5 things I Don’t Understand In The Pro- Life Movement

5 things I Don’t Understand In The Pro- Life Movement

Before you read this, understand that I am not trying to insult anyone or start any fights. I am just giving my honest take on things I have seen in the pro-life movement. Abby and I have been heavily involved in this movement for over 5 years now. I feel like I can give a pretty unique take considering that I am married to a well known leader and I have been on the pro-choice side of the fence as well. I am hoping that this can be a good conversation starter. These are in no particular order and I would gladly invite some friendly debate and reasonable explanations. I am open to any good argument on why I should or should not see these things as a negative. Maybe some of you have never noticed some of these things, or maybe you are the text book definition of what I am saying. Either way, lets talk about it and make this movement stronger.

Protestants that think praying at clinics is a Catholic thing and Catholics that think pregnancy centers are a Protestant thing.

Believe it or not, this is a thing. It’s not rampant everywhere, but it is definitely noticeable in a lot of communities. It’s as if some people believe their job in the pro-life movement is determined by their Christian denomination and not their actual God given talents. I don’t know if some Protestants are worried they might be mistaken as Catholic or what. I don’t know why Catholics seem to think running a pregnancy center is not up their alley. But I do know that all Carenet pregnancy centers make their volunteers sign a “Statement of Faith” that is blatantly anti-Catholic. Why would you want to divide people who want to save babies? There is plenty to do in this movement. Go with what you’re best at an don’t discriminate.

People that say pro-life leaders and supporters shouldn’t smile or act happy while working.

People have actually told my wife that she smiles too much. She has also been told she is too happy and that she is not remorseful enough. We have had other friends in the pro-life movement that have been told the same types of things. I saw one time where a guy was upset about all the smiling and having fun at the March For Life in DC. He said something like, “How dare all these people smile while we are still dealing with abortion!?” To that I say,”Maybe it’s because those of us who have experienced abortion know that we are redeemed.” Or how about knowing that we are doing God’s work and He is on our side? I think being surrounded by thousands of other pro-lifers at a march would make me smile.

This is hard work and sometimes it can get you down. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find joy in fighting for the unborn.

Priests pastors and clergy that won’t talk about abortion.

Don’t worry about keeping people in the seats at your church. Don’t worry about offending people. Don’t worry about people getting angry. Don’t worry about making people feel good about what God can do for them.

Worry about the souls of everyone  and getting them into heaven. Worry about how offensive the number of babies being killed by abortion is. Know that God will open their hearts, minds, and ears when the time is right. Make sure people know God’s truth about sin and salvation. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. People need bold leaders NOW. People should be challenged. People should now the truth, even if it’s a hard pill to swallow. Freedom from sin can’t really start until we know what the sins look like.

Using inflammatory words like “abortion mill, deathscort, abortuary, Tiller the Killer”…

This is the biggest one for me. When Abby was still at Planned Parenthood, these ridiculous labels made us laugh and we just could not take anyone that used them seriously. It’s almost like they are invented so pro-lifers can impress their pro-life friends at how witty they are. Here are some things those words do not do. They do not keep communication open with clinic workers. They do not make anyone, clients or workers say, “Well this seems like a nice loving reasonable person I can talk to about a possible conversion or change of heart.” Here’s what those words actually do. They make you seem desperate. They make you seem like you have no respect for anyone that thinks differently than you. They dehumanize the humans that are in need of prayer and REAL support. And for a person to talk to you about conflicting beliefs, they need to know you will respect them.

(I know some of you will say, “Who cares if it dehumanizes them? They are dehumanizing and killing babies.” That may be true, but two wrongs don’t save a baby.)

Baked chicken, mixed veggies, and a form of potato being served at every fundraiser.

Can we please get some variety? I know it’s the cheapest meal, but there has got to be a better way. I went to a banquet in South Carolina one time and they served some of the best comfort food I have ever had. Maybe the speaker and top donors can get a steak or a burger. I would even take PB&J over the usual.

(The last one was meant to be funny. So please don’t tell me it’s not about the food, or its about the babies, or whatever.)
 

75 comments

  1. Karen Rutigliano

    I came online to comment that I agree with everything you say, but was surprised to see the online post is vastly different than the email version I just read…I think I can still agree with what you write Doug didn’t have time to read all the comments and responses but just want to say I appreciate what you and Abby do and re: the tahirts yea I wish I had some good ones that give a positive message while still being thought provoking….pray for me that I get back to praying at the clinic here in Raleigh NC I’m ashamed to say I’ve been chicken to go back since some new group has been showing up with all the.graphic signs and yelling so much hate and abuse that the sidewalk counselers can’t even do their work :-(. Pray for them too. Thanks and God Bless!

