Part of my job is keeping up with the pro-life movement around the country. Too often I see comments from pro-life individuals that are outright un-Christian. We have the Truth on our side, which means that there should be no tolerance for unkind words, name-calling, bad science, or un-credible sources. For those of us with faith, having accepted Christ into our lives should make all the difference in how we treat those with differing opinions—no matter how others treat us.
Abortion is a very emotional issue for many women and people of faith. 1 in 3 women have had abortions and take a strong stance after their abortion, either in favor or opposed. Behind the anonymous screen names, comments, and online discussions are likely some of these women that have personally been affected by abortion. We may have not all walked a mile in their shoes—known how difficult their situation was or what contributed to that decision—but we can respond with compassion and empathy. We are called to love one another, regardless of our decisions, triumphs, or faults.
Having seen some truly outrageous comments, I have come up with a set of commandments, to remind myself and others of how to argue as a person of faith. We are as Catholics called to be a voice for the voiceless, the most vulnerable. We have a duty to live out the Truth and communicate it when called upon to do so. We have a duty to use reason with our faith. But, adapting a catchphrase from my friends at Catholic Voices, we should aim to spread light and not heat.
1. Thou shall not call another child of God a "pro abort", "murderer", or other name that undermines someone's God-given dignity.
2. Thou shall never threaten the life of another or suggest that someone should have been aborted. Ever.
3. Thou shall never forget in championing the unborn to support post-abortive women or women that choose to give birth, when they are in need.
4. Thou shall argue with a charitable heart and mind.
5. Thou shall use accurate science and statistics from credible sources at all times.
6. Thou shall advocate as much for mothers and children in front of a screen as they do in real life volunteering and/or donating.
7. Thou shall listen to her opponents and consider the merits of a view point before responding.
8. Thou shall never use arguments that belittle, degrade, or dismiss one’s opponent.
9. Thou shall never use all CAPS to make an argument.
10. Thou shall keep informed on the issues and information and on Church Teaching.
11. Thou shall admit when one does not know the answer, and, if possible direct to a better source.