Wichita protests are righteous “terrorism”

By Ken Goze

Things might be getting back to normal in Wichita, Kan., but civil disobedience in America is dead.

For those of you who don’t keep up with the news on TV, have trouble remembering week-old news or, like me, are too damn cheap to subscribe to other newspapers, here’s a recap:

For more than 46 days, thousands of members of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue descended on the city’s three abortion clinics, blocking the entrances and harassing women trying to get inside.

After some 2,600 arrests, U.S. District Judge Patrick Kelly ordered the group’s five leaders to leave town, and never come back, or face indefinite jail terms. They left.

Back in the days when many of our faculty were still in school, civil disobedience meant you gathered peacefully in a public place to protest some government policy.

You then defied orders to leave, and were thrown in jail, where you were prepared to rot for a cause you believed in.

But Operation Rescue, following a new trend in protest, decided to lean on ordinary citizens’ rights rather than face the government, and then melt back into the crowd. Fortunately, the English language has provided us with a word for this phenomenon: T_E_R_R_O_R_I_S_M.

It’s the new wave in activism. Rather than trying to outlaw furs, animal research, or abortion, you go to work on someone’s mink with a straight razor or paint, threaten researchers, and lay seige to clinics.

To their credit, Operation Rescue hasn’t hijacked any planes or raced around popping hostages in the back of a Volkswagen bus.

From the standpoint of the group’s leaders, clearing out was a smart move. Instead of languishing in a cell, they are free to gather their flock of Bible-beating ayatollahs and whip up trouble in some other city.

This is not to say that abortion is a good idea, or even right, but according to the democratic will of the majority, it is legal. It is currently a woman’s right to have an abortion.

But the anti-abortionists don’t see it that way. By claiming to answer solely to a higher power, they are possessed with fanatic righteousness.

This makes their actions understandable, if no less odious. Righteousness truly is a drug, with a high that can be stronger than crack. Armed with this, they duck behind the unassailable shield, the Will of God.

This is nothing new. We owe some of our scarier chapters of history in the past few centuries to people who thought they could do no wrong. Witch hunts, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust are examples of this mentality in action.

Slavery, torture and the virtual extermination of Indians throughout the Americas are some more fine examples of things done in the name of a supposedly tolerant and all-loving God.

Of course, not everyone’s freedom is expendable. When the judge barred them from Wichita, the zealots waved the Constitution and cried about their rights.

In recognition of Operation Rescue and moral vigilantes everywhere, here is a short, but heartfelt prayer. “Lord, save us from those who would save us from ourselves.”