A pro-life group, the Center for Bi0-Ethical Reform, has plans to rent billboard trucks and use airplane banners to display graphic abortion photos in the South Bend area. The press release is here.
I'm pretty ticked off that they go out of their way to mock ND Response's efforts and accuse them of "covering up the horrors of abortion." This kind of infighting in the pro-life movement serves no one. ND Response has decided that aborted baby pictures will not change any minds or hearts here, and I tend to agree with them. The Obama supporters are more likely to be angry at the protesters for "ruining graduation" than to actually stop and think about the implications of those violent images. They have hardened their hearts to the reality of abortion. Such pictures will not make them look outside themselves, but rather turn them further inward and convince them of the righteousness of their anger towards all those opposed to Obama's appearance.
And to say that ND pro-lifers are "responsible" for the Obama invite is ludicrous. Why are peaceful, non-violent protests being equated with capitulation? Why do some people insist that anything short of a "scorched-earth" response to the opposition amounts to surrender? Again, ridiculous.
These actions only add fuel to the fire for the people on campus who insist on lumping all pro-lifers together with Randall Terry. I'm sure this will bring on another bushel of letters to the Observer peppered with words like "extremist" and "jihad" and comparing pro-life activists to terrorists. Clearly, pro-lifers at Notre Dame just can't win this one. At times like this it is tempting to be consumed with frustration and just give up. Now is not the time to quit, but to redouble our prayers and try to respond as Christ would.
Edited to add: I saw one of the airplanes with banners as I was going out to grab some dinner. Pretty graphic stuff...I would be upset if I were a parent and my child saw it. It will be interesting to see the reactions if they do this during the day when people are going to and from classes. I will be gobsmacked if the responses are anything but "Those nutcases are at it again." So much for changing minds.
I'm also engaged in a discussion with people on CAF who are all for this approach and accuse the ND students of "not doing enough." I wonder if those people would approve if anti-war protesters used images of dead soldiers to protest the war in Iraq. A soldier hit by an IED probably looks much like the image of the mangled baby I saw. I'm thinking there will be a blog post soon on the power of images and the dignity of the human body...