Slander Is Murder With Words

Slander is murder with words. It can lead to social death for its victims.

It’s also a mortal sin.

You can go to hell for it.

Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m talking hell. Eternity in torment. Unending separation from light, love, hope and mercy.

If what I’m saying is true, and 2,000 years of Christian teaching says that it is, then there are a lot of people who are placing their own immortal souls in danger for the bitter pleasure of destroying other people with words.

I’m not talking about venting to your best friend or your spouse over your dreadnought of a boss. I’m also not talking about idle gossip. What I mean here is the deliberate, malicious verbal destruction of another person for gain, pleasure, entertainment or self-righteous self-satisfaction. I mean slander.

We, as a society, have become so inured to slander that we actually indulge in self-righteous anger at those who won’t join us in our verbal slasher parties. I’ve had long, circular debates with people who email me all day demanding that I call the president a communist or the anti-Christ. I’ve been challenged because I refer to those who think abortion should be legal as “pro choice” unless I am given evidence that they are, in fact, pro-abortion. I’ve lost count of the times someone or other has jumped on me because I refuse to say more than I know about another person’s beliefs or motives.

I could go on and on with this, but the specifics of my experiences don’t matter. I just use them to illustrate the obsessively aggressive nature of  the slander-with-us-or-else crowd.

When did being pro-life devolve down to the level of calling other people ugly names? When did it stop being about the sanctity of human life and become about us vs them? When?

When did opposing or supporting a political figure because of his or her policies cease to be how we engage in public debate? When did calling public figures names become more important than discussing the issues?

When did lies — and these things are lies — become so easy for us?

I’m not talking to the atheist/secularist crowd. I’m talking to Christians; to the people who sing Holy, Holy on Sundays and claim they serve a Risen Lord.

We do not have the privilege of indulging our fallen natures in public discourse. The dark satisfaction we get from slandering another person to the point that it becomes a form of social murder is straight from the pit. It does not make us righteous before God and it certainly does not bring the Light to the darkness of our world.

Do not allow yourself to become so angered by the vast injustices of our world that you fight those injustices in ways and with tactics that align you with the darkness. Do not fight satan with satan’s weapons.

  • http://metabooleans.blogspot.com/ Nick

    Where would you draw the line between polemics and slander? For reference on the kind of polemics I don’t necessarily condemn but which I am sort of on the fence about: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/06/can-philosophy-be-polemical.html

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Edward, you said it yourself quite well:
      “… Gratuitous personal insults, resorting to rhetorical flourishes in place of arguments, or presenting simplistic distortions of an opponent’s views, are unacceptable …”
      Unless someone is engaging in obvious irony or humor, these things have no place in public discourse of serious issues.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Apologies Nick. I mistook you for the author of the other blog.

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

    Well said, and a very timely reminder.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you my friend.

  • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com/ The Ubiquitous

    Christian sin is always worse. We know better, and we know we know better.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I think you’re right. First, Jesus told us that to those to whom much is given, much is asked. Forgiveness of our sins and eternal life sounds to me like we’ve been given much. Second, when we behave this way we become a negative witness for Christ. We could cost someone else their soul by convincing them that Christianity has not merit because of our bad behavior.

  • AnneG

    Very interesting. Msgr Charles Pope, the other day, wrote that we first need to love those we want to convert. If we can look on those, whether pro-choice, pro-abortion, social democrat, communist or whatever, with compassion, even hoping they will not go to hell, that may be the first step towards love and towards avoiding hell ourselves. Isn’t that imperfect contrition? But, at least it is a start.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Anne. I haven’t read what Msgr Pope said, but I agree with it. St Francis of Assisi put it another way: “Preach Christ. If necessary, use words.”

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ Jessica Hoff

    Hear hear! I’d only our politicians would heed this too – we could have some reasonable discussions and save a large fortune in attack dogs.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Jessica! I agree.

