(*A response to Seth Woods. Original Post here, and linked again at the bottom.)
Oh man. Here we go…
I need to talk to my Progressive-Christian friends and family for a minute. About abortion.
First: if you hold the personal belief or conviction that abortion is a private decision–that it isn’t wrong, or a sin, or against God’s will… Then take a step back and repeat after me, “My opinions are worthless. My feelings about an issue don’t determine right/wrong.”
Your beliefs about the moral/ethical merits of abortion are yours to have, to cherish, to speak about, to share. They are your human rights and your constitutional rights in our country. But they have NO impact on what’s true or false.
Second: America is not a “Secular” nation. It is not a nation for the Irreverant or Irrelgious. It is a nation for all, including those who stand against violence toward tiny, innocent humans. I know this can be genuinely hard to accept. I grew up in the “Tolerant,” but Anti-Church climate of the last few decades as well. We are sold this idea of Separation between Church and State. But we have a nation founded on the idea of liberty and equality, with the men drafting the documents having the amazing foresight to make the language broader than their own beliefs about equality. Thank God! They gave us room to grow in our understanding of equality and freedom and mutual cooperation.
And so all faiths are welcome here. And that is beautiful. I’m encouraged that we are continuing to grow in our understanding of equality and freedom, as we learn to Co-exist with our pre-born offspring.
Third: Knowing and hopefully accepting that, we can recognize that there are large portions of our fellow Americans who are ready to abolish Abortion–including a large and growing movement of Secular Pro-Life activists. Imagine explaining to those NON-CHRISTIANS why you think saving fetuses is only a “Christian” thing? Why do you compare laws against MURDER with laws about circumsicion and praying? If you were an Atheist, you would be very understandably upset over someone suggesting that basic human compassion is only for religious people.
Four: Your politicians are using you. They are using your desperate need to look “neutral” and “open-minded” to justify the biggest human rights violation of the century. The men pushing abortion are concerned with power, not with the physical and emotional state of the women and children being victimized. There are documented cases of Pro-Choice politicians talking about LEAVING NEWBORN INFANTS TO DIE in the cases of failed abortions. For you, this issue is about appearing fair and balanced. But, for many many of the politicians, it is about feeding their own personal agendas and increasing their power. YOU GIVE THEM THAT POWER.
Please stop letting them use you to control people.
And, also, remember that you’ll be much harder to control when you’re less worried about your own image. (You should have grown a spine sometime in the middle of your very first trimester… Feel free to use it.)
Five: this is pretty core, and I’m not sure how to say it. But, if you want to see a world with free choice, you need to demonstrate you’re capable of making free choices without harming others. If you can’t be trusted to have empathy for the world’s smallest and most innocent beings, you don’t have empathy at all.
People who lack empathy are DANGEROUS when they have “choice.” People who lack empathy need laws and governments to keep them in check.
You cannot legislate morality. You can, however, show people what is expected and then punish those who behave immorally. That’s literally the point of EVERY law that exists.
I love that you talk about freedom. I love that you have a heart for helping people see the other side of an issue. Please have a heart for pre-born babies and their allies as well. Please be TRULY open-minded, instead of using that word just to buy an opening, so you can preach your Utilitarian sermons with less resistance. (Utilitarianism says, “People will be bad, so right and wrong should change accordingly.” …I don’t have time to go into it except to say morality doesn’t come from statistics.)
You are NEVER going to get close to having a world where people think they have gotten enough help from Christians. TRUST ME. That will never happen. You absolutely can take care of people and help educate and love people, but you will never, ever convince a selfish person that she doesn’t “need” an abortion if she’s convinced that violence will solve her particular problem. How do I know? Because Pro-Lifers are already the most drastically pro-Family, pro-Education, pro-Foster/Adoption group in the country, and people like you are still wagging fingers at them… You don’t give Pro-Lifers any credit for the ways they live out their values every, single day, because you think if they just gave MORE money and resources, there would be “enough” to convince all humans to make moral choices.
It will never be enough.
Do you want a world where murder is legal? Or do you want a world where we recognize that people make Bad Choices, no matter how many self-perceived “needs” you try to meet? How about a world where we’re not allowed to cause harm to other members of society?
And look, I havent even brought up the very very troubling issue of rape, incest, abuse.
Have you considered that your anti-law, pro-Choice view means not forcing your perspective on those criminals? Every, single point you’ve made can be applied to rape/incest, and abuse. Seriously, watch this:
- NOT EVERYONE SHARES YOUR MORALITY!
- YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE MORALITY!
- INSTEAD OF OUTLAWING RAPE, WHY NOT MAKE IT SO PEOPLE DON’T “NEED” TO RAPE ANYMORE?
And real quick on that: a person who has been abused needs to have his/her abuser brought to justice. Your “listening ears” are worthless if you’re also defending the abuser’s so-called right to choose violence without being judged.
There’s so much more. So much. But here’s how I want to end: WE NEED YOU. We have become so divided from each other, and so much of that is because we rely on our intermediaries: the media, the politicians, the social media algorithms. But we are never going to move forward unless we come together. No matter what you say you believe on this issue, the truth is obvious from your actions…
And so I am saying to you, my Progressive christian Abortion-Defending friends: we need you to stop letting your politicians use you. We need you to JOIN US in being the body of Christ to people. Please challenge the powerful. Don’t just lecture Conservatives about “judgment” while simultaneously judging them… don’t just repeat ridiculous talking points about “investigating miscarriages,” when that has never happened. (And, by the way, take a second and ask yourself why we want women to have space to recover from miscarriages…? Why are they vulnerable? Why do we hate the idea of a detective asking questions of a woman who “lost a pregnancy?” …is it JUST because she’s bleeding heavily, or is it because something deeper and more sacred happened? Perhaps women shouldn’t be hounded by detectives while they are GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A CHILD? Welcome to the pro-Life perspective!)
We are never going to believe all the same things. But we do not have to be enemies. I get that this sounds crazy, but we need to work together to build that world where people OF ALL SIZES are loved and safe….where humans have freedom to make choices because their lives weren’t taken from them just weeks after they started…
Thanks for reading this. It was written out of respect and love and with an open heart.
P.S. Those who read the original post from Seth Woods may have noticed I took out the part about “If you are reading this, it is because I love you”–and a few glowing remarks about ALL women being “powerful” and “inspiring” because it felt like a bunch of sunshine-blowing garbage. Even for the sake of a consistent response, I couldn’t bring myself to use such over-the-top compliments for entire categories of people. I know it’s supposed to sound friendly. And, as a woman, I’m supposed to think, “Wow! He’s such a respectful guy!” But it comes across as sugary to the point of slime–much like a canned speech from one of those politicians we’re not supposed to be influenced by. Yuck.