I think it’s safe to say that the more reactive and aggressive anti abortion activists are informed by some variation of formal religion. Their parochial focus on ‘thou shalt not murder’ ignores a host of other religious tenets including the purpose of religion.
His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV said “The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness.” From my vantage point, there are painfully few instances of love and compassion outside abortion clinics. Let me offer a few examples.
When a 2012 New Year’s day fire gutted a family planning clinic in Pensacola FL, was that an act of love and compassion? When the Planned Parenthood office in Grand Chute, Wisconsin was damaged recently by a small homemade explosive device placed on a building windowsill, was that an act driven by tolerance and humility?
It was difficult to identify love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility and forgiveness when the Maryland Coalition for Life determined that protesting at a middle school was the perfect response to a landlord who refused to terminate an abortion clinic’s lease? Anti-abortion activists, trying to shut down an abortion clinic in Maryland, targeted the sixth grade daughter of the man who simply owns the office park where the clinic is located. Where is the love and compassion for children when the protesters stood at the entrance of Robert Frost Middle School with graphic posters of aborted fetuses?
Was it love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility and forgiveness that motivated Scott Roeder to stalk George Tiller, eventually shooting him vigilante-style in church. Informed by the vitriol of Operation Rescue, Roeder compared the lawlessness in the Bible to Tiller’s lawlessness. In fact, he wrote that Tiller is the concentration camp Mengele of our day and needs to be stopped. Where was the humility in Scott Roeder?
In August 2011, where hundreds of clinic defenders gathered in peaceful support of Dr. LeRoy Carhart and in support of the care he provides to women in need of late abortions. One block away, amidst a small group of anti-choicers, Operation Rescue leader Troy Newman emerged, paraded down the street toward the clinic defenders. One of the defenders, a pregnant 20-something woman, sat on the curb in the heat and humidity. A man darted across the street from her and started taking pictures. He then darted back across the street toward her to take more. Finally, he got down in the middle of the street in front of the pregnant woman, taking pictures of her. Startled at his actions, she asked who are you?
He said, “I’m Troy Newman, bitch.” How can this comment be interpreted as anything other that derision?
What drove an anti abortion protester, who recognized a friend entering an Allentown PA abortion clinic, to later drive to her friend’s place of work to publicly intimidate and harass her?
In all the outer trappings of her espoused Catholicism, rosary beads and membership in St. Joseph the Worker church in Orefield PA, where was this protester’s sense of tolerance, humility and love during the public humiliation?
What kind of love and compassion was evident when the Rev. Flip Benham was stalking a Charlotte, North Carolina abortion doctor and passing out hundreds of “wanted” posters with the physician’s name and photo on it, fliers that implicitly urge violence?
Benham knew that doctors in other places had been killed after similar posters were circulated. So how can this action remotely be considered religious or loving?
Where can you find love and compassion amongst the anti abortion terrorists as they scream at women with their bullhorns and use hateful language that diminishes human dignity? In what ways do they show love and compassion when telling a woman that the devil inside the clinic will drink the blood of her child or that the doctor will turn your child into baby road kill or your child will haunt you at night?
How can anyone claim to love both the woman and the fetus when, in truth, they value a woman’s fetus more than the woman? In the mind of the hubristic anti abortion activist, the fetus is a gift from God that they want to force on a woman, regardless of a woman’s wishes or circumstances. Organizations like Operation Rescue, Operation Save America and the Prolife Action League are singularly focused on ending abortion in America with absolutely no regard for the needs of women. There is little tolerance and certainly no humility within the leadership or their minions. Every time I hear an anti choicer invoke the name of Jesus, I cringe. There’s nothing Christ-like in that invocation, particularly because it lacks love and because it’s full of rage and contempt for every woman who enters a clinic.
The Dalai Lama XIV said the whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness. It’s clear to me that many anti abortion terrorists do not operate under loving and compassionate religious principles. They are driven by hate, anger and fear. They act out against strong, moral women who make decisions about when and if to bear children. And it is that female agency and morality that angers and scares the living hell out of these folks, that defies their personal sense of morality, and that drives them to act in heinous, immoral ways.