  • Anthony

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been telling friends and family members this for the last decade now. I have gotten so tired of recieving emails fowarded from one person to another full of lies and name calling. I often “reply to all” with corrections and fact checks. These replies go back to everyone on their email list and the lists of people that I have never met. That really upsets them, but I consider it radiation therapy for a rapidly spreading cancer. I am so hated by so many people that I love and have grown up with simply because I refuse to play their hate game. I have been called every name under the sun. I have begun to think that politics is more important to some people than their Christianity…No…I am certain of it! I have never seen so many lies, so much hatred and so much bitterness on public display in my life. Sadly, those doing these things are many time siblings that call themselves Catholic. At times this meaness and bitter hatred is turned on other family members so we no longer have large family gatherings (I have 13 siblings, 67 nieces and nephews, 18 grand nieces and nephews and all their spouces). I am no longer invited to many of their homes, but I thank God, I can still see many of my older nieces and nephews as many of them come to stay with me once they are kicked out of their homes for pointing out their parents hypocrisy. Sadly some of these young people now claim to be athiest or agnostic because they do not know what Christianity is. How would they? I am working on them. They all have goodness in them…and as we know, only God is good.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      You’ve described the situation well. Your phrase “a rapidly spreading cancer” is apt. I believe that people who chose to ignore the plain teachings of the Gospels and the Church to indulge their appetite for malicious slander in the name of some personally-defined and self-serving understanding of righteousness they doing so because they have made a false idol of their political party. Political parties encourage this because they benefit from it.
      Thank you for your comment.

  • S

    This is a good warning, BUT for any sin to result in its commiter spending eternity in hell, 4 things are required. 1- Obstinate lack of repentance for the sin, 2- Grave matter, 3- deliberate intention, and 4- full knowledge that the sin is serious/ mortal.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I know.

  • Budger

    What you say about slander is all well and good.
    However, calling people pro-abortion rather than pro-choice is NOT slander. It is bringing honesty into the public debate. The term “pro-choice” is a euphemism deliberately coined by the pro-abortion movement to deflect attention from the fact that it was promoting the legalization of the murder of unborn children. “Pro-choice” versus “pro-abortion” is a distinction without a difference — just as some people in the 19th century claimed that, even if they didn’t own slaves themselves, they felt others should be able to choose to own slaves. It’s accurate to call such people “pro-slavery” and to condemn their views. To be “pro-abortion” doesn’t necessarily mean you like abortion or think it’s a good thing (few people do). It means you are in favor of keeping the murder of unborn children legal. Call a spade a spade, and help keep others from being misled by manipulative jargon. That’s not slander, it’s charity.

    • Sister Terese Peter, OSB

      I would like to take this a step further…let’s call it what it REALLY is: pro-DEATH. Let’s face it, the “pro-abortion” group is equally in favor of euthanasia. They are pro-death as long as the life they are condemning is a human life–they seem to have a whole different attitude if the life is that of an alligator, grizzly bear, or frog. But a human life?? SNUFF it out!

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Sister I agree. I’ve given my reasoning for part of this several times and will repeat it here. Feel free to chat back.
        Here’s what I’ve said earlier:
        Budger, I was in the room when NARAL made the decision to use the slogan “pro choice.” I am aware of its origins and purpose. I also know that a lot of people have been confused into thinking that they can be “pro choice” without actually supporting abortion. I differentiate the way I do (and I DO differentiate) because I believe that the differentiation is valid to them. I know from personal experience that we can not convert these people by insulting them. I also know that it is not my place in the order of things to judge their souls.

        The Holy Spirit directly intervened in my life and converted me, then, a few years later, He intervened again with what I call for lack of a better descriptive a “conversion within a conversion.” When I first knew that abortion was wrong (If that sounds incredulous to you, I can only say that it does to me as well … now.) when I first knew that abortion was wrong, I was too afraid to act on the knowledge for a while.

        The reason was that I didn’t know of any pro-life people who hadn’t lied about me, called me names and otherwise behaved toward me in ways that probably had the devil rubbing his paws with delight.

        You can not convert people to Christ by using the devil’s weapons. I’ll go a step further and say that you cannot convert people to Christ by demanding they change their politics or follow some sort of pro-life politically correct verbiage. You convert people to Christ by, first of all, behaving as if Jesus means enough for you to behave like a Christian in the way you treat other people.

