Wednesday open thread: pro-life and religion

Rock crossBefore the hideous fence went up, someone formed the sign of the cross out of large rocks on the hillock facing Planned Parenthood. Several other rock crosses soon appeared. Now that all of these crosses are barricaded behind the fence, they have a sort of “early church catacombs” quality. The remind me of those ikthys fishes etched into the walls of ancient cities by our Christian ancestors. While of course any “life topic” is free to be discussed on the Wednesday Open Thread, the above reflection suggests the topic of religious faith and the pro-life movement. Pro-lifers are often accused of trying to “impose our religion” on people—we hear chants of “keep your Rosaries off my ovaries” and we’re called “born again bigots” and “fundies.” As a Catholic I have to chuckle when I’m called a “fundie,” mindful of the heated doctrinal debates always ready to resurface when Catholics and Fundamentalists are together. I’m sure my Evangelical friends have a similar reaction to the “Rosaries” chant. Fortunately—blessedly—Fox Valley Families has managed to bridge denominational lines in a way that groups across the country are looking at with pious envy. “How have you done this?” they ask. My answer: We have prayed together. We have sung hymns together. We have walked together. We have recognized that our common faith in the sanctity of life is very pleasing to God, and we have heard his call to share that faith with each other and with our community. But at the same time, there are evident differences between Catholics and Protestants. There is no need for me to enumerate them here, but perhaps this Open Thread might be an opportunity—building on the foundation of that deeply shared faith in life—to discuss some of them, along with the questions of whether we’re “imposing” our religion and precisely what role personal faith has in our public witness against abortion.

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