Pro-Abortion Protests Get Ugly in Argentina

The protests in Argentina show that a clash between secularists and people of faith could happen anywhere.

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Women shout slogans in favor of legalizing abortion during a demonstration marking International Women's Day in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, March 8, 2013.

In the United States, the continuing clash between the secularists and people of faith has been relatively peaceful. There is no denying there's been a full court press over the last 20 or 30 years to remove expressions of the Christian faith from the civic life of the nation, but most of those attempts have been confined to the courts.

In other countries the clash has not been nearly so civil. Throughout the world, the church is being persecuted actively by radical groups that object in some cases to its specific teachings on life and marriage and in others to its very existence. Of late they have been emboldened, creating a threat to religious liberty that should be a cause for concern for all.

On Nov. 24, a crowd of feminists attending a women's empowerment conference in San Juan, Argentina put on a display in front of the city's Catholic cathedral that closely resembled a scene from the final reel of "Lord of the Flies." The women – many of whom were topless as an additional provocation – engaged in simulated sexual acts and chanted pro-abortion slogans while assaulting a group of men who had locked arms outside the church to pray and to protect it from vandalism.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Catholic contraception controversy.]

This is not the first time the yearly National Women's Encounter – which enjoys the support of the national government – has gotten out of control, the web site said, citing previous protests that resulted in damage at church buildings in the cities of Bariloche, Paraná and Posadas.

According to the website, the women at the Cathedral of San Juan "spray-painted the men's crotches and faces and swastikas on their chests and foreheads, using markers to paint their faces with Hitler-like moustaches. They also performed obscene sexual acts in front of them and pushed their breasts onto their faces, all the while shouting 'get your rosaries out of our ovaries.'" As a final act of rebellion, they burned an effigy of Pope Francis I, formerly the head of the church in Argentina's capital city of Buenos Aires and the first Latin American to sit on the throne of the Apostle Peter.

Amazingly, none of the men retaliated in any way to the acts of humiliation and degradation perpetrated against them.

[See a collection of political cartoons on gay marriage.]

The international silence over the women's outrageous conduct, captured on video and therefore undeniable, is as deafening as the protests that should have sparked a response. There is simply no excuse for what these women did and there is no way to condone it. Had the demonstrators been, for example, a group of neo-Nazis making a frontal assault on a black church anywhere in the world it would have generated global headlines as the leaders of governments around the world condemned the hate it represented. But because it involved a group of women protesting over abortion, few if any outside the Catholic Church have had the courage to comment.

The response to these disgraceful acts is not for people of faith to begin shouting "Keep your ovaries off our rosaries" in response, but for responsible leaders in the global women's movement like Gloria Steinem, a recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, to calmly explain that such tactics do not advance the women's movement nor do they helpfully promote the cause for which they advocate. What happened in San Juan is shocking and repellent, so much so that one can only assume that silence equals approval. This is what these people are all about, believing they have a mandate to tear down society's most sacred institutions in an effort to inaugurate a new culture based on hedonistic principles and the supremacy of a world centered on the incidental passions of man- and womankind as expressed in the streets and promoted by the state.

The question we should all be asking is: Can something like this happen here? It is increasingly apparent, as the demagoguery that has infected the American political system in the years leading up to Barack Obama's presidency and which has become a hallmark of his tenure in the White House can attest, that someday it just might.

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