Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 West Coast Walk For Life

I went with a group to the West Coast Walk For Life yesterday. I consider myself pro-life, but I'm not very ... militant ... about it. Don't get me wrong, I think there is something very powerful and worthwhile in being on the front-lines of the battle. We need those people. I'm not sure if I'm one of them at the moment. It may be a calling thing or it might just be that my heart isn't convicted enough about it yet. Personally, I prefer battling it out through teaching on it and engaging with people one on one about it. I feel like I can communicate and dialogue about it in a much more productive manner. Maybe it has to do with my non-confrontational (Chinese) nature. But either way, I was out there walking yesterday.

It was pretty powerful to see the vast amounts of people and there were a few interesting things that stood out to me.

1. With all the talk about life and anti-abortion, I was surprised that there was no talk about sex. It's weird to me that you can talk about what people do as the result of having sex without actually talking about sex. Maybe it's too risque with kids around and "sex" being "adult content," but there's gotta be a way to do it without triggering peoples' fears of awkward conversations on the birds and the bees? With media bombarding us constantly with sex and sexualized images, if we never talk about it as a group in a wholesome way, can we ever combat it? I saw a lot of teenagers there and I couldn't help but think that there is likely a number of them that may find themselves facing the hard decision of whether or not to keep the baby. I dunno. I just think it's helpful to connect abortion and sex on the activist front.

2. Debriefing the experience with the group I went with, the most memorable part for people were the counter-protesters. Many of them were quite out there in terms of the way they dressed - classic San Franciscans (think PRIDE). What's interesting about it is that you really only saw them over a very small part (maybe one block) of the two mile walk, but they were the most memorable part. Watching the pro-lifers walking by watching the pro-choice protesters, there were lots of interested looks, picture-taking, the occasional shouting match, and lots of misunderstanding on both sides. I did, however, hear a few passing comments on both sides of interest and/or agreement (if only partial) of certain signs which brings me to my last thought.

3. The signage for the most part did not impress me. A lot of it on the pro-life side was the same-old rhetoric (is that bad of me to say?). There were some occasional good signs on both sides and by good I mean creative, sharp, or in-your-face. I even think that my group had a few of the better signs out there (I'm probably biased). But maybe I don't really understand the point of signs. Based on the event itself, it's already clear where people in the walk stand and so it should already be understood that the issue is divisive. Wouldn't it be more helpful for some of the signage to help build bridges or even just to ease some of the tension unto helping bring about some understanding that there are people on both sides, not just a faceless enemy? I'm thinking next year, I will make a big sign out of white board (dry-erase) material so that I can have rotating material. If I had one this year, the following might've made it on:

"Go Giants!"
I may have missed the boat on this one. Who knows if we'll have World Series solidarity next year.

"Chinese Catholics. Yes, we exist. Yes, most of us are single."
Sorry, just a bit of remaining bitterness and wanting to be noticed in a crowd.

"I love Jesus & I love sex!"
This should be worth a high-five or two.

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