Eyewitness to Evil

image credit: AP

image credit: AP

*

Austin was my Golgotha.

Standing outside of the capitol on July 12, 2013, passing out water, I was one of the passersby – one of the individuals who could help, but wasn’t in the thick of things. From the capitol building, I could hear chants and screams of ProAborts rallying in the rotunda. Sometimes the ground shook from their chanting. I knew that it was loud in there, and even standing in the 100 degree heat on the scorching tarmac, I didn’t want to go inside – despite the fact that there was AC in there. Every time the doors of the capitol opened and a burst of unadulterated noise broke into the open, I felt as though a wave of evil passed over the Austin landscape. Orange shirts outside sneered and laughed, and I always felt as though some dark force was looming over the Texas capitol – despite the fact that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

Around 3 pm, my phone rang. 3 pm. The hour Christ died.

“We need a LifeTape team in the Rotunda.” Brendan, my boss, said. That was my signal. Our team gathered up our few belongings and headed towards the capitol building. I didn’t think much – all I thought was “I’m needed there.” So I went.

When we got to the doors of the capitol, the noise became almost deafening. Opening the door, a mixture of cold air and the cacophonous symphony of screaming and chanting hit us full force. We walked in, got through security, and walked up to the rotunda.

Orange.

That’s all I could see. Orange. A moving, monumental blob of screaming, chanting, stomping, clapping, sign-waving, orange.  The noise was even more deafening in the rotunda. I cannot describe to you, or anyone, the absoluteness of that noise. It got into your bones. Your ears couldn’t feel pain it was so loud. Your ears couldn’t even really hear it, it was so loud. It shook the building. It rose and fell in an odd, almost creepy cadence. The rhythm kept the momentum, and the noise became its own being. It was no longer human made, it was not lead by humans; it was its own master. The noise led the people. The noise guided the energy in the room. The noise was not at the service of the people; the people were at the service of the noise. You either became a part of it, or you fought against its controlling power the entire time you were in the rotunda. Those participating in the noise looked almost dead – their eyes lifeless, or, if they did have life, it was an angry sort. The sort of life in their eyes reflected nothing but anger, pain, hurt, and hatred. Those who became one with the noise became the rhythm of the noise – their bodies moved eerily to the beat of the chanting. They swayed back and forth, or stomped in time to the omnipotent music it created.

Every fiber of my being was terrified. It wasn’t the sort of terror that comes from a horror movie, nor was it the terror you might get from heights, roller coasters, the fear of someone you love dying, or the terror of claustrophobia. It was the undeniable, unquestionable, fundamental, understanding that I had walked into the middle of something very, very evil. For those of you who sidewalk counsel, you will understand the feeling I mean when I say “it was like going to Planned Parenthood.” That empty, dark, cold, evil feeling that leaves you drained and sucks the hope out of you. It was like that…. only a million times stronger, and so, a million times worse.

On the outskirts of one side of the blob were a few dots of blue, and I made my way towards the friendly color – my team following close behind. A group of blue shirts hung around Thomas, a Pro-Life leader in the Austin area, who was frantically making LifeTape and passing it out. I grabbed some, slapped it on my mouth, and began to make more for the team. At some point Thomas disappeared, and it was just me and the group of blue. The other blue shirts in the area decided to go to the 4th floor of the rotunda, and slowly they disappeared. We stayed. The 6 of us. We stayed in the middle of that hell on earth.

Standing in the screaming crowd, I realized it would never do us good merely to stand there. If we did, we would wear out before 15 minutes was up. But, what was more, I recognized that there was an incredible need for grace in that dreadful place. More than anything that we needed, the orange shirts needed an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We needed to fill that room with the grace and love of the Father, the saving power of the Son, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I grabbed my rosary, got the other 2 Catholics there to get theirs, and we began praying.

