A few years ago, I drove to Lafayette, IN to be part of a nationwide protest of Planned Parenthood. This was shortly after the undercover videos started revealed top Planned Parenthood staffers admitting they fudged reports, manipulated women, and ultimately sold the body parts of aborted babies to various places…
The videos outraged many across the country, and we gathered by the tens of thousands, holding signs and sharing personal stories about women who deserve better than Planned Parenthood–and asking the government to “Defund PP.”
At the PP in Lafayette, there were roughly 200 people standing on the sidewalk alongside me: young, old, black, white, male, and female. And we knew there were even larger crowds at other locations around the U.S.
It took awhile before some of us noticed a man standing on the other side of the street, “counter-protesting” our message.
Guys–he was holding a piece of printer paper, on which he had written (in pencil?) “Go Home and Mind Your Own Business.”
It looked as though he had spotted our group from his office window and decided to grab whatever was in reach as he rushed out to the sidewalk–to stand in unity with himself and tell everybody else to look the other way. Just let PP injure whoever they want with tax-payer money.
It was kind of funny, in a sad way, until the news crews started to show up.
And that’s when it dawned on me: “Oh, crap–this guy is going to be interviewed several times today…because those journalists think that’s how you tell a ‘balanced’ story.”
Hundreds of people organized to shed light on an injustice. One dude decided (on a whim) to say “GO AWAY!”
And he was given a microphone.
I’m reminded of that story as I scroll through the tweets under the hashtag #exposeChristianSchools, which started trending after Karen Pence accepted a teaching job at Immanuel Christian School.
Being reminded that those schools exist–some people wanted a place to share their horror stories about their private educations.
And by “horror stories” I mean mostly vague accusations of “hate” and “lies,” punctuated with a only a few more specific claims just like this:
At first, it’s kind of funny, in a sad way. I imagine these people, standing by themselves outside of a private school, holding a piece of printer paper.
There are many, many, many people using the hashtag to talk about their positive experiences with rigorous academics, the teachers who were like family members, and the atmosphere of love. So I almost feel bad for the handful of bitter ex-Christians, standing in unity with themselves to say “I was expelled for violating the dress code.”
…but then it dawns on me:
Oh, crap, someone will still give them a microphone.
When Dan Levin goes to write his piece for the New York Times about the hashtag #exposeChristianSchools, he’s going to feel the need to be “balanced” by taking seriously the pitiful complaints of roughly four, jaded Atheists.
But why wait to talk with kids after they’ve graduated?
You can go into any Christian school NOW and ask any of the students, “Which one of your classmates absolutely hates being here and will talk to me about his/her terrible experience?”
They can tell you. I guarantee it.
Nobody who went to school with “ebnjsandwich” is surprised that she’s still bitter over the dress code as an adult. There is at least one in EVERY school who loudly and repeatedly moans how stuuuuuuuuuupid dress codes are–and some of them never get over it.
It’s kind of funny.
But it’s also sad.
When I was a student, it never occurred to me that someday I might be judged as “lacking in empathy” if I said anything in defense of Christian schols.
I didn’t know I would one day be guilty of “lacking empathy” unless I pretended to agree with Betsy that her latest drama with the “unfair” principal REALLY WAS a big deal.
Did you catch that last line?
If someone says something negative about a system, you shouldn’t tell your own (positive) story. The PROPER response is to let a dissenter speak… Even if everybody else disagrees.
Empathy means taking them seriously.
Balance means giving them a microphone.
I just can’t help wondering where we learned these wacky “rules” about empathy and balance, in the first place?
Can anyone tell me?
Was it Christian Schools or Public Schools–teaching us that the CORRECT thing is to shine a spotlight on literally anyone who disagrees with the majority?
I want to know who to blame and where to protest for the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in now: where the people with the most insignificant opinions are still finding ways to earn attention.
My little piece of printer paper will say:
“You don’t deserve to be heard just because you are arguing…”
Sometimes people feel voiceless and out-numbered–not because there’s a need for a social justice crusade–but because their “perspective” about the issue is simply wrong…