    • Karen Rutigliano, Maybe you wished to comment on “ANOTHER 5 things I Don’t Understand In The Pro- Life Movement,” which I, like you, received in my email about a day ago. This page here is the ORIGINAL “5 things” that Doug posted on April 7. Though I received the new 5 things in my email, I can’t find them on the web anywhere.

      • I accidentally hit publish on that one before it was ready. So, I am getting it proof read and edited so I can post it tuesday morning. OOPS.

  2. every abortion has some reason,some are considered good reasons,such as a young girl being taken by her parents to get it because they don’t want what ever the future has to hold to happen,or someone has been raped,or the mother is not healthy enough to handle the pregnancy to full term.God is their judge as he is everyone’s.but it is our job to try and make these other women that just have sex with no respect for themselves or a child that may come from irresponsible sex that killing the child so they won’t be bothered with a child.teach them that keeping their legs closed is not a sin.but since this has been going on since the beginning of time its not likely to stop now.

    • The whole “Keep your legs closed” phrase is about as obnoxious as telling men to “tie it in a knot.” There are more respectful ways to teach both men and women to respect their bodies and educate them about sex and the purpose of sex. I agree with you that we need to teach the truth, but you might want to touch up on your delivery.

    • Susan, perhaps if we speak to “these other women” who are considering abortion with the same amount of compassion and respect as we do to those who consider abortion because of rape or medical issues, then they might actually listen. Perhaps these women have little respect for themselves because they’ve been treated like trash by everyone in their lives, and maybe they’re waiting for someone who really cares, someone who can offer better advice then the negative people in their lives have about this unplanned pregnancy. Maybe they’re just as scared as the very young girl brought in by her parents, but they’re afraid to ask for help because they know everyone has already made negative assumptions about them.

  3. I am guilty of not smiling for pictures in front of the Clinics. To me it’s like smiling at a funeral, borderline disrespectful, easily misunderstood. Do I ever smile or joke during my clinic days, absolutely.

  4. Thank you for your article. I read it to see if there was anything we were doing here in our city with 40 Days for Life that you would find weird. I am always looking to learn. But we didn’t have any of these problems. Our leadership team is filled with Catholics and Protestants. We pray together well, respect each other. We bring the joy of Christ to events and vigils and have no problem smiling and laughing, but also crying and mourning as the experience hits us. We call it an abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood. We have both Protestant and Catholic pregnancy help in our city. And Protestants and Catholics support the centers, volunteer at them.
    Finally, we had a lovely lasagna and pizza dinner for our closing. It was prepared and served by a family with nine children, and some of the children made the cookies and pizzas. They have been involved and coming to the openings and closings for years. This time they invited us all to their home. Brilliant!
    Again, always happy to learn, so if you think of any other things please share.

  5. Thanks. My main grievance with the pro-life movement is that it hasn’t succeeded yet.

  6. Ive been in candid conversations with priests regarding speaking about abortion during mass. It is troubling for them. How to address the issue with hundreds of people at the same time and not send those in the congregation who had an abortion into an emotional tailspin?? The previous comment spoke of a women who flew off the handle at the priest. How many quietly walked away and decided not to come back because of the pain? Priests struggle greatly with this.

    • to kelly…not meant to be abrupt to you yourself,but so far as we do need to help the women learn how to deal with their guilt,those whom have guilt,but we cannot candy coat the plain fact that it is wrong in every sense of the word to kill babies,so i don’t completely understand the struggle.GOD made this law to be stood by.not to mollycottle the “poor”women.they have their lives….where are their babies?

  7. doug, i enjoyed this post. thanks for sharing. i appreciate your and abby’s work and family:-) oh, and i’m so sorry that the faiths don’t work well together in some places:-( that might happen here some (delaware) but if so, i’m not aware of it. we have our differences, and sometimes we (myself and my protestant friends) tread lightly, trying to navigate the situation. but we are always respectful, we hold our tongues if we disagree, but don’t see an effective way to share that disagreement. most of all, we are just so thankful to be/have allies! i’m thankful that ALL of God’s people can work together on different things. we’re not working to promote our denomination, we’re working to promote His Kingdom!! keep on keeping on!!

