One of the interesting things about driving across America is the amount of evangelical propaganda advertised in hotel rooms and along the highways. It's definitely more dense in certain areas but even in progressive towns like Chicago and Boston you will still find a Bible in your hotel room. I find it even more interesting that despite this information and the fact that our country is inhabited by the religious majority, many religious people feel as though America is under attack by the non-believing community.
Isbelle and I were driving through middle America last week taking note of all of the tacky evangelical billboards and one stuck out to us in particular. It simply read:
Smile: Your Mother Was Pro-Life.
There are two major problems with this phrase. First of all it falsely presupposes that anyone opposed to pro-life is automatically pro-abortion. It is an incontrovertible fact that many mothers chose life without subscribing to the pro-life movement. This observation alone is enough to warrant the sign being taken down. Presuming, of course, that it's benefactor is at all concerned with intellectual integrity.
The second problem is more philosophical and I make this argument only to approach the issue from a different angle. Are we to smile because Hitler's mother was pro-life? What about Ted Bundy or Mark David Chapman? What about the child rapist who molested someone you love? What about the cruel, the vicious, the marauding and the corrupt? The second reason the argument does not work is because when you step outside of it's emotional appeal to your own individuality you can clearly see that it's application is limited to those you are either indifferent to or those you find morally palatable.
This post is not an attempt to make an argument for pro-choice. It is an appeal to those of you sincerely interested in public discourse to do away with intellectually dishonest argumentation. "Smile: Your Mother Was Pro-Life" is ultimately an enemy of the pro-life movement because it fails to rise to the level of integrity that the movement deserves. These people need to stop trying to take short cuts for two reasons:
1. People like me (we're now numbered in the millions) will call them out on it every single time.
2. They are devaluing their arguments in the marketplace of ideas.
I''m interested in good ideas. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of belief we all have to work together to make each others arguments as strong as they can be. After all, who would be satisfied to simply refute a straw man? Hopefully not you and certainly not me. Peace and kindness to you all from a van somewhere in Nevada.