Pro-Life Violence?

I’ve debated a number of folks of varying caliber on the ‘Net. Most recently, Thayne & G-Man have sparked a productive exploration of morality, religion, secularism, & abortion. I’ve also had some good discussions with Sean back during the Coulter Nation days and at Olbroad’s old site (by the way, this is her current site). On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve met some infantile commenters at The American Mind, the clowns of YouStinkLeft, (by the way, their latest brilliant question is—and I quote—“Why does Fox News want us to have a war with Iran?”), the unintentional hilarity offered by B&S regular Scott, and, of course, the Hacks4Rudy. But the sorriest I’ve encountered would be a truly-despicable fellow by the name of Jayce Commo. Since it’s impossible to have serious debate with the immature, bothering with them is usually a waste of time. But a recent post about Generations for Life on his aptly-named blog takes lazy guilt-by-association to such depths that I can’t let it go unchallenged:

I generally don’t have any problems with pro-life supporters, so long as they’re not
blowing things up, shooting doctors, or harrassing women. But a few things on the Generations site leave me feeling a bit uneasy…

Since the overwhelming majority of America’s millions of pro-lifers would never even consider violence, then Jayce doesn’t have anything to worry about. Indeed, according to the second of these three articles, one of the killers “was disappointed with the anemic response from pro-life activists, who denounced Griffin’s use of violence” (the article also says “Most mainstream antiabortion organizations distanced themselves from him.” I’d sure like to seem them try to substantiate the implication that any pro-life group which could legitimately be deemed “mainstream” either stayed neutral or embraced the killings.).

Anyway, the
article in question is an announcement for a couple protests of a new abortion mill in Aurora, Illinois (I was gonna call the article a “call to arms,” but as we’ll see below, you never know what phrases might trigger liberal bed-wetting). Jayce is mortified that teen pro-lifers “are determined to do everything they can to stop Planned Parenthood” (his emphasis). “I hope ‘everything’ doesn’t really mean everything,” he says, with no evidence whatsoever that GFL harbors even a shred of sympathy towards anti-abortion violence. Jayce then complains that GFL describes participants of Families against Planned Parenthood’s 40-Day Prayer Vigil as “Prayer Warriors,” because it sounds “way to much like these psychos at Army of God.”

The so-called Army of God supports killing abortionists. Take a look at what FAPP’s idea of a “Prayer Warrior”
consists of, and you’ll see it’s juuust a little different. Take a look at any serious pro-life organization, like the several on CFO’s “Fighting for Life” sidebar (whoops! Can’t say “fighting!”), and the difference between us and the killers is self-evident—to the fair-minded.

Speaking of facts, let’s take a look at some hard numbers. NARAL’s own statistics (
PDF link) cover both the US and Canada & are up to date as of January 1, 2007. Now, bear in mind that an organization which advocates killing children is certainly unlikely to have any qualms about cooking the numbers (when you’re in their line of work, you need all the sympathy you can get), but for the sake of argument, let’s take them at face value. So how pervasive is the anti-choice reign of terror?

– 7 murders
– 17 attempted murders
– 41 bombings
– 171 arsons
– 82 attempted bombings & arsons
– 574 fake anthrax letters
– 92,000 “acts of disruption” such as bomb threats & harassing calls

Assuming none of the other cases were counted among the “acts of disruption,” that’s a grand total of 92,892 acts of pro-life extremism covering both the US and Canada. That sounds like a lot, but bear a couple things in mind. About 99% of the acts come from the “disruption” category, and we should be wary of exactly what constitutes a “harassing call” in NARAL’s view—I highly doubt they only counted violent calls; rather, I’ll bet there are quite a few in that number which only consisted of arguing abortion’s morality and/or offering to pray for their forgiveness. Say what you want about the productivity or decorum of such calls, but they certainly can’t be described as malevolent in any way. What’s more, NARAL puts the bomb-threat number at 596, which means the overwhelming majority of the pro-life extremism in general, and of the disruptions in particular, consists of lesser acts.

