– Michale Schueler
Today was the first day off of the civil rights and rock ‘n’ roll track we’ve been on this week, and we couldn’t have been more excited. Last night, we had a framing discussion on abortion, as we met with Pro-life Dallas today. But first, we had to make the long drive from Little Rock to Dallas Texas, stopping for lunch about three quarters of the way through. Most of us stopped at a little deli that was more like Panera, but some got some good, old fashioned Chick-Fil-A. I personally opted for a salad at the deli. After making our way to Dallas, we met with Andrew Smith, the Director for Pro-Life Texas. He told us about his views on the issues of abortion in the USA and as a whole. Andrew also showed the group some graphic images of aborted fetuses. I am pro-choice, so I was frustrated throughout most of the meeting, but I appreciated his point of view and the eloquent way he presented it, as did all of us. He also told us about his views on contraception, which he believes doesn’t work, pre-marital sex, which he believes is wrong, and natural family planning, which he thinks is great.
After the meeting, our group was buzzing with conversations about ours and Andrew’s views. I personally was surprised that he suggested that a 13 year old carry the baby to full term, even in the case of rape. However, I understood where he was mostly coming from. While most of us disagreed with his views, he did get a lot of us did challenge our own views as well as open our minds and appreciate that people are entitled to their views.
After Andrew’s presentation, we hopped back on the bus to go to the Sixth Floor Museum, which commemorates the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The museum took us through the sixth floor where Lee Harvey Oswald stood, and apparently shot President Kennedy. However, the museum also explained the controversy surrounding his and Lee Harvey Oswald’s deaths. It was extremely educational, and very interesting to see the different photographs and videos depicting what happened before, during, and after the tragedy. It was a very large museum, so we could only scratch the surface, so I am hoping to go back someday.
Then we went to Beth el Binah, a LGBTQ+ Reform shul where we were welcomed warmly from the congregants for dinner and prayer. The meal was amazing, and the people were all very willing to speak to and mingle with us, which we appreciated.
After dinner, and some amazing cake, we moved our chair into a circle and welcomed Shabbat.
It was a shorter service then what I was used to, but even though everyone was singing different tunes in different keys, there was a sense of community that’s very hard to find nowadays. Everyone singing together really moved me, and washed away all the stress from Andrew’s presentation and the sadness over the JFK assassination. The experience here was amazing. After praying, we discussed the new marriage equality decision made last week by the Supreme Court. The level of happiness was evident in the congregation. I am so happy that we could spend time with Beth el Binah.
I am so pleased with everything that went on today, even though I disagreed with some of it. I am so excited for tomorrow, where we’ll drive to Oklahoma City and go to the bombing memorial and an American tradition, a baseball game! Happy Fourth of July!