Over the weekend, a Facebook friend of mine, a Deacon, made the following post:
“I was saddened this morning to see how a young lady who went on mission trips with <our> parish and was confirmed, posted yesterday pictures of her supporting Planned Parenthood. I know that she is unaware of the truths of abortion mill that they are running and how they are murdering children. I am praying that she finds out the truth.”
As one might imagine, this was met with the full gamut of potential responses, from those in complete agreement with the sentiment, to those who felt he was shaming someone publicly, to those who thought they were being condemned for ever having gone to Planned Parenthood for any reason.
Every now and then I like to break down posts and comments. Today, I’m going to do that.
My commentary: This may be, broadly speaking, a sort of shaming. No names were provided, but there were some details that could be identifying in nature. There is an acknowledgment that the person may be ignorant of the truths about what Planned Parenthood engages in. I don’t think the post is out of bounds, as it is right and appropriate to rebuke people engaging in sinful activity, as long as it is done with charity. I do think, though, that the reference to the Parish should have been left off. It immediately identifies the person as local. Had he left it at just someone who he knew had been confirmed, and had gone on mission trips then in the minds of readers it could be just about anybody.
The first back and forth was as follows:
Responder 1: I’m saddened that you would put it out on face book rather than talking to her personally.
Poster: I am more saddened that she would post a picture first without talking to me so that she was well informed.
Responder 1: But you are the adult here.
Poster: She is an “adult” as well, and “adults” should know that planned parenthood’s main revenue is from abortions. Period. Too bad so many people are misinformed when it comes to that.
Responder 1: I guess I’m not OK with shaming on Facebook. A private conversation with some give and take seems more logical. As for the adult part, well I guess the older adult should set the example.
Poster: No give and take on that subject – abortion is the murdering of a child – it only is a choice of life or death – and I do set the example of standing up for life.
My commentary: I can actually see points on both sides here. I actually agree that the preferred initial approach would at least have been to ask the person in question whether or not she was aware of Planned Parenthood’s activities. Perhaps even ask outright if she supported abortion rights (in private) to see where she stands. And as I mentioned, even if one chooses to use this as an example for public consumption, care should be taken to use it as a teaching example, while minimizing the risk of revealing who the “sinner” is. Also, saying there can be “no give and take” on any subject I think is wrong-headed. One can know with certainty that they stand for what is good and true and still have a give and take with respect to a discussion. Give and take does not imply compromise – it can imply trying to have a reasonable discussion so you can gain trust and figure out exactly where they are. To should someone down will do no good. I don’t think “give and take” means what he thinks it means.
Having said that, it’s a ridiculous assertion that it is completely out of bounds to make a public statement about something that someone else willingly posted in a public manner, and it’s all the more ridiculous to say that you need to treat another adult with kid gloves just because you’re an older adult.
Responder 2: How is that shaming someone? He stated facts without naming her. And if she believes PP is such a great organization, why would she be ashamed at all?
My commentary: Generally agree, with caveats as already stated. Though, I will say that it would be possible for someone to still feel good about their own support of PP while feeling a little offended by being called out by a member of the clergy, essentially, as a supporter of murder. It may be true, but there may have been a more charitable way to go about it.
The next responder’s comment will be necessarily broken up into multiple parts.
Responder 3: As a young adult, my mom took me to Planned Parenthood to receive regular health screenings. Does this mean I am damned for life?
This doesn’t make any sense at all, which tells me it’s an entirely emotional response. As for the source of the emotion (either guilt, or simply an inability to accept that just because an entity does some “good” it cannot erase the evil nature of it). For one thing, nobody anywhere said anything about being damned. And the phrase “damned for life” makes no sense at all. You are not damned for life if you’re damned. You are damned for all eternity. Which means ALL of us should be doing everything we can do to make sure we’re right with God! Eternity’s a long time. Finally, just because you went to PP at some point to get assistance, depending on what it is you did there, there may be nothing morally wrong with it. If you got some check-up or general health screening, especially if you were ignorant of the other things they do, then there’s not a problem.
Unfortunately, this is why many turn from organized religion because we all judge versus support our own.
She may be right that we all tend to judge. But the “thou shall not judge” thing is also misapplied. The entire context of Scripture makes it clear that we should judge what people are doing from the perspective of discernment, correction, and aiding in another’s salvation. It is not an act of love to allow one to persist in sin. It is an act of love to correct it. However, on the flip side, many people do not convey that correction in a charitable way. And flipping around again, many will be corrected charitably and will see it as an act of hate because they feel they should just be “accepted.” We “support our own” in the faith by trying to get them to heaven. When we see error, it can be a tricky balancing act to try and figure out how to go about correcting that error, for that person’s own good. It is not an error of organized religion that we sometimes fail to act in charity. It is a failure of people, in general. But those who persist in sin after receiving correction cannot be “supported” with respect to accommodating that sin. Yes, we still need to love them, but that doesn’t mean what they think it means, often enough.
Knowing God does not judge, the message that is being forced onto us from our church leaders is disappointing.
Um… God doesn’t judge? Then who does? Is there no hell? This is the epitome of relativism. Only are we not to judge anything anybody does as right or wrong, but God doesn’t even do it, apparently. This is dangerous thinking.
I miss the days of feeling welcomed to church versus hearing how horrible we are because we may not attend every week, don’t dress appropriately or may support Planned Parenthood for many of their other services that help millions of people.
My commentary: Oh, where to begin. First, I would be curious to know exactly how this person was made to feel like she is a horrible person. It is possible that an uncharitable approach occurred, in which case that is problematic. But I have an inkling – maybe more – that this person heard a perfectly charitable reminder about the importance of weekly Mass attendance, the importance of modesty in dress, and felt personally offended because she was unwilling to look inward and consider what was said with humility. Now, I don’t know her and can’t know that for certain, but what I do know is that there are many people out there who react that way even if she is not one of them.
The other irksome argument about the good the argument about pointing out the good things about Planned Parenthood is the willingness to just turn a blind eye towards the evil that they do for the sake of the good. Not to mention, many people put contraceptive services in the “good” column. They aren’t.
But more to the point, at the heart of all these protests in favor of Planned Parenthood is whether or not there should be federal funding for it. So, if you feel that strongly about PP, then write them a check or use their services, or volunteer for them. But don’t ask me to fund an organization that doers evil things.
Anyway, there’s actually more, and I could go on. Maybe I’ll continue this with another post if I feel like there’s enough worth talking about.