Pro-abort class

If those who are for big-business abortion are willing even to kill the unborn, who thinks that they will display the human decency of manners?

Moreover, we just don’t know what has transpired in the lives of some people who, in public, so violently react to pro-life demonstrations.

From Life News:

Abortion Activist Attacks Pro-Lifers: “No Uterus, No Right to Talk. Understand Mother F—–?”

Pro-life activist Seth Drayer was physically attacked today while leading a group of pro-life students in sharing the pro-life message in downtown Columbus, Ohio today.

The video shows a woman in a Burger King shirt attacking the pro-lifers.

She says, ““You’re just a white f—— privileged racist f—— male who doesn’t stand for women’s rights

The abortion advocate adds, “No uterus, no right to talk about it. Understand, Mother f—–?”

Mark Harrington of the pro-life group Created Equal told LifeNews: “Violent attacks on pro-lifers are becoming more common. Pro-lifers need to be winsome and be willing to take verbal and physical abuse if necessary in order to remain faithful to our pledge to be non-violent. We also should take precautions to reduce the likelihood of these attacks, be prepared to film them and prosecute the perpetrators (if necessary) to the fullest extent of the law.


Read the rest there.

If you are going to be involved with pro-life demonstrations or sidewalk work, be prepared for what may be thrown at you.  Get your heads into the potential scenarios before you get out there in public.

Know ahead of time that the Devil really hates you and can spur people to do awful things.

Don’t lose your cool.  It will help if, beforehand, you GO TO CONFESSION.

Moderation queue is ON.

UPDATE 10 July:

The woman who attacks the pro-lifers has doubled down.  She is defending her actions.

From Life News:

ABC6/FOX28 caught up with Duran hours later and asked her about her actions.

“The first amendment protects them from government interference it doesn’t protect them from people basically telling them they’re idiots. But you assaulted them? Assault I wouldn’t necessarily say shoving them aside and telling them to keep the camera out of my face as assault. You think it’s okay to push people? I believe that I had the right to tel them the did not have my consent to film me,” said Duran.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Blatteroons, Emanations from Penumbras, GO TO CONFESSION, Liberals, Slubberdegullions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. DisturbedMary says:

    I feel sorry for her. She calls the unborn human a clump of cells. That man dares show her the truth. No one gets that crazy unless she had a clump of cells removed from herself. The clump-of-cells rationalization runs very deep and is truly demonic deception as promoted by the abortion mills. Women who find themselves with an unplanned clump of cells cling fiercely to the lie. Could she ever face herself if she allowed the truth into her heart?

  2. HoyaGirl says:

    That appears to be a BK shirt for an employee, like for a manager or an assistant manager. I wonder what BK corporate thinks of this “official” representation of their company.

  3. Joseph-Mary says:

    Having been a sidewalk counselor for some years, I have experienced some severe hatred and anger but this lady was one of the worst examples I have seen. And it was against a boy! She destroyed property too so she will have consequences. Most hate filled people do not have consequences. I have stood many times and have learned to return a blessing for a curse.

  4. stroseym says:

    Life News has a follow-up story. From the local news coverage they provided, it appears the woman is being charged with assault. May the Sacred Heart fill her with the grace of conversion!

  5. incredulous says:

    Has anybody noticed that leftists who preach tolerance and have bumper stickers that say “mean people suck” are like her? Do they not understand the concept of psychological projection? I really feel badly for her that she’s sucked up all the victimhood theology she could and become so embittered and hateful.

    [We can only guess at what may have happened in her life to lead to this sort of behavior.]

  6. SKAY says:

    Just ordered candles.

  7. Mike says:

    I’ve seen this happen. It’s sadly fulfilling the words of Our Lord in that her light is darkness, and the darkness is deep indeed.

    Praying to Our Lady for her.

  8. excalibur says:

    You’re just a white f—— privileged racist f—— male who doesn’t stand for women’s rights

    We can see that the Marxists are succeeding in their education takeover. She’s white, she uses what she was taught in ‘school’, the new mantra of “white privilege”. How many young have been taught that mantra and believe it? How public education* was long ago targeted by the Marxists as their only hope of taking over America. Taken generations, but it is obviously now succeeding.

    *Recall how rapidly once AIDS came on the scene the public school systems fell into lockstep promoting homosexuality. Promoting homosexuality is a firm plank of Marxism. Read the W. Cleon Skousen book The Naked Communist.

  9. I removed some comments which speculate about the woman.

    Don’t go there.

  10. ejcmartin says:

    So no uterus no right to comment on abortion? What if one were to say to the poor, you have no money so you have no right to comment on the economy?

  11. Liz says:

    Poor lady.

  12. MarkJ says:

    We must always counter attacks like these with the love and mercy of God, an infinite resource to draw upon. This woman has been lied to and drawn into the darkness. We need to show her the Light which dispells all darkness, because we are commanded by our Lord to love her. If we can’t respond with love and mercy in situations like these, then we need to go back and regroup. Fr. Z is right, we should not enter into these battles without full spiritual preparation. Otherwise the devil will draw us into the darkness… maybe forever.

  13. wmeyer says:

    That’s an impressive amount of anger.

    When I was a teen, a neighbor took me to the Kingman Museum in Battle Creek, MI. They had an exhibit there–probably now removed–which presented preserved foetuses each of which was a week older than the previous one. I think the first may have been 3 or 4 weeks into gestation. Hard to recall from 50 years ago. The point is, it was a harsh and unforgettable demonstration, and left no doubt in my mind as to whether it was a baby or a “clump of tissue”.

  14. KM Edwards says:

    This is indeed becoming much more frequent. In Australia, Canada and elsewhere. It is open season on pro-lifers. Add to this other observations where Catholics and our Churches are being subjected to violent assaults:
    – Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan slaughtered in their own churches at Mass
    – Satanists invading and murdering Priests in Italy, Argentina and other post-Catholic nations
    – LGBTTQ mobs invading our Churches demanding Holy Communion in full rainbow regalia
    – Catholics being laid off from their jobs in every industry for having conscientious objections to the murderous zeitgeist.

    Is it not time again for the Catholic Militia Orders to be re-kindled? Why did Pope Paul and Pope John Paul stifle the Militia orders? I fully submit my opinions to the Magisterium of the Church, but I believe it is most Catholic to promote that self-defense is a Divine right and obligation, the latter especially where the defenceless depend on us.

    I would like to see Catholic militia orders rise up and take arms – literally.

    Every parish should have an armed militia to defend the perimeter of the Church and its occupants, not the least of which is the Lord’s Eucharistic presence. These Catholic militias could be called upon to march in opposition in “Gay Pride” parades in their cities as a stout witness and counter-action against the stench that rises up to heaven in these situations. When Christians are murdered in Muslim countries, or priests and pro-lifers attacked in secular western countries, the militia will rise up and defend them.

    When our brethren have their livelihoods stolen from them because they will not open their bed-n-breakfasts, wedding cake, photography, Chicken restaurants, medical care facilities to murderous and perverse practices, the militia and the faithful “militant” rise up – we swarm government buildings, and opposition forces and stand for our brethren, I mean physically as well as morally. There may be violence as a result, but the Lord came to bring a sword after all.

    The Catholic Militia will accompany pro-life prayer vigils and marches as a defense unit – they will be armed and will abide by the conduct worthy of Catholic Knights.

    Please remember the Knights Hospittalers of St John, based first in Jerusalem, then Rhodes and then Malta. They were Christendom’s fighters and saved Rome and the Papacy – Read about the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 when 592 knights defeated 40000 Turks and staved off an imminent attack on Rome. Read about Lepanto which took place 6 years later in 1571, and in which the same knights joined Emperor Charles against the same Turks. Our freedom as Catholics and the freedom of our Papacy and Church were not achieved by us ho-humming and “feeling sorry” for our enemies because of their irrationality. We need to take the fight – moral, physical, legal – back to these non-believing bullies and show them what they will face if they so much as dare abuse our brethren.

    The bottom line, the complete pacificization of the Christian community is not holy. It tells the enemy we do not really have strong convictions and that we will stand by while our brethren are abused, killed and persecuted. I posit, submitting myself to Holy Mother Church, that this attitude is not Apostolic or Traditional and must be the first step to reclaiming the cultural foothold Christ’s Church must have.

    Meanwhile, there are Christian martial arts academies I would recommend for your sons and daughters – no Eastern paganism imbued in these arts – one of them known as “Systema” is a Russian martial arts system devised from the fighting techniques of Eastern European Catholic woodsmen and fighters. This way, if you or any one of your loved ones are in a pro-life march and get assaulted you can give better than you get and mercifully teach the bullies they had better think twice about assaulting anyone else in the future.

