Three kinds of pro-life activists

From: Jane
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2010 8:23 AM
Subject: Fwd: Read and forward

Never forget atrocities wherever and whenever they occur, no matter what form they are in.
Cicero wrote in 55 BC:
“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance”.
Rome fell because her citizens were complacent and did nothing. Here are two examples of history repeating itself, and as someone once said,
“Tell a big enough lie and people will believe it.”
You think there is no connection between this statement and what you will see in the following? then stop, think again, and connect the dots, Ike was right! anyone or group will lie to achieve their end result, don’t be an Ostrich with your head in the sand and just think it will go away, what happened in Rome is in our country today. What happened in the Holocaust is slowly being achieved by the same type of individuals that effected this terrible travesty. Unfortunately, like the nightly news as soon as it’s over we just go on with our lives and forget about it.
Never forget and do something about it!

________________________________________

From: Joe  [mailto:]
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 4:11 PM
To: Gregg Cunningham
CC: Jane
Subject: FW: Read and forward

The two of you need to get together for the Wine Whine….

— Joe

________________________________________
From: Gregg Cunningham [mailto:gregg@cbrinfo.org]
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 4:29 PM
To:
Subject: RE: Read and forward
I would love to work with the 40 Days people but over and over again they are part of the abortion cover-up and condemn our photos.

Gregg Cunningham

________________________________________

From: Jane
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 5:41 PM
To:
Subject: Re: Got Bias? San Francisco ChJoeicle Reports Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker is Gay
Dear Joe,
The demonic possession of our culture is an ongoing conversation I am having with a writer friend.  We are trying to understand what could be our God-willed role in taking back the language and the culture of our country to support life, liberty and personal responsibility that can give true freedom.  We often pray and study scripture together to discern the topics we should cover using the talents and skills which Our Lord has given us.  Trusting in His grace, we try to do what we can, but we realize writing only for a Catholic audience (the Natl Catholic Register) is mainly preaching to the choir.  We know the message has to go mainstream, but how?

Your sister soldier in Christ,
Jane

________________________________________
From: Joe
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 5:01 PM
To: Gregg Cunningham
Subject: RE: Read and forward

Jane is not part of our 40 Days community.  She contacted me a little over a year ago as she was preparing an article that was published in the National Catholic Register about 40 Days.  Since our interview Jane has sent me a stream of emails about international, national, and local issues that convince me she is a first-class fighter and above all else a committed Catholic.  If serving in a different part of God’s army and those qualifications don’t put you off perhaps you may find a kindred spirit that will benefit our multi-faceted war to present the face of Christ to a world that prefers satan’s counterfeit effeminate compromiser.

Those among my fellow, devoted, prayerful, sacrificing, vigil-keeping volunteers who are put off by real photographs of the victims of our war are just as important as those who die holding your vivid posters.  We are all part of God’s plan and we may all one day discover how neither of our strategies [or tactics if you perfer] were best, or even effective compared with the one that God finally permits to break through the enemy offensive overwhelming us poor soldiers He permits to represent His interests so far.

Below please find a recent example of a fighter you might choose to ignore.

________________________________________
From: Gregg Cunningham
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 5:18 PM
To:
Subject: RE: Read and forward
Dear Joe,

I take your point very clearly but I apparently didn’t make mine very clearly.  Of course we believe there is an important role in the pro-life movement for people who find themselves unwilling or unable to face the horror of abortion.  But that is VERY different from someone’s active opposition to the public display of abortion photos.  It is also VERY different from their aggressive attempt to cover-up the truth about abortion.  We have Forty Days people officially on record as BANNING abortion photos from use in any of their Forty Days events.  They aren’t saying “I won’t use photos.”  They are saying “I am going to make sure NOBODY uses photos.”  That is wJoeg and it causes the deaths of babies.  If our tactics are wJoeg then Martin Luther King’s were wJoeg and I don’t know a single scholar who thinks blacks would have the right to vote even today if the visual evidence of racial violence had been covered-up.  I accept and respect the fact that not everyone has the emotional strength to face these photos but I reject the idea that any strategy for pro-life activism can ultimately succeed if someone isn’t holding up photos as an elemental part of that strategy.