But there was that noise. That sick, evil, deafening, autonomous noise. It seeped into your every fiber – the chanting drowned out even your own thoughts so that the only thing you could think were the words the crowd chanted incessantly. I focused harder than I’ve ever focused in my life and began the rosary…

“I believe in one God, the Father the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth…”

“WOMEN WILL DECIDE OUR FATE”

“And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord…”

“NOT THE CHURCH, NOT THE STATE”

“Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit…”

“WOMEN WILL DECIDE OUR FATE”

And slowly, I began to make it through the rosary. Half way through the Apostles Creed I realized… we need to kneel. I lowered myself down to the cold, hard, marble floor of the Texas capitol. The others in our group also kneeled, other blue shirts who came into the rotunda joined us, and we knelt in solemn prayer on the marble.

And then, prayer came more easily. I finished the Apostles Creed, searched for the beginning of the Our Father, and began our Lord’s prayer. The Hail Marys came easier then, too, and finally, half way through the first decade, I no longer heard the screams of the rotunda. I no longer felt the pulsing presence of that amorphous, all-controlling, noise. I began to relax, and suddenly the screams came flooding back in “WOMEN WILL DECIDE OUR FATE! NOT THE CHURCH NOT THE STATE! WOMEN WILL DECIDE OUR FATE!”

It hit me like a brick wall. I crumpled to the floor. The noise was all around me. Deafening, pulsating, controlling, stifling. Picking myself back up, I realized there was no option to relax. If I even began to let my guard down, to let my focus slacken, I would be overcome by the noise. I closed my eyes and resumed the rosary, offering myself up to the guardianship of the saints and my guardian angel, that I be protected from the pulsing noise.

An hour passed. The chant had changed several times, trying new attempts at breaking the wall of prayer, at destroying my concentration, at making me forget the words I know so well. I fought and remained vigilant… trying to keep my focus on God. Periodically, ProAborts would come over and pose next to us with ProAbortion signs to take pictures, the media took several pictures – the flashes of their cameras behind my closed eyelids startling me and breaking my concentration.

Another hour passed. The noise continued to battering-ram itself against my concentration. Against my focus. Against my prayer. Several times I faltered and the noise overcame me.

“Hail Mary, full of grace…” and I started again.

Another hour.

I measured time by the slow metering of Hail Marys.

“Hail Mary, full of grace…”

Another hour.

At 7 o’clock food arrived for the Pro-Lifers. We sent people down in shifts to eat. I stayed in the rotunda. ProAborts were tossing tampons around in sling shots and home-made trampolines.

“Hail Mary, full of grace…”

7:30, we sent more people down for dinner. I stayed in the rotunda. “OUR BODIES! OUR LIVES! OUR RIGHTS TO DECIDE!”

“Hail Mary, full of grace…”

At 8, another set of people went to eat. “OUR BODIES! OUR LIVES!” “Hail Mary, full of grace…”

At 8:30, 5 hours after entering the rotunda, I got up to get dinner. My knees were locked in place. They were flat and cold. I could barely walk down to the office to get pizza. My ears rang with the noise of the rotunda. As I walked down the halls of the capitol, a wall of exhaustion overcame me. My very soul felt as though it were going to collapse. Just as I was lost to describe the noise of the rotunda, so too am I lost to describe the utter fatigue that plagued my very essence. Breathing seemed to take work. My soul was almost numb, my ears screamed with protest at the beating they had received.

I arrived at the office, grabbed some pizza, and collapsed on the floor. I would take a break. I would rest. I would give my body, mind, and soul a chance to recuperate. I would give myself the chance to rebuild some of the supplies I needed to deal with the rotunda. I settled in for a 30 minute nap.

At 8:45 – 10 minutes after I got to the office – we got the call to go back to the rotunda. “We need all the blue shirts we can get right now!” Somebody called. I hoisted myself up, grabbed my rosary, and left for my post.

As I knelt, looking around the rotunda, images of Christ’s death at Golgotha kept flashing into my mind. The mob in the rotunda screamed and cheered for death – death of innocent children, spiritual death of the mother. The mob laughed at those who stood by, helpless to stop, there to bear witness. The mob sneered at those who presented themselves with love to love. The mob swore at those who were there to be the only ones who would love those women and babies.

How like Golgotha it must have been. Mobs of hurting, angry, people who loathed, sneered, jeered, spit at, and laughed at our Lord simply because they were hurt, simply because they did not know His love. At Golgotha, Christ hung on the Cross, ridiculed, despised, mocked, while all He did was present Himself with love to love those who attacked Him so.