    I would appreciate Fr Z’s most esteemed views on the theological and canonical status of the Catholic Militia, and how this was impacted by the Popes and the post-Vatican II aggiornamento. If my views are erroneous, I would appreciate a thoughtful correction. I am not so puffed with pride that I cannot humble myself into correction.

  15. aviva meriam says:

    Are there any internet based trainings designed to reinforce a NON VIOLENT response and approach? I expect there will be more of this as the culture continues to degrade and the leftists become more desperate. There must be a way to train people to expect others like this and to act accordingly…….
    Prayers for her, and for all those engaged in pro Life work.
    Kudos to that young man’s parents for raising him well.

    BTW, how is it that the mainstream media portrays those with conservative values as extremist and potentially violent but never those on the left?

  16. wised says:

    I logged on to the Burger King website and suggested that they should respond in a positive way to Right to Life to right this embarrassing episode by an apparent employee. I do like and occasional Whopper but will forego the treat until there is a positive response from corporate BK. I am proud of the young man for proving that he is a gentleman in the face of truly horrendous behavior. I pray that I would have responded in like manner.

  17. benedetta says:

    How very sad. I will pray for her. Big abortion has not been kind or encouraging to women, towards their health, or peace of mind.

  18. APX says:

    To their discredit, when she was leaving, they shouldn’t have chased after her and provoked her further.

  19. Mary Jane says:

    wised, I too sent Burger King a note through their website and asked that they make a statement on what happened.

    Not to hijack the thread – this is related, to an extent – but has anyone heard about the “Proud Whopper”?

    Burger King needs to release a statement on both these events, and fast.

  20. The Masked Chicken says:

    There is something very subtle that is being lost in this presentation. I really wish I could frame this, as LifeNews does, as a case of simple good vs. evil, but this particular incident is hardly so simple. The comments, so far, have been, essentially, about the poor good pro-lifer being beaten up by the mean old pro-choicer, but that is not the narrative I see. This is, clearly, a case of rhetorical failure, in reality.

    If you were to google downtown Columbus, Ohio and fly through the downtown on Google Street View, you would find out that this incident took place in front of the state Capitol (the video is being shot, from what I can tell, facing away from the Capitol, looking across the street). That made me a bit suspicious about what actually were going on. I suspected that this was not a group of quiet Catholics walking in front of an abortion mill praying the Rosary, but a rather more confrontational Protestant group who view this as an exercise in Christian militancy. I have seen many such groups, both in cities and on campuses and they can be pretty confrontational in a kind of passive-aggressive way. Oh, they have sort of the right message, but their rhetoric is all wrong.

    If one looks at the website for CreatedEqual, which, I think is the organizing group, as it was cited in the article and is based in Columbus (unfortunately, they use Flash, so I cannot view much of it), one finds that they are a group specifically training college students for confrontation on abortion issues very similar to the Civil Rights marches of the past. They make this point, explicitly, in their website:

    “We are a social action movement seeking to end the greatest human rights injustice of our time….We are a movement, not just a cause. In a PBS interview, white civil rights activist James Zwerg said: “To me it was a movement . . . I sensed a power far greater than any one individual member. Since then I understand that the term is synergism, that the power of many is far greater than any individual.” James Zwerg understood that fighting for civil rights for African Americans was far more than a cause. It was a movement. The civil rights effort was a movement because it rallied people together who were willing to be persecuted for the cause of ending racial injustice. What separated the civil rights movement from many other causes was the fact that activists were willing to live radical lives to expose injustice. What makes Created Equal a movement is that we are an organized, mobilized generation choosing to live differently to protect the weak and defenseless by drawing strength and inspiration from one another.”

    CreatedEqual is housed in Columbus, Ohio and they are planning on blitzing cities from July12 – 20.

    I cannot view much of the literature on their website, so, perhaps one of the other commenter can comment further about it (and check my data), but from what I can see, they have a strong social justice component that derives itself from a Protestantized version of pro-life theology. They seem to want to cause discussion. Should they be surprised when they get it? They want to frame the pro-life agenda as a Civil Rights agenda, but, hey, so do the pro-choicer and so, they are headed for confrontation after confrontation by this sort of reckless rhetorical stance.

    I’ve seen too much of this sort of approach to be really too upset by this incident. These students, however mild-mannered they appear, did this sidewalk “couseling,” in front of the busy State Capitol in the middle of the afternoon – not a college campus, where one could assume a reasonable level of actual discussion (but, those can get heated, as well), but, rather, in a place bound to cause cognitive dissonance. Then, when confronted, they turn the other cheek. No, this is a case of a well-trained organized group not really seeking to education, but to confront.

    My sense is that this is not a Catholic organization. Catholics, by-and-large, do not approach pro-life activities in precisely the same way. Although Catholic and Protestant groups share some common grounds, the background philosophical theories and theologies do not always coincide. For instance, if I, as a Catholic happened to be walking in downtown Columbus, Ohio and saw this group and asked them what they thought about contraception, I wonder what they would have said? Protestants do not hold to Natural Law theory nearly as much as Catholics and they do not frame the philosophical issues in Aristotelian-Thomistic terms. So, if I had been passing by, I might have applauded their orientation, but certainly not their rhetorical devices. Framing the pro-life cause as a Civil Rights issue and not a moral issue is going to do nothing but cause a war.

    As I say, I cannot view a lot of their website, but I suspect that what I say is not far from the mark. In rhetoric, it is as important to know how to say things as to what to say and it is equally important to know when to argue, when to confront, and when not too. The woman was, clearly, too upset to reason with and that should have ended things, right there. I suspect that if this woman had been out with her girl friends sitting in lawn chairs sipping wine and the subject of abortion came up and one of her girl friends happened to make a quiet comment about the clump of cells issue, there could have been reasonable dialog and, maybe, even a breakthrough. Confronting someone with placards on a summer day when people are milling about and buses are running (that was a bus stop in the background) is not the best way to engage some people.

    It appears these counselors are trained in what to say, but not when to say it. Certainly, this was a bad approach for this woman. As I say, this was a rhetorical failure. It does no good to say that the woman is in the dark. These people did very little to create any kind of kindly light that would lead her home.

    I know it goes against the grain to say this, but I have had a great deal of experience with this sort of semi-theological activism and it takes a great deal of wisdom to know when to hold one’s tongue and pray and when to speak. There is a sense that, at the level of discourse, because of the context and setting, I cannot blame the woman for getting angry, even though she is wrong in her theology. She seems to not have a lot of experience at reasoned argumentation and this setting is completely different than outside of an abortion clinic, where the forces of good and evil are much stronger because the sense of sin is so much more immediate. This is not a setting for reasoned discussion. It is a setting for activism, pure and simple and some people, in the heat of battle, get frustrated and compress. This might have happened with this woman.

    Compare this to Frank Sheed’s training manual for the old Catholic Evidence Guild. Their mission was not to confront, but to educate. They had to handle hecklers, as well, but they were extensively theologically prepared and grilled by priests before they were ever allowed out in Hyde Park.

    No, in my opinion, this was not simply good vs. evil or the good angels vs. the bad, this was a case of inexperienced sidewalk people confronting a public in a setting bound to create these sorts of sparks. This sort of thing, probably does not happen at The Ohio State University or other universities in Ohio where this group meets. That should say something about this particular encounter.

    The Chicken

  21. Scott W. says:

    I believe that I had the right to tel them the did not have my consent to film me,” said Duran.

    This comes up all time in incidents like this, so one more time: One does not need consent to film someone in a public space.

  22. Muv says:

    “To their discredit, when she was leaving, they shouldn’t have chased after her and provoked her further.”

    No, APX, they did exactly the right thing. They had to keep her in sight, because they knew that when the cops arrived the first question would be “where is she.” Had there been no mobile phone footage of the incident to assist them, they could at least have shown that there had been no break in continuity of evidence of identity.

  23. Kerry says:

    Difficult to see from the video how soon the angry young woman got in very close. One doesn’t want anyone ever to get so close. Maybe from a firearms permit class, but I remember being told to throw my hands and arms up, palms out in a stop right there gesture and shout”Stop right there, don’t come any closer!” The single time I did this to a panhandler, (at a bus stop, just north of the Landmark Center in St. Paul), he stopped right now! (Yes, I was also armed at the time. One carries a firearm in hope of never needing it, never having to use it, but prepared to do so.) At the terrible abortion outfit in St. Paul, my head was always on a swivel, looking especially at traffic going by. I recommend vigilance. Were I present at the particular incident, there is a small, self defense move sort of like throwing ones hands up, but as if startled, a finger or two poke an eye of the too close person. I have not had to do this, but as it was presented in a self defense video, it can quickly defuse aggression. The man whose video it was also suggested quickly apologizing for poking the person in the eye, “Sorry. I was startled”. I am somewhat reluctant to mention this, as it is not something to go looking for someone to try it out on. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
    Viva Christo Rey!

