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I'll Come Speak

    I write and speak on all sorts of topics: ancient Christian spirituality and the Eastern Orthodox faith, the Jesus Prayer, marriage and family, the pro-life cause, cultural issues, and more. You can contact Cynthia Damaskos of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau if you’d like to bring me to an event. This Calendar will let you know when I’m in your neighborhood.

 

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Entries in Pro-life & Pro-choice Common Ground (9)

Friday
May272005

Civility

[Dallas Morning News, May 22, 2005]

For most of the 90's I was involved in an organization with a highly improbable name: The Common Ground Network for Life and Choice. Yes, in the days when "pro-life" (pardon, I mean hateful anti-choice fanatics) and "pro-choice (that is, hateful baby-killing fanatics) were about as opposite as they could be, in some dozen cities across the country they were sitting down, knee to knee, and trying to understand each other.

It was terrific. Now I have to admit that this was a self-selected group, and anyone who participated was the kind of pro-lifer or pro-choicer who would *want* to talk to someone on the other side.

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Sunday
May161999

Subversive Civility

 [Park Ridge Center Bulletin, May-June, 1999]

Issues of medical controversy hit close to home; in fact, they drop a cherry bomb right through the mail slot. Our bodies are our homes: they are where we live. For this reason, discussions relating to medicine can take on a desperate tone. When one person feels another is asserting the right to meddle with his home,

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Friday
Oct161998

I Believe

[Regeneration Quarterly, Fall 1998]

This speech was given at "Engaging Common Ground," the second national conference of the Common Ground Network for Life and Choice, held in Syracuse, NY on May 14-17, 1998. The Network was organized in 1993 and based in Washington, DC, and worked to enable discussion between pro-choice and pro-life advocates. The Network lost its funding in 1999 and had to disband.

The topic we were assigned for this plenary session was, "What is the broader context of meaning and beliefs in which we engage with the abortion issue?" Though I was in on the discussion to choose this topic, I now find myself in the embarrassing position of wondering "What in the world did we mean by that?" As a result, I've written several different versions of what I would say this morning, and last night when I got up for my regular prayer time I took one more look at the topic, threw out all previous versions, and started over from scratch.

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Wednesday
Dec311997

Beyond "It's a Baby"

[National Review, December 31, 1997]

"This week is anti-choice week at UB," wrote Michelle Goldberg, a staffer with the University of Buffalo (NY) student paper, the Spectrum. "If you see one of them showing their disgusting videos or playing with toy fetuses, do your part and spit at them. Kick them in the head."

The lively Ms Goldberg demonstrates one of the reasons that it is always bracing to go onto a college campus as a pro-life speaker. In my travels--Yale, Princeton, Bryn Mawr, Brown, Wellesley, et al--no pro-choicer has actually kicked me in the head, but a few have looked as if they'd like to. A few more have delivered dark imprecations in the question and answer period, occasionally disguised as questions. And a few more have just glowered at me threateningly, like the wicked witch before the bucket of water hit her.

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Tuesday
Nov261996

Who's That Idiot Next to the Potted Plant?

[Religion News Service, November 26, 1996]

Has this happened to you? You're watching some talk'n'politics TV show, a few people sitting around a table with a photo backdrop of the U.S. Capitol, and one of them is a total idiot.

You're thinking, "I can't believe what the one next to the potted plant is saying," and "Did you hear that? How'd she/he get on this show?" and "I could do better than that -- in fact, my labrador retriever could do better than that!"

Well, that would be me.

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Sunday
Jul281996

Seeking Abortion's Middle Ground

[Washington Post, July 28, 1997]

I was pro-choice at one point in my life, but I came over to a pro-life position years ago. I've been there ever since. Perhaps because of my background, I think there's a logic to the pro-choice position that deserves respect, even as we engage it critically. It is possible to disagree with somebody without calling them baby-killers, without believing that they are monsters or fiends. It is possible to disagree in an agreeable way.

The abortion argument is essentially an argument among women. It's been a bitter and ugly debate, and I find that embarrassing. For me, that gives a special urgency to this conference.

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Wednesday
May081996

Adoption and Abortion

[NPR, "All Things Considered," May 8, 1996]

 

On the issue of abortion, I’ve been around the block. At one point, I believed that abortion was necessary to set women free from the burden of unplanned pregnancy. But gradually I changed; I realized that abortion is at root an act of violence, killing children and violating women’s bodies--and their hearts. As such, I couldn’t accept it as a legitimate way of solving social problems. Unnecessary surgery that kills your own child is a cheap substitute for providing women with life-affirming alternatives.

 

 

But perhaps because I’d been on both sides of this issue, I still had sympathy for my pro-choice friends.

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Monday
Jan021995

Pro-Life, Pro-Choice: Can We Talk?

[Sojourners, January 1995] 

For years I scoffed at the idea of violence outside abortion clinics. Sure, plenty of violence was going on inside the clinics--over 4,000 babies killed every day. But opponents of abortion are pro-life, I kept saying. We're in this because we oppose bloodshed. Occasionally I'd wince to hear that someone who was Not Clear on the Concept had harmed an empty building, an action that was wrong, risky, and stupid. But the notion that anyone would aim a gun at an abortionist's head and pull the trigger was ludicrous.

Then somebody did it.

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Saturday
Jan151994

Proclaimers and Persuaders in the Abortion Wars

[World, January 15, 1994] 

One of the most hard-nosed and incisive debaters of the pro-life cause is Gregg Cunningham, whose exchange of letters with C. Everett Koop appeared in a recent issue.

Gregg's Center for Bio-Ethical Reform handles a busy calendar of speaking engagements and produces "Hard Truth," a devastating video showing aborted babies. Every cause needs articulate, aggressive champions like Gregg.

But Gregg's latest newsletter set me to thinking about what else a cause needs.

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