That’s Bill Mefford, the Director of Civil and Human Rights at the United Methodist Church’s Washington arm. In contrast to, say, Russell Moore, a counterpart of his at the Southern Baptists’ Washington office, who went out to join the March for Life, Mefford went out to make fun of the protesters. Matthew Schmitz lets him have it. Excerpt:
I am not sure what the sign is supposed to mean, but Mefford’s blithe comparison of the moral weight of fetuses and sandwiches reflects the abortion lobby’s deep unwillingness to face facts. Time and again, they tell us not to take any of this too seriously (What about pocketbook issues?) to direct our gaze elsewhere (It’s about a woman’s right to choose) above all, to avoid considering the life that is lost. It claims the mantle of sensitivity, but the pro-choice viewpoint still leans heavily on human callousness.
As for Mefford, I cannot see how he has any business representing either human rights or a Christian church unless his intent is to drag both into disrepute. People will call for him to be reprimanded. I wonder if it not likelier that he will be commended.
Today Mefford apologized. Excerpt:
It seems my picture of me holding a sign that said “I March for Sandwiches” has been taken entirely out of context and has caused quite a stir among some in the Twitter and social media world. I tend to hate general apologies – when people say they are sorry for “whatever they may have done that offended people.” I don’t think those are very sincere.
I also want to say that when I was at the event holding my sign I received nothing but laughter and cheers. Making folks laugh was my sole intent – it really was! It was afterward when this started making the rounds on social media that the hurt and anger began to rise. I understand why people are angry.
So, I am deeply sorry for the hurt and anger that this has caused people since the event. I honestly love to make people laugh and think, and the hurt and anger that people are feeling is not something I enjoy. At all.
A reader of his named David Fischler responded:
Bill, thanks for your apology. I’m all for humor, but next time you should remember the golden rule. Ask yourself this: how would you have responded if the marchers in Ferguson or New York this past fall had been met with mockery? I suspect you would not have appreciated it. Even if one disagreed with them, the seriousness of the situation demanded respect. Same with the March for Life.
If he had mocked the marchers at either of those places, Mefford probably would have been fired.
Check out Schmitz’s update for a Twitter back and forth between Mefford and him, in which Schmitz tries to pin the Mefford down on whether or not his idea of human rights includes the unborn. Apparently not.
Anyway, I was proud that my Methodist niece, Claire, took part in the March for Life yesterday, and called her while she was on the Mall to tell her so. She went to DC with the Catholic kids from our town. She told me that the March for Life was the best thing she’s ever done. They went to mass, and she lit candles in memory of her late mother. And then they marched. “We talked about God a lot,” she told me. “It was so great.” Proud of them all, I am. And I’m proud that at least one Methodist — a teenager from south Louisiana — was on the Mall this week, standing up for the unborn.