What I Did On My Fall Break
Steven D. Martin printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05:07:45 PM EST

Last week I had the opportunity to take my family on a week-long journey through the heart of the very best of our country. It was a powerful exercise in experiencing the highs and lows of America, the good and the bad, and a few incredible ironies. We traveled to Pennsylvania, the land of the Amish (we stayed for three days on a farm only four miles from the October school shootings), of Independence Hall; of Rick Santorum, and of the most horrific display of obscenity I've ever witnessed: the Abortion Trucks of the Center for Bioethical Reform (caution: a video of an abortion being performed appears on the Center's home page).

Let me frame this for a moment: I caught a glimpse of one of the trucks in Lancaster a couple of days before, but none of my four kids saw them. (My oldest child is twelve, and my triplets are eight years old. You can clearly see that I don't practice, or approve of, abortion.) We were in Philadelphia and I had just come from the building that houses the Liberty Bell. I was already outraged. To get in to see the Liberty Bell we had to stand in line for twenty minutes, waiting to go through a security screening area more rigorous than that of Newark airport. Oops- bad example. I had to take my jacket and watch off - surrounded by Wackenhut employees - put all my personal belongings in a tray to go through an X-Ray machine, and then deal with my kids who were all intimidated by the experience. I walked through a fortified checkpoint to go see a symbol of... freedom.

When we left the Liberty Bell National Security Complex and breathed free air again, we walked down the street toward Ben Franklin's grave. I believe it was Franklin that uttered something about those willing to give up freedom for security and how they deserve neither freedom nor security. On the corner was the first ghastly sight- a young teenage girl standing in front of a plackard with an aborted fetus on it. "Good," I said to myself, "none of the kids noticed it." I was wrong. My oldest son saw it and looked away.

Then the trucks came rolling by. Two of them. They were in downtown Philly and rush-hour traffic, so needless to say, they didn't move quickly. My younger kids strained to see what those trucks had on them- strange, bright red shapes. We suddenly had to do a lot of explaining that we had not planned on doing for a few years.

The thing we had to explain was different than what the "Choice Truck" people wanted us to talk about. We didn't talk about the evils of abortion, how the doctor had advised us to "selectively reduce" our triplet pregnancy to insure the health of one or two of our children, and how we chose life, and how they should too. We talked instead about fanatics who do disgusting and morally reprehensible things, how some people choose the wrong venue to make statements. We talked about how sorry we were that they had seen these ghastly sights in a place that celebrates the best of America, a place supposedly safe for families. We were disgusted, yes: not by abortion, but by abortion protesters.

The abortion trucks are obscene. They should be prosecuted under obscenity laws. But more than that, they represent a fundamental failure of communication present in our society today. I do not like abortion any more than anyone else; but I realize it is too complex and loaded an issue to be legislated by men in expensive suits making speeches. I also recognize that the issue of life must also be cast beyond abortion and joined with capital punishment and with warmaking.

I have lived through the experience of seeing a friend end a pregnancy after five months due to a genetic defect that led to her having a baby with no brain, and then live through the experience a second time - two years to the day later. I have also seen her turned away from a support group for women with miscarriages because she "had an abortion." We all have such stories to tell.

There are a lot of places for this debate, just not on the streets of Lancaster, Philadelphia, or any other hometown. And, the abortion trucks are likely to have the opposite effect their sponsors would like to produce.

OK, I'll concede- the "abortion trucksters" feel that they can't raise awareness any other way, perhaps.  "This is war," they might say.  But surely there is a place where a civil discussion CAN take place.  Where is it?

by Steven D. Martin on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05:09:47 PM EST
that the fanatics who drive truth trucks are not. This is a subject that has been widely discussed in our society for a long time, and since long before Roe. vs Wade.

As you say, the subject of abortion, (which is not up for discussion and debate on this site, btw), is not best decided by men making speeches in expensive suits.

Abortion, history shows, has always been with us; and it has moral, legal and medical considerations. However, for a signficant part of society, any view but their own is inherently wrong, ungodly, and criminal.

