Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Impact of 100 Bishops in Jail (and Graphic Pictures)

In a video, Catholic philosopher and author Peter Kreeft is quoted saying that it would be “wonderful” if 100 bishops were arrested for carrying graphic pictures of aborted babies. The context for this quote is a recent decision by some Canadian bishops to withdraw from pro-life activities where the organizers could not guarantee that such images will not be used.

His argument seems good. He argues that Hitler would have been toppled earlier if the average German saw pictures of what was really happening in the death camps. He argues that the media would have to pay attention to 100 bishops being arrested for the pictures, since they ignored the arrest of one activist.

However, he neglects a few things:

1)      We’re pretty desensitized to pictures of violence. By the age of 18,many of us have been exposed to 200,000 acts of violence on television alone. We would hope that pictures of dead, mutilated babies would still have a shock value. We hope that we’re not that desensitized. But I don’t think we are sensitive to those images anymore. I don’t think that pictures of dead babies have the shock value protesters want them to have.
2)      Offending someone is not a good way to win them over to your side. Think of it from the perspective of a pro-choice person. What would you listen to? Someone yelling at you with a horrifying picture or someone giving you logical arguments and engaging you in dialogue?
3)      Arresting 100 bishops? And it’s not related to the sex scandal? The media as of late only reports things that make the Church look bad. Look at some of the articles at Get Religion. Many well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning journalists depict deeply religious people as ignorant and close-minded. I can only see how the story would be covered: "Those poor, stupid bishops in their religious zeal march around with disgusting pictures and get arrested. And, believe it or not, the disgusting pictures aren’t child porn."

Don’t get me wrong, Peter Kreeft’s heart is in the right place. We need to make a statement. We need to save the unborn. We need to be bold. There are, however, many other ways in which this can be accomplished. Many other ways that doesn’t include incarceration or needlessly graphic pictures.

What do you think? Am I too cynical?

PS: I don't agree with the Canadian bishops' decision, however. As someone who has organized protests before, you can't control what the protesters will do. Nor do you really want to control them. Of course, you don't want a riot or any violence. However, if you invite people to your protest with a list of things they are not allowed to do, you won't get the turn out you want. Numbers speak volumes.

I do not want to write another post like "The State of Catholic Marriage" where I complain but don't offer any solutions. Let me give you some websites of some great pro-life organizations that my husband or I have been involved with in the past that need your help:

The Pregnancy Resource Center in Rolla MO

Lifeline Pregnancy Center in Kirksville MO

We have not contacted any centers in Syracuse yet.

But nearly all (if not all) dioceses have a Respect Life office (For example, the two dioceses we have lived in):

The Diocese of Syracuse NY

The Archdiocese of St. Louis

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