Half the Battle is Just Showing Up
by Mick Hunt
Fall is coming and classes have begun at the major universities in the United States and Canada. Which means it’s the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) season again. I hope you will consider joining the team for the GAP nearest you. At least come out to observe. There’s a need for every kind of personality and set of interests and abilities.
We just need to show up, and that’s where we fail most often.
Some people are really good at speaking to crowds. Fletcher Armstrong is one of the best at this. Every group that gathers becomes his class and he is the professor. Stephanie Grey of CBR Canada is best at give and take in a crowd. I prefer the one-on-one, off-script, creative, philosophical discussion.
All of us struggle with the angry, bright, loud, combative student or professor. Sometimes the most you can do is listen, and let the pictures speak for themselves. I enjoy talking or debating with really smart people, and invariably they know more about certain subjects than I do, in which case I’m usually quiet while listening and asking questions. I look at these times as an opportunity to learn.
The one thing that makes it all easier is the fact that our position is right. We represent truth, fact, and reason. And no matter how smart or educated you are, no matter how polished your PhD looks, or how many peer-reviewed publications you have, or how many academic honors you’ve received, if you are trying to defend the indefensible, you will have a hard time, especially if you believe too many things that aren’t true. We pro-lifers, on the other hand, win the debate without saying a word. We just need to show up, and that’s where we fail most often. Very few pro-life people are involved when needed (or as often).
Showing up. Let me tell you about a classic confrontation during our Genocide Awareness Project at North Carolina State University (NCSU) last spring.
I was standing at the corner of the GAP display nearest the student center where most of the traffic was. Between me and the main walking lane was a line of pro-abortion-choice students holding signs. All of a sudden someone started shouting. He was a rather nice looking student with a clear baritone voice in an Australian accent. He had been talking with one of the GAP volunteers, another man about my age. Something apparently ticked the student off, which set him hurling insults at the volunteer.
He then said, “Who’s in charge here, who is the mastermind? Who can answer my questions?”
He then shouted a few of the usual derogatory remarks about GAP. A few people around cheered.
True, he was angry, but he obviously was clear-headed, fearless, and bright. Capable of sarcastic, winsome insight. I was intimidated. So, when he looked directly at me and asked loudly if I was the mastermind, I was relieved when an attractive girl just then spoke to me out of the blue from my left when I had been looking toward the commotion on the right. She had asked a question, an easy one. So, I was saved from being drawn into a public spectacle in which I had a clear disadvantage. No way I could look good and respond to this guy in front of a crowd. I just can’t yell and be winsome.
Things quieted down and I took a break and sat on a brick wall away from the action. Then I noticed our Australian friend was talking quietly with Starla, a pro-life acquaintance of mine from Asheville. I joined them just as the young man asked her about the classic “Famous Violinist” thought-experiment of Judith Jarvis Thomson, the scenario taught in every introductory liberal rhetoric class.
In a few moments I could tell Starla wasn’t prepared for this question, and I joined in. She left after a minute. (She said later it was fine for me to butt in.) Then I talked with the young man for the next hour. It turned out that he had been a war paramedic in Afghanistan and had seen more than his share of blood, death, and mangled bodies. Also, he said his mother was strongly pro-life and had often debated with him about abortion. So, he was good at this.
I believe (for the reasons given above) I won the debate. He could only assert but not defend his claim that it’s OK to kill a prenatal child and not OK to kill a born child, but he wouldn’t admit it, of course. His argument was built around “agency” or the mother’s right to “bodily integrity”, which means a woman is morally permitted to repel a person who “invades” her body, even if the person is her own child whose very existence came into being by the child’s mother’s actions, actions which are by nature those bringing people into existence. And even if society ordinarily places a burden on parents, even unwilling parents, to either provide for a child or safely turn the child over to another agent.
My conclusion was to say his position was “brutal”. He said it wasn’t, and basically that’s where we ended the debate. If a person can’t see how it is brutal to kill a child in the womb when looking at the photographs of brutally killed children, I don’t know what else to say. My conversation with him took place on our first day we were at NCSU, and I saw him again the second day when we spoke again briefly.
At least I gave him an amicable, cogent presentation, but conversations like this point out the price we are paying for 47 years of legal child killing by abortion since 1967. The brutality of it isn’t so raw anymore. Over time, some people have become so accustomed to the violence that they don’t believe it is violence. Which is all the more reason to reach as many people as possible as soon as possible before it’s too late to turn things around.
So, we need to show up. We need to stand and talk.
Mick Hunt is a regular contributor to FAB.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 2:30 pm and is filed under Campus Debate (GAP). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.