Joshua Henderson, having finished university, now works as a software engineer in North Sydney.
University campuses all over the world are often hostile environments for those with pro-life [or Christian] views. They have become places where tolerance no longer means tolerance, open debate no longer means much attempt at being impartial, and conservatives are often treated as subhumans.
When I was running a pro-life club at my university campus a few years back, I experienced all of this first hand. I had heard stories of other university pro-life clubs where the feminist collective insisted on “approving” all the pro-life material, or where other groups attempted to prevent pro-life clubs from gaining official student club affiliation. And that did eventuate. Posters were ripped down; threatening messages were posted on social media; we were not allowed to promote events on student representative pages, – and so the list goes on. Not only was I told that people didn’t agree with me, I was repeatedly told that I shouldn’t be allowed to voice a prof-life opinion in public.
I spent a lot of time trying to work out the best way to approach promoting our message. We needed something positive, something that would be hard to disagree with. I partnered up with a pregnancy support centre that was just around the corner from my campus, and together with a wonderful bunch of volunteers, promoted the radical idea of women having a real choice – a choice where there’s a great outcome for both mother and child. Even then, however, I found that people still wanted to prevent such a message from spreading.
There is a sad irony in the way that many universities function. They’re supposed to be all about exchanging of new ideas in a spirit of tolerance, but the truth is quite the opposite. The hostile environment was such that I could only promote my message if the guardians of political thought on campus agreed with me.
If you’re a university student I’d strongly encourage you to get involved with or even to start up a pro-life club on your campus. There are plenty of university students who may find themselves in a situation where they need a real choice. They need to know about the support that is available.
Fortunately there are many students who support the pro-life cause, even if they don’t do so vocally. This means we need to stop being bullied into silence. Universities are a crucial part of the pro-life cause, and who best to take the lead than students themselves.
You will need to spend time fighting for your right to have an opinion in public. This isn’t something that you should have to do – other spheres of thought enjoy the right to express themselves without hindrance – but it’s a fight worth having. So – for the sake of life – take courage and be strong!