Saturday, January 24, 2009

Respecting Life (Updated)

On prior occasions, I have heard people who consider themselves pro-life object to being called "anti-abortion". I have a couple of things to say in response to this.

1) It's in the AP Stylebook. If you have a problem with it, complain to the Associated Press. Don't assume journalists are pro-choice liberals just because they're doing their job.

2) If the boot fits, wear it.

I'm sorry to have to say that; and I'm sure I could have put it more tactfully, but I am sick of people dutifully reciting that they are pro-life, from conception to natural death, and then proceeding to behave nastily to large swathes of the human population.

I went to the March for Life this past week, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but next time I might just stand in the back of the crowd and pray, because I cannot cheer at speeches that amount to little more than Two Minutes Hate for Obama. I might keep my head bowed while I'm doing it, because I find it hard to resist uncharitable thoughts when I see signs comparing Obama to Hitler (I saw one of these, I'm not making it up) and others that call abortionists baby-killers and murderers.

I don't care if you have a point. You do not ever call anybody Hitler, or baby-killer, or murderer. Those are simply things you do not say to a fellow human being. You do not insult and deride the President. If you are American, suck it up and respect him for his office. He won fair and square. If you can't do that, respect him because he is a human being made in the image and likeness of God. Moreover, when you are arguing with someone who disagrees with you, do not resort to ad hominem attacks.

They're all alive too. Respect them.

UPDATED to add: A reader expressed (via email) confusion because the two parts of my post "seem only tangentially connected." That's because they are. I apologize for any confusion that was caused.


Galadriel said...

We ran a front page story about a rally the other day, and the headline was "Anti-Abortion Rally blah blah blah" and at first I was annoyed, but then I realized, DUH, we are anti-abortion. ^_^ That's kindof the whole point.

Becky D. said...

I still feel that the AP style guide is a bit biased with pro-choice vs anti-abortion.

I do agree with being respectful in your treatment of anyone especially those that you disagree with. Politicians who I think did the majority of the speeches before the March seem to excel at being negative and critical. Fr. Fox on his blog had similar thoughts to yours.


Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

I dunno about whole point, though part of the point yeah. Supposedly the reason for being anti-abortion is respect for life -- the question is, what is respect and when does being honest and showing the truth overrule mere formality "respect"; for too many pro-life people are a bit careless about whether or not they respect life in other ways.

On the "flip side", should we call pro-choice people pro-abortion till we stop hearing the BS about abortion "not being a choice" in those cases where people chose otherwise? Which is to say, people prefer to be considered for choice rather than for abortion but sometimes they get paranoid and think that because someone chooses abortion that somehow negates "choice" and it comes out sounding like they're straight for abortion.

In either case, one problem is generalization. Some of us who insist on being called pro-life or pro-choice genuinely are, and some of those who are more pro-abortion or anti-abortion than pro-life or pro-choice don't really care what you call them. I wonder how many people are actually hypocritical or if it's a matter of association that's the problem.

And of course, you can trust me to say that whatever the case this is another reason to disapprove of politicians.

The Sojourner said...

Galadriel: That's another good point. Although I prefer not to define a movement in terms of what it opposes, we really are against abortion. We just aren't solely against abortion; we're against lots of other things too, which is why many people prefer the "pro-life" label.

SC: Do you mean that people who call themselves pro-choice should be supportive of women who choose to carry their babies to term in adverse circumstances? If so, I agree. Quite honestly, I think I would have a lot in common with a fully pro-choice person. I want women to have options too. I just think that one particular option (abortion) is immoral.

Galadriel said...

Becky (Mom?) -- I don't think the AP style uses the term "pro-choice". At least where I am, we always substitute it with "supports abortion rights" or something like that.

The Sojourner said...

Galadriel is correct on both points. Becky is my mom (hi, Mom!) and the AP Stylebook says to use "supports abortion rights" rather than "pro-choice" or "pro-abortion."

Em said...

I just have to thank you for both comments there, Megan, because I strongly agree with you on both: while pro-life encompasses the idea of being anti-abortion, it also means so much more -- you are literally PRO-LIVING. Pro-existence. Pro-not-advocating-unnatural-death. I don't want to kill unborn babies, I don't want old people to be killed, I don't like executing people unless absolutely necessary, and I will tell you to buckle your seat belt. :)

And pro-life means respecting the living. Obama, while I don't agree with a number of his policies, is a living being, and like you said, our President. Being pro-life is NOT being anti-Obama. It is praying for him. In respect of Obama, I am all pro-choice... the RIGHT choice. He's the one making those choices and he needs our support and voices to stand for the ones we know to be true.

blog nerd said...

I had much the same experience at my first Pro-Life March that you described. I was horrified at the shrill, hateful, and GRAPHIC tactics being employed, and it is what made me sympathetic to the pro-Choice movement, briefly in my 20s.

Would that I had your wisdom and just stayed at the back of the crowd and prayed.

I have to tell you--I remember you as a blog reader, Sojourner and I don't think it clicked with me until just now how young you are.

You are wise and sophisticated beyond your years.

But I'm sure people tell you that all the time.

thanks for reading over at my new blog. ;)

The Sojourner said...

Thank you, and you're welcome.