  8. Our center is struggling right now with how to share the gospel. We have both Catholic and Protestant staff and volunteers and we are having a difficult time finding something to use that we can all agree on. So, I would love some advice from those of you who are doing this well. We have always asked everyone to just leave their denominational beliefs at the door but that is more challenging that we first supposed. Unfortunately, we can’t just let everyone handle it as they see fit because then some people will take it to the extreme. Our Catholic friends are afraid that a simple gospel message may cause people to pray a prayer and then walk away with a false sense of security. Our Protestant friends are afraid that we are promoting a works based salvation if we add anything to the simple gospel presentation. We are praying for God’s wisdom but until He provides it we are stuck and it is beginning to cause division, which the enemy loves.

    • I think people need to trust in the Lord, not depend on formulaic ways of “presenting the Gospel.” Read the Gospels and see what Jesus did. He responded to each person in the situation. There was no formula. He constantly argued with those that had the formulas. Why can’t we tell counselors to sense how the Holy Spirit is telling them to share with the client? And that has to include allowing the Holy Spirit not to direct a counselor to “share the Gospel” in words in a particular session. The most important thing is not the words but the client seeing Christ in the counselor. The love and caring that God has put in the counselors and which just naturally flows out is the most powerful influence.

    • Please don’t tell me that someone is asking women in a crisis situation to repeat a prayer and claim Christ as Savior. It would be a much better witness to take turns having mass and denominational prayer services every day that women are free to come to and volunteers are encouraged to attend on their denominational days. Praying for the women and creating a prayerful environment for volunteers allows them to better model Christ. Then no words need to be said except in individual situations. It would be a best-case scenario to provide a woman material and psychological assistance through her crisis, modeling Christ, and allow Him to call her in His time. Because maybe she is ready. But maybe it will come on too strong and you will lose her. So I don’t think there should be an institutional attempt to intellectually convert women who come through the door. Perhaps each volunteer can be coached to not initialize a faith discussion but instead allow the walls (verses and uplifting things and maybe a cross) and the presence of a service to speak, and be ready to answer the question “why are you volunteering to do this for me?” when and if the time comes.

      • Well a huge number of pregnancy centers ask each client who is not a professed Christian to say the formulaic prayer used by many evangelicals.

    • Hi Doug,
      First-time reader of your blog. Thank you for calling attention to the seeming-quirks/questions/comments in the pro life movement.
      I honestly have a hard time using “planned Parenthood” or family planning center, facility, etc. I have used the term “abortuary” when asking people to join us in praying in front of PP. I hate it when people call it a medical facility or clinic or center, because those all have nice connotations. I thought “abortuary” was accurate and, well, clinical-sounding. I have never used it to sound novel or snarky or creative–just descriptive.
      We do have a nice acronym for our PP, since it’s located in San Luis Obispo, “SLOPP”. Now that IS meant to be snarky among us prayer volunteers, admittedly. It isn’t anything broadcast, so I don’t think the staffers know we refer to it as thus. Thank you for calling attention to the “labels” topic. I’ll be more careful from now on.
      From a pro life terrorist–nice label we have, huh?

      • I think the future of the pro-life movement should be able to shed that Pro-life terrorist label. I feel that label was earned by past generations of pro-lifers that did some pretty nutty stuff. It’s a new generation coming into leadership now, and I think they will be effective in a new way that gets us away from so many damning labels. Will they ever go away completely? Nope, but we can get close.

        On the Abortuary thing, I get where you are coming from. Truly, I do. I KNOW, that many (not all) people who use those kinds of words have their heart in the right place. However, for us and Abby’s ministry, the abortion workers are our target. We don’t need to convince other pro-lifers how pro-life we are. We don’t need to talk pro-lifers any further into the movement. They are already on our team. We want to turn abortion minded women around at the door and show the workers the truth about what they are doing. Like it or not, using words like that do more harm than good to our reputation with the pro-choice community.
        Stay awesome!!!

  9. Doug,
    I am in complete agreement with you! Whem I joined this crazy movement 6 years ago I thought/wondered the same things. As long as we continue to behave this way – the enemy wins! Divisiveness is his favorite tool. We need to keep the main thing – the main thing! All I want to know to work alongside you is: Do you think abortion hurts women? Do you believe life begins at conceotion? Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God and died on the cross as payment for our sins so that we can have a relationship with him? Yes? DONE. Lets get this done. Oh and lets operate in love and wth EXCELLENCE!

  10. Hi, Doug,

    Greetings from south central PA. We have a good mutual friend in this area that I know we are all praying for.

    Good column, and I have seen pretty much everything you mentioned.

