Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Referred Law Six Rally

Today was another great day in Rapid City, when compassionate people again stood up to those who have taken it upon themselves to make decisions for the rest of us.
A whole bunch of folks turned out at 9th and St Joseph to stand up and be visible, to stand up and refuse to be intimidated by people that insist they have the answers to that which cannot be answered.



Chas shows off one of the great custom-made signs that ACLU-SD has created to bravely state the case, to make the plea: that we be allowed by wrestle with these issues ourselves, without interference from government or from other citizens that think they know better than we do.


Sen. Stan Adelstein and Jane M. from Democracy in Action talk about how Democrats and Republicans are joining together to stand up and be counted on this issue.


We were outnumbered by the Yes On Six crowd, who (as usual) carted their children from school, teaching them the value minding everyone else's business. Pretty balloons!


I asked these folks to put away the sign on the right because, together with the sign on the left, falsely accused a local doctor (by name) of "promoting abortion" and "killing babies". (I blanked out the doc's name in the sign on the right in this snapshot.)

The fellow behind the middle "Vote Yes" sign accused me of intimidating the woman because I told her that her sign pretty much added up to slander against this doctor, who is doing the best he can to help is patients deliver healthy babies and also helping them make good medical decisions when things don't go so well. This doctor is the bravest person in this fight. I asked these people to put away the sign they were threatening this doctor's safety by putting these false accusations out of the street on the news etc.. I heard from people in the crowd "that would not happen here in South Dakota" (uh.. okay) and "well, he should stop killing babies." Not exactly comforting reassurances. But thankfully they put the sign away, and the guy behind the middle sign seemed to understand my concerns, for which I am very grateful.

It was a pretty firm exchange, I caught a glimpse of myself speaking with them on the KOTA news and thought I should explain what was going on in the quick 2 second video, so that's it.

I can't say enough good about the doc they were slandering, because he faces protesters every day and checks under his car for brake fluid or signs of tampering. He has needed help from security folks. He's the one who is being intimidated, or would be if he wasn't so much braver than me.

This is the Episcopal Church's position on abortion. It's both pro-life and pro-choice, imagine that. I strongly agree with this point of view, and so do many other churches that have chosen to be direct, engaged, and compassionate on this issue:
By 1988, the 69th General Convention had developed a position that stated, "All human life is sacred. Hence it is sacred from its inception until death." The statement goes on to call for church programs to assist women with problem pregnancies and to emphasize the seriousness of the abortion decision. In 1994, the 71st General Convention expressed "unequivocal opposition to any ... action ... that [would] abridge the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of her pregnancy, or that would limit the access of a woman to a safe means of acting upon her decision."

Abortion is a tragedy, we must minimize them--but the answer is not to pass draconian laws like this abortion ban that hurt families. Learn the facts, and find some compassion, and vote no on RL6.

13 comments:

  1. Does the Episcopal church have an official position on infanticide, and abridging "the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of her" motherhood? After all, if her children in the womb take a backseat to her priorities, why not the ones out of her womb? We must always be "compassionate" to the woman, right?

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  2. Anonymous06:45

    I had no idea who you were, that you had a web blog or anything unti I saw you being "radically" in grandma's face today & on Tv. A friend of mine said you were the Robinsdale Radical....you are a brave soul getting into peoples face. Are you the one who is destroying the "6" signs? You are pretty extreme. I do say you are a brave soul, you must be looking for truth yet to wander to the other side of the street. I will stop by here more often. Dont forget to vote!

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  3. > Are you the one who is destroying the "6" signs?

    I absolutely condemn that sort of behavior. Defacing political signs (and stealing them; my wife is in charge of signs for all of Dist 32 and has lost at least 40, probably more) is a crime.

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  4. Bob Ellis,

    Good to see you again. All points of view are welcome here, and to your credit I see you even print letters from the likes of Barry Wick in Dakota Voice. I respect that.

    The Episcopal Church position is very compassionate and clear and spells out the difficult reality of this issue as lived out, not pontificated on, by clergy and faithful Christians. There's a reason 80% of Ob/Gyns are against RL6--they have to live with it's consequences and the suffering it would create.

