In an age and generation where people as a whole seem so concerned about being tolerant and respectful of other people’s opinions-regardless of whether or not they agree with them-people very quickly forget about those former words of tolerance and love and become the very thing they seek to defeat.
I would know. I have been on the receiving end of it.
As the writer and the woman behind Pro-Life Female, a popular Tumblr blog that has now reached nearly 1,250 followers in the two years of its existence, I’m used to my fair share of criticism.
By the name alone, you can guess that my stance on abortion is on the conservative side- I am a Pro-life, conservative, Catholic young woman. All rarities, I know. Regardless, my blog-just like my faith and my opinions- are part of what make me who I am.
I come across words of encouragement every day- messages thanking me for using my voice to further the pro-life movement, messages from people who with my words, have had their hearts and minds changed on the subject of abortion.
I have had women who with my blog and through personal messages have been successful in stopping a friend from going through with an abortion.
I even get messages of support from people who do not necessarily agree with my stances on abortion or even with my religion, but respect the fact that I am respectful of others, and do not make people feel horrible and make them feel like they are evil for believing differently than I do.
But then, I also get the messages that would make anyone’s skin crawl.
The ones who try to seem cool or edgy because they believe their words will have such a life changing impact that anyone who reads them will go back and think to change the way they believe, or what they said.
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Such was my experience when I woke up one April morning to find a flurry of about 5 hateful messages, seemingly coming from only one person.
“Please don’t reproduce, spare our gene pool of your misguided sense of justice & equality,” said the first.
“Subjecting the unborn offspring and the mother to untold trauma by limiting their resource to legitimate practitioners of abortion is fucking oppressive and you are a cancer to our specie,” said the next.
The consecutive ones were even more aimed towards me than the others.
“What if you were out one day, got raped and impregnated with a baby you didn’t planned for? God has a fucking plan for everyone? Fuck off with your bullshit sense of justice.”
“How stupid do you have to be to think it’s right to limit other people’s right to exercise choice just because you have a different fucking religious belief? Separation of church and state is a fundamental principal and pro-life & other bullshit ideals on conception have no place outside of the Catholic Church.”
Over the last two years, I had gotten more hate mail, though thankfully nothing as terrible as other like-minded bloggers have gotten; death threats, notes to kill themselves, wishes for rape and other horrific things to be put upon them-just because they hold different beliefs and are not afraid of expressing them.
Even amongst blogs who do not share the same views, hateful speech that is truly threatening to a person’s livelihood is everywhere, and it is time that we all took a stand against it.
In order to truly become a place where we practice what is preached and become more tolerant of other people’s beliefs, we need to be tolerant, not just say we are tolerant to make us sound enlightened.
We need to respect and cultivate a culture where Catholic and Atheist, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, can engage in complete freedom of debate and in expressing their beliefs without wanting to pull steak knives at each other near the end of the conversation.
Of course, making these changes and advancing towards a more respectful and truly loving society will take time, and it won’t be easy.
But we have to make the effort to do so and practice the tolerance that we so preach and expect in this advanced society.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Terry Johnston/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)