No neutral arena

For two weeks in The Northern Star, there has been a prolonged bashing of the Feminist Front for its participation in the Sunday night (Jan. 21) memorial service.

The editorial attacks have centered on bad manners and the lack of respect for a religious service. As a person who attended with the intent of expressing an alternative point of view, I would like to respond to these criticisms.

Unfortunately, the issue of abortion in this country has no common shared moral language in which a dialogue can take place. One segment of the population makes the choice to deny to all others the right to make any other choice than the one dictated by their religious ideology.

This joining of religious and political ideas has lead to some strange actions and has lead some sincere religious people to use terrorist tactics.

After 17 years, this conflict still seems incapable of resolution. The only acceptable solution seems to be the conversion of all persons to their religious point of view, which seems unlikely, since even in the church there is not a universal concurrence on this issue.

The other alternative is a politically imposed restriction to make this issue a criminal rather than a moral issue. This wedding of politics and religion is at the heart of the protest that Sunday night.

The protests of the pro-lifers have the character of a religious revival meeting. There is much prayer, and “call and response.” The memorial had, as was announced, a religious section and speaker, which would be the occasion, we were told, for possible quesions.

There was no attempt to stop anyone from worshipping or any real “disturbance” of the service until the political speaker who is promoting a candidate for governor appeared.

For a solemn ceremony the use of terms like “shish ka baby” to describe a medical procedure suggest a less reverent atmosphere. The attacks by this speaker did occasion a shouted dialogue which, for this issue, seems the normal format.

It is unfortunate that this is the case, but certainly not the cause for apologies by the Feminist Front. Until both sides can find a more suitable arena for resolving their differences, situations like that Sunday night will continue to take place.

Lee Schreiner

Graduate Student