Christ hung on the cross by Himself. Only Mary and John bore witness to the horrendous suffering and death He experienced. So too, the blue shirts found themselves alone – the only witnesses of the horrendous death taking place. The death of souls, the physical death of children, the spiritual and emotional death of the woman…. witnessed by only a few, small, college-age kids in blue shirts.

How like Golgotha, too. That these people screamed and cheered for human rights – they argue for the dignity of the woman, they cheer for the hungry in Africa, and want to help the needy inner-city kids go to school. They lay their palm fronds at the feet of human rights and children, only to turn around and scream “CRUCIFY HIM” a moment later. The very innocent people that the ProAborts should want to protect they attack, confusing the innocent for the guilty, releasing Barabbas instead of Jesus.

Just as Christ died alone, denied by those who loved Him so, so too women find themselves alone with a crisis pregnancy. Their families and friends, the movement that they turned to for protection abandoned them and so they decide to pursue an abortion because there is no other choice. The children killed in abortion die alone in the womb, with no one there to witness their death, no one there to love them but those who stand outside of the abortion mill and pray for them. No one but those who knelt on the rotunda floor and prayed.

And, just as Christ prayed “Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do!” So I began to realize…neither do the ProAborts. They don’t truly know that the person in the womb is a child. They don’t know that the pain of abortion will linger with these women for the rest of their lives. They stomp, and chant, and scream for abortion rights because they know not what they do. In the rotunda, I became incredibly aware of Christ’s love for these people and the pain He feels that they deny Him so. I hurt for them, because they would kill Him…. and without truly recognizing what they were doing – “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to Me.”

So I prayed for them, for a conversion of heart and mind in them, because they are the ones who cannot be comforted. The pain in their eyes cannot be eased, the anger cannot be pacified, because the only one who can ease their pain, pacify their anger, is the one they hate, the one they crucify.

And I pray that someday, those trapped in the culture of death will recognize the promise of the culture of life and turn to the open arms of the Pro-Life movement. Arms that wait to welcome them, help them, and say to them “Peace be with you.”

 

Image credit: AP

Emma Smith

By

Emma Smith graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Philosophy from Hillsdale College in May, 2013. While in school she served as Vice President of the pro-life club for 3 semesters and as On-Campus Mass Coordinator and Events Director for the Catholic Society for 4 semesters. Emma is passionate about her faith, her God, and all things pro-life. She currently works in both pro-life and Catholic ministries in the Diocese of Columbus. More of her work and writing can be accessed on her blog: http://paxlumen.blogspot.com

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  • Scott

    great post, but I do disagree with you on one point – they DO know it’s a life. We have the science, the ultra sounds to know without a doubt that what is in the womb is life. They just don’t care.

  • acw

    Awesome article,Emma. I felt everything as if I was with you,obviously only to a fraction of the intensity. keep up the good fight. I wish this could be published in its entirety in the secular media…just to give them a small taste of the reality of the culture of death. God Bless you and praise Him for Gov Perry and the signing of the bill.

  • Leonard

    Great article keep up the good fight. This is a testament to the power of prayer.Daily in our lives we are bombarded by evil in all shapes and forms we need to be ever vigilant and fight the good fight with our greatest weapon prayer and fasting…..God Bless

  • Poppiexno

    Very moving! Heroic! Do the Aborts know it is a human neing? Do they care? I long ago gave up trying to understand, or for that matter trying to persuade liberals to change their opinion. I honestly believe their brains are wired differently and that in some way they are insane. An extreme view? How else do you explain their refusal to acknowledge reality, to deny truth. They chant “a woman’s right” but will not concede that what’s inside her body is a human being thus avoiding the inevitable logic. In economics they persist in the pursuit of socialism depite ample historical evidence of its ultimate failure. So it is with numerous other examples.

  • Lee

    Dear Emma-Thank you for sharing with us the feeling of the war against evil. I did not become affected by the pro-abortion chant on t.v. reports, but I am moved by your article. Thank you for being there for those who can not. U.S.A colleges need missionaries for the Culture of Life to help bring people out of the dark pit of the culture of death. You will be in my prayers for your continued work through the Holy Spirit.