        • CatholicMinnesotan

          Remind me, did Christ call sinners sinners?
          Anyways, it is a spiritual work of mercy to instruct the ignorant. By informing those who refer to themselves as “pro-choice” that being such is to be an advocate of a specific type of murder by correcting them and calling their position “pro-abortion”, we do this act of mercy.
          Also, would it be similarly slanderous for pro-abortion people to call us “anti-abortion” instead of “pro-life”?
          Defense rests…

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            In my experience, people who call me “anti-abortion” (Which is not an insult, btw. I’m proud to be “anti-abortion.”) are usually bullies and jerks. They usually couple this verbiage with a whole set of ad hominem attacks over things I’ve not only never done, but that I never even wanted to do. I’ve been called everything but a nice person by these people. Many times.

            As for whether or not Jesus called sinners sinners, I think I see your point, but I don’t agree with it. I don’t believe that you are Christ the Lord. I know I’m not.

            I am NOT saying that we should ever allow false claims of “tolerance” and “not judging” to back us away from saying the plain truth of right and wrong. But as for going out and jumping on people to tell them what sinners they are, well, if you’re so convinced that this is the path to righteousness before God, what can I say?

            As for me, when I want to call somebody a sinner, I’ll go stand in front of a mirror.

          • JD

            Admonishment of the sinner is also a work of mercy, Ms. Hamilton. We may indeed go to tell for our sins of ommission as well. Kind of like watching someone step in front of an oncoming bus and doing nothing about it.

    • http://biltrix.com Biltrx

      It’s not slander to speak the truth and say things as they are when something needs to be said. Just because it sounds more negative than pro-choice, it is what it is, pro-abortion. There is no way around it and it amounts to condoning murder. Where is the slander involved in saying that, especially when the objective in pointing it out is to save human life?

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        James — and everybody — I am itching to discuss this, but we’ve got a power outage here. I don’t want to burn through a bunch of expensive 3g mbs on my iPad by getting into it now. For now I’ll say I understand your viewpoint, but I do have reasons for what I said and I think (you may disagree, which is ok by me) they’re good ones.

        I’ll get back to ya when OG&E gets the power back on. In the meantime, thanks everyone for your thoughts and comments!

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Apologies James. It looks like I answered everybody but you. I’m doing a cut and paste on one answer I gave because several people made similar comments and I think that it fits them all. It’s good to see you here. Chat back anytime.

        Budger, I was in the room when NARAL made the decision to use the slogan “pro choice.” I am aware of its origins and purpose. I also know that a lot of people have been confused into thinking that they can be “pro choice” without actually supporting abortion. I differentiate the way I do (and I DO differentiate) because I believe that the differentiation is valid to them. I know from personal experience that we can not convert these people by insulting them. I also know that it is not my place in the order of things to judge their souls.

        The Holy Spirit directly intervened in my life and converted me, then, a few years later, He intervened again with what I call for lack of a better descriptive a “conversion within a conversion.” When I first knew that abortion was wrong (If that sounds incredulous to you, I can only say that it does to me as well … now.) when I first knew that abortion was wrong, I was too afraid to act on the knowledge for a while.

        The reason was that I didn’t know of any pro-life people who hadn’t lied about me, called me names and otherwise behaved toward me in ways that probably had the devil rubbing his paws with delight.

        You can not convert people to Christ by using the devil’s weapons. I’ll go a step further and say that you cannot convert people to Christ by demanding they change their politics or follow some sort of pro-life politically correct verbiage. You convert people to Christ by, first of all, behaving as if Jesus means enough for you to behave like a Christian in the way you treat other people.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Budger, I was in the room when NARAL made the decision to use the slogan “pro choice.” I am aware of its origins and purpose. I also know that a lot of people have been confused into thinking that they can be “pro choice” without actually supporting abortion. I differentiate the way I do (and I DO differentiate) because I believe that the differentiation is valid to them. I know from personal experience that we can not convert these people by insulting them. I also know that it is not my place in the order of things to judge their souls.

      The Holy Spirit directly intervened in my life and converted me, then, a few years later, He intervened again with what I call for lack of a better descriptive a “conversion within a conversion.” When I first knew that abortion was wrong (If that sounds incredulous to you, I can only say that it does to me as well … now.) when I first knew that abortion was wrong, I was too afraid to act on the knowledge for a while.

