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Wednesday, May 04, 2022

My first op-ed piece was about abortion. This is what happened...

During the four years I spent (of my seven year undergraduate career... ehh, family tradition you might say) at Elon, I was on the staff of the student newspaper The Pendulum.  First as a reporter but mostly as an op-ed writer.  It was a continuation of all the letters to the editor I had been sending the bigger newspapers.  I figured that being an essayist for my school's paper would provide for constructive feedback.  Well, that and also having a more captive audience.
My first column was published in March of 1996.  And for the subject I chose abortion. Mainly, why it was destroying our capacity for the value of the human soul.  The heartmeat of the argument was that we were numbing ourselves to the sanctity of human life, and I kicked the piece off with a quote from Mother Teresa.  It was, I thought, a solid essay.
Naturally, it touched some nerves. This being a fairly liberal private school (albeit one with a sizable evangelical Christian presence).  A number of people contacted me and said they were glad somebody was standing up for the unborn.
But there was hate also.  By the end of that weekend I think three or four death threats had come my way.  I took it all in stride.  To me, it only meant that three or four additional people had read my essay and took it seriously.
But then, there's what happened the week after that issue ran.
I had come down with the flu, with a 102 degree fever and of course like an idiot, I was walking around campus.  I was with two friends that day, and we were going into the library.  The original building that is, before Elon's new one a few years later.
Two people were coming out of the building and, to this day I can still hear the voice of one of them as she got into my face and said:
"You stupid pro-life fucking piece of shit."
I was so feverish that it took several seconds for what she said to fully impact me.  I asked one of my friends if he heard that and he said yes.  Our other friend hadn't been able to make out what she had said, so we told him.  He immediately wanted to go and confront her, but we dissuaded him.
Here it is twenty-six years later, and I still see the face of that young woman, warped with anger and hatred.
If she had only kept her thoughts to herself, I would likely not be as I am today: someone who sees the pro-abortion movement as one composed of some very ugly people.  Ugly in heart, ugly in thought, and ugly in face.
Have you ever looked at pro-abortion protestors?  They don't smile.  Not smile like normal people do.  Their faces aren't filled with love and light as are the faces of pro-lifers.  Instead the pro-abortion protestors are angry, dour, mean and filled with hatred.  The two could not be more unlike each another.
If only that fellow student (no, I don't know her name and don't really care to either) had not confronted me as she did, I might be able to give the pro-abortion side the courtesy of hearing them out.  But that possibility has long passed.  There is no courting civility with people so dark and rife with rancor.
A quarter century later, and I am no closer to communion with people who so blatantly advocate terminating the life of an unborn child for "convenience" sake.
Be mindful of the impression you make.  It persists, and maybe longer than you ever mean for it to.