  • Suellen Ann Brewster

    Well done good and faithful servant…

  • Eliz33

    Thank you, Emma, for being there for the innocent unborn, for theirs mothers, and for those who do not know what they do. Thank you for being Jesus in this mixed up, crazy, lost world, which God so loves. May He bless you richly, my sister.

  • JMC

    Would this be the same crowd who, in response to a group (the blue shirts?) singing “Amazing Grace” began chanting “Hail Satan!”?

  • Luciano G Coson

    Thank you for such a powerful article. This is the new martyrdom we face to stand for our faith around such a vile and cruel environment! Prayers are united with you all! To God be the glory!

  • Elizabeth Warynick

    The Fight is getting so intense with Evil like this because Satan knows his time is limited and getting very short!!! Keep strong we have your back in prayer!

  • RCC_Soldaten

    Awesome article Emma. God Bless you.

  • Gail Finke

    Fantastic essay.

  • janet

    This is such a beautiful article and I thank you for your prayers and your faithfulness.
    I thank the Holy Spirit for giving you the consolation that you received to have mercy and compassion for those screaming.. keep up the good fight.

  • flower_mom

    Emma, thanks for giving evil its proper name. I’ve experienced similar instances, though not as intense. Felt that “cloud” over Blacksburg, VA prior to the Virginia Tech shooting April 16, 2007. Evil is palpable. May all the angels and all the Saints pray for you to have peace and strength when you face that again. God bless your work!

  • Laurie

    I am so moved by your courage, and the Pro-Life stand you take. Your insights into the dark evil is so palpable, and the clarity of what Christ really did on the cross for us is sharp and direct. I would love to print this. Thank you for what you are doing for the “least of His brethren.”

  • Brett

    God bless you Emma. Amazing courage.

  • CJKage65

    All, I can think of are images of vampires thirsting for blood. Their blood lust seems to never be satisfied. God have mercy on them and on the whole world.

  • Tom

    Emma, you are very courageous and a shining example of Jesus
    Christ. God Bless you and your loved ones. Jesus, I
    Trust in You.

  • Margie

    You are a courageous young woman working for Our Lord and God. My only disagreement is that I, too, believe that those supporting the culture of death are aware that babies are being murdered. They do know it and they don’t care. Most of them have probably had abortions or have helped someone procure an abortions. When you are activiely involved in a sin, you are unable to see the evil in it.

  • Mat Polis

    i am so proud of you emma

  • Elizabeth

    Emma. God bless you, child of God. The grace you take bears fruit of excellence. Excellent article! St. Michael protect you.

  • Marilyn H

    Wow!! An incredibly moving piece. Thank you and may God bless you abundantly for your courage and your witness.

  • Jeff Baker Ofs

    May God grant us His peace, beloved Sister in Christ Emma.

  • Rebecca

    This is a truly inspired article. Thank you, Emma! May God continue to strengthen you!
    I will pray for you

  • Marie

    WOW! Very inspirational, poignant, heart-felt, emotional. Thank you for your testimony. May your loving witness be a beacon of hope for those who are hurting.

  • Kat Flynn

    I copy/pasted this in a mass email to my 25 contacts.
    I linked this website and disclaimed it as your work.

    13 replied that they were blocking me.

    11 actually did block me.

    4 Ridiculed me

    2 were unresponsive

    5 swore at me.

    And only 6 thanked me for sending that.bb

    It shows you how narrow minded people are in accepting that there will always be someone who disagrees with them, in their perfect little world where everything is their way.

    You are incredibly, crazy amazingly brave. If it were me, standing in front of the Blob of Orange, I would have had an anxiety attack and died on the spot.