    When I started going to the sidewalk, I frequently found myself being what I jokingly referred to as the “token Protestant.” I love those Catholics, though. Sure, we do think differently on some things. I have one rule about that. I keep the differences “off line.” Sure they exist, and I’d be happy to have what I hope would be a friendly discussion of them at the appropriate time and place, but out there on the sidewalk is neither the place nor the time. When you’re on the front line in the midst of the battle, it’s not wise to pick that time to get into a fight with the soldier next to you. As to the CareNet statements, somehow I managed to miss being aware of that issue, but I have to think that my rule would be a good one in that situation as well, for both. Not that it would be simple, but we have to remember that when it comes to saving lives, we all want the same thing and we’re all on the same team. In fact, I’ve found pro-life work can be a good opportunity to have dialog, and I’ve learned that while differences still exist, many of our issues turn out to be misunderstandings of the others’ doctrine and practice. One further thing in that vein that I’ll mention quickly. The others would often invite me to pray the rosary with them, and this was a little awkward for me, but I knew they meant it in a loving way, so I would stand with them and bow my head, and join in or be silent depending on what portion was being said at the moment. I at least understand now that the prayers for intercession of saints is more akin to inviting fellow believers to agree with us in prayer than it is to deifying the saint, but I’m just not used to it and it still feels awkward. On the other hand, just because I feel that way, it does not mean I would ever ask them not to say it. That’s the way they are used to praying, and now that I’ve cleared up some of my own misconceptions, I see that they are ultimately praying to God, by asking the saint to intercede, and I’m sure God hears it anyway. I suppose I just prefer to skip the middle man, so to speak. :-). Sure, we have other differences, but as I said, that’s not the time or place. Generally, they pray in their way and I pray in mine, and we work together to keep an eye out for clients coming, or trouble coming.
    Well, I guess I might be rambling a bit, so I’ll give one more thought and bring it in for a landing. I agree with you on the chicken. :-). Still, though, I go to those dinners to support the cause, and especially if there’s a really good speaker (hint).

    Blessings to you, Abby and family.

    Tim

    • Thank you Tim for mentioning that. I have stood on the sidewalk of the abortion clinic in my city. There were a few Protestants and with mostly Catholic. What is happening on the sidewalk is through the leading of God for each one of us to be there. The last time I attended, I was asked to join in and pray the rosary or recite the prayers with the others. I respectfully stood with them and silently said my prayers to myself, but it did become awkward for me when they kept repeating the same thing over and over and over. I felt as though they were waiting on me to finally chime in. At the end, a man and woman leading the movement for the city wanted to tell me about the Catholic faith and was asking me about my church. They gave me a website to look at that answers questions regarding the Catholic faith. I am a Christian and came to the sidewalk to pray for the unborn and the decisions of those walking into the abortion clinic. I didn’t come to the sidewalk to defend my faith. If I asked about it, that would be one thing. I left the sidewalk that day with a very divisive feeling and that was not the purpose in going.

      Thanks Doug for the great post.

      Ashley

  11. Being in the pro-life movement since I was 6 and am now 40, my father was the one who started suing clinics for malpractice, we worked with any and everyone that wanted to come help. He started a pregnancy center across the street from the clinic. It was established by Protestants and almost solely funded by Protestants. We were not only interested in saving the baby but also the mother. That being said, the way Protestants see as saving and helping the mother is giving her the gospel. Since Catholics have a different view here it seems counterproductive to have them serve in this capacity at the center. They were able to serve in other ways which were very useful. I think Catholics and Protestants can work together. There just had to be understanding that certain things in their religions are different. Doesn’t mean there can’t be harmony.

    • “We were not only interested in saving the baby but also the mother. That being said, the way Protestants see as saving and helping the mother is giving her the gospel. Since Catholics have a different view here it seems counterproductive to have them serve in this capacity at the center.”

      Please clarify on what you mean in the previous statement, specifically about how Catholics see saving & helping the mother differently than giving her the gospel. And can you tell me where you get your information about how Catholics prefer to help?

    • That is kinda ridiculous. We want to save the mother also. We believe in the same Gospel. Our approach of sharing it might be different. As in Catholics will share the Gospel through our actions and intentions as opposed to quoting scripture that a lot of people just don’t understand. The Gospel isn’t just a bunch of words to spout off. It’s a life style defined through a relationship, words, and works.

  12. Two thumbs down for rubber chicken dinners! The worst. There are so many other dishes that are quick and cheap if venues could just use a little creativity.

