Flower

Are you an extremist?

Shirley Moore

Shirley Moore

We are indebted to Shirley Moore of Knoxville for this excellent essay.

They were accused of disturbing the peace in the churches, a peace [William Lloyd] Garrison did not believe they were entitled to enjoy.

Are you an extremist?

Extremists, self-righteous, judgmental, violent (or the cause of violence). These terms, familiar to pro-lifers, were also applied to the 19th Century abolitionists, and most particularly to William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator. He renewed an anti-slavery movement that had languished during the first part of the 19th Century and agitated against slavery from 1829 until it was abolished at the time of the Civil War.

Because he challenged the core morality of the US and because he never lost sight of the moral issues (the sanctity of life, the equality of the races, and the obligation of Christians to oppose slavery), he was hated, mocked in newspapers, and persecuted throughout his life. However, he had a loving family and loyal circle of friends.

After a century and half, at least one book has given him his just due: All On Fire by Henry Mayer. Mayer is a veteran of the 60s-era Civil Rights Movement. Few books have been written about Garrison because the image of him as a “holier-than-thou nut” has persisted to this day. He put justice above peace and has never been forgiven by the culture he challenged.

As many pro-lifers experience today, the churches of the 19th Century despised abolitionists. They were perhaps “too” Christian for the men and women in the pews. They were accused of disturbing the peace in the churches, a peace Garrison did not believe they were entitled to enjoy. Like many pro-lifers, they were “outsiders” in their own congregations and parishes.

Sometimes, being effective and being liked are incompatible.  In social reform movements, this is almost always the case.  Which will  you choose?

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3 Responses to “Are you an extremist?”

  1. September 10th, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Velokid93 says:

    Oh my, this has got to be one of the best, the shortest and sweetest explanation of being a pro-lifer that I have ever seen!

  2. September 10th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Leslie says:

    I choose to effectively incompatible, when it comes to proclaiming LIFE!
    Thank you Shirley!

  3. September 10th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Leslie says:

    I choose to be effectively incompatible, when it comes to proclaiming LIFE! (rewritten because of typo)
    Thank you Shirley!

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