Thursday, January 24, 2008

Compound Complicity

Lorne Gunter makes a good point in today's National Post ... But he also makes a bad one.

The good:

I think the pro-lifers' case at the UBCO campus was particularly weak. It rested on their argument that they had been denied club status because of religious discrimination when, indeed, they and their views were affiliated with no particular religion or denomination. Moreover, the student council had approved several overtly Christian clubs.

What the UBCO pro-lifers are is victims of political or ideological discrimination-- not religious.

Correct. I mean, I quite understand the temptation of the Students For Life (SFL) to take this tack--to fight fire with fire and use the mincing claim of discrimination to counter an equally mincing claim of offensiveness. (Perhaps fighting wet blanket with wet blanket would've been a better analogy.) But the problem is that by doing so, they 1) lend credence to the BCHRT-reasoning that 'offensiveness' or 'discrimination' are valid grounds for the suppression of rights, and 2) they turn abortion into a concern of faith rather than (what they claim it is) a concern of fact. They are, in effect, conceding that an unborn fetus really isn't a human being but for the totally subjective criteria of our given religious disposition. A thing they really don't want to be doing; else the "genocide" they have made it their purpose to remind us of becomes a kind of superstition. (Doing my damndest here to resist any allusions to babies going out with bathwater. Not succeeding, obviously.)

The bad point?

I have read scores of anti-abortion pamphlets of the kind given out by campus pro-lifers, and while I passionately defend their right to distribute them, I have a friendly word of advice: Get new tactics.

Your efforts to use graphic photos of mutilated fetuses and claims of "genocide" aren't winning you any mainstream supporters.

... In a word: So?!

I don't say this flippantly, but to draw attention to the fact that Lorne seems to have thrown the steamroller of his reasoning into reverse. He's just told us that the SFL shouldn't pretend to be victims of religious discrimination when it is so clear that they are victims of political/ideological discrimination. He has, in effect, just warned the SFL off taking the easy--the, dare I say it, mainstream--course of using means that, of their essence, contradict the presumed ethicality of the sought-after ends. But then he suggests that the SFL would be better serving its cause--i.e. anti-abortion--by distancing itself from, well, abortion ... Thing is: without the whole business of the mutilitated fetuses and genocide there wouldn't be any problem, would there Lorne?

Sheesh, if those anti-abortionists would just lighten-up on the whole dead babies thing I might be a little more likely to listen to them!

But I'm curious now. What other tactics could they use? I'm imagining a Schindler's List a little lighter on the death camps, and a little heavier on the wasted-cheap-labour-opportunities angle.