If you’re not familiar with the special genius of Ray Comfort, the banana man, this is your lucky day.
Side note: speaking of bananas, a Fast Company article by Martin Lindstrom says:
Dole and other banana growers have turned the creation of a banana into a science, in part to manipulate perceptions of freshness. In fact, they’ve issued a banana guide to greengrocers, illustrating the various color stages a banana can attain during its life cycle. Each color represents the sales potential for the banana in question. For example, sales records show that bananas with Pantone color 13-0858 (otherwise known as Vibrant Yellow) are less likely to sell than bananas with Pantone color 12-0752 (also called Buttercup), which is one grade warmer, visually, and seems to imply a riper, fresher fruit. Companies like Dole have analyzed the sales effects of all varieties of color and, as a result, plant their crops under conditions most ideal to creating the right ‘color.’
Back to Ray Comfort.
He’s an evangelical, generally based in the LA area, who likes to go around doing, you know, evangelical stuff, like ‘man on the street’ confrontation interviews. I once went to hear Richard Dawkins speak and was privileged to witness Mr. Comfort attempting to give a copy of his special Origin of Species book to Dawkins. (Special seems to be the key word all around here.)
Now look. I try hard—I really do—to maintain an open mind. I am on fifty million organizations’ email lists and it’s only partly because I like to know what everyone is doing. It’s also because I stay open to my mind being changed—I stay open to logic, to truth, to a well-presented, well-reasoned, logical, factual argument. I try hard never to assume I know what is unchangeably unarguably 100% right, particularly when it comes to details, policies, politics, the nitty-gritty complexity of human life.
So when I got an email the other day from the American Family Association saying I needed to watch this ‘shocking, award-winning’ new documentary because it would change my heart and mind about abortion, I tentatively reserved judgment. My feelings on abortion are somewhat complex—that’s a post for another day—although I am generally pro-choice, and am a BIG fan of Planned Parenthood and of sex ed and making birth control easily and readily available—so I said, “Well, certainly I can listen to what these people have to say.” I clicked on the link.
Now, if you’re just dying of curiosity, you can go watch the video yourself. But if you want the general idea, here’s how it goes.
Ray Comfort to a lot of random people: Who was Adolf Hitler?
A lot of random people, one after another: No fucking clue. Never heard of him.
Me: Have these people ever been on the Internet; and, how many hours of footage had to be edited out to get this?
Ray Comfort to random skinhead with tattoos and piercings and a mohawk: Who was Hitler?
RSWTAPAM: Dude, he was so great, man. He killed all these **** and **** and **** and he wanted to make the world safe for white people and man he was so great dude.
Ray Comfort to more random people: Who was Adolf Hitler?
Somewhat smarter random people: He was some bad dude. He killed Jews. He was the head of the Nazis. He started World War II. Etc.
Ray Comfort to SSRP: If it were 1939 and you had a rifle trained on Hitler, would you shoot?
SSRP: Hell yes.
Ray Comfort to SSRP: If it were some years before and Mrs. Hitler were pregnant with Adolf and you had a rifle trained on her, would you pull the trigger?
Me: Uh, okay…
Ray Comfort: Voiceover and footage of Hitler and talking about how bad he is. On and on and on.
Me: What IS this video?
Ray Comfort to random people: Okay, so let’s say a Nazi points a gun at you and tells you to bulldoze dirt over a bunch of Jews. Some are dead, some are alive. If you don’t do it, he shoots you and someone else does it. Do you do it?
Most people: Yes, to save my life and because it would just happen anyway.
Ray Comfort to random people: Okay, so he hands you a gun and tells you to shoot the Jews or he shoots you. Do you do it?
Most people: No, I couldn’t do that.
Ray Comfort: Isn’t it better to shoot someone than to bury them alive?
Most people: Uh, yeah, maybe so… I get your point…
Me: What the hell is this??? Where is he going with this?????
Ray Comfort to the people who said they wouldn’t shoot: So would you say you value human life?
Most people: Yes, definitely.
Ray Comfort: So how do you feel about abortion? Do you think it’s okay to kill a baby in the womb, in the “safest place in the world”? Why do you think that’s okay? Fill in the blank, it is okay to kill a baby ________. Would you be okay with blowing up a building if there MIGHT be a person inside? Etc.
Me: Uhhhhhhhhh. So I listened to fifteen minutes of stuff about Hitler WHY?
All in all, here’s what I got out of it: 1) The title apparently actually refers to the 180 that the film makes in subject matter. 2) It’s not okay to end a pregnancy—ever—but it’s okay to shoot a pregnant woman in order to kill (forcefully abort, if you will) her fetus, because you believe he will one day make evil choices (and there’s no free will either apparently, because you are sure he will make those same choices and won’t possibly make different ones). 3) Ray Comfort interviewed sixteen thousand people to find a handful who seriously had never heard of Hitler (or who had memory loss), and another handful who would be so confused by his 180 that they would seriously not challenge his bizarre “logic”. (For a pro-Christian, anti-abortion take that draws many of the same conclusions as me, check out Justin Taylor’s well-written article here.)
Ray Comfort + Random Street People + A Lot of Talk About Hitler + Would You Kill Jewish People = Abortion Is Obviously Always Wrong But You Should Probably Still Shoot a Pregnant Mrs. Hitler
I’m going to go bang my head against a wall. Then eat a banana.