  24. Mike says:

    APX…I believe they were trying to protect their signs a little down the road, the ones she tried to karate-kick….

  25. majuscule says:

    Michael Voris comments on the Proud Whopper mentioned above by Mary Jane.

    I used to go to Burger King occasionally. I realize they can’t “control” their employees on their own time but they can control their ad campaigns.

    And I am so sick and tired of the rainbow being taken on as an emblem of this movement!

  26. Kathleen10 says:

    A sad spectacle for American womanhood. I’m glad the grownup lady was there with these kids, because she would probably have been more violent, but you could hear the lady telling her to back off and she hesitated.
    She assaulted this boy. Getting in his face and screaming is assault. Clearly she was intimidating him with her proximity, her language, her gestures. They did the smart thing by videotaping her and letting her know it. When she was confronted by the grownup and the video, she took off. I’m glad she was arrested and she ought to be prosecuted. For some people, personal consequences are the only thing that prevents them from inflicting their anger on people at will. They get more bold when they get away with things. Perhaps next time she will think twice before publicly assaulting a young man. The days are gone when a pop in the chops could be accomplished without the entire government falling on you. I hate violence but bullies of all kinds are empowered when there is no consequence for them when they attack other people. In my day not that long ago, this kid could have defended himself and she would have ended up at least sitting on the sidewalk, but we live in different not better times. Girls and young women have been dangerously empowered to take out their anger on others, see themselves as victimized, and hate enough to be violent. I have seen it in middle and high schools. Girls pick fights with boys knowing the boys cannot touch them. I have seen girls grab boys by the shirt front as boys used to do. I have said to girls they are lucky the boys do not reciprocate because they would get hurt. They seem oblivious to it.
    Walking like this should be done in larger groups. I see it done in twos and that is not enough. Could an elderly man or woman take this assault? Maybe not. It is upsetting when you have a screaming shrew in your face. I have heard terrible things said to people walking outside clinics from people in passing vehicles, including the elderly, but everything today is more extreme as we see and words may not be enough for some people. We should all realize the dangers that are increasing when we are in a public place challenging the ideas of people who have a chip on their shoulder and an obvious myriad of personal challenges. Walking in larger groups, having a camera and phone at the ready, and some pepper spray, are good ideas to me. Perhaps putting up a large sign “You are being videotaped” is not a bad idea, although someone may say that’s not legal. Concealed carry is of course an option in some states.
    First, calm words to try to de-escalate things. Establish contact and break the spell of anger and violence. But if that doesn’t do it, they may need the threat of a consequence. People have to decide whether to give a warning or go right to the consequence. It depends on the situation.

  27. marcpuckett says:

    Masked Chicken, You make a valid point about rhetoric not necessarily serving its purpose when it results simply in angry outbursts of violence. And certainly those two fellows look like children to aged me, with all the good and less than good that that implies.

    But those sandwich board type signs were (as far as I can tell, and if what you report about CreatedEqual or whatever it is called is accurate then presumably the ‘witnesses to Life’ know where to legally put such things) scarcely confronting the woman. They may want to provoke discussion but the woman’s physical aggression isn’t that, is it. And I think you have to consider the location, too, from a different perspective: the Capitol, a temple to politics and politicking, not an abortion facility where emotions might be expected to be excited, indeed raw.

    I think militancy has its place in the struggle against legalised abortion, and while what may be appropriate at one place isn’t necessarily appropriate at the other, nothing you’ve written convinces me that the aggressive woman had any justification whatsoever for her outbursts. Frank Sheed was a great Catholic and a great apostolic witness to the Faith; I wonder how he would have addressed these issues (legalised abortion/protesting at abortion facilities), which, after all, were not the most usual subjects at Speakers’ Corner. (Speakers’ Corner Trust is at

  28. eulogos says:

    I don’t think this woman can be viewed as dangerous. I can’t help but think there is some kind of self righteousness about these young men. Call the police, call the police! Don’t they want to reach minds and hearts? Why not ask,”Why do you feel that way?” And they should surely be prepared to refute the”clump of cells” thing, perhaps with a series of pictures labeled by week of gestation, and referenced to an incontrovertible source like an embryology textbook. But again, the question about the source of the anger is important because that is coming before all thought in this case. I also wonder why there were no women in this group. Of course men have the right to have an opinion, but having only men there leaves them open to this accusation. I just wish that somehow something other than stoic endurance and appeal to police power could have been conveyed to this woman.

  29. cdet1997 says:

    “No Uterus, No Right to Talk.”

    Overheard in Mississippi in 1800: “Unless you own a plantation, you can’t possibly understand the financial pressures plantations owners are under, so keep your mouth shut about slavery.”

  30. bittergeek says:

    Unsurprising that she was wearing the uniform of the company that brought us the “Pride” burger. Perhaps she was an early tester of the “Wrath” version and suffered side effects. I’m actually looking forward to “Gluttony”, but I’ve heard stories from Special Forces types that “Sloth” tastes horrible.

  31. jflare says:

    “‘I believe that I had the right to tel them the did not have my consent to film me,’ said Duran.”

    I think she will have an immensely difficult time with getting that argument to stick. First, she’s within a few feet of the young man when she begins her rant; then, she moves herself well within the space of distance that most Americans consider “personal”, so she’s the one committing the “in-your-face” violation, not the young man. Next, notice that we see quite a lot of both people from the get-go, so the camera must surely be several feet away when she starts in. After that, she, not the camera guy, moves to push the camera aside.
    Considering that they all appear to be on public property, she can’t argue that they didn’t have permission to film her.

    I must firmly disagree with your view. If these people had normal abortion protest signs, well, so do we anytime we pray against abortion. I prefer to take a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary surrounded by children when I go to pray. I recall an occasion outside a clinic when I and several others appeared, in a sense, to be praying to an image of an aborted child. Not the image I like so much. But I think we need both the abortion signs and the beautiful art. We need to expose the evil, but also show the beauty.

    As to the state capitol versus the clinic or college, I’d counter that we need to be in all three places. We can expect rancor from the opposing side in all three cases, but trying to only fight abortion right by the clinic has not been working so well.
    We need to take the message everywhere.

  32. Johnno says:

    I support KM Edwards’ call to arms.

    The kind, inoffensive, mollycoddling approach isn’t getting you anywhere.

    In reality you need to utilize both forms of action. The gentle and pastoral, and the offensive and militant, each with proper discernment as per the situation, and no, the pastoral approach is not necessarily always the prudent way to go.

  33. Kerry says:

    A more humorous reply occurs to me. “Oh no. I am quite friendly with the uterus; I spent a long time there once.”

  34. incredulous says:

    Chicken, I’m struggling with the concepts you present here. I will say that a few posts back the whole topic of “blaming the victim” came up in a complete misapplication of the phrase. However, this is a case of blaming the victim. I think as a society we’ve evolved to point that, say, in a domestic dispute, no matter how vulgar and/or insolent a spouse gets, s/he never deserves a beat down for it. Surely, there is a deeper ethic and that it’s very well that the insolent spouse knew exactly the hot buttons to push and did so with the intent of causing the other to get physical. Sort of bait.

    In the end, though, our earthly acceptance is that the perpetrator of physical violence is not justified no matter how antagonized s/he was. Whether or not God sees it that way is a different matter and I’m not particularly sure if he condemns the antagonizer and absolves assaulter or any permutation, thereof.

    I’m particularly uncomfortable with your line: “…I cannot blame the woman for getting angry, even though she is wrong in her theology.” I have a few thoughts about this one. Firstly, it really made me sad to see this woman reduced to such hate and irrationality. This is not how a child of God should be. This is not in God’s image at all. I do feel sympathy towards her. However, as we understand Catholic virtue, we have our emotions, but as Catholics we act on virtue. Always. So, I know you would never justify it if you were verbally attacked by some hecklers and you tried to hit and kick them and deprive them of their freedom of speech or right to photograph in public. So, why justify it for her?

    I think what is missing is your focus on her free will. She had free will in this situation and her actions are not some Newtonian response decoupled from her own free will. She was not forced into it. So, there are her actions and her soul which need to be dealt with. Charity insists that we do not make excuses for her if it is harmful to HER salvation.

    Then the deeper, less tangible issue of what you bring up is important. They may have provoked her intentionally. In our climate of hyper parasitism and the flaming feminazi rhetoric of people like herself, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, etc., who are clearly beyond all saving by humans through discourse or education, aren’t innocents more protected by taking an agent of satan out in the court of public opinion in this manner?