  13. I am Vice President of a Students for Life group and I’m so glad to have a great variety of faiths, including Hinduism and atheism. Although I want these members to come to Christ, I enjoy working together for the good of the babies. We have a protestant/non-denominational President and VP, A catholic secretary, as well as several other Catholics and a Messianic Jew in leadership positions. Thank God for it!

    • Jacob, yes. I think the good news is that your generation is much less inclined to box things unhelpfully than older generations are. So I think we’ll move in the direction of more openness to diversity and jettisoning unhelpful things like adherence to doctrinal statements.

  14. I have been in the proLife movement for decades. I switched my sidewalk counseling day from Wednesday to Tuesday because Protestants sidewalk counselors made their main focus at the abortion center *ATTACKING CATHOLICS*. I have seen where Protestants refuse to sidewalk counsel when Catholics are praying the rosary. At one Protestant church’s annual fundraising dinners, I was repeatedly the subject of anti-Catholic comments. I hear all the time from my fellow sidewalk counselors–those who are Protestant–that I am going to Hell. …I do believe Satan is alive and well trying to divide the proLife movement. Persevere, all you proLifers, whatever faith you believe in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • thanks for replying. people don’t believe this is happening.

    • i am SO, SO sorry you have experienced this bullying, and very un-Christlike conduct from protestants!! as a protestant, i find it very embarrassing!! a friend of mine from church, my daughter, and i have prayed a number of times over the last few years, with our catholic friends/acquaintences at the pp in our area. my friend doesn’t recite the rosary, and i respect that. she is also very respectful of our catholic friends who do. i recite with them the parts i am at peace with, in regard to my own faith. there is a line or two (sorry, can’t remember them off hand, as it’s not something i worry about) that i don’t say. i figure i go along with my friends where i can, and we all respect each other when we feel the need to bow out of something. i am so, so thankful that we are all there for the same purpose, and we all stand together under Christ, even if we have different ways of expressing our faith, and/or have some slight differences in our beliefs. the important stuff us Christ crucified, risen, and the only way to the Father. the rest is style, and i respect the styles of others. sometimes i even learn from them. i am so sorry you don’t experience this level of acceptance, and this is something i will pray about! hugs to you, and all your catholic church family!!

  15. Has the CareNet Statement of Faith changed since Fr. Frank Pavone wrote that Catholics could sign it in good conscience?

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/plgroups/carenetcaths.htm

  16. I am Protestant and I work at a Pregnancy Center and we have a statement of faith and I disagree with you. Our main goal is to share the gospel with these girls. With all due respect, Catholicism is completely different from Christianity. I won’t get into that, except to say that Catholicism is a works based religion whereas true Christianity is not. We cannot in good conscience let a Catholic work in our center knowing that they will not share the true biblical gospel with our clients. How can a Catholic do that when they have no knowledge of the true gospel themselves? I honestly do not mean this to be a Catholic bashing or hating. I do not hate anyone. I do hate false teaching because it sends people to hell. So maybe THAT is the real reason Protestants have statements of faith. Enough with the ecumenicalism already!

    • Catholicism is the original Christianity. My church started 2015 years ago, how bout yours? And after reading this it is evident that everything you think about Catholics is wrong. Did you get all this from the Catholic Bashing for Dummies book? Catholicism is not works based not even a little. As a person who came from a life of protestantism before joining the church 3 years ago, I can tell you that my relationship with God has never been better. I have may more avenues to reach him and love him. If anything, my motivation to do those works comes 100% from that. My faith is 100% Gospel based considering we read it every time we go to Mass. Oh, and we can go to Mass every day to hear the one true gospel that you mentioned. We also read from the complete Bible, not the one that had books removed. I don’t think you are Catholic bashing. You are just Catholic ignorant.

      • Thank you Doug. To Nancy, please, if you feel you need to talk this way to Catholics, don’t. Ask us why we are Catholic instead. Please, share the gospel but ask first. We’re happy to share back.

    • Wow, Thanks for opening up my eyes, Nancy, I didn’t think that anti-Catholicism existed anymore, especially that blatantly. Very scary to think we cannot work together as Christians because we are still thought of as non-Christians. In my city, all different faiths work together in the pro-life movement here. We are very blessed! And maybe unique in a good way. We ALL pray and counsel and ALL have pregnancy centers, and ALL support each other’s efforts.