      The reason was that I didn’t know of any pro-life people who hadn’t lied about me, called me names and otherwise behaved toward me in ways that probably had the devil rubbing his paws with delight.

      You can not convert people to Christ by using the devil’s weapons. I’ll go a step further and say that you cannot convert people to Christ by demanding they change their politics or follow some sort of pro-life politically correct verbiage. You convert people to Christ by, first of all, behaving as if Jesus means enough for you to behave like a Christian in the way you treat other people.

  • yan

    A lot of the tone which leads people to slander others lightly derives from our public discourse, where merely negligent defamation is allowed against public figures or people involved in public issues in the interest of freedom of speech. It didn’t used to be that way. Defamation law used to be just as strict in respect to public figures as it was in respect to private figures. If you said something defamatory about someone else, you did so at the peril of being sued, even if you thought you were right. The Supreme Court changed that in NY Times v Sullivan. Since that time we have seen a steady erosion in respect to the amount of effort put into making sure that what we say is absolutely true and accurate. That is because, under the NY Times holding, inaccurate statements about public figures or public issues do not cause liability if the speaker/publisher is merely negligent. The speaker/publisher must be shown to have been malicious, which is very difficult to prove.

    Changing the holding of NY Times is probably impossible at this point, since it has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years now. We would need a constitutional amendment saying in effect, ‘The First Amendment shall not be construed to affect the common law of defamation.’ Even though even some pundits are beginning to notice and bewail the ease with which slurs can be thrown around without consequence, such an amendment will probably never be passed.

    But that is probably exactly what we need before a culture of civility and a general respect for truthful statements and care that what we say is not harmful to the reputation of others can be fostered and restored. What happens on the national and public level affects everyone by its example. Right now we are very much in love with all the titillating crap put forth constantly from all media. It will take the grace of God to change us and our laws, as well as human awareness and effort.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Yan, thank you for this very intelligent comment. Even though I am myself an elected official and have been on the receiving end of a lot of lies and slanders, I support the Supreme Court decision you reference. The reason why is that I believe that people need to feel free to criticize their government officials.

      What I am speaking of in this post is the simple fact that Christians are not just citizens of this world, we answer to a higher rule than the laws human beings write. We have a responsibility to model Christlike behavior for the world. That’s a tall order, and all of us, including me, fail at it daily. But we must not excuse our failures to follow Christ and use those excuses to allow us to follow the world, instead. I see a lot of Christians doing this when it comes to slander, especially of elected officials.

      That’s why I wrote this post.

      • yan

        Hello Ms. Hamilton,

        Your direct response is much appreciated. In response to your support of the NY Times holding, may I ask if you thought that, prior to that ruling, United States citizens were not sufficiently free to criticize their elected officials? I think they were sufficiently free, and that this freedom was optimal. In our present situation, discourse is muddied by half truths and untruths. This does not serve what is in my view the most important policy of the 1st amendment, which is to make sure that the truth will be able to come out. Instead, people don’t know what to believe, and as a result many people are turned off from the whole process. The people who remain tuned in to the process are highly polarized, each following their own narrative of what they believe the truth to be, or even what they think public perception will bear, even if they know it is not entirely true. I don’t think that’s what the Founders had in mind when they wanted to encourage freedom of inquiry with the goal of being able to discover truth.

        Thank you also for the compliment in regard to my post. Just so you know, I took the bar last month and I am looking for work. Perhaps you need an intern? If so, please let me know! You have my email…

        Regards…

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Yan, I’m not sure what I think about your question. When does slander of a public figure cross the line into the area that the damage it does outweighs the good of the right to criticize public officials freely? We certainly have traveled a long way down the anything-goes road. As to whether or not it’s too far, I don’t honestly know.

          • yan

            Ms. Hamilton,

            Let me try to frame the question another way.

            Lies are always damaging to reputations and to public discourse. Nothing good comes from lies. The question is not ‘when is slander good?’ Slander is never good. The question is rather, ‘when people are slandered, when should they be empowered by the law to be able to collect damages, so that false speech is discouraged, and persons whose reputations are damaged may have some recompense?’

            I believe that the old rule had it perfectly right: say whatever you want, but, for whatever you say that is false, you are subject to suit. This rule puts responsibility upon the person who is able to do harm in the same way that negligence law does.