    Father Z is right, we can never know the torment that led her to this state and compassion is mandatory. But, this woman looks like her own hurt and damage has allowed her to be completely taken over by the diabolical. As such, she’s a threat because she’s acting as an agent of the King of Lies. How to recover God’s child from Satan’s clutches is my question. In the end, it may not be possible so what actions does the Church Militant take from there in fighting evil? How is she any different from a Roman Centurion caught in a battle trying to kill Christians and then being opposed? Popes themselves have actually killed people rather than merely create a political confrontation in the defense against satan… purportedly.

  35. Netmilsmom says:

    We are part of Crusaders for Life Detroit. Both of my girls are trained in Krav Maga for such situations. She would regret touching either of my children.

  36. Sonshine135 says:

    I have personally witnessed this type of behavior. While having our annual Pro-Life chain and praying the Rosary in front of my church, there are occasions when people yelled derogatory statements from a car that is speeding by, or the people in the car let us know that we are “number 1”.

    We don’t know what personal issues these people have had in their lives. I have often thought that people that do this have some form of wound or guilt- maybe they have had an abortion or participated in getting one for someone. Maybe they wouldn’t usually act this way, but they are having a bad day and just go off. You never know. Just say, “Lord, I know I have many enemies. Please turn their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, and grant me the grace to not harbor anger and hatred. Amen”

  37. Del says:

    In defense of Burger King:

    BK is subsidiary of Pepsico. Pro-lifers petitioned Pepsico to stop using embryonic stems cells to test flavor enhancing chemicals. After some time, Pepsico acknowledged and accepted our request to cease using fetal cells for testing.

    We do not forget, and we remain grateful to Pepsico. The multinational megacorp could have ignored us.

    Burger King is not responsible for the behavior of this woman. She will likely be fired for her very public display of criminal violence while wearing the corporate uniform, but we should not pressure Burger King to do so.

    We would do well to send our letters to NARAL and other pro-abortion activist organizations, complaining that they are inciting impressionable women to violent behavior — and this puts their cause into very poor light. They should teach peaceful activism when the preach, as the pro-life movement does.

  38. Gus Barbarigo says:

    Didn’t “Dagger John” (Archbishop John Hughes) have armed men arrayed throughout New York City to protect Catholic churches when they were being burned by anti-Catholics?

    I agree with the above calls for a more realistic approach to the rabid anti-Cathlocism in this country: If violence against Christians in Africa and Asia is tolerated by policy-makers in the USA (those same elites who are probably helping to fund/arm the persecutors, and are plotting to use “lawfare” to stomp us out in the States), then they will tolerate such violence here. We need to be ready, and I pray our bishops are waking up to some tough truths.

  39. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Considering that they all appear to be on public property, she can’t argue that they didn’t have permission to film her.”

    It, really, depends on the state. The law for Ohio is:

    “Ohio Wiretapping Law

    Ohio’s wiretapping law is a “one-party consent” law. Ohio law makes it a crime to intercept or record any “wire, oral, or electronic communication” unless one party to the conversation consents. Ohio Rev. Code § 2933.52. Thus, if you operate in Ohio, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance. That said, if you intend to record conversations involving people located in more than one state, you should play it safe and get the consent of all parties.

    Additionally, consent is not required for oral communications (e.g., in-person conversations) where the speakers does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the communication. See Ohio Rev. Code § 2933.51. This means that you are free to record a conversation happening between two people in a public place such as a street or a restaurant, so long as you are not using sensitive recording equipment to pick up what you otherwise would not hear.

    In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the Ohio wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.”

    Yes, in Ohio, they can film this encounter, but I note that they had a camera ready, so they may have expected this. They started filming not in media res, but at the start of the encounter. Their response to her angry tirade is pretty stereotypically Christian. This all seems too much rehearsed behavior. I note, in passing, that we do not see the signs in the video, so this is somewhat selective in its context. Their website shows their banners in detail and they are graphic.

    I must firmly disagree with your view. If these people had normal abortion protest signs, well, so do we anytime we pray against abortion. I prefer to take a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary surrounded by children when I go to pray. I recall an occasion outside a clinic when I and several others appeared, in a sense, to be praying to an image of an aborted child. Not the image I like so much. But I think we need both the abortion signs and the beautiful art. We need to expose the evil, but also show the beauty.

    As to the state capitol versus the clinic or college, I’d counter that we need to be in all three places. We can expect rancor from the opposing side in all three cases, but trying to only fight abortion right by the clinic has not been working so well.
    We need to take the message everywhere.”

    This is hard to explain. The person: a) may have had a natural difficulty of expressing herself and is used to swearing when angry. That, in itself, is not demonic, just poor personal self-control. We do not know this person’s history or training, b) may have had an abortion, but that is not a given, c) felt the pictures to be a form of incitement and reacted accordingly.

    My point is, and I finally got to read the site in full (I am assuming that this is the governing organization, since they were quoted in the article and are from Columbus), this is a militant Protestant group. They either travel around the country or are training students to do so. In fact, I think they have been on my campus or some group like it. I know how this operates. You bring highly charged pictures on campus or to a busy intersection knowing that it will incite a reaction. A Virgin Mary picture would almost never get the same kind of reaction. This is deliberate and, then, when they get an angry reaction they film it, claiming, “poor me.” This is not like the racial marches of the 1960’s. This is shock activism, period. The sidewalk protestors are not trained to turn the other cheek out of an understanding of what that might mean, but, rather to either use passivity in the face of violence as a trained response (it really is passive-aggressive activism), or to hide behind the legal right to protest. This is pure legalcentric Protestantism and, as I mentioned, earlier, ecumenical agreements about some aspects of pro-life issues are fine, but there really are subtle differences between how Catholics and Protestants approach life issues.

    I am not blaming the victims. These pro-lifers are not victims in any real sense of the word. I understand why some people have these signs of aborted babies and their hearts are in the right place, but their heads are all over the map. This woman may have been a staunch feminist who might not have gotten so hostile if the signs had been different. I listened to their training video. They, explicitly, use these pictures, claiming that the anger isn’t in the pictures, but in the person. They provide a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., in support of this tactic, all the while rationalizing human behavior. This is poor philosophy of mind training on their part. What, really, do they gain by this tactic? Not that woman’s soul. St. Francis de Sales would never have approved of this whole scnario.

    I was on campus a few weeks ago and had an experience that was similar, emotionally, at least. The stupid city where I live was having a Gay Pride event on a Saturday and I had to catch a city bus from campus and transfer downtown to another bus to go shopping. I started early to get out of downtown before the event, but when I got on the first bus, already overwhelmed because I could sense the evil in the air, the woman passenger on the bus (there was myself, a man and a woman), said in my direction, “God loves you.” I had my suspicions about where she was going with this, but I smiled, both to indicate that I had heard her and that I appreciated the remark. Then, because I said nothing, she said, even louder, “God loves you.” Then, she got up and started to approach me. I stood up and told her to back down. I told her, “You don’t know what you are doing.” The other man said, “He died for your sins.” I realized that she wanted a response of some type common in street evangelization, but, I only had ten seconds left before I had to transfer buses and I could not explain anything to her about either evangelism, Catholicism, or spiritual abuse. If she had just said that God loved me, that would have been nice, but this sort of shotgun-evangelization I have seen too much of and I got frustrated and told her, in no uncertain terms, that you have to understand your audience instead of looking for a programmed response. I got fairly angry (not like the woman in the film, obviously), but having a great deal of experience with this type of evangelization, it was: a) a waste of my time to argue with her, especially on a short bus trip, and b) this sort of approach can be very damaging if not done correctly. What was her aim – to get me to accept Jesus as my Lord and savior? It, certainly, was not simply to tell me that God loved me. I got angry and it was by way of fraternal rebuke, because too many Protestants carry out programmed actions without any sort of flexibility in order to get a specific response. These people simply have no regard for the history or back-story of the person they are confronting. They want a response. I know these people on the bus believed that God loved me, but they never, actually, stopped to consider whether or not they were loving God by their actions towards me, specifically. Sometimes, I have time to dialogue with Protestants, but sometimes, I don’t and if they don’t pick up on that and exercise charity (oh, but isn’t leading someone to Christ charity, nevermind that they assume everyone they meet is a pagan, unless they give them the counter-sign), then given my heightened stress level and their behavior, I sometimes, get angry. They are looking for a response. I once wrote, by contrast, an article for a national Catholic magazine (a well-respected orthodox one) about a similar experience in another setting, where I spent two hours discussing the Faith on the sidewalk with a group of Baptist sidewalk missionaries, in part, because I threw them a curve they didn’t expect that allowed a real discussion to occur.

    My point is that these particular abortion signs are provocative. Should anyone be surprised that different people have different levels of self-control when they see them? Yes, there could have been demonic activity, here, but most of this film can be explained by ordinary psychology. This is a type of passive-aggressive evangelism. It is decidedly not how a Catholic should approach this, in my opinion. When I am spat on, I don’t normally think first off, “call the police.” My first thought is, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Calling the police might come later and forgive me for saying so, but it seems like they valued their own civil liberties more than that woman’s soul.