    • oh, i will pray for you. i am so sorry that you have this view of catholocism. it is the view i grew up with, and i just want to warn you, pride comes before a fall. i thank God for my catholic friends, what i’ve learned from the catholic faith, and will probably learn from it in the future! i also thank God for the work He used our catholic friends to do centuries ago! at a time when people couldn’t afford to have their own Bible, or couldn’t read one anyway, the catholics brought us the beautiful Christian calendar. my family is not catholic, however, we greatly benefit from the rhythm of advent, and lent. i am thankful that my very Bible believing, evangelical church observes advent, and encourages the observance of lent. we have our differences, no doubt. there are areas where i can argue with my catholic friends, though i rarely do. we are on the same side, pointing people to Christ. of course there are catholics who don’t really do that, and i know far too many people affiliated with evangelical churches who don’t either. there is enough division in the world. what we need is unity. i will never forsake my beliefs to adopt catholic ones i disagree with, but i will also never allow those differences to be a stumbling block in sharing the gospel. just TODAY i read in romans 14:4 “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” i pray for you, friend.

      • @ Blaky,
        I loved your charitable response. Thank you.
        About the topic where Catholics are accused of not reading the Bible centuries ago for the reasons you mentioned, that’s when and why stained glass windows were created. They told stories for those who couldn’t read or didn’t have access to the Bible. I’m glad that tradition (small “t”) is clung to in most churches today.
        During the 40 DFL in our town, our core team was split 7 Catholic, 7 Protestant. At first it was a bit awkward at the weekly meetings. But we began and ended each meeting with prayer from a different core member, and eventually everyone relaxed. Catholics tried very hard to be considerate of the others’ comfort levels so kept the ad lib prayers neutral. Eventually we all warmed up and became pretty cohesive, knowing we were called to this endeavor by the Holy Spirit’s promptings, and dedicated to ending abortion.
        One former pregnancy center accepted my volunteering until they found out I was Catholic. Suddenly I was not qualified to answer their phone nor help send out bulk mailings. Discrimination abounds. One pregnancy center is in desperate need of an ultra sound tech. A perfectly-qualified technician/nurse showed applied. But because she was Mormon, the prc rejected the applicant. (“They don’t worship the ‘same’ God” so can’t work together to share the same Gospel apparently.) We are cutting our noses to save our faces in some instances.
        It is troubling.

        • Yes, it is hurting pregnant women that so many pregnancy centers are into doctrinal purity. We need to be about protecting life and caring for vulnerable women, not running theological purity contests. Care-Net requires adherence to the NAE Statement of Faith. When I first started volunteering with a member Center more than 15 years ago, they said if you have a problem with that tell us what you believe and we’ll evaluate that. This is what I did. But now it’s strictly adherence to this doctrinal statement. I could not start as a volunteer today. I have a lot of pro-life friends who don’t have conventional evangelical or Catholic perspectives. They would love to volunteer at pregnancy centers, but very few will have them.

          Jesus wasn’t like that. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is partly about how the person you consider a heretic may be a more faithful person than the people who have got all the doctrine and rituals straight. But the Centers – at least the Protestant associated ones – seem to be run by people with the rigid attitudes like those Jesus always tangled with.

    • Nancy,
      I would love to know which pregnancy center you work for.

      • Can I reply personally to you so as not to bring attention to the places?

        • If you are on Facebook or twitter (Dougontap), you can private message me there. My email is also in the about me part of the site. I can pass it on to Abby.

  17. While I oppose Care-Net having a statement of faith, I am really puzzled by the allegation that it is “blatantly anti-Catholic.” They use the NAE Statement of Faith, and I don’t see that in it. I volunteer at a Care-Net center, and there are Catholic volunteers and it gets support from the Knights of Columbus. I think you are greatly exaggerating the Protestant-Catholic divide in the pro-life movement. BTW, when I began as a volunteer, there was a proviso that if you didn’t agree with the Statement of Faith you could say what you believe and they would consider it. I used that proviso, and was accepted. But today they’ve eliminated that proviso, and I would not be able to volunteer there if I wanted to start now.

    I do know a lot of people who would like to volunteer at pregnancy centers but can’t because they don’t have the same faith understanding. I don’t understand why you should only be able to be in the pro-life movement if you agree to some narrow doctrinal statement. Why isn’t it enough to respect all human life?

    As someone who is so pro-life that I respect the lives of other species as well, I object to your recommendation of steak. I don’t think pro-life groups should serve meat. I’m President of a national pro-life group, and the majority of our people are not vegetarian but we have a policy against serving meat. A number of pro-life leaders are vegetarian, which makes sense.

    • They can offer both meat and vegetarian dinners. I see no connection what so ever between being pro-life and vegetarianism. Zero. I am a hunter and I respect other’s decision not to harvest and eat other animals. But I am in this movement to help the human race.
      I agree that a respect for life should be all that is required to volunteer. Along with a respectful attitude.
      I am not so sure I am exaggerating the divide. I didn’t say it is everywhere and applies to every situation. But it is out there, and there are enough horror stories to say it is an issue.

