Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas has a peculiar notion of war and tragedy. They believe God is upset with the U.S. for its tolerance toward homosexuality and that’s why American soldiers are coming home from the Middle East in coffins. In protest of America’s errant ways, members of the church picket the funerals of fallen soldiers to stand among the newly widowed and childless and wave ‘God Hates Fags’ banners. But don’t tell them they’re crazy, or the blood of children will be on your hands. According to the church, the killing of five Amish school girls in Pennsylvania on Oct. 2 was God’s way of punishing the country for comments Gov. Ed Rendell made about the church on FOX. In response, members of the church planned to picket the Amish funeral, signs in tow (a plan which was derailed when a nationally syndicated radio personality bribed them with free airtime). It must take incredible resolve to stare down an entire country and maliciously augment the already unimaginable suffering of funeral attendees.
But this strangeness wasn’t on my mind as I stepped out of the last of my lectures Tuesday to find the sun ricocheting off the wall. Happy for it, I buttoned my coat and stepped out the doors of the science link and onto the lawn. There, in the crisp fall light I saw my late son, mutilated and plastered on monuments about the lawn. Who would do such a thing? Who could be so sadistic? Then I saw them: men standing safe behind two rows of snow-fence and under the watchful eye of Campus Security. I had no warning of this. No barricade stood between me and the spectacle to warn me that my dead son, immortalized in Kinko ink, was standing just ahead; his exhumation sanctioned by the university.
This isn’t intended as a gambit for debate on the legitimacy of the pro-life movement, but rather how someone can take something so personal and sacred and twist it into abhorrent mongering. Or is it necessary to shock the passersby into the outrage we all should feel towards women who murder their children?
After all, the issue is crystal clear. Clearly it is better to birth a child into poverty and so force the single mother into two or three minimum-wage jobs. Clearly, it is better for the rape victim to bear and raise the daughter of her unknown assailant. Clearly, it is better for both mother and son to perish than to save one.
The mother of my late son was sick. Every doctor agreed that if she tried to carry him to term they would both most likely end up dead, and dodging that catastrophe, he would undoubtedly live a life of burden; his days spent struggling against the currents of countless possible birth defects that never waver in their tenacious want to drown him.
Campus Pro-life, much like Westboro Baptist, claim they “do not believe in the use of violent means,” but there seems to be few things more violent than dragging the decaying remains of my unborn child out into the light to remind me of all that was possible and all that was lost. The mother of my late son is at the top of her class, a culinary genius, and dreams of opening her own resort in the Rockies. Clearly, it is better to blindly trade such promise and vision for a desperate grasp at something that’s already gone.