    I put a direct link to the Church's 1994 resolution in the post and urge everyone who is of a mind to grapple with this issue instead of "making moral points" to give it a read.

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  5. I was at the rally08:12

    That woman did not put the sign away because of your comments - the protest was ending and she was leaving. You crossing the street to scare her like that (and she was scared) only emboldened her.

    As a former supporter of legal abortion, and someone who has faced harassment from both sides at one point or another, I don't buy your "pro-life and pro-choice" view.....if the object being aborted is not a life, then there's nothing wrong with it. If it is a life, then ending it is killing, and is in the same boat as executing criminals and bombing civilians in Iraq

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  6. You crossing the street to scare her like that (and she was scared) only emboldened her.

    I honestly did not wish to intimidate her, and I'm sorry if she was upset, but as a decent human being that is honestly concerned about the good Doc, who only wants the best for his patients and their children, I desperately wanted that sign off the street.

    If this lady or anyone else was intimidated by my actions, I implore them to put themselves in the good Doc's shoes for five minutes. Every day he is keeping an eye out for people that feel justified to do him physical harm. Every day there is a demo at his workplace... and he has to be watchful for anything unusual, as pro-life terrorists exist in his country, and he is a visible target for them.

    The First Amendment allows freedom of speech, it does not protect slander-- and a history of the pro-life movement convinces me that the sign was not only slander, but incitement to violence--also definitly non-protected speech.

    Whoever printed the signs knows this and that's why they didn't put "paid for by Yes On Six" or whatever on it. To keep themselves out of court--since there are still people out there that respect the Constitution and plan to begin again to hold people accountable for flouting it. Thank God.

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  7. Anonymous,

    Sign your name to that which you write, otherwise you are just a coward. RR will continue to get in anyone's face who perpetuates lies about individuals and about complex issues. Even grandmothers need to be educated from time to time. And if you knew anything about RR, the very thought of accusing him of destroying your signs is laughable.

    And to you, "i was at the rally," same to you - sign your name to that which you write. (Even though I may disagree with Mr. Ellis, I respect that he believes in what he writes enough to sign his name to it.) The fact that you don't understand how you can be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time shows how incapable you are of mature, complex thinking, and there's not much point in trying to explain it to you if your mind is that closed off to tro trying to understand it.

    Little children need boundaries in order to feel safe and secure. They need someone telling them what is right and what is wrong. As people grow up, they understand life's complexities. As Christians, some people don't want to grow beyond the secure feeling of when they were "born again." It's safe and secure being told what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong - even on extremely complicated issues that are impossible to make that simple. I've been born again, but now I'm growing and maturing and living. I see the complexities of life. I don't need James Dobson or Alan Keyes to tell me what is right and wrong. I'm a big girl, and their simple-minded, hateful teaching is offensive to me.

    If Grandma was upset by RR's confrontation, good. Better him than a cop arresting her for breaking the law, which she clearly was holding a slanderous sign like that. She had every right to carry a sign, but individuals' names should be left off. That goes too far, and signs that incite violence are not protected speech.

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  8. Anonymous,

    Sign your name to that which you write, otherwise you are just a coward. RR will continue to get in anyone's face who perpetuates lies about individuals and about complex issues. Even grandmothers need to be educated from time to time. And if you knew anything about RR, the very thought of accusing him of destroying your signs is laughable.

    And to you, "i was at the rally," same to you - sign your name to that which you write. (Even though I may disagree with Mr. Ellis, I respect that he believes in what he writes enough to sign his name to it.) The fact that you don't understand how you can be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time shows how incapable you are of mature, complex thinking, and there's not much point in trying to explain it to you if your mind is that closed off to tro trying to understand it.

    Little children need boundaries in order to feel safe and secure. They need someone telling them what is right and what is wrong. As people grow up, they understand life's complexities. As Christians, some people don't want to grow beyond the secure feeling of when they were "born again." It's safe and secure being told what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong - even on extremely complicated issues that are impossible to make that simple. I've been born again, but now I'm growing and maturing and living. I see the complexities of life. I don't need James Dobson or Alan Keyes to tell me what is right and wrong. I'm a big girl, and their simple-minded, hateful teaching is offensive to me.

    If Grandma was upset by RR's confrontation, good. Better him than a cop arresting her for breaking the law, which she clearly was holding a slanderous sign like that. She had every right to carry a sign, but individuals' names should be left off. That goes too far, and signs that incite violence are not protected speech.

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  9. I was at the rally is who I choose to be identified as, "Bethany"13:43

    yes on 6 didn't pay for those signs, so there was no need for them to be printed as such. They've been used before the Vote Yes campaign came into existence, and will continue to be after it.

    Dr. B does promote abortion and Planned Parenthood...where's the slander in that?

    I used to favor legal abortion, and was involved in aiding a friend obtaining one. I've since come around to a pro-life viewpoint....I do understand both sides, but you're either pro-choice and pro-life....you can't have you cake and eat it too.

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  10. Bethany
    Did you every think that grandma is just senile? She is obviously very easily manipulated and was given the controversial sign to hold. She was probably just the usual pawn in the pro-life movement. Afterall, what cop is going to arrest grandma who will just plead ignorance.
    Notice none of those big brave men were carrying the sign?
    Not on their (pro)life.
    What about all those school children? Isn't there a truant officer in this town?

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  11. Okay, anonymous "identifying myself as one who was at the rally . . ." along with several hundred others, I'll bite, even though I find your arguments incredibly weak, and you aren't open to anything I have to say anyway.

    I was once a "pro-life" christian fanatical zealot. I saw "Silent Scream," lectured all my friends about how shameful they were for having pre-marital sex, and how they would never recover if they ever chose to have an abortion. But then I started to grow up, as some Christians do. I saw many of the harsh realities of the world. I got an education. I became a Youth Minister, a music teacher, and worked with adults with disabilites. I have both experienced and witnessed unimaginable suffering during my lifetime. And I have also experienced and witnessed God's mercy, forgiveness, grace, and redemption many MANY times over during my life. I believe in a loving, forgiving God. I believe that God gave us the freedom to make choices. Some choices may be black and white to you, and I would never wish for anyone to be faced with one of the "hypotheticals" that are spoken of on the opposition's side. But for those who have faced those situations, the choices are not so clear, and for anyone to say it is having your cake and eating it too is heartless and immature.

    I have said it before. I am pro-life. I have been pregnant and I absolutely believe in the sacredness of that life within the womb. I was only able to give birth to one child of my own, and I have grieved over that. I am opposed to women using abortions as a means of birth control, and I want to see the number of abortions reduced as well. And if RL6 passes, you'll all pat yourselves on the back and feel statistically better. But you are lying to yourselves if you think that this will save lives and protect women, and it certainly won't stop women from getting abortions. It will make it harder for poor women to get abortions, putting their lives at risk, while weathlier women will simply go to another state. (And if you don't think wealthy Evangelicals whose daughters get pregnant don't make exceptions for THEMSELVES under a well protected shroud of secrecy, then you're beyond naive.)

    This not about having my cake and eating it too. It's about looking at the subject realistically. It's about approaching the issue with complex thinking. It's about admitting that I couldn't possibly say with 100% certainty what I would do in an unthinkable situation, and if you say that you do, then you are a liar. And that doesn't make you or me awful or sinners or murders - it makes us HUMAN. It's about believing that God is merciful and forgiving, but acknowledging that many of God's children are NOT, and acknowledging that THEY are making it unbearable for those who make choices THEY don't agree with more than the choices themselves. It's about supporting and lifting up those who make the wrong choices in the hopes that they will someday experience God's redemption, rather than experience the judgemental, abusive wrath of God's children. It's about having a shread of decency and compassion toward other people, which the christian-right most clearly does NOT.

    So, there it is. I'm crawling down from my soapbox now, and I'm done talking about it. I refuse to engage in a theological debates with those only capable of circular thinking, especially when they are too cowardly to sign their names to that which they write. I already have children at home who function at a primal level.

