When I decided to return to class at Catholic University of America in the spring, I knew things would be different. I was ready to face the challenge of the COVID-19 restrictions, as well as the political climate revolving around the election and BLM movement. What I was not ready for was to watch as my university’s culture shifted in the matter of a few days toward hate, destruction, and absolute hypocrisy.
Around July, I made the jump and deleted my Twitter for good, so I am often behind on who is “cancelled.” This explains why when I heard Abby Johnson would be speaking at my university, my reaction was one of politically incorrect excitement. I knew my campus’s pro-life club had been working for almost two years to get her to speak, and I was excited it would finally happen while I was a student.
My reaction, luckily a private one, could not have been more wrong. For those of you who may not be aware: Abby Johnson is now a new member of the cancelled club, and students are in an uproar about her visit.
To quote directly from the petition to cancel her visit, written by the Black Student Alliance on campus, “While she may have a unique testimony to becoming an anti-abortion activist, Abby Johnson, in recent videos and Twitter posts, has expressed beliefs and values that do not embody the Church’s or Catholic University’s consistent life ethic, including egregiously racist remarks and arguments.”
As someone majoring in English who often has to write argument-based papers, I found this petition to cancel Abby Johnson’s visit based on vague notions and thin arguments. Of course, no actual evidence is given in the petition, besides attacks on her personal beliefs, opinions, and social media presence.
And to all of those “arguments” I respond with the very simple, very politically incorrect question: Who cares? If you don’t agree with her, don’t attend the event.
Abby Johnson’s biggest offense is having an opinion, which she freely expressed, and which the public mob interpreted as racism.
I’m not going to get into the tweets in question, mostly because Twitter is not reality. I am a firm believer that if you have an opinion, and you want to change things, you do just that. You don’t whine on social media and hope someone listens.
Abby Johnson is someone who has an opinion, but she has also gone into the real world and changed things. Whether you agree with her or not, you must admit she has a powerful story that has the ability to convert many hearts toward the pro-life movement.
My favorite argument used against Abby Johnson by students of the university is the following: “She has since proven to be anti-abortion rather than pro-life, having yet to embrace life at every stage and of every identity.”
To which I respond: Show me some evidence.
The petition goes on to describe the “insensitive rhetoric” Johnson uses on her platforms to promote her “blatant racism, sexism, and homophobia.”
Once again, I say: Show me some evidence.
But the truth is, my campus is full of extreme mobs who long to alienate anyone with an opinion different than theirs under the guise of “fostering dialogue.”
Of course, fostering dialogue is simply a code word for silencing those who believe and speak the truth, which, I would argue, is something Abby Johnson does. She supports the pro-life movement by exposing the lies Planned Parenthood tells, and she uses her personal awakening to inspire others.
This is exactly what she is scheduled to discuss on Catholic University’s campus. The talk is not about racism, or any other “buzz word,” but rather about a woman coming to tell her story. But instead of being excited about this opportunity, students created a petition filled with strawman arguments that attacked Abby Johnson and her beliefs, without any real evidence.
When our university Chaplain responded to the controversy surrounding the event, he wrote, “Specifically to our students of color, who feel marginalized and unheard. You deserve better from me.”
We, the students at The Catholic University of America, do deserve better. We deserve the chance to hear from speakers who promote Catholic and pro-life values. We deserve the chance to hear opinions we may not agree with. We do not deserve to be silenced.
We deserve more, and so does Abby Johnson.
Students at my university are trying to silence her simply because they do not like what she has to say. In turn, they are silencing and labeling the students who support her visit, with words such as “white supremacist,” and “racist.”
The common excuse many extreme organizations use against the pro-life movement and its leaders is that, they argue, the movement is full of hate instead of love.
A post from a club on campus informed its followers on what “it really means to be pro-life.” After listing the movements we should be supportive of, including BLM and LGBT communities, the post stated, “It’s not just about the lives to come, it is about the lives that already exist that need help from others in their community.”
Well, how can we help the lives that already exist when our society is too busy murdering the next generation?
The pro-life movement is easily one of the most accepting and love-filled movements in modern society. To claim that it is a hateful and racist community is as hypocritical as it gets.
The only movement filled with hate is the one trying to silence one of its members with no regard for truth or reality.
I pray for my campus, and its leaders, as I watch it succumb to the hateful mob. May God have mercy on our souls.
Update: Catholic University President John Garvey issued a statement noting that the College Republicans have agreed to sponsor Johnson’s talk in place of Cardinals for Life and so she will now be speaking again.
[Photo Credit: Shutterstock & Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images]