    They are so young and so naive, these activists. I saw no pity for the woman, at all, but a kind of paradoxically Christian superiority with a meek face on it as the student listened to the woman. Now, if someone fell to the ground and wept for the woman or started to silently pray a rosary for her, that would have impressed me and it might have impressed the woman, as well.

    I am sorry to say this, because I know many will disagree, but I see politics masquerading as Christianity in this video and some Protestant groups confuse the two, at times. One can be as politically pro-life as pro-choice. I just do not see much mature Christianity, here. I wouldn’t, normally, go out on a limb like this (and I am not condoning the woman’s actions, by any means – just asking for people to consider the broader context), but I’ve seen too much of this out in the world to be too upset when someone loses their temper in this setting. The woman is wrong in her theology and she is passionate in her error, but this was a situation tailor-made to inflame those passions. I assert that that is unChristian behavior.

    Video capturing these sorts of behavior is all the rage, especially among young people. This is not the first time I have been involved in commentary about such Evangelical activity. I used to be a frequent commenter at the conservative blog, What’s Wrong With the World and we had an interesting discussion about the videotaping of Evangelicals being harassed by police as they tried to Evangelize during a Moslem rally. That was a better use of video, as there was no provocative images, only Christians trying to dialogue.

    Catholics, as a rule, tend to want to discuss the Faith and lead people to see the reasons behind it. Some Protestants do, as well, but some are more interested in getting responses than understanding. Anyone can speak their mind, in theory (at least, in the olden days) on any street corner in America. Rhetoric is the art of effective or persuasive communication using devices of speech or act that stimulate the imaginations of others and calls forth a response. Just as in a court room, one should never ask a question one doesn’t know the answer to, in rhetoric, one should never use a communicative device one does not know the likely response of. So, are these sidewalk evangelists incompetent or naive? Either way, I, knowing the power of symbols, would have expected this woman’s behavior, but, unlike them, instead of reaching for the justice of the police, I would have reached for the mercy of God, for myself and for that woman. I have little sympathy for them (their cause, yes; their methods, no). Their methods are just like some Evangelical training camp methods. It is too scripted. Throw them a real philosophical question and they might be out of their weight class.

    Sorry, I have to go on so long about this, but I’ve seen too much of this type of rhetorical method not to know that its effects are unpredictable. If I sound as if I am being critical of this abortion group, yes, I am. Just because they are anti-abortion does not mean that I cannot, objectively, analyze their methods, goals, and philosophies. I am both as pro-life and conservative as they come, but there is a lot more to the situation in this film than pro-lifers being abused – far more, and it should be commented on, rather than passed on as a sound bite. This sort of activism will never have any large-scale effect in a positive direction, in my opinion. It is not like the Civil Rights movement, as they claim, either in tactics or philosophical underpinnings (and I listened to their training video and heard nothing about Natural Law or developmental biology, or genetics or anything to indicate a deep understanding of the issues. Ed Feser is much better at deconstructing relativism, by far). Their methods relies too heavily on crisis conversion tactics common to Protestants. It does not have the depth of Catholic thought behind it.

    If I should ever be passing by this group on campus or the sidewalk, I will stop and ask them their views on contraception. If they are for it, I will have a long, polite discussion with them. Do you think that rebuke will ever show up on a pro-life website? The early Christians were willing to expose themselves to danger by land and sea, without much protection from the law, to simply preach the gospel. That, is the mark of a noble Christian soul. St. Teresa made the comment about those who are not ready for the Cross, “their love has not yet overcome their reason.” This was Columbus, Ohio, so this woman’s actions may seem very severe for the Midwest, but I can’t help but think that these people are playing it safe. I dare them to take this approach to Harlem or the Bronx. I know that St. Paul would have. I wonder if their faith and their sense that this method of persuasion is a good one is strong enough to make them try.

    The Chicken

    P. S. Sorry, truly sorry, for going on so long, but there is a lot more going on in this scene than one might think and it bears a lengthy discussion, since, being attached for the sake of Christ is a beatitude. Being attacked because of incompetent methodology is just human failure.

  40. ByzCath08 says:


  41. incredulous says:

    Chicken, as you’ve doubled down on blaming the victim, I have a parallel I’d like you to address. Can you envision a scenario in a domestic dispute where a husband is justified in engaging in a swearing tirade against his wife, pushes her, kicks her paintings… and again, physically assaults her while she is being quiet and not overtly confrontational, threatening or physical?

    You are making the case that her violent response is acceptable. It’s not. She lost the battle when she got physical.

    And you think her claptrap isn’t demonic? White racist… msyogynist… mf er… you don’t have a right to express your opinion if you don’t have a womb? This woman’s mindset is highly tyrannical and troublesome and this woman’s philosophy has many powerful men and women in government behind it. This is warfare and she lost the battle.

    Why are you even slightly sympathetic to her actions? Of course, she’s a child of God so mourn the loss of her faith and grace, but her actions are 100% unacceptable. Please review the video again if you need to see what I’m talking about.

  42. Rachel K says:

    I felt really sorry for her, she is so wound up, clearly something bad has happened to her. Mother Teresa (Blessed) would have put her arms round her and hugged her tightly, as she did to one young woman who was physically attacking one of her younger nuns. We can do this spiritually for her.

  43. Rachel K says:

    Thinking on, we do have to take responsibility for the posters and other materials we show. For this woman, or another woman it may have been the moment of revelation when she realises her child is dead and it really was her child. Can you imagine the shock? There must be support at that very moment for her and her trauma, which could be great. It could even be enough to turn someone’s mind. So,we have to act with great prudence and care when we are potentially facing other people with very serious truths about themselves. Personally, I have only prayed at an abortion clinic with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, never images of preborn children, aborted or otherwise. I think in that circumstance, perhaps it is best to only show these to people if they ask.

  44. marcpuckett says:

    Masked Chicken,

    Thanks for your post at 1329. I don’t doubt your bona fides at all, really I don’t. I have read your wise and insightful posts here with pleasure.

    But to expect that all pro-life activists have considered the profound philosophical and theological underpinnings of the Catholic moral tradition on the life questions in the way you seem to require them to do and then to act on that basis is, it seems to me, just not realistic. Why should we expect them to do that? And aren’t you succumbing to the logical fallacy that is called, I believe, petitio principii: ‘being attacked because of incompetent methodology is just human failure’. They were ‘attacked’ for reasons unknowable to us, only guessed at. You are sure that the woman, had those kids used the proper methodology, wouldn’t have ‘attacked’. Well, perhaps; perhaps not.

    And to the woman on the bus, why not– specially since you were disembarking in a half a minute– just say, ‘yes, indeed He does’ and be on your way? You and we and that lady have different understandings of salvation and of God Himself in His Most Blessed Trinity more than likely but surely it isn’t necessary to go into all of it when we have chance meetings like that?

    We pro-life people have the right to expect that our civil rights be respected, too, however violent in spirit someone’s objections are: we should avail ourselves of the rule of law’s protection while we still have it– I don’t have any problem with Miss N having to suffer the civil penalty for her actions (although I personally wouldn’t press any charge against her, were I in those kids’ position)– after it is gone, then we will have to decide whether to take the Catholic militia approach, with our guns (I don’t have one of those, either) , or not.

  45. OrthodoxChick says:


    I don’t think that Chicken is “doubling down on blaming the victim”. As I read his comments, he is merely pointing out that there is a difference between praying in public while walking and holding signs (as we Catholics tend to do at 40 days for life) vs. going out looking for a fight. I can’t tell from this video which was the case here, and I haven’t yet reviewed this group’s website as Chicken has done. But I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve found myself on the butt end of a militant Protestant rant in the name of evangelization. There really are some groups who just go looking for a fight.

    As for this woman’s behavior, have you been in a high school or on a college campus lately? Heck, just go anywhere where “kids” hang out, especially college bars, and observe the speech and behavioral patterns. This girl is the face of the secular “mean-girl” culture with an “I don’t take no sh*t from anybody” attitude. It may very well involve the demonic on a widespread cultural basis, but it definitely isn’t unique nowadays. IMHO, it was a perfect storm to have this girl run into this group. No one involved seemed the least bit interested in diffusing the situation. The boy was calm, but chasing this woman down only got her more ramped up until she turned around and came back for round 2. The actions of all involved served to escalate the situation. I didn’t see anyone attempt to de-escalate it until the police showed up. In that regard, I agree with Chicken. When you’re exercising your free speech rights in public, and intending to do so peacefully and non-violently from start to finish (as most Catholic pro-life groups usually do), then you turn from prayerful protest to ministry when such a person as this lady comes upon you. If that doesn’t work and your attempts to minister aren’t being received well, then be prepared to call the police or go into self-defense mode. But even any self-defense instructor will tell you not to chase and hunt a person down. Look to extricate yourself from a physical situation first and take action only if that is not possible. The folks in this group didn’t do that. This lady’s behavior was horrid, but it’s more and more becoming the norm among many youth in our culture, so if you’re going to participate in public ministry, don’t be shocked when a hater gets up in your face.

