I have, for the most part, avoided commenting publicly on Abolish Human Abortion. (From what I hear, fewer and fewer people take them seriously as their anti-Catholic views become more public as well their extreme arguments that the pro-life movement is to blame for abortion being legal.) I feel the need to say something now though, because they just publicly attacked my friends, and they did it with particularly bad reasoning. This blog is about helping pro-life people to become more persuasive and less weird, so let’s attempt to apply some clear thinking to AHA’s attack on Justice For All.
Click here to see the Facebook post for yourself.
The link is to a video of AHA-member Danny Ehinger talking to a pro-life student who had gone through a previous JFA training, who expressed some concerns about AHA’s activism methods. The student explains that he’s all for getting people talking about abortion, but he felt like there were better results when JFA came on campus because some good conversations had taken place, whereas on this day the classroom discussions were a lot more heated and tended to end with students screaming and nearly getting kicked out of class.
The student expresses a concern about little kids seeing the signs, and encourages AHA to use more questions on their signs to create dialogue as opposed to just putting statements on their graphic signs.
Danny interrupts him and makes a very shrewd debating move:
So, your main concern, from what I’m hearing, is the other students that are getting angry about it.
The student says, “Yeah…” And Danny says,
And so that’s where we have a little bit of a difference. My main concern is the 3,500 babies who are going to be murdered today.
That is so intellectually dishonest. The student’s main concern that he wanted addressed at the moment was the use of the signs and the effect they had on people as well as their dialogues about abortion in the future. That doesn’t mean the student cares more about that than abortion. If Danny had asked the student, “Are you more concerned about abortion or the students who are offended?” I’m sure the student would have said something like, “I’m more concerned about abortion, obviously, which is why I’m concerned about your methods. I want abortion to end as soon as possible, and this doesn’t seem like the way to make that happen.” Instead, Danny takes the opportunity to act like he’s the only one in the conversation who actually cares about abortion, a moment that will make all the AHA fans cheer when they watch it.
Danny mentions checking out JFA’s website and says:
I’m okay with [JFA's] premise of ‘We want to talk intelligibly to people and nicely to people.’ However, my question is the root why, why are they doing what they’re doing?
So this is the analogy I kind of came up with. Imagine if you’re in class, okay? And, there’s 50 students. And you hear gunshots, you see gunfire in your class. You hear people are being killed, okay? Half of the class gets up and says, ‘That’s wrong! We have to stop it!’ The other half of the class gets up and says, ‘No, you should have a right to do it!’ The teacher gets up, and this is what I think Justice For All is doing, ‘Let’s talk about this intelligibly.’ Is that the right behavior when there’s a gunman shooting kids?
And when the student goes to say, “That’s different,” Danny ignores him and restates the original question, which unfortunately gets the student to accept Danny’s premise.
Later, Danny adds this point:
What we need to do as Christians is stop talking about something. Because when we say, if I told you, ‘Do you like this grass?’ We could have a talk about it and we’re elevating the grass, kind of, to a place of it could be good or it could be bad… When our premise is ‘Let’s go and spread how to talk about abortion, we are making abortion higher than it ought to be. What we should be saying is, ‘Abortion is wrong and we ought to end it.’
Here are four problems with AHA attacking JFA with these arguments: