How to Handle an Unlikely Encounter

It was 2017. Donald Trump had just been inaugurated. The president’s bad behavior of the past frustrated many women. They decided to march on Washington in protest. But pro-life women were not welcome.

This event was exclusive to a particular mindset–one that viewed the sanctity of human life stance with hostility.

But not all the women shared hostility for all things pro-life.

And that some women learned more about the pro-life perspective that day may simply be due to an aversion to the porta-potty.

If you’ve ever marched in Washington, you are either acquainted with the porta-potty, aka porta-john, or you strategically plan your bathroom breaks. If you are marching in the cold of January, you work harder at the strategic plan of finding bathroom facilities.

In Building the Benedict Option, Leah Libresco tells the story of the Dominican friars of Washington, DC, who welcomed pro-choice protesters to use their bathroom facilities in 2017. The men opened their doors to women protesting the election of Donald Trump–protesting the rise to office of a president whose past behavior had been unsavory to put it mildly–a president who claimed to be pro-life.

At first, it was only 12 women seeking to use the facilities; then it became more than 100. Libresco quotes the account of Brother Martin Davis:

“The peculiar situation of some people wearing ‘Get your rosaries off my ovaries’ next to men wearing rosaries on their belts did not stop many [of the women] from inquiring into what brings us to live lives dedicated to Christ” (105-06).

Libresco explains that the friars answered the women’s questions about their work and their beliefs about abortion and unborn life, among other topics. The grateful women then passed a hat collecting over $100 for the church.

They warned Brother Martin to avoid reading the text on the hat they passed.

It was an unlikely encounter and yet a profound one. The friars may have found the march discouraging. They might have withdrawn and stayed behind closed doors. They might have lost hope.

Libresco: “To be a Christian means to believe that hopelessness is always a misapprehension at best, and, at worst, a form of spiritual attack” (158).

More than 100 women saw the beauty of Christ that day and heard the message of life. The march’s organizers tried to shut out that message. But a simple act of hospitality on a cold day shut the door against hostility. And it didn’t take much.

From Libresco: “[T]he friars weren’t engaging in traditional witness. They weren’t preaching or participating in a street prayer vigil” (106-07).

They were just being hospitable Christians. They obeyed a calling from God and opened a door where minds and hearts had been closed.

Revised and republished from February 7, 2019.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mistaking Emotion for Argument Update

I couldn’t figure it out. A number of students were claiming the speaker was evoking emotion to convince his audience. My college freshmen couldn’t recognize the difference between reason and feelings.

But the speaker didn’t want them to feel. He wanted them to think. To reason. To deduce right from wrong. Feelings had little to do with it. But today, feelings make the argument. Most people can’t discern between feeling and thinking. To do so would mean there are universal truths about right and wrong.

In the early days of the abortion debate, those who support abortion would accuse pro-lifers of just being emotional–too emotional–about the unborn.

Pro-lifers asserted that support for unborn life was more than hand-wringing anguish over potential life. It was reasoned protection for innocent human life. All innocent human life. The foundation for protecting such life was not only religious but also moral and scientific. It was never solely a religious argument. Sometimes, it wasn’t a religious argument at all. (See Dr. Bernard Nathanson.)

But the other side just can’t admit that–unless it tries to co-opt a religious perspective.

“Mary Doe” of Missouri turned the pro-abortion argument on its head. In a lawsuit before the Missouri Supreme Court, Doe protested a Missouri law requiring a waiting period of “72 hours before having an abortion, [that a woman seeking abortion] look at an ultrasound and sign a form which states [she’s] read material that contains the line, ‘(t)he life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.’”

A member of the Satanic Temple,* she asserted that the Missouri law violated her freedom of religion and that “she must not support any beliefs that make her fetal tissue a being distinct from her body.”

“Mary”–an ironic pseudonym–had already had her abortion. She refused to hear her unborn child’s heartbeat. She said she was made to feel “guilt and shame.”

