I was observing an English class at my school as they read the recent post by Betsy Childs entitled “Why We Should Legalize Murder for Hire.”
Some were horrified at first at the suggestion that “hit men [could] provide a valuable service to society” by helping women deal with “unwanted marriages,” but they quickly understood they were dealing with satire. Their appreciation of the author’s wit was evidenced by the readers’ giggles and parenthetic comments.
We don’t find out that the author is actually building a parallel between killing one’s spouse and killing one’s unborn child.
The students commended the cleverness of Childs’ analogy when she says that “matrimony severely curtails a woman’s freedom” and that “the better course is to avoid unwanted marriage in the first place,” and “it is her marriage; only she can decide when it must end” . . .
One student pointed out that Childs correlates adoption to divorce when she says the latter “may be an attractive alternative to murder” but “some woman do not have the emotional and financial resources to go through a divorce.”
The students’ initial reaction to this article was positive.
How would you take this if you were pro-choice?
I’d be mad.
It wasn’t very long and one student used the word “fallacy.”
The students continued to ask each other questions:
Yeah, that fits.
(Faulty analogy: an argument is based on misleading, superficial, or implausible comparisons.)
The students suggested that someone who was pro-choice would not accept the premise that the fetus was comparable to a husband, so this argument is only effective if someone accepts that premise. They concluded that if your audience was pro-life, Childs’ argument was effective, but if it was pro-choice the argument would be ineffective.
Who is the audience?
Since this article was posted on The Gospel Coalition website, one can assume that the audience was conservative to moderate Christians. The effect of the article was to reinforce the views of the audience. In other words, it was preaching to the choir.
What’s the point of writing this if your audience already agrees?
It was observed that the only effect of the article was to reinforce the view of those who agree that our society “celebrates [the murder of] family members”. Several students pointed out that this, in itself, is not wrong, but because the tone was mocking this article would simultaneously alienate opponents and enflame the passions of supporters.
Was this the purpose of the article?
If you get the two sides all riled up you can’t get anywhere.
How can Christians write about this issue that promotes dialogue?