I read an interesting piece at Catholic World News today regarding a recent call by Rapid City Bishop Blase Cupich for civility in the ongoing abortion debate in South Dakota.
I don't necessarily disagree with Bishop Cupich, but at the same time, my thoughts are more in line with those expressed with this piece at CWN:
Superficially judicious, this call for even-handedness concedes the only important point to the wrong team before the debate begins.
The writer makes this statement because while there are some issues where each argument has merits, there are other issues where one side is completely right and the other side is completely wrong. In the instance of abortion, that is not to say that women's issues such as pregnancy difficulties, rape and others are not worthy of consideration, merely that if the unborn child is indeed human life (and I believe there is more than enough evidence to support that conclusion), then the preservation of life trumps all other considerations.
I absolutely believe there should be a basic level of politeness in the exchange, primarily in that there shouldn't be baseless ad hominem attacks, nor lying or distorting the facts, etc. We can disagree on the interpretation of certain facts but many times certain facts are undeniable, and to attempt to do so is to distort reality.
But at the same time I believe in calling things what they are. I don't believe in pussy-footing around issues, and if something is evil then it deserves to be called what it is. Someone who is earnestly mistaken or misguided is one thing, but someone who purposefully denies the truth or tries to excuse evil also deserves to be identified for what they're doing.
The Bible is filled with examples where God's people were not afraid to call a spade a spade. Stephen was one, and Jesus himself was another (calling people snakes and hypocrites and anything else their behavior earned them). So the notion that anyone, especially Christians, are supposed to just sit on the sidelines and smile benignly at evil are is not only wrong, it constitutes a moral failure.
As Barry Goldwater once said, "Moderation in the face of evil is no virtue." I would go one further and say that it's also a sin. There are some things that are so important, and some errors that are so wrong and damaging that they deserve an emphatic response. Anything less is cowardice and sin by omission.