Friday, May 05, 2006

GAP Fallout

In the previous post, I reported that the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) was on the campus of Western Washington University, my Alma Mater. GAP argues that abortion is genocide, and uses gruesome pictures of aborted fetuses to make its case. It has been proven to be a very effective means to engage people in dialogue. Just look at all these young collegiate minds talking amongst themselves.

Here is a roundup from the Western Front:

The front page article. Quite good, I must say.

Another article about the student who trashed the display. He will be tried and will plead Not Guilty, because he thinks the display shouldn't have been allowed on campus.

There are a few letters to the editor. One of them argues that free speech does not include pictures.

And finally the official opinion of the School's newspaper. I spoke to the president of the pro-life club today, and he will write a response to this. The article said that no-constructive debate happened, which he says is false.

Overall, I will say that I'm impressed by the articles in the Front, especially the front pager. Its much better, in a charitable sort of way, then I expected. But there are a couple things that the other articles, particularly the oppinion pieces mention, that ticks me off as an alum...

First, please know that I am not sold on the means the club used to get their point across. This is not, then, meant to argue in their favor. Its simply to state some inconcistencies I see from the WWU "pro-choice" students.

...Why shouldn't the display be allolwed on campus? Why don't you want these views protected under free speech? They had warning signs out all around campus, and nobody had to see them (although I admit, depending on where your classes are, it would be tough to avoid). But why shouldn't they be allowed to have this display, or any other display that articulates their ideas? Why did people cheer when the signs were being torn down and their message was being censored?

Also, why don't the pro-choicers want this to happen? The way I see it, choice is based on information. If this information would help make an informed choice, how could it be wrong? Thus, I don't see why pro-choicers wanted these removed. I might have to write to the Western Front about this.
Feel free to make comments...I'd like to know your thoughts.

oh..and the pictures are from the Western Front and my friend Andrew. Thanks.


Laura T. said...

Landmines Bryan, landmines...the whole debate and polarization of even the terms creates explosive reactions...and I have to say, graphic pictures don't help further the debate or dialogue, they just get people angry.

For instance, would it be helpful to be bombarded by graphic images of the violence of war to protest war?

Do pictures of Matthew Sheperd strung up on a fence and dying, and other pictures of tortured homosexuals lend calm and civility to the discussion of gay rights?

Let's about pictures and posters of mutilated and abused women as a conscience raiser for domestic violence?

I think there's a big difference between a brochure with a small graphic picture being passed around versus big posters "in your face" type of "free speech", which is a means of intimidation .

Now, there's a difference between presenting graphic material to the public without giving the public a choice to view it, versus designating a space for presentation in which people have a choice to view it or not, or to debate it or not.

I, for one, would never want to see the Vagina Monologues being presented on campus, in Red Square, for people to be rawly exposed to it without consent or choice or an opportunity to learn what will be presented.

So, IMHO, this "pro-life" display is not that at all, but another means of coercion that polarizes the debate once again.

Poor choice on whoever did not review the display and allowed it to be a campus center peice.

Ay, and I'm sending my first born there. Grumble Grumble.

Yours truly,
Past President of Seattle U Students for Life
Who believes there is a better way to promote the sanctity of life,
Love and Prayers,
Laura T

Seminarian said...

Laura -

Thanks for the comment.

First off, I think it is helpful to show graphic images, and there is much historical precedent for this. The first time this was really done was in the civil rights movement, when a boy named Emmett Till was lynched. His mother had an open casket funeral the pictures of her son were shown all throughout the north and really motivated the Civil rights movement in the late 50s and on into the 60s.

Also, today, pictures of war are being used to combat war. I remember when Matthew Sheperd was killed, and while I never saw a picture, the graphic story of how he was found , I feel, HAS helped to curb violence against people based on their sexual orientation.

Furthermore, GAP is having its affect, and contrary to many people's oppinion, dialogue is happening, and people are re-thinking their stance...


That doesn't mean that we should blindly accept demonstrations like GAP, because we should not believe that the ends of an action justify the action itself.

Your points are very valid, and they are the same concerns I have about the display. I too think that this means can be intimidating, especially to people who have already had abortions. The biggest problem I had about the display was that there were (at least that I could see) no information given for post abortion healing. Some project Rachel pamphlets, or other healing ministry, should have been present.

And please, don't worry, your oldest daughter will be just fine at WWU. There are many protests, but rarely is there one as controversial as this. Plus, its a big enough campus to avoid Red Square if you want.

mere human said...

reading the blog, comments and the articles that surrounds it, reminded me of that saying "the medium is the message"-Marshall McLuhan. (ok maybe not exactly in that context) but that in a way, in our society these days, you sometimes need projects such as these to create awareness. society is just soo far in the culture of death that they don't even realize what is hurtful and morally wrong anymore. and that i think it's scary.

"And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?" -M. Theresa

i think that what these people are just trying to say is that "LOOK here's what's going on!" they're not sugar coating the truth. telling someone to close their eyes when something wrong is going on doesn't make the wrong right. i think that these projects are just trying to open people's eyes. you can pass brochures, but it just makes it very convenient for the people with rose-colored glasses to just throw it in the trash. (where's the awareness in that?) it's sad that it has to come to big graphic posters to show truth and create awareness. i believe that that's why they call it an awareness project to provide awareness.

side note: a point for the pro-life-ers tho. if people are getting angry by these pictures, well good for them! i think it just proves another point that the pro-life-ers have been trying to say. that human beings are unique, that they have feelings and intelect, they can laugh at something funny, or get angry when provoked. and that's only one of the reasons why they value life so much. at least being angry reminds them that they are still human with feelings.

Laura T. said...

Hi Bryan,
Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
I had to chuckle when you mentioned the Western campus as big enough to avoid Red Square...Adina's going the Education track, which puts her right almost square on the Square :) :) Ah well, I'm sure I'll be the last to know what activities are being promoted there...
thanks for the heads up !