    • It is blatantly anti-Catholic. It requires that you sign a statement agreeing with Sola Scriptura and that there is no revelation outside the Bible. That goes against some of the core tenets of the Catholic Church.

      • Being inconsistent with the Catholic faith is not the same as being blatantly anti-Catholic. I don’t believe they had any thought of being anti-Catholic when they adopted the NAE Statement of Faith. I am not a Catholic nor have I ever been, and I myself don’t agree with that first provision in the Statement of Faith, but there is nothing in the Statement that singles out Catholics. That their purpose was not to attack or exclude Catholics is confirmed by their clarification statement and their public welcoming of Catholics to serve at their Centers. I am not qualified to state whether or not a faithful Catholic can sign the Statement of Faith in good conscience.

  18. Thought this was interesting regarding the statement of faith: http://www.priestsforlife.org/plgroups/carenetcaths.htm

    • Yeah…here’s the thing. A priest can’t swoop in and tell a Catholic what they can and can’t do “in good conscience.” Conscience is relative…the magesterium of the church is not.

  19. In our community, it used to be required for volunteers at the Pregnancy Aid Clinic to sign a statement of faith (I’m not sure if this is still the case)– this statement was a protestant statement, and a practicing Catholic would not be able to sign it in good conscience. We do have protestants pray with us outside the clinic, and recently a new pregnancy aid clinic was opened across the street from the PP, which is run by catholics– Deo Gratias! Just wanted to let you know the whys of the divide sometimes, and also that it isn’t the case all the time. 🙂

    • Oh yeah. We have seen all that. Abby has told people that their statement of faith is counter productive, but they don’t care.

  20. One small revision: The Care Net statement of faith is blatantly anti-Catholic.

    Which is really too bad. I once heard the executive director of a string of Care Net clinics say that there was “too big of a theological difference” for a Catholic to serve on the board of directors or in a clinic. Why not unite over our mutual love of Christ and desire to serve women and save babies?

    This article is spot on, thanks Doug!

    • too big of a theological difference? Being that there are over 40k different Protestant churches that disagree with each other, I would think that would be more dividing than anything. I don’t know about the rest of the readers but, who cares what religion you are as long as you all have the same mission to save babies?

  21. I agree about the chicken dinners 😉 – on both sides. Inexpensive but way over-done. How about you KofCers bringing out your big smokers and do some bbq? Or a fish fry? One CAN eat fish in times other than Lent. That would be a treat!

    As for Protestant vs.Catholic pregnancy centers, one dividing issue is birth control. We are fortunate to have two very good Catholic centers in our area, but the Protestant/Non-Denom ones will promote the use of birth control, and although they do not usually promote abortifacient methods, it still goes against Catholic teaching. I would prefer that my donations do not go to supply condoms.

    Additionally, Catholic centers do not always get support from their dioceses – the bishop may see this as “too political” of an issue or see other issues as more important. (see reasons for lack of preaching from the pulpit) Even if they do get support, it’s rarely in the financial area. However, I think it’s a popular Catholic opinion that these centers SHOULD be a ministry of the diocese rather than individuals. In other words, the laity think the diocese should be doing this, the diocese thinks the laity should be doing this; ergo, nothing gets done except for the few brave souls who survive on faith and the annual rubber-chicken dinner!

  22. I appreciate your comments and agree that we all need to work together! I had the unfortunate experience of being denied the chance to volunteer at a Center because I was Catholic and the center did not view Catholics as Christians. One of the most amazing centers I have volunteered at was in Twin Falls Idaho. It was a center, founded by Catholics, with a beautiful Protestant Director, and volunteers of every faith. We had a fund raiser that was potluck with each table being hosted by a couple who would invite four other couples. The host couple brought the main dish and the other couples brought the side dishes. You could make it as simple or elaborate as you wanted to. There was a silent and live auction and lots of raffles and other money makers. Speakers came who had been blessed by the Center and a video of our work was shown. I agree that using unkind words does not do any good. Our daughter is a Sister of Life in NY and her vocation reminds me that we are called to see the good in each individual whether they are pro-life or pro-choice. Love conquers all!

    • Your story is tragic but needs to be heard. I can’t stand the whole “Catholics aren’t Christians” thing. Makes my blood boil. I am also ashamed to have ever said it myself before coming into the Church, but that’s another story.
      I am glad you found a place where you can use your talents, and Abby was very excited to hear about your daughter in Sister of Life. That’s awesome!!