As for the incidents of actual violence and genuine threat, each is inexcusable & deplorable, and no pro-lifer should tolerate them in any way. The good news is, the fanatics make up only a tiny minority of Americans against abortion. In contrast, how big is the real pro-life movement? Consider that Pro-Life Wisconsin alone
boasts the support of 14,000 families (and that many pro-lifers only belong to one of a state’s multiple pro-life groups given their differences on things like rape exceptions), and the serious, honorable pro-life movement easily dwarfs the unhinged.

So why does Jayce think
saying inflammatory things without evidence is ethical? Because “submission of moral authority makes anything possible, including murder…the lines between morality, martyrdom, and terrorism are blurring more each day.” Is submitting one’s moral authority to religious belief likely to make somebody violent? It can; I’m not aware of any Christian who denies that the Bible’s been used to justify horrible things, and we’re in a world war sparked by Islamic fanaticism. But “submission of moral authority” alone doesn’t create bad results; submission combined with bad teachings does, as does submission in the absence of reason—fortunately, most Judeo-Christians embrace reason wholeheartedly.

Moreover, if God-submission is to blame for all religious evil, then it deserves equal credit for all religious good. Believing that one is God-bound to do charity and oppose bigotry is just as powerful as believing that one is God-bound to kill. In fact, the secular should be thankful that believers overwhelmingly “submit their moral authority” to the former than to the latter (don’t believe me?
Click here to hear Dennis Prager’s interview with Arthur Brooks, author of Who Really Cares).

One more observation: why is submitting moral authority to something else inherently more problematic than the alternative: deeming oneself the highest arbiter of one’s morality? It seems to me the latter has its own potential to produce arrogance & rationalization. After all, Jayce’s atheism certainly didn’t keep him from smearing GFL without evidence.

Only someone suffering from religious paranoia could seriously construe the work of Generations for Life as blurring the lines between morality, martyrdom, and terrorism. Neither critical thought nor honest concern could possibly yield such a result. Whether it’s Jayce, Christopher Hitchens, or Sam Harris, some people just can’t escape their prejudices when it comes to religion. That’s a shame, and we can only hope & pray that they’ll someday grow up.
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10 thoughts on “Pro-Life Violence?

  1. <>“For most of my blog, the ban will still be in effect, but if you wanna defend yourself in the above post, I’ll publish your comments.”<>Oh goodie goodie gum drops!Do you ever ask yourself why so many of your interweb debates take the same course? Your dealings with me have gone almost exactly like your dealings with so many others, particularly those at ThinkLeft (or as you call, StinkLeft – but I’m still the immature one). Your paper-thin skin leaves you crying foul at the first sign of impoliteness, and then you take the position of one whose being attacked despite giving as much, or usually more, than you receive. It’s happened so many times that those who’ve read any of your debates must laugh hysterically every time you feign your nobleness. Since you were embarrassingly overmatched in the Sam Harris debates, you decided to ban me from your site under the guise of “Honest Debate Policy.” That’s fine with me – it just illuminates the extent of your hypocrisy; juxtaposed with my insults of you, your insults at me more than hold their own.Knowing that, it seems like a less than wise decision to debate at your site given how quick you are to pull the trigger on banning me. Even if that weren’t the case, I’m not sure how much defending is needed. Your entire post, much like a lot of the beliefs you hold, is a non-sequitur. You’re attributing beliefs to me that do not logically follow from my post. But I’d feel badly if I didn’t comment at all, partially because my comments seem to spring to life blogs like this one… or ‘Ol Broad’s. You say I don’t have “anything to worry about.” You then go on to list all of the bombs, murders, arsons, ect that have been done by anti-abortionists. Looks like “anything” may not have been the right word. Want to try another?Discussing moral authority would be wonderful fun, but you’re just not up to it. I suspect we’d share a lot of the same views, but our underlying problem could likely be summed up by Steven Weinberg, “With or without [religion] you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”When you give up your moral authority to a being that doesn’t speak back, bad things can happen to good people.In any case, words can’t describe the joy I’m feeling now knowing I may get a post published at your blog. And thank you for the compliment of lumping me in with phenomenally smart guys like Harris and Hitchens. Pray for me,Jayce