    Bottom line for me is that no, this lady was no victim. Neither was the boy or the members of this group. The only victims here are the aborted babies. But the lesson to be learned from this video is: if you’re going to minister publicly in this way, expect the expected and be prepared to handle it properly. If you’re not, don’t be shocked when the situation gets out of control.

  46. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Chicken, as you’ve doubled down on blaming the victim, I have a parallel I’d like you to address. Can you envision a scenario in a domestic dispute where a husband is justified in engaging in a swearing tirade against his wife, pushes her, kicks her paintings… and again, physically assaults her while she is being quiet and not overtly confrontational, threatening or physical?”

    I am not doubling-down on blaming the victim. The fact that you see this clip as the classic, “Christian being insulted for the sake of Christ,” is what I’m trying to disabuse you of. It is not. This is a militant organization, deliberately provoking a response. I have seen their website and watched their training videos. You cannot read Catholic perspectives into this. Protestants have a different approach and a different take on pro-life issues than Catholics, otherwise, they would not allow contraception. They want to provoke, but they rationalize the responses they receive as being the failing of the other person. Their training guides even say so. Then, they try to claim the high road.

    Anyone who cannot see that there are a multitude of possible responses from anger to remorse to fear at the sight of these pictures does not understand the semiotics being played out. This group has been on my campus (I believe, or a similar group, but I believe it was this group) and the police are out in force when they come. Yes, the pro-choice people are upset and do argue, but one does not have to invoke the supernatural to see that a heightened emotional response could be triggered by these pictures and the issues at hand. They are, both, very personal. It is not proper to jump to the conclusion that the demonic is involved, simply because someone responds in uncontrollable anger. People can be hot-headed enough in their personal humanity without being anything more than tempted by a picture or a word. The approach of this group is only good for a very small number of people. Obviously, these people are pro-life, to a certain extent, within their Protestant sensibilities, but what I am saying is that their approach is not always a Christian approach in that they can cause scandal.

    “2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.[CCC]”

    Although I cannot say for sure, if that woman lost her temper and swore because of even the subtle provocation of these people, then they committed scandal. They did not show what went on before the encounter on the video, however, so that is judgment that will have to be left to God.

    “You are making the case that her violent response is acceptable. It’s not. She lost the battle when she got physical.”

    I am NOT defending the woman. I am, also, not defending THIS group. I am trying to make an unemotional analysis of the situation based on what I know of both spiritual abuse and emotional responses to these sorts of situations. I have encounters with Evangelicals, all of the time, and some are pleasant, but some make me very angry. My anger is more frustration than anger, but what can you do? Are you, really, willing to say that every angry outburst directed at a sidewalk preacher is demonic? Sometimes, the preacher is doing something wrong or has a wrong understanding of rhetoric and actually makes the situation worse. In the video, the young man smiles when the woman is yelling at her. Most people think, “My, how Christian he is.” What I am thinking is, “What the heck does he think he is doing?? Doesn’t he know that is exactly the wrong thing to be doing at this moment. It comes off as smug superiority, not humility.” It is exactly the wrong psychological response to make in this situation to keep the situation under control. If you don’t believe me, the next time you have an argument with your wife or husband, try striking that pose. See how far it gets you. It is well-known that that pose actually inflames anger. Jesus never said to smile at our opponent when they insult you. That would make me mad as it makes me think that they aren’t even taking me seriously.

    I know pro-life theology, fairly well. I have spent years arguing it on the Internet and in person. The next time this group comes to campus, perhaps I will approach them and start asking about contraception. It will take about three minutes to break them down, I’m guessing. Even their arguments against abortion come from either the Bible or, “DNA is destiny,” arguments. Any arguments that they cannot control within this framework quickly leaves them unable to form an answer. They have no theological depth. Will they, then, listen to my Natural Law arguments? I doubt it. That would be real humility and a willingness to really listen to your interlocutor and learn from them. I suspect that they think they have the answers.

    Have you watched their training video? I have. It is the standard argumentative constructs used by skeptics to break down true-believers. In their hands, it does not seem to me to proceed from an honest desire to search for the truth with one’s interlocutor, but, rather, an attempt to lead him to what must be, in their mind, the truth. Their methodology, almost word-for- word, is used to train atheists in confronting theists. It is a standard argumentative paradigm and it really doesn’t work that well in the wild.

    Let’s turn the situation around. Suppose this group or someone similar decided that the Catholic Church were the anti-Christ (some groups, do, in fact, claim to be both pro-life and anti-Catholic)and decided to do sidewalk counseling about it. Which Catholic would not feel anger towards the group’s approach, if it were similar to what is presented, here? You might not yell obscenities because you have good moral sensibilities, but if they smiled at you like you were a child while you tried to tell them that the Pope is the successor of Peter, how would you feel?

    I am trying to get you to see this video outside of the pro-life framing. The methodology used is poorly transfered from an idealization of the Civil Rights movement with student counselors who are way beyond their depths in discussing some of these issues.

    The woman in the video was angry for her own reasons and I will not defend them, but in discerning the spirits, one does not have to invoke the supernatural where a natural explanation will do. Anyone using the techniques of this group with as little training and mature understanding of the human condition as some of these people seem to have is bound to have people get angry at them, whatever the issue. The point I am making is not about being pro-life vs. pro-choice. I am NOT discussing that and I never have been. It is about the failure of the methodology they are using. This same or nearly exact methodology is used in many other argumentative situations and it really can leave even the strongest of men frustrated, even if they happen to be on the side of the angels. It is a bad approach.

    To have this video presented as a striking example of Christian behavior belies the deep structure of psychology, rhetoric, and argumentation going on under the surface. I have a colleague who used to stand in front of an abortion clinic for hours doing nothing more than holding a life-size Cross. If this woman came up to him and yelled at him and he meekly accepted the insult without a glib smile, I would be defending him to the skies for being a true Christian witness. This group, from what I can see, not so much.

    I hope that clarifies things. Conflict mediation does not seem to be this group’s strong suit. I am suggesting that this particular incident happened because the student did not know how to really deal with it. He let it spiral out of control when it didn’t have to. He was told how to deal with it in a training seminar, no doubt, but that is a far cry from having real-world experience and the training he received, from what I can see, could use advice from people who aren’t concerned so much about a social movement, but the true salvation of a soul. They, clearly, failed here, when they didn’t have to. Do you think that this woman is going to go home and say, “Wow, I met a real Christian?” Until anyone they meet on the sidewalk is able to say that, they have a ways to go.

    I do not criticize lightly and I do not criticize without reason. I know my stance on this occasion is unpopular and probably has some people questioning my thinking, but I have spent a great deal of time dealing with these issues and I cannot see this particular video in simple black and white moral tones.

    The Chicken

  47. OrthodoxChick says:


    You mentioned art and beauty needing to have a place in our public evangelization. Imagine if a 40 Days for Life prayer march began this way…

  48. The Cobbler says:

    Regarding whether the tactics of this pro-life group make this woman’s reaction acceptable/justified/whatever: If one man purposefully offends another, and the other punches him, can only one of them be in the wrong?

  49. Rachel K says:

    OrthodoxChick: “then you turn from prayerful protest to ministry when such a lady as this comes upon you” .
    Fine, but just how exactly were this group ministering to her in this situation?
    They do not know her circumstances. Maybe she needs a coffee and a quiet chat, maybe she needs a priest and confession, maybe a psychiatrist. Or a bear hug from Mother Teresa. If this is an example of how as Christians we minister to our brothers and sisters in need then I am not happy with it.
    When I prayed at a clinic it was with one friend in a quiet suburb of Liverpool and only periodically did girls come up to us and let off steam a bit. We always listened and said we were sorry they were upset and then offered to pray for them and then genuinely wished them a pleasant day.
    These street situations can deteriorate into running battles. These people are not our enemies, the enemy is the Devil and his demons.
    “Bottom line is for me that no, this lady was no victim.”
    The victims of abortion are many. The Devil is a liar and a murderer and through abortion he murders both body and soul and it is a web of lies that is his method. This woman may be a victim of abortion.
    We used to say ” there but for the grace of God, go I”, perhaps we should popularise this phrase again?

  50. incredulous says:

    Chicken, you didn’t read anything that I said if you see that I didn’t get your point that this was an intentional provocation and shouldn’t be the way Catholics approach it.

