I was focused on watching the meter at the gas pump tick off the gallons going into my little red Hyundai. "I like your bumper sticker." The voice behind me was a deep and cultured one. Turning around I saw that it belonged to a well-dressed man, silver-haired, standing beside his very nice sedan. The bumper sticker he referred to was one a friend gave me. I had first seen it on a car at a gathering of Mennonites. "When Jesus said love your enemies, I think he meant don't kill them." It was appropriate to the times, not long after 9/11 and the attack on the Twin Towers, after our country had gone to war. Wanting to say something positive to acknowledge his remark, I answered, "Yes, I like it too," and went on pumping gas.
The speaker, however, had more to say. I turned to see him looking thoughtfully at the Obama 2012 logo on the back of my car. In his resonant voice, he announced, "I think Jesus would tell Barack Obama to stop killing unborn babies." And with that he walked away, headed for the station's quick-stop store. And leaving me staring non-plussed at his retreating figure. No way to respond. No way to engage him in discussion, or to ask him for more clarity about his remark. I seethed at his cowardly and dismissive manner of voicing an opinion and then abruptly cutting off any further comments. I thought briefly of backing my little car forcefully into the front of his nice vehicle but decided that would damage my car more than his, so I drove away mad.
I know there are the commanding features of some men, sure in their minds that they hold the only possible opinion on any subject, whether religious, political, social or personal. I had just encountered one of those. They are not to be found in my range of associates, but I am willing, no doubt fearfully, to engage in discussions about our differing views. The man I mention here was not about to take that chance with me. He clearly saw no need to do so, committed to what he believed was the only possible correct perspective. And I believe also that he was afraid to have to defend that view with the likes of me. I also realize that he had no sense of the incongruity of connecting my bumper sticker statement to the policies he thought were those of the President. He could not even bring himself to refer to our President by his proper title.
To take a stand against abortion, no doubt influenced by the current furor concerning the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood, and tying that to a supposed intent by the President to kill unborn babies, is an obvious tactic. Most miss the fallacy connecting such issues. I do have to wonder how someone as well-heeled as this man appears, perhaps a leader in some profession, got to the status he has without having to defend his positions. Apparently his modus operandi has been to make his statement and then leave so that there is no further discussion possible. Topic closed. The operating principle has been declared.
Well, Mister Somebody, you've got some work to do. There are so many loopholes in what you say that frogs could leap through them. But I have my own work to attend. I hope some day you open your mind just a crack at a time and let a little light come in.