    Mama P - Yeah, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that I think grandma was senile, mostly because, in fairness, I didn't actually come in contact with her, and I'm not going to make that kind of judgement. But I do think that she may have been easily manipulated, which is why I think RR went to talk to her. And the fact that she was intimidated by HIM shows how easily she is swayed one way or the other. I wasn't there, but RR is generally quite respectful, especially to his elders. He isn't a very intimidating person, believe me.

    Yes, I did notice the number of pawns over there, many of whom are not even old enough to vote. I also couldn't help but notice how many of them kind of hid behind their signs. MY sign said "I'm a Sexual Assault Victim, and I'm Voting No On 6." That wasn't exactly the easiest sign to hold up for an hour, especially to the suprise of my friends that who not aware of my history. But I felt compelled to do it, and was proud to do so. Funny, the 16 year old girls who stopped at the corner and started yelling at us, calling us murderers, telling is we were going to burn in hell, refused to look at my sign, nor would they make eye contact with me, even though I stood there with my sigh right in front of their faces. Hm. How interesting.

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  12. Grammy Woj00:09

    I hate abortion. I think it is one of the great tragedies in human history. I think it is a lousy form of birth control, and that it causes tremendous pain in the lives of women who feel they must choose it. Of all the women I've ever met who were faced with that choice, I never met a single one who ever entered into it lightly.

    I hate remembering the day that, as a hospital chaplain, I stood at the bedside of a woman who had struggled valiently to have a healthy baby, only to discover too late that a botched illegal abortion had so damaged her body that she could not carry a child to term. I hate knowing that some people are arrogant enough to believe--and to say--that she she deserved her grief, and I hate knowing that my compassion was not enough to comfort her and point her to the One who loves her beyond measure.

    I hate the fact that, until abortion could be done safely and legally in this country, women and young girls--children, really--who truly felt that abortion was their only option were forced to take terrible risks with their lives. And that those who have made that choice and actually had the audacity to survive it have been maligned and mistreated abominably.

    I hate my memory of the weeping woman who poured out her soul in my arms, driven half-crazy by guilt and longing. Some self-righteous religious nut had convinced her that her mentally retarded son would be completely healed on his 18th birthday if God forgave her for the abortion she had had at the age of 13. Only the child had not been healed as "promised" by that irresponsible fanatic, and this devastated woman could not be convinced that there would ever be grace enough for her.

    I hate the fact that in the state of California, where I live, more than 100,000 unwanted children are living in foster care and are considered "unadoptable" because their abusive parents have so damaged them with prenatal drug abuse and post-natal child abuse that nobody wants them. And I hate the fact that so few of those who so self-righteously demand that women carry their babies to term are actually willing to step forward to adopt or foster these children.

    I love my children. I love my grandchildren. I hope my daughters and granddaughters are never, ever, ever faced with having to make a choice like this. But if they are confronted with such a choice, I believe it needs to be their choice, and that it should be a choice that can be made legally, safely, and privately.

    I find it incomprehensible that someone who does not know me from a hole in the wall can declare it "impossible" for me to be both pro-life and pro-choice. Living with ambiguity is not nearly as reassuring and self-satisfying as being an absolutist--and it's definitely not easy. But it's the only honest way for me to live. So yes, I am decidedly pro-life. But I am also prayerfully pro-choice.

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  13. Hi Bethany,
    I was at the rally and as I have posted in the past, I was going to monitor RR's actions (incidentally, I thought RR was Religious Right - so I will stop using it). Yes, he is very gentlemenly and respectful. I really enjoy his enthusiasm. I did not see him approach the Senile old woman, but would have accompanied him for support. He thinks beyond the obvious and the sign was indeed inflammatory and slanderous. But, what is not with the so called Pro-Life fanatics.
    Yes, I too was a victim of Sexual Assualt and no one knows, except my daughter. Maybe more of those signs should be made up to carry? There are more of us assualt victims out there then anyone realizes. I had not choice at the time but would have done ANYTHING to terminate that unwanted pregnancy. I never want any woman to go through that anguish again.
    I do carry that sign at visibility events. It is getting worn.

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