    Now, Mathew 5:37 “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.” I asked a question. In a domestic situation can you see a case to be made that a man’s verbal tirade, kicking at objects, pushing and physically swiping at a non argumentative, passive, non violent wife is ever justified irrespective the depth of her antagonizing. Either his violence is his doing or she bears responsibility. Which is it. Yes or no? Does she bear responsibility for the man’s violence?

    Orthodox, it doesn’t matter one whit as to whether they followed her to film her or not. It doesn’t “erase” her verbal and physical assault from being meaningful or illegal or that it happened or her culpability for it. Isn’t it a Catholic virtue to assume the best in people? You are casting aspersions on the motive and effect of them continuing to film in public this violent woman who they clearly signaled believed broke the law because they had called for the police. Whether or not that’s what you’d do in that situation, why do you assume it was malevolent?

    Further, it doesn’t matter one whit whether this is the “culture” of the mean girl. Who cares? Hopefully each and every one of these cretins when they fly off the handle and try and impinge on the civil rights of others WILL BE ARRESTED, CONVICTED AND PUNISHED. There is ZERO place in society for this type of behavior.

    And if it takes a “passive” war to remove them from society or to get them to change their behavior, well isn’t this the non violent resistance that’s been practiced by Gandhi and MLK? When your enemy is busy destroying themselves, don’t get in their way. (We are the Church Militant and we are here to fight evil. That woman is clearly evil.)

  51. jflare says:

    “Conflict mediation does not seem to be this group’s strong suit. I am suggesting that this particular incident happened because the student did not know how to really deal with it. ”

    On the contrary, Chicken, I thought the pro-lifers dealt with this situation quite well. We can agree that the young man in the video probably should not have allowed this woman to get in his face, but that’s where the agreement ends. I have seen this behavior before too; had he put his arm to politely remind her of the distance between them, she very likely would’ve slapped his arm aside and got in his face anyway. I’ve seen such behavior happen before. Many of the “tolerance” crowd only believe in requiring you to tolerate them, nothing doing the other way around.
    I would say that if these guys had been praying a rosary surrounding a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it’s quite likely that the woman would’ve simply ignored them and passed by without noticing. She only reacted because she didn’t like seeing the picture.

    I spent three years at a secular university, I remember well the attitude that the administration fomented. I recall reading some things on a chalkboard once that made me realize just how desperate the situation had truly become, even 16 years ago.

    If you want to declare that she could’ve walked away, thinking that she’d just met a real Christian, I think it far more likely that the only answer she would’ve given would’ve been to condemn the fact that those bigoted, ignorant, scum were trying to tell HER how to live her life. The fact that she’s doing the same thing herself will not compute.

    I think it tragic that we’ve reached a point in our society when we must tolerate this sort of thing, but I’d point out to you that the protesters did, in fact, suffer an act that didn’t need to happen. We do have a legitimate cause for reminding people of the genocide amongst us. If that’s prone to get people riled up, well, let’s remember that we’re Catholics…and we can take it.

    In summary, if we intend to bring about the end of abortion, we’re going to need to expose the evil for what it is, so I can’t agree that these protesters should’ve done differently. The only alternative, really, will be to keep our mouths shut.
    That’s something we cannot do.

  52. jflare says:

    Orthodox Chick,
    I would LOVE to see a 40 Days start that way. And end. And have various outbursts with that much talent all the way throughout.
    I think that would provide marvelous witness to the joy and passion of being alive.

    Even so, I think it a grave mistake if we fail to expose the evil for what it is.

    So here’s the question:
    Why can’t we do both?

  53. jflare says:

    Just for the sake of argument, I googled CreatedEqual. Because it’s Saturday morning, I close working tonight, and I need to get some sleep, I don’t have time right now to watch their videos, but I like what I see so far. If anything, these are the kinds of things that we should’ve been doing some time ago.
    We need to pray outside abortion mills, yes. Being happy, enthusiastic, and youthful is also great. … I am no longer easily any of these. I’m well past 30 now, nobody will mistake me for a naieve 20-year old. I have never been one ecstatic about a mere occasional mildly friendly conversation, but have long been prone to prefer the vigorous debate. Such an effort can’t happen easily without lots of information, something that these videos seem to provide. If they aren’t motivated by Catholic faith, well, they need to start somewhere.

    It’s entirely possible that most of these folks won’t take kindly to any influence of Catholic faith in time. All right. We know that we’re likely to suffer ire for many, many reasons. Those who have been allies may turn against us quite quickly. So be it.
    I can’t see giving these guys a hard time for engaging the culture in a manner that might succeed in causing people to think.
    You never know, the confrontation we saw on video might be the very beginning of a long, difficult process, by which this lady may be forced to reconsider her own views.
    In the meantime, the message still needs to be set forth.

    We also need to take the fight to college campuses, state capitols, and everywhere else.

  54. incredulous says:

    Is there an implication here that in some cases a wife deserves to get battered because she provoked it? Yes, the wife is wrong for taunting or provoking, but she’s not responsible for his actions. In the end, he’ll go to jail for getting physical, she won’t for taunting. Are they equivalent wrongs?

  55. incredulous says:

    I can’t detect anything incendiary these pro lifers did other than tell people the truth and highlighting the wrong of what they were doing. The main argument against them is they should not have had pictures and that they should have been quietly praying. However, not even all Catholic clergy like the idea of praying at anti abortion settings. Didn’t some Cardinal or Bishop just complain about faceless, emotionless rosary praying pro lifers? You can’t please everybody, all of the time.

    It’s probably time Catholics stopped fighting each other and started fighting satan.

  56. OrthodoxChick says:

    Rachel K.,
    “Fine, but just how exactly were this group ministering to her in this situation?”

    They weren’t. That’s my point. The example that you gave of what you and your friend did should have been tried in this case, if not something else along those lines. That’s a form of ministry.

    “Orthodox, it doesn’t matter one whit as to whether they followed her to film her or not. It doesn’t “erase” her verbal and physical assault from being meaningful or illegal or that it happened or her culpability for it. Isn’t it a Catholic virtue to assume the best in people?”

    I guess I’m not too Catholic then, or maybe I spent too much time as an auxiliary police officer back in my youth. But if I’m in public doing anything, no matter how innocent, knowing someone is likely to take offense and come at me for it, I’m not standing there assuming the best in them while dodging their F-bombs. Nope. Sorry. That’s a good way to get hurt or killed. Try to minister and see how it will be received, but be planning exit strategies as you minister – just in case.

    When this group followed this lady, it had the effect of escalating her already heightened emotions. That’s a completely predictable outcome and therefore, should have been avoided. They should have let her go. They still could have called the police. They already had her on video at that point and could have given that video to the police. And so what if she verbally assaulted them? That is to be expected. Have you never been verbally attacked in public by an atheist, or worse, an ideological atheist? I have. This lady was calm and tame compared to what I’ve experienced. Just by mentioning that I am pro-life in a discussion (never mind while praying and carrying a sign) I’ve been called a religious zealot and a “crazy” who is to be considered a danger and threat for trying to force my beliefs on people who use their sense of reason; rational people who haven’t been brainwashed by a bunch of misogynistic pedophiles the way I have been (in their opinion). Where I live, we still have the KKK active in my county and even the local high school kids know which town not to go to if you’re black, Jewish, or especially, Catholic. When someone has “nicely” informed you that you should watch what you say because you never know if you’re unsuspectingly talking to a KKK member, then you can warn me about how it’s a crime that some kid is dropping the F-bomb and getting in someone’s face. Big deal. It happens routinely and only the people whose sensitivities won’t be offended by it are the ones who should be out doing this type of activist pro-life work nowadays. This is the culture we live in now. No pro-life group should be sending people out to pray in public without first preparing them properly with some basic conflict resolution and disengagement skills. That’s my beef with this group. Either they were out to deliberately provoke, which is not ministry, it’s picking a fight, or they were ill-prepared for the type of ministry they were engaging in. This lady was in the wrong, no 2 ways about it, but the situation did not need to continue to escalate the way that it did. That’s the fault of both parties, IMHO.

    If you stand in front of a state capitol building holding signs and your rosary, common sense tells you that it’s only a matter of time before someone takes offense and confronts you about it. If you stand there insisting that the person is assaulting you just because they’re hurling obscenities and nasty names at you, hollering for the police to come save you from a 20-something girl on a verbal tear, then you’re choosing to play the victim all by yourself. Here where I live, the cops have better things to do and more serious crimes to deal with. Ranting, raving co-eds aren’t at the top of the list unless there’s nothing else going on. Maybe it’s not like that where you are, but where I come from, one should know thine enemy and prepare for battle.

