non-destructive visual manner *after they had been asking students for their responses* all week.

I do agree that they didn't have to use crosses, and they made it a religious issue when they did so. Throughout the week, however, they were firm in their stance that it the crosses were tomb-stones representing aborted fetuses which needn't be seen in a religious light, and the artist was reacting to them on those grounds, viewing the crosses not as a religious symbol, but as an aborted fetus that could have been prevented.

Anonymous said...

Secular pro life can run the story the next time a pro-life doctor is gunned down for refusing to provide abortion services, or when a "Crisis Pregnancy Center" gets firebombed.

Otherwise they can refrain from making pathetic attempts to play the victim.

M said...

"This is a terrible website and you should feel bad" <-- *chuckle* You got me. I feel bad now, thanks to your handle.

This is an awesome website, keep up the good work! said...

Ah yes. So unless someone shoots or bombs you, it's not possible to be the victim of anything.

Jack Hoffmann said...

Context is everything. The best the pro lifers can do when they're trying to play victim is accuse pro-choicers of defacing their posters.

It seems a bit pathetic if that's the best instance of abuse they've received when pro-choice people and their families/children are continuously offered death threats, stalked at school, shot, murdered and firebombed.

Christian radicalization is the main culprit of all abortion issue violence. The fact of the matter is that you have radical pastors that target unemployed christian men with messages of "holy war" against non-believers. It's the inherently violent nature of christianity that causes these terrorist attacks to happen. It's terrible that this growing and very real problem is not dealt with in the seriousness it deserves.

Anonymous said...

Every student that wants to display an art installation, which is what the Cemetery of Innocents was classified as in the proposal, in front of the Fine Arts Center is advised that the area is a public space and as such they should expect the public to interact with it. Modifications or "vandalism" is one of the expected interactions, especially if it is a controversial piece. Students are also made aware that it is not the responsibility of the university to prevent modifications to art installations, but instead to encourage the open exchange of ideas. If the Hilltoppers for Life didn't want their display to be touched, they shouldn't have installed it where they did, its as simple as that. They took up almost every inch of seating space in a heavily-used public area for an entire week, pointed a controversial art installation at the Art Department's windows, and got upset when someone responded to it in an artistic fashion.

Another way to look at this is by examining the use of public forums. When you place an object in a public forum and invite the public to respond to it (which is exactly what the Hilltoppers for Life did when they stopped passers-by and asked to know how the Cemetery made them feel, as well as posting bulletin boards that invited the public to contribute their opinions), you have no legal right to complain about how the public responds.

The heart of the debate isn't pro-life or pro-choice, its whether someone's First Amendment Rights were stepped on or not.