Monday, January 4, 2016

Why I'm Not Going to the Walk for Life

So...yesterday, I tweeted this:

...and got the obvious response. I was told why I should go, and how it's great, and how it's nice to be around pro-life families.

I get all that. I've been...with my kids, and it was cool.

But this time around I'm not going, and I'll try my best to explain why.

When my wife and I had a 3 year old and a baby strapped into the Ergo, we eagerly hopped on the BART to ride into The City and take part in the West Coast Walk For Life.

Overall, I would say that it was a great time. We heard some great speakers, we marched along the streets as a part of a cloud of pro-life witnesses in a city that is anything but, and just flat out had fun being as Catholic as we could be in public.

As our children have now reached 6, 3, 1, and "due in June," however, I have pretty much decided that we aren't going to attend the event for the time being.

Sure, I understand this is an unpopular opinion. I mean, how could we keep our children away from experiencing something so powerful?

There's actually two reasons.

1. The counter-protesters are terrifying for young children.
2. The graphic images show on giant screens along the route (not put up by the organizers of the event, mind you) are even more so.

First, let's look at the counter-protesters .

Yes, they are relatively few in number, and yes, the Knights of Columbus walk on the outer edges of the route to help shield those walking from the hateful signs and vulgar words directed at our pro-life beliefs.

But, come on, folks.

This is San Francisco we're talking about. When we attended, the counter-protests included signs with horrible language, people dressed inappropriately, and tons of folks shouting terrible and nasty words in our direction.

When my children were 3 and a baby, this was no big deal. No one could read, and no one could really understand that these people yelling because they hated us.

Now that the 3 year old has become a 6 year old, who can both read and understand hateful language being pointed in our direction, I don't see why I would want to bring him into that experience.

Would the purpose be to show him the importance of standing up for your beliefs when people angrily disagree? Would the purpose be to show him that we are the minority as Catholics in the Bay Area and that most people don't like the things that we believe?

If so, I can teach him those things at home, while keeping him away from the terrifying reality.

The indecency of the counter-protesters has no limit, and they don't care about destroying the innocence of young children.

Second, let's look at the graphic images.

I'm not interested in having a discussion about the use of these images in the overall pro-life movement, but rather how this instance of their use impacts my decision to attend the Walk.

While it is true that the images are discouraged by those putting on the event, and the organizers even warn walkers of exactly where the images are being displayed, they are still unavoidable.

When my children were younger, I was able to distract them from the images, but as an adult I couldn't turn away completely.

And, as you would expect, those terrifying images, those pictures that show the brutal reality of what we are fighting against, stayed with me, as I'm sure they have stayed with all of you.

Here is my opinion on this specific matter: There is absolutely no reason to place children (speaking of children that are the age that I have) in a place where they might see actual images from abortions.


Teenagers, maybe, but young children, never.

And so, while I think the Walk for Life is an amazing, necessary event, and I'm so happy that it is well attended and gets even the tiniest bit of media attention, I won't be going for the next few years.

Now, dear flood gates holding back the opinions of others, please feel free to open...

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