  • Linda Kay Jackson

    Emma, you have so beautifully expressed the feelings of us all at the capitol. So very proud of you all! Thank you~

  • Barrysullivan1

    Reminds me of God’s warning, “They will hate you because of Me as they hated Me before you.” In this day and age, if you are not upsetting people with your actions you are not following Christ! But don’t lose heart as the number of hearts you are turning will grow over time and you will never know the full impact you are having.
    I am now 55 and ran for Congress when I was 30 as an openly pro-life candidate. Many voters, including supporters, were very amazed when I was asked about abortion. Supporters told me I had to support abortion in the case of rape, incest, and health of the mother. I would calmly ask them if they had been conceived as a result of a rape would they want me to support abortion in that case? Then I would ask them at the their Final Judgment, when our Lord is surrounded by the millions of the aborted children’s souls, and He asks them “Where does it say, “Thou shalt not murder except in the case of rape, incest, or health of the mother?” These two questions caused many folks to change their minds because they saw the unborn children as someone they could have been and that there were consequences for their actions. I am convinced these are the two realities that the pro-abortion side are not confronted with and therefore can maintain their misguided beliefs. Here is the website for a talk I have given which gives many more examples of the miracles, including two adopted children, that God has worked in my life.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXixgk

  • NYCFiredog

    As a new Texan, I wish I were there with you. I know what you experienced. I’ve walked through gauntlets of demonic hatred at pro life processions. It was like weeping and gnashing of teeth. A rage that is pure demonic hatred. It is palpable and a real force that can be felt in all of your senses. Like you said, in your very bones. But OUR Force of Light, of Christ, His Mother and all the Angels and Archangels and Saints are much more powerful. But we do need the numbers to counteract such a black Mass as these miscreants. Numbers of us calling in St Michael and His Legions to battle with the demons riding the shoulders of those enslaved Pro Aborts. Yes, to deliver THEM from Evil. And us all.

  • NYCFiredog

    One more thing—-the power of the spoken word is more powerful than silent rosaries. Saying the Rosary ALOUD has more power and I would include the St Michael Prayer said POWERFULLY and ALOUD, along with the rosary said at least at the end of each decade, and in fact, a few decades of repeated St. Michael prayers.

  • Rita

    It’s one thing to say, “this is my opinion. I’m not attacking yours, but please accept mine too.”
    It’s quite another to deliberately send a person an article that attacks their opinion as a whole, calling it ‘evil’ and talking about how horrible and sinful it is what they’re doing. Maybe you believe that too, but you shouldn’t be surprised that the Pro Choice people you sent this to were offended. Being upset at someone calling your movement ‘evil’ isn’t ‘narrow-minded’. It’s a totally normal reaction, and it should have been expected on your part.

  • Kat Flynn

    Hello.
    I did add a note that said I did not write that and it was stricktly my opinion. I didnt put that because I did not feel Iit neccesary to share all the details of one of my emails to the people on the internet.
    Oh yes: I did not know that they were on whatever side they replied to. We dont make a habit of debating political views on a daily basis.
    I sent the article because people actuLly need to hear things that make them upset.
    God knows I’ve heard plenty
    But this isnt about me. This is about millions of humans-children- drying and half the population is doing nothong to stop it.

  • Just Me

    Thank you for calling evil, evil. There is a Planned Parenthood clinic in our town in a small mall that shares a wall with a dollar store. I can’t even go into the dollar store without a feeling of pressure (evil), and it can be felt more the closer you get to the side of the store next to Planned Parenthood. I know that the feeling you felt is very, very real.

  • Emma Smith

    Abortion is not a matter of opinion. Someone can say “don’t like ice cream, don’t eat it” because that is a matter of personal preference or taste. There is no morality attached to the flavor someone prefers in ice cream. There is, however, quite the morality attached to something like abortion. We on the ProLife side cannot hide from who we are as ProLifers and we cannot allow ProAborts to simply sit there and say “don’t like it, don’t do it.” The point of morality is that it’s wrong or it’s right, regardless of what people think about it or argue about it. People will always get offended when they hear someone call their movement “evil,” because they think we are speaking about them. In this article, ProAborts themselves are never called evil. Rather, the movement that they are a part of is considered evil. I’m sorry if they find that offensive, but we are also called to show these people that their movement is evil and to show them that they don’t have to stay in it, either.

    Moreover, their vicious response to Kat’s email was uncalled for. Immediate ad hominem attacks toward someone who is merely sharing an article with you? That’s just plain rude.

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