Her emotions trumped truth. She is entitled to believe what she wants. But she is not entitled to her own facts.

She is not entitled to declare a baby a non-living entity simply because that’s what she wants it to be.

The lack of logic, however, was clearest in her assertion that her unborn child is not separate from her own body–not an entity entitled to protection and life. To claim it is merely a Christian view that the unborn are human and alive is also illogical.

Such assertions ignore facts borne of science: The unborn is a separate being. The child has his or her own DNA. That DNA is human DNA. The unborn he or she is not part of the mother; the child merely resides within her–and does so temporarily. The child is growing. That makes the child alive.

It is not a religious idea that we can hear an unborn heartbeat. It’s not religious to see fingers, toes, and a face on sonogram imagery. And it is not religious to recognize babies in the womb as human.

And that is what the Missouri Supreme Court decided five days ago. Because the court recognized reason and truth.

The only appropriate religious view to insert in this discussion is that Satan is the father of lies.

Satan’s Temple of death for unborn children–The Satanic Temple–is aptly named. We can be so thankful that Missouri’s Supreme Court realized reason. And we can pray the members of the Satanic Temple receive the blessing of truth.


This post updates an earlier one discussing the legal challenge to Missouri’s law.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Hospitality Overcomes Hostility

It was 2017. Donald Trump had just been inaugurated. The president’s bad behavior of the past frustrated many women. They decided to march on Washington in protest. But pro-life women were not welcome.

This event was exclusive to a particular mindset–one that viewed the sanctity of human life stance with hostility.

But not all the women shared hostility for all things pro-life.

And that some women learned more about the pro-life perspective that day may simply be due to an aversion to the porta-potty.

if you’ve ever marched in Washington, you are either acquainted with the porta-potty, aka porta-john, or you strategically plan your bathroom breaks. If you are marching in the cold of January, you work harder at the strategic plan of finding bathroom facilities.

In Building the Benedict Option, Leah Libresco tells the story of the Dominican friars of Washington, DC, who welcomed pro-choice protesters to use their bathroom facilities in 2017. They opened their doors to women protesting the election of Donald Trump–protesting the rise to office of a president whose past behavior had been unsavory–a president who claimed to be pro-life.

At first, it was only 12 women seeking to use the facilities; then it became more than 100. Libresco quotes the account of Brother Martin Davis:

“The peculiar situation of some people wearing ‘Get your rosaries off my ovaries’ next to men wearing rosaries on their belts did not stop many [of the women] from inquiring into what brings us to live lives dedicated to Christ” (105-06).

Libresco explains that the friars answered the women’s questions about their work and their beliefs about abortion and unborn life, among other topics. The grateful women then passed a hat collecting over $100 for the church.

They warned Brother Martin to avoid reading the text on the hat they passed.

It was an unlikely encounter and yet a profound one. The friars may have found the march discouraging. They might have withdrawn and stayed behind closed doors. They might have lost hope.

Libresco: “To be a Christian means to believe that hopelessness is always a misapprehension at best, and, at worst, a form of spiritual attack” (158).

More than 100 women saw the beauty of Christ that day and heard the message of life. The march’s organizers tried to shut out that message. But a simple act of hospitality on a cold day shut the door against hostility. And it didn’t take much.

From Libresco: “[T]he friars weren’t engaging in traditional witness. They weren’t preaching or participating in a street prayer vigil” (106-07).

They were just being hospitable Christians. They obeyed a calling from God and opened a door where minds and hearts had been closed.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

BLOGPOST: What We Are For Is More Than What We Are Against

“You are anti-abortion and anti-gay,” she said, seeming to sum up my entire worldview. Five words to define me.
She knew me from brief classroom conversations and my writing, including my personal history as a reader. I wrote that history for her graduate class in literacy in 2006, before same sex marriage was a national argument. In it, I mentioned Bernard Nathanson’s book Aborting AmericaNathanson’s account of his journey from abortion doctor (his term) to pro-life advocate. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: What We Are For Is More Than What We Are Against”