A few weeks ago, I commented on a post about Facebook that I had recently lost a dear childhood friend because I found out she protests abortion clinics on the weekend. She just now sent me a message via Facebook:
I get that we have different opinions on faith but does this mean we can't be friends? I value our friendship and I was excited to find you again - what's going on?
I thought I would share my reply with all of you.
Differences on faith is one thing. You have a faith in a god, and that's fine. That puts you right there with most of the world's population. I have no problem with faith (other than the fact that it is the willful abondonment of reason and evidence, but that's your right to choose such a path and not my place to judge you for it). For a lot of people, faith is great. It helps you get through the day. It helps you wake up each morning. You live your life believing that everything has a purpose, that there's somebody out there who always loves you and is looking out for you no matter what. Those are nice thoughts, really.
The problem is your little weekend hobby. Picketing abortion clinics? I wanted to throw up when I read that. You're not using faith to bring peace to your life or hope for an eternal life in Heaven because you've been good and believed the right things. No, you're using it as a battering ram to shove your god and his Bronze Age morality down other people's throats. You're standing outside a medical facility making women and young girls who probably already feel like shit for the choice they've made feel even worse. Your weekend hobby is to call people murderers and whores (whether you say it out loud, you're thinking it, and don't you dare deny it), because one line in a book of myths written by primative goat herders who didn't even KNOW how the reproductive process works, let alone have even the faintest understanding of zygotes, fetuses, etc. made a pronouncement that even modern medical science can't make.
It is entirely your business if you have faith in a god and believe the things you think this god tells you. Don't believe in abortion because your god says it's wrong? Great, then *don't get an abortion.* THAT is where your faith ENDS. Extending it to bullying young women and girls into doing what you believe your god says is disgusting and one of the most immoral things I can think of.
I recall you being a champion for women and their independence. I recall you standing up against me when you just had even the faintest idea that I might have been hurting my girlfriend. You were wrong, but so what? Where is that Wendy? She's certainly not standing on the picket line telling rape victims and poverty-stricken women to trust in Jesus to make everything alright! No, Jesus doesn't make everything alright. Jesus doesn't give women money to feed their babies. Jesus doesn't help a raped 14 year old finish high school or get up in the middle of the night to feed the product of what somebody (usually an adult male) forced upon her.
I could argue the pro-choice/pro-life debate all day long with you, but that's not the point. I don't CARE if you're pro-life. I don't CARE if you think abortion is a sin, murder, etc. Those are your own private beliefs and you're entitled to them. We live in a great country where everyone is free to believe whatever they believe. But for the millions of people who don't believe as you do; who believe that there's nothing wrong with abortion, you would DENY THEM that same right if you could. Oh, I understand, you think it's the murder of innocent babies. I was once a very religious man, so let me put it in theological terms for you. You were commanded to go with your enemy, to turn the other cheek, to not pass judgement on the sins of others because no human is qualified to do so, only God is. You were NEVER commanded to stop others from sinning. You were commanded to share your faith and not hide the light under a basket, but you were NEVER commanded to force the things you believe on other people.
Another of those great rights you enjoy in this country is the freedom of speech and expression. You have every right to stand out there on the weekend and shout your faith to your heart's content. You have every right to tell some poor young girl that she's a murderer and will burn in hell forever. You have that right and, honestly, if someone tried to take it away from you I'd be the first one telling them to back off! But I also have the right not to associate with people who choose to excersize their rights by cramming the bible down other people's throats. You may have the right to do it, but I have the right to be disgusted by it and to avoid such people at all costs.
This isn't about a difference in faith. Our difference in faith is fine. This is about the unconscionable use to which you put that faith. This is about what a religious bully you are and how I will have absolutely no tolerance for that in my life, not even on Facebook.
I don't expect you to change. You keep doing whatever it is that you think is right and I will do the same. We just have two VERY different ideas about what that is. If anything in this message has offended you, well, then we're even, because your little weekend hobby is one of the most offensive things I can imagine. It was nice knowing you, Wendy. Good luck with your whole bashing-people-over-the-head-with-Jesus thing. See ya.