I spoke with a recent acquaintance in the anatomy lab the other day. She is a secular humanist and recently attended a MedSFL event, where she very articulately questioned/opposed everything the speaker was saying. In lab, she told me frankly that she thinks everyone should have to bring in speakers on both sides of any "issue like that," to avoid misinformation and bias and to allow people to make their own decisions. She also spoke about how she was very upset about all the intolerance she saw in her classmates.
I was surprised that she could imply so bluntly that my event (a presentation by a pro-life doctor on abortion) was misinforming, since there was no one who held the contrary position. I was surprised that she could so unabashedly speak about intolerance. Because of my surprise, her words felt like a slap.
This isn't the first time I've been "slapped" in MedSFL. (For the record, I don't count angry emails from strangers as slaps, since they're much less in-your-face and they're to be expected.) A few months ago while I was planning the meeting the secular humanist attended, I contacted two women who I knew to be pro-life. They agreed to meet with me before the next event to talk about it. To my complete and sharp surprise, they sat me down and bluntly told me they both felt the same way: "Let's be clear: I don't do this pro-life action stuff." I am ready to attest that they had good intentions, but the approach left me seared and begging to ask them, "if you agree with me, why put me through such a wringer? Couldn't you just email back and say nicely, 'no, I can't help with the meeting, but I can come,' and leave it at that?"
At this point, I am really the only person in the group. The attitude of these two women, whose discernment I can admire, seems to be the attitude of others as well: "I already do other things. I don't want that label, 'pro-life.' It interferes with the way I live, the way I interact with others, and what I want to do (or think God wants me to do)."
Happily, one of the undergrads at this institution, a former officer in the undergrad pro-life group, is coming here next year and I can pass the torch to her. I'm so ready to be out of office...it's emotionally exhausting.