If we read their materials, read their books, and listen to their speeches and sermons, we learn that the concern for them is not only abortion -- indeed, they are very often the determined enemies of freedom of conscience on many fronts:   And that is why we have this site, to learn about and to discuss them and figure out what we can do to protect all of our rights against the would-be tyrants.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05:34:42 PM EST

Many residents of Philly share your observations on the "security" arrangements.  
Quite a jarring contrast to the sites being "protected."
Sorry your family was exposed to the hatemonger visual displays while on vacation.

There are no levels of sin in God's eyes, correct?  So they might as well protest "little white lies" as a defense of beliefs?

by nofundy on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:51:39 PM EST

The pictures of the fetus on the abortion trucks are not even accurate - They claim that is a 12 week fetus - well, a 12 week fetus is less than an inch long, doesn't look look human (more like a shrimp) and is grey in color so not only are the pictures obscene but they are misrepresentative and deliberately made to horrible - an appeal to the emotions (again).

The pro-lifers need a double sized helping of "Mind your own business".  What is right for them is not necessarily so for the other guy and they just can't seem to get it.

by Concerned on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 06:12:26 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

The Sour Grapes Of Wrath: Tenn. County Politician Seeks To Stave Off God's Vengeance
It has become a cliché to say that you spotted an article online that was so strange you first assumed it was from The......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
The Catholic Right Star and the Porn Star -- Revised and Updated
An international network of some of the world’s most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Banned In Boston (And Elsewhere): The American Tragedy Of Censorship
When I was kid, the phrase "Banned in Boston" confused me. I thought of Boston as a liberal, cosmopolitan city. Surely they didn't censor......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bill Donohue Mum While Andrew Napolitano Calls Pope Francis "A False Prophet"
Catholic League president Bill Donohue goes after anyone he believes is engaging in anti-Catholic behavior, real or imagined. But as we have come to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Decade Of Disgrace: Marking Ten Years Of The `Values Voter Summit'
The annual Values Voter Summit (VVS), the nation's largest gathering of the Religious Right, begins today. The event, sponsored by the Family Research Council......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Looking Beyond the Francis Frenzy
Much has been and will be written about the Pope regarding his historic visit to the U.S.  But it will be important to try......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Barton Bounces Back: Religious Right Purveyor Of Ersatz History Still Going Strong
Three years ago, Religious Right phony historian David Barton published a ridiculous book called The Jefferson Lies that argued, in part, that Thomas Jefferson......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
The Papal Visit Brings Forth Ugliness From the Right
In a recent press release, Catholic League president Bill Donohue warned, "Pope Visits To U.S. Occasion Ugliness." Donohue then went on to describe the......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Coercion In Kansas?: State Worker Claims She Was Fired For Non-Attendance At Christian Service
Let's say some people at a company want to get together during lunch hour and hold a Bible study. It's totally voluntary, and they......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Kim Davis and Southern Civil Disobedience
Kim Davis, the county official who refused to grant marriage licenses, fits the profile of a long line of civil disobedience from the South.......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
An Anti-Theocratic, Progressive Christian Leader
I recently posted a short excerpt here, from an interview I published with Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, the new General Minister and President of......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Litany Of Lies: FRC's Perkins Packs An Email With Copious Falsehoods
I realize that people may be tired of reading about the saga of Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk who is in jail......
By Rob Boston (6 comments)
Kim Davis is No Jack Kennedy
Kim Davis, the embattled Kentucky county clerk who sits in jail for defying a Federal Court order to issue marriage licenses to everyone who......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Book Report: Yes, Politicians, We Know You Love The Bible. What Else Have You Read?
Real estate magnate Donald Trump says lots of outrageous stuff, but none of it seems to slow him down. His latest gaffe, however, ought......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
American Renewal Project
On my journey to the American Renewal Project in Austin, Texas, I listened to hard right talk radio out of Houston.  There was an......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (2 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.