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  2. “Do you ever ask yourself why so many of your interweb debates take the same course?”Because the Internet is home to all manner of lowlifes.You can misrepresent the past all you want, but I’m proud of standing up to liars, thugs and demagogues. You might get others to treat you with kid gloves, but my tolerance for BS only goes so far.If I was a hypocrite, I’d try to bury or ignore my “misdeeds,” not draw attention to them. If I was prone to the childishness you accuse me of, my debates with Thayne and G-Man would have gone south long ago (though I vehemently oppose their opinions, I haven’t insulted or banned them because they conduct themselves with the decency alien to you).I’m not suprised you don’t have a good explanation for slandering GFL on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, orthat you can’t offer anything on moral authority besides vapid bumper-stickers. On this post you’ve been caught dead to rights as a demagogue. The best you can come up with is that I used the word “anything.”You’re right, junior: based on my analysis of the numbers, I suppose “then Jayce has very, very little to worry about” would be much better.This is a definitive case of you being caught in dishonesty, so I’m not going to pretend you don’t know it. I’m just going to reiterate that you are not a decent human being. Your rejection of religion has not made you any better – indeed, it is your paranoia that rationalized unjustly smearing GFL. Congrats, pal: your conduct refutes your own claims about moral authority.Do you recognize even a sliver of this? Aren’t you embarrassed or ashamed at all? Harsh though I’ve been, this advice is sincere: even though it’s hard to accept the wrongs we’ve done, we’ll always be better off for confronting and rejceting them, and emerging as better, stronger people. After all, people have found redemption from far greater sins than yours. You’ve never been able to face the ugly truths about yourself, so I don’t expect your typed answer to this to be meaningful, but that’s okay.The hope that you’ll at least think critically about some of it is enough for me. God bless.

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  3. The following is Jayce’s response. I’m posting it this way because of an obscene word I don’t allow on CFO. Other than that, it appears here word-for-word, and if Jayce intends to claim I edited anything else, he can go for it:Jayce:Because the Internet is home to all manner of lowlifes.You can’t possibly believe that is the reason so many of your debates go the same route…You can misrepresent the past all you want, but I’m proud of standing up to liars, thugs and demagogues. You might get others to treat you with kid gloves, but my tolerance for BS only goes so far.Again with this nobility nonsense. Do you really believe that garbage, cause I can’t imagine anyone who’s read your stuff does. Again, you love to dish out just as much. And your “kid gloves” comment is especially funny, given how you are trying to come off as a tough-as-nails kind of blogger when in actuality, you’ve cried your way out of more arguments than just about anyone – with me as well as others.I’m not suprised you don’t have a good explanation for slandering GFLI can’t figure you out on this… your entire post really didn’t have anything to do with what I wrote. You’re either being intentionally obtuse, or unintentionally stupid. I’m not sure I can tell which one.You’re rightI know.This is a definitive case of you being caught in dishonesty, so I’m not going to pretend you don’t know it. This is why I have so much fun with you. You say things, harsh things, that make absolutely no sense. What in the hell am I being dishonest about??? You truly are an amusement.I’m just going to reiterate that you are not a decent human being. Classic stuff. You know so little about me, and most of what you think you know, like my dishonesty, you’ve just completely made up. Aren’t you embarrassed or ashamed at all? Harsh though I’ve been, this advice is sincere: even though it’s hard to accept the wrongs we’ve done, we’ll always be better off for confronting and rejceting them, and emerging as better, stronger people. I LOVE it!! You’re becoming a caricature of who you think you are… offering me this “sincere” advice like you’re this moral superior to me. You couldn’t get more laughable if you tried. God damn I’ve missed the gems like these…The hope that you’ll at least think critically about some of it is enough for me. God bless.Of all the goofy things you’ve done, this is the one I truly enjoy the most…wait, that honor would have to fall on your belief that scientists are pushing evolution to erode our moral framework… but this is the second best line of thought. You, above anyone else I’ve ever dealt with in person, or over the net, have been the LEAST critical of his own views. You were brought up a certain way and you’ve stuck to it with a level of dogmatism that is both impressive and sad. Since we’re giving out advice, here is some great advice from months past…You call me close-minded and advise me to broaden my horizons. This coming from the guy who proudly trumpets the religious conservative line, guzzling the Kool-Aid right down to the last drop. And you have the balls to tell someone else they need to broaden his horizons??? That’s ****ed up, no way around it. I can say the following things with a high degree of certainty…You were born into a Christian family. If you weren’t, it’s highly unlikely that you’d be Christian. You were born with extreme right-wing parents. If you weren’t, you’d likely be far from the chest thumping conservative that you are.You believe what you believe not by any virtuous means, but by pure brainwashing. It sounds harsh, but I see nothing to dispute it.I was brought up Christian. I was confirmed. I prayed every night before bed. Then one day I began to question why my beliefs didn’t jive with evidence and rational thought. From there I became what I am today. I remember thinking gay people were disgusting and wrong. I thought that because that’s what my friends thought, and a lot of adults that I knew (my parents excluded). Then I started realizing that like me, they couldn’t choose who they loved. Like me, they were good people. Like me, they shouldn’t be discriminated against. I remember my first year of college when I commuted from Fond du Lac to Oshkosh. I would listen to Rush Limbaugh every day. Then I’d regurgitate his arguments amongst my friends, whole heartedly believing every word I/he said. I was a full-fledged conservative. My parents were conservative, most of my friend’s parents were conservative, and I became one too. But then I started thinking about some of their policies… things like the war on drugs, religion, foreign affairs, freedom, morality… and I became much less of a republican.You see, broadening my horizons and having an open mind about s*** led me to become who I am right now, which will no doubt be much different than who I’ll be ten, twenty, fifty years from now. But you… where will you be? Your blind following of your ideology restricts you from ever opening up, from ever truly thinking for yourself. Your mind is already made up for you.The good news for you is that there have been plenty like you who have changed.

