Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Advice: How to respond when I'm asked where I attend church?

We love to offer advice to readers who ask. The latest person to write to our informal advice column is J. M., who asks:
I am a new pro-lifer. I started a pro-life blog this year and I have been reading about the abortion issue. I am passionate about protecting the lives of the unborn and supporting women in choosing life. As of now, my main concern is how to fit into the pro-life movement and community. I am Christian, which is the stereotype of pro-lifers. However, I am not a church-attending Christian for personal reasons. Where I live, the majority of pro-lifers attend a church and a lot of pro-life activism is centered around the church-attending Christian community. When I go to pro-life events, I am often asked what church I attend. Due to this, I sometimes feel as though I am not welcome or do not belong. Since this is Secular Pro-Life, I am wondering if you have any advice for someone like me who wants to be a part of the pro-life movement, but feels different.
We answered:
I'm so glad you've found Secular Pro-Life! First of all, I hope you'll take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. Many pro-lifers fall outside the stereotype. Don't let anyone make you believe you're the only one.
When I'm asked about my religion, I usually just say something like "I'm not religious. I'm pro-life because abortion is a human rights issue." In my experience, most Christians have responded positively, either accepting it at face value or asking friendly follow-up questions out of genuine curiosity, wanting to know how I became involved, and even how they can be more welcoming! The negative responses have been few and far between, and are best responded to with humor. (For example, some stranger on a blog commented that Secular Pro-Life is a dangerous plot by the devil to damage the spiritual core of the pro-life movement or some such nonsense; I pointed out that if I had made a deal with the devil, I would be much, much wealthier.)
So you might say something like "I don't usually attend church. I got involved in the pro-life movement recently, through..." That brings the conversation back around to common ground.
She liked that advice, but agreed to let us share this conversation on the blog so that you can chime in. What advice do you have for J.M.?

[Got your own question for Secular Pro-Life? Contact us.]

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