Thinking Freely at James Madison University

CBR's Jane Bullington poses for Rodin at JMU.

CBR's Jane Bullington poses for Rodin at JMU.

On my way back home from the Rhode Island, I attended last night’s meeting of the James Madison U (JMU) Freethinkers. They were discussing abortion. I arrived early and introduced myself to the President of the group; she was most gracious to welcome me to their meeting.

Result of GAP.  Their selection of this topic was a direct result of our GAP there last week, and it was exactly the kind of discussion we hope to stimulate with our project. Members of the JMU Dukes for Life were in attendance, and they did an excellent job of articulating and defending the pro-life position.

Sound Bytes.  I tried to keep quiet, responding only when a critical point needed to be made. The pro-abortion arguments were just as easily rebutted as ever, but in this kind of large group discussion, you have to speak almost in sound bytes.

A faux pas.  The discussion was respectful, for the most part. There was only one ad hominum attack launched at the meeting, that by a professor who attended. He said it was contemptible (I think that’s the word) of me to mention slavery in the context of an abortion discussion. I responded badly. I should have just addressed his allegation, but I rolled my eyes. (In my defense, I had been working on a response to a Rhode Island professor who had accused us of “hate speech,” whatever that is.)

Fair-minded.  It was a small transgression, but I apologized to the group, anyway. As the discussion went on, this professor revealed himself to be a fair-minded person—he verified the accuracy of our photos—and we shook hands at the end of the meeting. On my way to the car, I had to laugh, because in a room full of college students, the only people who acted out were the adults.

On the road again?  Please support our work. I love going home, but I need to be on the road, winning hearts, changing minds, and saving lives. Click here to send me back out!

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