Lord bless,

Gregg Cunningham
________________________________________

From: Joe
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 10:50 PM
To: Gregg Cunningham
Subject: RE: Read and forward

Thanks, Gregg, for using your precious time and talent to dialogue with me over this point which seems very important to both of us.
Your never-to-be-too-humble opinion of your strategy seems to impugn the character of those who in this matter of prudence hold a different opinion.  You rhetoric reminds me of the fighter pilots and helicopter gun pilots who used to denigrate the transport pilots and and the helicopter chauffeurs  in the Officers’ Clubs of Vietnam.  Arguments were great fun because the opinions mostly only bypassed each other in the alcoholic fog.  As one of the helicopter drivers it was very evident that that bravado was more than a little necessary to keep going out and doing the same thing that got so many of our buddies bent or broke.  As commander of those bandits it was clear that my responsibility was to recognize the prudence of a variety of options in the battle array.  It was a hell-of-a-problem for us when the fuel, ammo, parts, or R&R flights were not there in time.
You and I have no problem holding a sign; you probably know my past transgressions.
You and I will fail if we only have people holding hideous signs and daring dissent.
You and I will fail if nobody recruits and provides a context for the prayer warriors who won’t carry signs just as the Catholic Church will fail if it fails to recruit and provide monasteries and convents for people who ONLY pray.

That’s my never-to-be-too-humble opinion.

Drive on buddy –  we need your courage and determination [and your genius].  We can tolerate your intolerance [for now].

— Joe

_______________________________________

From: Gregg Cunningham
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 12:20 AM
To:
Subject: RE: Read and forward
Hi Joe,

With all due respect, you aren’t reading my remarks very carefully or I am not speaking very clearly.  (As an aside, Army helicopter pilots saved the life of this Air Force guy many more times in Vietnam than my fighter pilot friends ever did so my gratitude is with my chopper buddies – who knows, you may have been one of the Huey pilots who extracted me from some unpleasant LZ).  Please reread what I said below:  There is an important (my exact word) place in our movement for people who can’t or won’t face the horror, etc.”  I have people who have worked for CBR for years and can’t get near abortion photos.  We greatly value their involvement.  The ability to hold a sign isn’t a requirement to be effective in this movement or in our own organization.  I am talking about a STRATEGY which aggressively seeks to cover-up the photos.  That is a sure loser and that is what MANY Forty Days people insist upon imposing on others.  I would never say EVERYONE must hold a sign but I am going to push back against any attempt to say that NO ONE can hold a sign.  I have read that prohibition issued by more than one prominent Forty Days leader and David Bereit affirms that ban with his quiet acceptance of the prohibition.  That is dangerous and I am going to speak out against it.

Gregg Cunningham

_______________________________________

From: Joe
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 6:34 AM
To: Gregg Cunningham
Subject: RE: Read and forward

Dear Gregg, thanks again.

The  chopper pilots who shot back when the hunted dared to expose themselves by firing on them and the fighter pilots who were driving into the teeth of Jane Fonda’s heroes spoke the same belligerent way.  It was probably a mixture of false humility and partly our way of keeping ourselves pumped up so we could fill our cockpit.  There were for us no pilots like our buddies who took the shots every day.

You and many of us in the early days of our efforts to save babies seem inclined to the same manner of expression, perhaps for much the same reason.  Few of our co-religionists came out to join the fray.  Many of the best rescuers spoke of their self-described Christian brothers as ones “who cant orwont face the horror” [of pro-abort violence, police action and/or unjust trials with fines and/or time in jail].  We both were careless of the way we spoke about those of lesser risk-taking parts the airplane driver union and in the baby-saving battles.

Granted!  There are cowards.  I had one captain who was sore afraid and avoided his responsibilities as lead scout pilot. Rather than go to the trouble of UCMJ action I forced to fly as my co-pilot until he agreed to get into his scout helicopter and fly wing to his rank-inferior better.  It only took a few missions.  One of my God-sons, at age 15 became a reluctant hero from a home led by a mother and her live-in guy giving his 4year-old brother and younger sisters drugs.  He knew my past and many times insisted he would never, could never stand in fJoet of PP; could-not/ would-not serve as a soldier.  But he stood up to the home where he lived to take instruction, be baptized, become a daily Communicant, and eventually marry and have a child.  He still will not join me on the sidewalk.

When you wrote that you ” would never say EVERYONE must hold a sign but I am going to push back against any attempt to say that NO ONE can hold a sign,” your way of speaking created a polar opposite that I see as permitting no other option.  Such rhetoric justifies itself by eliminating a reality it wishes to ignore, and it often draws “friendly-fire” unnecessarily.  Not having been to one of your operations but having been to many other rather active pro-baby-saving enviJoements it seems to me that leaders like you are often required to accommodate others who may participate only on condition that no one become violent in response to threat or even real violence against them.  Many of us find it tactically useful to reserve the right to resort to violence in self-defense.  Some leaders, including Bereit and me, insist that option must be foresworn.  And some of us would “push back against any attempt to say that NO ONE can” defend themselves by resort to violence.  Bereit and I ask that of anyone joining the 40 Day prayer vigil.  My judgment is that during the time of my campaign those who are part of it come with that common agreement and while I have no power to enforce it I have the responsibility to voice it as a condition of participation in our vigil.  The same prudence and limits to power seem to me operative with respect to sinage at my campaign site as with aggressive resort to violence to your sign campaign.  No police obligation exists to enforce my sinage standards; only some degree of moral authority that comes with my invitation to volunteers.  The voluntary cooperation of those who would like more aggressive options and more controversial sinage at PP is much appreciated.  Signs like yours on the sidewalk during our campaign would end participation in prayer/fasting/vigil in fJoet of Napa PP.  My conviction that there are places for aggressive defense and explicit sinage is as stJoeg as my conviction that there are other times and places where neither are appropriate nor effective as part of God’s Plan.  Jesus used most explicit visual cues to express God’s love for us.  Once.  Certainly it would be imprudent to push back against that choice of cues.  Even though the Berrigan brothers seemed to ignore that modality of response to evil during out time of violence.