    No, the pro-life movement doesn’t need faceless, emotionless rosary-praying people. It needs people who know what they’re asking for and know how to handle it when trouble comes their way. It also needs to engage the public is a clever, effective, yet non-threatening way, which is why I linked jflare to the above flashmob video.

    Absolutely we should do both. I was suggesting something like this flashmob to grab attention in a positive way and as a prelude to whatever might follow; maybe a chant flashmob and some prayer. Art and beauty can be used to re-capture the hearts of the people, even if only long enough to plant a seed. I would think that the more disarming the method, the better the chance of success. But it must be of sound aesthetic quality. A flashmob of liturgical dancers singing kumbaya would never have the same effect!

  57. The Masked Chicken says:

    I did a YouTube check just to be sure that I have my facts straight. It was, unambiguously, the group, Created Equal that this happened to. The video bears its name. I was afraid I might have been ranting about the wrong group;

    “Now, Mathew 5:37 “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.” I asked a question. In a domestic situation can you see a case to be made that a man’s verbal tirade, kicking at objects, pushing and physically swiping at a non argumentative, passive, non violent wife is ever justified irrespective the depth of her antagonizing. Either his violence is his doing or she bears responsibility. Which is it. Yes or no? Does she bear responsibility for the man’s violence?”

    That most definitely is not what I see, happening, here. We did not see what occurred before the tirade happened. We do not know if she were approached or she approached them. We do not know if she were looking at the pictures. The whole narrative is controlled by the pro-lifers. That is bad science. I did not misunderstand you. I agree that an aggressive man beating on a passive wife bears the responsibility in most cases, but not always. Everybody has their triggers and some people know how to push them and appear perfectly innocent. That is a hallmark of certain types of evil. That lady on the bus I mentioned, above, to certain Christians, might have looked perfectly innocent, but she was not, although she was ignorant of what she was doing. Had I not had the experiences I have had, in other circumstances, she could have done tremendous spiritual harm.

    My point was that if someone is yelling at you, to smile back at the person, as this student does is often interpreted as smug superiority and inflames the situation. Suppose a wife were needling her husband – she knows all of the buttons to push and it is hot and he is tired and he starts hitting the wall. He may be doing this to exercise the last bit of self-control he has, but if the wife starts smiling in a patronizing manner, he will flare up and it will be the wife’s fault. It is incitement. It is sinful.

    I have had a lot of experience with street preachers and not all are equally trained. On the surface, the training videos of the group seem really nice, but if you have had a background in apologetics or argumentation as it is currently done, it quickly becomes apparent that this training is a standard type used by skeptics to argue against true believers. Brian Dunning of the Skeptzoid podcast did an episode quoting nearly the exact points covered in the training film. This type of training does not lend itself to emotional situations. It is analytical.

    Do you really think that if I engage this group in a serious discussion about contraception that it will change their minds? They are as hard set as the woman, I would bet. They are as much true believers as she is, except that part of their beliefs happen to be right. They do not want to discuss. They want to tell and they make it seem like there is a discussion happening. They are right, a priori. That is bad science. It is bad apologetics.

    “On the contrary, Chicken, I thought the pro-lifers dealt with this situation quite well. We can agree that the young man in the video probably should not have allowed this woman to get in his face, but that’s where the agreement ends. I have seen this behavior before too; had he put his arm to politely remind her of the distance between them, she very likely would’ve slapped his arm aside and got in his face anyway. I’ve seen such behavior happen before. Many of the “tolerance” crowd only believe in requiring you to tolerate them, nothing doing the other way around.”

    No, they did not handle it well, at all. Protestants see civil law in a different way then Catholics. That is why they thought of legal actions, first. In any case, he did exactly the wrong things to inflame her anger. A more experienced person might have been able to keep the situation from getting out of control.

    Peter Kreeft wrote a book a while back called, Ecumenical Jihad, which, basically, said that Catholics and Protestants should band together to fight the evils of society. I disagreed then and I do, now, because it is a very naive position to assume that there is a common approach among Catholics and the thousands of denominations of Protestants. Yes, some Protestants are pro-life, but their underlying philosophies can so differ from the Catholic reasoning that completely different tactics can result.

    Some might see this as Ghandian non-violence in the film, but I have a friend who teaches tactics at the Command and Staff college in Virginia and he and I once had a talk about this subject. He claims that the specific type of non-violent resistance practiced by Ghandi is a horrible tactics and resulted in needless slaughter. The Civil Rights movement in this country was a failure because it primarily generated emotional responses, but not clear reasoning. That is why we have gay marriages and abortions, now, because proper reasoning and limits were not clarified on civil liberties, at the time. This group wants to make pro-life in the image of those days. It is very dangerous.

    I’ve got to go. I am sorry that I have run contrary to the ideas of this post, but these sorts of discussions, especially in this media saturated culture, are important. There are many ways to fight for the pro-life cause and their way is certainly one of them, but I think is will not, in the end, prove very effective. They are approaching things entirely in the wrong way, in my opinion.

    The Chicken

  58. The Masked Chicken says:

    I want to apologize a bit for being so contrary in my last few comments on this post. I think the film merits serious discussion and I hope I raised some point to think about, but, none of us were there and it is really not a good idea to go too far beyond the facts. I don’t think I know any of the people involved (ha, try to figure that one out :) ) and, in any case, it was wrong of me if I impugned the character of any of the people involved. I have had my fill of rash judgment for the time being. I know the pro-lifers have their hearts in the right place and I can rightly call them my brethren in the fight. I hope they converted many hearts, that day. The woman should be in our prayers.

    I guess my two points might be simply: a) there are many tactics in the pro-life battle. Choose your sword, well and, 2) never accept a film clip on face value. Always try to get behind the story. That is especially import with the rise of self-made films on the Internet.

    If anyone is interested, there are a couple of ways to defuse the, “clump of cells,” argument that I think can work really well. Maybe after I take some time for soul-searching about my comment box behavior of late, it might be something useful for someone to hear about.

    The Chicken

  59. jflare says:

    I gather you and I (and possibly others) will simply need to disagree on this matter.
    If you say this is bad ministry, bad science, and bad apologetics, I must say that science, ministry, and apologetics were not the point in this case, nor should they have been.

    If you see this as failed evangelism, I see this as politics, and politics in a manner that we’ve been mostly derelict about as Catholics. We can’t expect law to reflect moral virtue if we don’t, as Catholics and American citizens, stand in the public square and insist on making ourselves heard, part of the debate. This protest appears to have been conducted on state capitol grounds with the intent to expose the evil of abortion. As such, it is inherently protected free speech; they have the right to expect others to conduct themselves in a civil manner, or at least, not in physical violence.

    It appears to me that this group understood very well that many would not take kindly to hearing an idea from faith, therefore they were ready to respond. Knowing that they may well suffer assault, they had the camera ready to be capable of demonstrating to law enforcement that someone did, in fact, do something illegal. Witness statements can easily be directly contradicted; the film makes pretty plain precisely who did what. That’s what law enforcement needs. I think the Burger King lady knew it too, otherwise she wouldn’t have reacted as she did. If you want to claim that they shouldn’t have pursued her, I contend that pursuing her was necessary, thus law enforcement could find her and hold her to account. I would expect no different if a pro-lifer did something equally abusive to someone else.

    The only way that this woman could’ve been “kept under control” would’ve been to have…failed to be there at all. I have never met a pro-choice person who won’t become thoroughly ticked off if you opposed abortion–or contraception–to their face. “Tolerance” only goes one direction these days. If you’re not as permissive as they, you’re branded a bigot.

    As far as natural law discussions go, no, these folks almost certainly wouldn’t have the faintest idea what you’d be trying to say. For that matter, I think at least 3/4 of Catholics likely would not either, sadly enough. Even if they did, I would not expect these people to be concerned with natural law, really. They do not currently have cause for considering it.

    They aren’t considering Catholic faith, they’re fighting abortion.

    …and I have yet to witness a debate between pro-life and pro-choice when pro-choice didn’t twist natural law ideas into nasty pretzels to maintain their view.

  60. jflare says:

    BTW, I gather some of that last actually came from Orthodox Chick’s comments, not the Chicken’s. My apologies.
    For what it’s worth though, I don’t know that I’d refer to this as an “assault” in the sense of someone being hurt per se, but considering the legal aspect of it, I don’t think there’s another acceptable way to address it. She did get in the young man’s face with a loud mouth and belligerent pose–I wonder how her finger looked to him?–she did shove him, she did shove the camera guy, she did kick over the signs. …then took of running, like she knew very well that she had done something illegal.

    If you all have seen far worse, well, so have I. This does not mean we should allow it. Unless we intend to allow people to inflict beatings on us when we’re protesting, we’d best expect law enforcement to enforce the law. Even if we wish to be personally merciful, failing to prosecute will not help anything, but it may encourage further abuse.

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