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On paper, our friendship seems fairly improbable. They are queer witches. I’m a Catholic who fully embraces Church teaching. There are obvious differences in what we believe, and several of our beliefs and identities would put us at odds with each other. After spending hours talking with them during a visit, my heart was so full of happiness despite the fact that there were things we outright disagreed on during our conversation. Though we are rather different, I feel very blessed to have their friendship.
I know people think it’s odd that I am friends with people who hold substantially different beliefs. In fact, when I asked some Catholics on a retreat to pray for my friends practicing witchcraft, someone asked how I even came to be friends with them. At this point, I could take the typical route and talk about how Christ calls us to love our neighbor, how we need to meet people where they are, and how evangelization needs to begin with authentic, personal relationships. These are all important topics and certainly have their time and place.
However, when I think about why I stay friends with people who have very different beliefs from me (and why they put up with me), the answer is much more simple: they are great people and I enjoy their company.
I think it is too easy to get trapped in this “us vs. them” mentality. When we do that, we tend to think that “they” have malicious intent.I think it is too easy to get trapped in this “us vs. them” mentality. When we do that, we tend to think that “they” have malicious intent. Click To Tweet
Here’s the thing, though: we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Consequently, at our core, we all want to see goodness prevail. The actual point of disagreement is how we make the world a good place; not if we want to make the world a good place.The actual point of disagreement is how we make the world a good place; not if we want to make the world a good place. Click To Tweet
When we approach conversations with this in mind, we will have much more effective discussions. We will be able to acknowledge that mutual desire for good and instead discuss the merits of each person’s plan to achieve that goodness.
I want to give two examples. Keep in mind that these show extreme ends of both sides. I know many find a better middle ground. My intent here isn’t to show the majority but instead show how even the most extreme can find agreement.
Pro-choice people characterize pro-lifers as women-hating control freaks. Pro-life people characterize pro-choicers as manipulative killers. While it is possible this accurately describes an incredibly small number of people on either side, the vast majority from both sides want the same thing: respect for human dignity.
So where does this disagreement come from?
- whether or not a fetus is a person/ as much of a person as the mother
- whether or not the mother has a responsibility to carry her child to term
- either an underestimation or overestimation of a woman’s ability to handle a crisis pregnancy
When we move past the villainization of the other side, we can discuss how we can protect the dignity of both the mother and the child.When we move past the villainization of the other side, we can discuss how we can protect the dignity of both the mother and the child. Click To Tweet
Doug Johnson, blogger, and husband of pro-life activist Abby Johnson, also wrote a piece about people who are pro-choice. I highly recommend it.
Love and Marriage
People who support the relational view of marriage see supporters of the conjugal view as hateful people who want to deny people the opportunity to love one another. People who support the conjugal view believe that people who support the relational view only care about sex or are out to destroy the family unit.
In reality, both sides want people to experience authentic love. Where we differ is what true love looks like and what marriage should be.
This is a touchy subject, but if we can truly look and recognize that everyone is just longing for love, we can be more sensitive to the discussion of it.
Trent Horn has a great piece on the conjugal versus the relational view of marriage.
There are so many hot-button issues in our society, and as Catholics, it is easy to develop fear as we watch the degradation of morality in our society.
Despair at the situation is from Satan.
Anger at the “other side” is from Satan.
Hatred, gossip, violence, etc. are all from Satan.Despair at the situation is from Satan. Anger at the “other side” is from Satan. Hatred, gossip, violence, etc. are all from Satan. Click To Tweet
We can’t submit to these negative and sinful attitudes. We need to bring the light of Christ both by lovingly proclaiming the truth and seeking to communicate with those we disagree with. When we stop looking at these difficult conversations as debates to win, but instead view them as what they truly are – opportunities to share the light of Christ – we can make the world better.