You and I seem to be on the same wave-length of conviction in this culture war.  I only challenge your B-1 Bomber style of put-down of those who would choose other tactics from their particular set of time/talent/treasure circumstances.  Certainly we both encounter cowards and fools.  We need to be cautious that our rhetoric distinguishes between them and those who may be courageous and wise in choosing options different from ours.

May the peace of Christ continue to disturb us.
Joe

_______________________________________

From: Gregg Cunningham
Sent: Apr 12, 2010, at 2:13 PM

Joe it seems to me that you are still misreading my position when you say “I am creating no option to the use of photos.”  There is a respectful and responsible solution to this photo dilemma:  There are three kinds of pro-life activists who don’t use aborted baby photos.  The first don’t have the emotional wherewithal to face the horror so they won’t go anywhere the photos are being used.  I have no problem with that.  The second don’t think they are effective so they don’t hold them themselves.  I have no problem with that.  The third think the pictures set back our cause so they actively interfere with any attempts by others to use them.  I have a HUGE problem with that.

My recommendation is that people who lack the fortitude to be around the signs be given opportunities for activism which don’t involve the organized display of abortion photos.  People in the second category usually don’t mind if other people use them as long as they don’t have to do so themselves.  So the presence people in the second category won’t interfere with the work of the people who do recognize how important the pictures are and are willing to use them.  But people who try to interfere with the use of photos by saying “I won’t use pictures and I won’t allow you to use them either” are saboteurs.  They need to be given opportunities to participate in events which don’t involve signs but they should not be given a veto over whether signs get used ever.

You are abdicating your leadership responsibility when you allow advocates of “cover-up” to dictate how your events will be structured.  If It You are creating a false dilemma if you allow your events to be taken hostage by people who say “I won’t be part of this event if anyone can use pictures” or “I won’t be part of this event if no one can use pictures.”    If you think you must accommodate everyone and you are going to be in fJoet of P.P. for three hours on a Saturday morning, show the signs for 90 minutes and then do 90 minutes without the signs for people who can’t or won’t show them.

Prayer is the foundation of all we do but Martin Luther King correctly said of prayer that “To expect God to do everything while we do nothing isn’t religion, it is superstition.”  If prayer were all it took to convince America that abortion is an evil of sufficient enormity to criminalize the act, there would be no point in even going to P.P.  We could just stay home and pray. God can hear our prayers just as clearly at home as he can in fJoet of P.P.  But girls considering abortion can’t see abortion pictures if we stay home (or leave our photos at home).

Your analogy to personal differences over whether it is appropriate for activists to resort to violence as a means of self-defense it totally inapt because if I choose to let someone punch me in the face, only I will suffer.  But if I help Planned Parenthood conceal the truth about the abortions they are committing, enormous numbers of babies will die.  We are WAY beyond having to speculate about that.  Countless numbers of women have told us that the pictures were the only thing which was shocking enough to dissuade them from aborting.  Our Forty Days friends aren’t arguing with me.  They are arguing with women who see advocates of concealment as enemies of life.

Please read this carefully Joe:  I am NOT “putting down those who choose other tactics.”  BUT I DO SEE AS THE ENEMY THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE “PRO-LIFE” WHILE THEY HELP PLANNED PARENTHOOD INTERFER WITH OUR EFFORTS TO EXPOSE THE HORROR OF ABORTION — AND I WILL FIGHT THEM AS THE ENEMY.  That is very different, however, from the constructive relationship I have with activists who pursue projects which don’t involve pictures.  It is also very different from the constructive relationship I have with activists who argue that pictures are unhelpful but don’t attempt to interfere with their display.  The difference I keep trying to explain is the difference between an activist who doesn’t use photos and a strategy which doesn’t use photos.  We need to embrace the former but the Abortion Wars are over if we pursue the latter.

Gregg Cunningham

Posted in Prolife Activism