Only Love by Kristin Van Spankeren
Kristin Van Spankeren is Pro-Life Wisconsin’s student intern on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am currently in a biological sciences class about HIV/AIDS in society. For an assignment, I watched a documentary about an AIDS advocacy group – Act Up – that worked in New York City in the height of the AIDS epidemic. The group consisted of mainly HIV positive individuals who petitioned the federal government and FDA for better treatment options while thousands were dying due to a lack of effective drugs and awareness about the virus.
Over time this powerful group was certainly successful in delivering drugs and speeding up the process of research. Act Up was the first organization of its kind and played a large role in prolonging lives and providing hope. However, to me there was one key issue with their work: Act Up rallied around anger. Their frustration in the lack of awareness and treatment of the virus was the motivation of their campaign. Even more, anger was celebrated. Anger was encouraged. Anger became the center of their work, and definitely had an effect on the delivery of their message and the community around them.
Now, I’ve never been personally affected by HIV/AIDS in my life, but there is a public issue that I do get very angry about: abortion. I’m sure a lot of you find yourself in the same position. Oftentimes it’s very difficult for me to be respectful to my “pro-choice” friends in conversation about the topic. It’s hard for me to understand where they are coming from without becoming bitter or judgmental. But imagine, what if our pro-life campaigns were centered on this anger? What kind of progress would we make in spreading Christ’s love for life if we focused on hatred for those who do us wrong? Act Up did do a lot of positive work, but eventually its celebration of anger and frustration caused the group to become dysfunctional and break apart. Members could not reach agreement, and people just became angry with each other.
I would argue that both Pro-Life Wisconsin (and other pro-life groups) and Act Up are organizations that fight for the longevity of the human life. However, we pro-lifers choose to celebrate love, not anger. We must not deny the hate and anger that exist due to abortion in our society; I think the legality of abortion will always make me angry. But we must internalize this: “hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We must channel our anger into love – love for the unborn, love for those who just don’t understand. Our commitment to loving the unborn, their mothers and fathers, and the pro-abortion community in a warm, Christ-centered way is what will ultimately end abortion.