Sometimes it’s okay to leave religion out of the abortion debate.
Recently I engaged in a civil debate with a prochoicer who holds no specific religious views.
I decided to ask my social media friends if they had any questions they’d like me to pass along to this prochoice man. I was kind of disappointed to see that about 90% of the responses I got were questions about religion, not abortion. Questions like “does he believe God is the author of life?” Or “How will he face God for all his evil actions” and “does he know the bible says…” etc. A few people even sunk to personal attacks and insults along with saying if someone doesn’t want to listen about religion then just walk away and don’t even try talking to them. Uh…what??? I didn’t even bother passing along those questions or comments because I’m not talking to this man about religion I’m talking to him about abortion. And they do not always have to be intertwined.
There are many non religious prolife groups out there, secular prolife is one of my favorites. There are even atheists for life groups. Abortion is a human rights issue not a religious debate. The reason we aren’t reaching a large group of prochoicers is because we are preaching at them about religion rather than teaching them about abortion.
Someone who doesn’t believe in God at all doesn’t care if you think God creates life or looks down on abortion. Telling a prochoice atheist that God hates abortion means absolutely nothing to them. What does mean something to them is proof they can see. Science, facts, pictures and videos. All of which are on our side. We shouldn’t avoid using the tools we have.
Instead of jumping to religious doctrine and methods maybe we should pause and think “Is forcing my religious views on someone going to help the cause for life?” If so, then great preach away! But if the person you’re trying to reach with a prolife message is overran with religious messages instead they will be far less likely to be open to anything you have to say about abortion.
I personally hold Christian values. I strive to show Christ’s love in all I do so I don’t need to preach words at everyone I encounter. I let my actions do the talking. I pray for the person I’m talking to but I stay on point with my debate and hope God works in them long after our conversation is over. I don’t want people to think the only reason I’m against abortion is because I’m religious. I’m against abortion because it is dangerous, it’s painful for both child and sometimes mother, it destroys families, it pays for crime, it aids abusers, it creates desperation. Yes abortion is a sin but using that as our main point in conversion attempts can do more harm than good. If spiritual morality is the reason we give non spiritual people to not abort we might as well save our breath for another day. Which is ironic considering that’s what some of the commenters told me to do.
We shouldn’t be what they think we are, judgmental and quick to point out sin. The prolife community is more than one religion. We should be open to converting people to the prolife ideology whether or not they are open to religious conversion. We shouldn’t be cutting ourselves short by limiting the prolife tools in our bag. Yes we have religion we can always fall back on but we also have medicine, science, and individual experiences we can and should be using just as much as we use religion.
I was sad to see all the responses I got from my prolife friends. Very few people seemed sincere in their questions. Most used it as an opportunity to rant their own person beliefs. I had this conversation with a prochoicer for the purpose of truly listening to WHY he feels the way he does so I know HOW to reach people like him more effectively. I had hoped other prolifers would also be genuinely interested in understanding more about who we are trying to reach but the vast majority was just interested in jumping to religious shaming and questioning. Even after I said this prochoicer and I agreed for debate sake to stay on the sole topic of abortion. And what do you know, I’m gaining ground and his heart is changing, and I didn’t have to shame his religious beliefs to make it happen.
If these prolifers feel so strongly about religious conversion that’s truly awesome but perhaps they should get out of prolife advocacy and get into church leadership or priesthood where religious conversion is the goal. Being prolife should mean wanting to save all lives, not wanting to convert people to my particular choice of faith that happens to be against abortion.
And as Forrest Gump says, “That’s all I have to say about that.”