            Because people know that they are subject to suit for negligence, they take care to make sure that they are not negligent. They make their products better, they keep their cars in order, they drive more carefully, they keep their property in order. This care benefits everyone, and that is one big reason why the law makes people liable for failure to meet the standard of care of a reasonable person.

            Similarly, if people know they are subject to suit for negligent false statements, they will be careful about what they say, and what is said will more often be true, and will tend to foster and contribute to a constructive discourse, rather than a destructive one. Everyone benefits from this extra effort. Furthermore, it is an excellent rule for attempting to implement the teaching of Christ that we will be liable for every idle word at the judgment.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Yan, the trouble with your reasoning is that it puts the burden of due diligence regarding public figures on private citizens. Also, it can have a chilling effect, even on the press. I’ve been thrashed and trashed many times, much of it malicious and almost all of it not true. The point of this post is not that the government should step in and offer redress to me, but that those who deliberately with malice of forethought lie about other people in order to destroy their reputations are committing a mortal sin. If they do not repent and change their ways, they can and will go to hell for committing this sin.
            I’ve discovered because of this post just how many people feel convicted about this and how angry it makes them when someone tells them they are wrong to do it. So be it.
            I understand your points that slander is always wrong and that it always harms people. That is true. I would add that it is also always sinful.
            As to how far the law should go in protecting the freedom to criticize our government and government officials, I’m inclined to prefer that it err on the side of protecting citizens’ right to do this rather than the public figure’s right to seek redress.

  • Joseph Mott

    I’m puzzled by this article. Not being the ‘brightest bulb on the tree’ I’m probably misreading what I read. I am convinced that God loves the sinner but NOT the sin and so do I. Am I to understand when leaders/politicians espouse un-Godly behavior, I am not to condemn them for it?
    The OT has many historical events where pagan leaders introduced pagan behavior into a Godly society and those leaders and the faithful followers who defected were dealt with. God loves AND we read of His wrath.
    I pray for the lost but I also condemn them for their pagan ways. I don’t feel I’m un-Christian in doing so. Galatians 5 says that the Spirit and Human Nature are enemies. Jesus says He came for the ones His Father gave Him, not for the others. I apply God in politics but not politics in God,

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Yes. You understand. I do not believe that we should condemn people. We can say that their sin is, indeed, sin. In fact, there are times when we must say this. We can say that it is wrong. Again, there are times when we must say that it is wrong. We can vote against someone who is running for office. If we sit on a jury or are a judge, we can (and often must) send people to prison for bad behavior. But condemn them for being sinners? That’s not our place.
      I know full well that the world is rapidly falling into paganism. That’s precisely why Christians must start being Christians. I don’t mean that we can’t say that wrong is wrong. I just mean that we have to stop lying and slandering and calling it righteousness. As for “condemning” people; we are all sinners when we stand at the foot of cross.

      • CatholicMinnesotan

        So, If we say, “X is wrong,” we’re ok. If we say, “You screwed up bigtime in doing X!”, we’re not ok? This appears to be the logical continuation of your reply here.
        I propose that if A did X, and we tell them that X is wrong, we have an obligation to let them know that it was wrong for them to do, and they are goingto be condenmed for it later. Personally, I would rather be condenmed on Earth than afterwards…

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Sorry. I don’t understand your comment.

  • sam

    Well said and timely too. I for one am sure that at times I have been guilty of this w/o malicious intent and/or w/the same. But i do question your premise re pro-choice. My response to pro-choice individuals is: If you are pro choice that means you are not pro life. Since this is the case it indicates you are pro abortion as what is the choice you are speaking of if it is not pro life. The alternative is death. Abortion.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Sam, I agree with your point. I gave a fuller answer as to why I make these distinctions earlier and I’m going to repeat it here. Even this more lengthy comment only touches the tip of what is in truth a complex subject. Believe me, I’ve prayed about all this and talked it over with my spiritual adviser a lot. I’m just trying to do my best to follow what I think Jesus wants of me.
      Here’s what I said earlier:
      Budger, I was in the room when NARAL made the decision to use the slogan “pro choice.” I am aware of its origins and purpose. I also know that a lot of people have been confused into thinking that they can be “pro choice” without actually supporting abortion. I differentiate the way I do (and I DO differentiate) because I believe that the differentiation is valid to them. I know from personal experience that we can not convert these people by insulting them. I also know that it is not my place in the order of things to judge their souls.