      • Karen Rainwater

        “…… aren’t Christians” goes both ways. My mother was told by a Catholic that only Catholics are Christians. I have heard similar claims where some Catholics have claimed that non-Catholic Christians are not saved.

        I disagree strongly with Catholicism. However, I would never claim to know the heart of any person. Only God knows who is saved. And, I am convinced that multiple denominations will be represented in Heaven.

      • A 12 yr old girl once told me that Catholics were not Christian. I gave her a short history lesson of it being the only Christian Church for 1600 yrs. After that, things were cool between us. Her mom also took her to a Catholic Church in NV as a learning experience. Her mom told me that she wants her daughter to be able to choose what ever church she wants, without feeling judgement for one or the other.

        • Well what you have said is simply not true. There was no central church for the first few centuries. There were several very different streams of Christianity. This is well documented. The centralized church was a creation of the Roman Empire, and the Empire worked to try to exterminate the other churches. But at least the Celtic stream, which was not part of the Roman Imperial/Catholic Church, has carried on uninterrupted since the very early days of the Christian movement, despite some defections at times.

          The Catholic Church has created a history which takes some true facts and weaves them in with some things that scholars have proven to be false. They have an institutional interest in maintaining the fiction that there was a unified church until the split with the Orthodox, and that the papacy began with Peter. However, these are fiction, not fact.

  23. The biggest tragedy of all is the silence of Christian Leaders. Now we are observing their lack of leadership on the daily massacre of Christians by Muslims. Sadly I can name about 5 Christians Leaders who come to mind in fighting Abortion. Pitiful. I’m a protestant but if you are going to attack Catholics, let me point out this: The Pope is a very strong advocate of speaking out against Abortion and Christians Murder. Until you can say your pastor speaks out as well, don’t waste my time by railing against Catholics. Thank God for Catholics in the Pro-Life movement.

  24. The 2nd item, about not smiling or having fun reminded me of a scene from the movie “Escape from Sobibor” — about a successful revolt of Jewish prisoners in an extermination camp. There was a scene where the prisoners were having a sort of happy party in the barracks, and a new arrival who had recently discovered what the camp was about was enraged that the others could laugh and sing as though nothing were happening. One of the other prisoners takes him aside, describes his own pain over the loss of family killed upon arrival, but explains that the levity is a necessary for survival, staying sane, and as the movie plays out, overcoming their enemies.

  25. I didn’t realize there was a Catholic/Protestant “divide” with pregnancy centers. My Catholic wife worked in LA for pregnancy centers for a year and this is the first I heard of this.

  26. Oh, and I totally agree about the whole chicken thing. Anything would be better. 😉

  27. Did you mean anti-Catholic in the first one? I have to say I agree with everything you’ve said.

    I can tell you one reason pastors are hesitant to say anything from the pulpit. I was in the back thanking my pastor for his very small mention of abortion in his homily because it happens so rarely, when a woman walked in the room and verbally attacked him because he dared to say she was going to hell because her parents drugged her when she was 16 and took her for an abortion. This went on for 5 minutes or more and then she stormed out of the room without letting him respond in any way. Now, he hadn’t said anything about anyone going to hell. He certainly didn’t say anything about her tragic situation. The pain she radiated was intense. Truthfully, I’m not sure who I felt more sorry for in that moment, though because he was so obviously upset that he had upset her and felt like he had to apologize to me because I was a witness to it. After that, I’m much less likely to fault a pastor for not wanting to say anything. I think he should, but I can understand why he wouldn’t want to.

    • The scene you describe is an excellent example of why the conversation should fearlessly but compassionately be opened by our priests and pastors. We must all have courage and kind persistence in facing this most fundamental tragedy of modern culture. Millions have been injured and crushed by abortion as well as the millions of innocent lives lost. Priests and pastors positively need to speak with compassion about the scourge of abortion and offer women, men, families and our communities hope and healing and a path to end abortion and uncover and expose all forms of social programming that seek to devalue the gift of life into a commodity. Keep praying, bearing witness, supporting every authentically prolife work and urging with sincere love an end to abortion and all threats to life from conception to natural death. This is the foundation of every social justice issue and we need to insist patiently that all sincere people of good faith hear the full gospel…

    • That pastor was being spiritually abusive. I can’t respect churches which allow that kind of abuse. Christ came to redeem us all. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” It seems that most churches don’t believe in most of the New Testament message.

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