On Friday 19 November an explosion occurred at the Pike River Coal Mine near Greymouth, on the West Coast of New Zealand. Two miners escaped and rushed to bring news of the explosion. Twenty-nine miners remained underground, in the mine – were they dead or alive? We do not know. The Land of the Long White Cloud awoke on Saturday morning to the awful news. Just under 4,000,000 Kiwis went about their day, heart in mouth, desperate for news of a successful rescue attempt. The indefatigable Superintendent Garry Knowles told us, “This is a search and rescue operation and we’re going to bring these guys home.” Sunday came. Monday. We remained transfixed, glued to online news updates, and the ongoing coverage on TV. We prayed and hoped against vain hope. Tuesday. We changed our profile pictures on Facebook to images of lit candles. Wives, daughters, sons, parents, friends experienced the anguish of uncertainty, hoping for the best; fighting the rising need they felt to start preparing for the worst. Pike River CEO Peter Whittall. Nobody had heard of the guy before, but now – his tired, determined, caring face – embedded permanently in our minds. Wednesday, and then the gut-wrenching report that there had been a second explosion. Even if those brave twenty-nine men had survived the first explosion, they could not have survived the second. The news hit us – our hopes had been dashed to pieces, gone. The rescue mission had become a recovery mission.
Even now, in the early hours of Friday morning, almost a week since the first explosion. Almost a week since that callous, unfeeling reality had thrust itself upon us, I hold out some hope. I refuse to accept that some of the miners may have miraculously survived both blasts, and still be somehow hanging on, waiting for the gleam of a torch from around the corner.
At 5pm on Monday, and after some consideration, I put the following status message on my Facebook profile.
In New Zealand, approximately 18,000 pre-born children are murdered every year, and the majority of these in the name of convenience. They call it abortion, and they call them foetuses, or pregnancies. But nothing takes away from the cold hard and inescapable reality that on average, seventy pre-born human-beings have their lives ripped from them, every business day.
On Tuesday my status read “approx. 140 NZ babies have died from abortion since the Pike River mine explosion”. On Wednesday, 210, and on Thursday, 280.
I was told that I was tactless, inhumane, pitiless and disrespectful, and that my statement was repugnant. I was called a dickhead, a c*nt and an insensitive prick. The same person mentioned that they wished I had been aborted. I was accused of “cheap political point scoring”, and of “giving Christians a bad name”. However, roughly an equal number of people made supportive comments.
How could I be so heartless as to bring up abortion when the Nation is grieving over the loss of these brave men?
I am absolutely sincere when I say that I hate what I’ve done. I am acutely aware that I have offended many friends, and led others to despise me. I know
full well that no New Zealander wishes for the subject of abortion to be brought to their attention during their time of mourning. It makes me feel sick to mention the two tragedies in the same breath, and I greatly wish that I could just leave it alone, and focus on remembering and honouring those brave twenty-nine.
Did I have to speak of abortion at a time when New Zealands nerves were raw, first with anxiety, and then with mourning? Did I have to compare the babies lives ended at the hands of the abortionist, with the brave men, their lights snuffed out before their time? Should I have let it wait a week or two?
Here’s a scenario. 29 school-children and the bus driver tragically perish following a major collision on the highway. The same day, 29 miners travel for their last time down the mine-shaft, never to see the light of day again. Inexplicably, the nation comes to a standstill, mourning the loss of the miners, yet apparently unaware of the fate of the children. Is this acceptable? It is right, and admirable that tears should be shed, and hearts broken over the loss of 29 brave miners. But why no tears shed, why no thoughts spared for the 29 children and the bus driver? Something’s not right here, someone should mourn the children. Someone must remind the people of Aotearoa that there are more to mourn for than just the miners…
In answer to the criticism that I am using the tragedy at the mine to score some cheap political points, that couldn’t be any further from reality. My heart aches for the lost miners and their families. However, not a day goes by when I do not think of and speak of the innocent lives ended in the name of choice in New Zealand, “our free land” – as our National Anthem puts it. My status messages are not an example of me seeing an opportunity to push my agenda, and exploiting it. Instead, my status messages are simply an extension of how I genuinely feel, as well as a reminder to the rest of the country that – while we must mourn for the lost miners, we also must not forget to mourn the lost pre-born children.
Can I just make it absolutely clear, my heart is broken over the tragedy on the West Coast, and for the families whose sons and brothers won’t come home – and particularly for the wives, whose brave husbands will not be coming home. My sincerest apologies to all of those who I have offended with my words. I would dearly love to just shut up and not say anything, and be accepted, and not hated. But at the same time, I cannot relinquish my duty to be a voice for the voiceless.
Update – 28 Nov: Glenn Peoples at the Beretta blog has written a similar article which I recommend you read.