The Lost Generation

For teens at the Rock for Life concert, the abortion debate was over. But the issue wasn't.

BY: Frederica Mathewes-Green


When I saw the pink earplugs in his hand, I felt older than I've ever felt in my life.

I had been invited to be a speaker at an all-day rock concert, and the host had warned me in a prior e-mail that the groups following me would be pretty loud. The afternoon bands, I was told, were "kind of mellow--my mom likes these bands." (Reading that sentence was the


oldest I've felt.) But "the bands at night are hardcore--which is very loud and the lyrics are basically screamed out."

As I came off the stage and some rangy kids in black took my place, my host was there, reaching into his pocket and bringing out a pair of earplugs for me.

Taking care of Grandma, I thought.

The event was Rock for Life, one of a series of rock concerts held nationwide to benefit organizations that help pregnant women. Admission was $8 "and a jar of baby food or some baby clothes." When I walked in, the room was crowded with teen and twenty-somethings wearing chains, tattoos, spiked hair, metal studs, and distant, aloof expressions. Perhaps that was part of the outfit, or maybe they were just worn out by the preceding punk rock and ska bands.

How to get their attention? I couldn't imagine they were waiting eagerly to hear a pro-life-movement old-timer speak. I clambered up on stage and announced that since it was a concert, I was going to begin by singing something.

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