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  4. My response:Ladies and gentlemen, Jayce has been reduced to doing two things: feigning ignorance about his near-libelous attack on Generations for Life (basically, he’s asking us to believe he is functionally illiterate). As his offense is self-evidenc and he makes no attempt at substantive refutation, it appears there’s nothing left to do but declare victory.The second thing is to recycle an old lecture about open-mindedness (a trait he sorely lacks). As the record shows, his diatribe is utterly inapplicable to me. The only thing left to thank him for offering a golden example of the Internet’s lowest common denominator, and re-offer my hope and prayers that Jayce might some day seriously reconsider his ethics, both for his sake and for the world around him.

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  5. Well, you’ve managed to take my comments and make them a pain to follow. I used <>italics<> in my quotes and as you can see, without them, it is much more difficult to follow. This is exactly why I didn’t want to do this here… it’s just that Cal provides so much hilarity I can’t help myself.Why do you continue these unfounded attacks? You call me dishonest, but fail EVERY SINGLE TIME I ask you to explain what the hell you’re talking about. I wondered whether you were being intentionally obtuse or unintentionally stupid. It seems much more clear now.<>his diatribe is utterly inapplicable to me<>You honestly can’t be serious. You just can’t. What about you did I get wrong?<>Internet’s lowest common denominator<>Better take a long hard look in the mirror, pal. The caraciture you see of yourself is far from the actual.P.S. – since you don’t like leaving typos, it’s “surprised” and “rejecting.” 😉

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  6. I’ve offered you the chance to explain why you lumped GFL in with terrorists without evidence. Your responses, though you didn’t intend them to, explain to us all we need to know.Thanks for your time.

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  7. If you’re willing to veer back onto the subject, you will be published. If you choose instead to waste time by recycling inapplicable platitudes, then the ban will resume.

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  8. Unfortunately, Jayce has chosen the latter road, so it’s back to Internet obscurity for him. I wish him the very best in his search for maturity, integrity & self-reflection.

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