      The Holy Spirit directly intervened in my life and converted me, then, a few years later, He intervened again with what I call for lack of a better descriptive a “conversion within a conversion.” When I first knew that abortion was wrong (If that sounds incredulous to you, I can only say that it does to me as well … now.) when I first knew that abortion was wrong, I was too afraid to act on the knowledge for a while.

      The reason was that I didn’t know of any pro-life people who hadn’t lied about me, called me names and otherwise behaved toward me in ways that probably had the devil rubbing his paws with delight.

      You can not convert people to Christ by using the devil’s weapons. I’ll go a step further and say that you cannot convert people to Christ by demanding they change their politics or follow some sort of pro-life politically correct verbiage. You convert people to Christ by, first of all, behaving as if Jesus means enough for you to behave like a Christian in the way you treat other people.

  • http://onesobercatholic.wordpress.com Mary Christine

    Thank you. The quality of our public discourse is abysmal. But when we indulge in this slander in the name of Jesus, it is exponentially worse.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I agree Mary Christine. I believe with my whole heart that we are driving people away from Christ by indulging in this public sin against other people.

  • tz

    You complain of the uncharitable tone of conversation, but if there is a worse problem, it is imprecision in speech. Slander is not rash judgment, calumny, nor detraction, yet you use the term “slander” to describe these, or other things, not all sinful. The Catechism makes fine distinctions, and to do so uses and describes these in detail (the 8th commandment). Slander has a specific definition.

    Yes, slander can rise to a mortal sin if it is grave and done with full will and knowledge, but the converse is true – if you know something to be true and don’t warn of the evil, there can be a mortal sin of omission.

    So I’m a bit confused. Are you complaining about any and all ungracious speech? Actual slander? Some composite of sins against C#8 you mislabel?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thomas, here is what I said:
      “What I mean here is the deliberate, malicious verbal destruction of another person for gain, pleasure, entertainment or self-righteous self-satisfaction.”

      That is not “ungracious speech.”

      • Mary

        that is a broad definition that is essentially a new moral category! let’s not be more Catholic than the Pope!

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Mary, I’m unclear what you’re referencing here.

  • http://servusfidelis.wordpress.com Dave

    I hate public discourse when it erodes into personal attacks, name calling and mud-slinging. However, it actually has been done since the early days of our countries history. I think what has changed is the fomenting of lies. Out and out lies that are repeated, echoed by our media without sourcing their veracity and going one step further: they actually encourage this discourse and the incitement to hatred and violence so that they will have a good story to cover which will hopefully aid their agenda. If it doesn’t — well then, they just won’t cover it.

    This is my first time to your blog on Patheos. It looks good. I hope it is working out well for you. Your voice is needed and I think this will give you a much wider audience.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      It’s great to see you Dave! As usual, you add thoughtful insights to the discussion. Yes, Patheos is a good place to blog. I’m enjoying it. Keep coming back. Your input is needed.

  • Rebecca Hamilton

    For those who are interesting in my background on this issue, check out Good Morning Patheos! It’s under “Catholic” or “Pro Life” in the categories. I would give you a link, but I can’t figure out how to do that from here.
    Blessings,
    Rebecca

  • Johsua

    Of course it is. We practice it everyday when we gossip. We go to bed at night, not acknowledging what we have done. It’s a combination of ignorance and denial. This is one of the sins that is the hardest to acknowledge. Read St. Augustine’s books. He talks about this sin in detail.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Johsua!

  • http://gadabout-blogalot.com Chuck

    Having read your “About,” I know you have been a dedicated servant to God and man. I earnestly appreciate your “like,” of my post today.
    I can’t escape the thought that I have been slung into a corner for my bad behavior after reading your “Slander,” post
    But, I must attempt to defend my slander as you have called it. I know it is the LORD’s job to condemn and punish and I won’t argue the point on that truth. I do however believe pulling punches when it comes to fighting against what our God has given us through his word, is a failure to do what he has commanded us, when he gave as our charges; the widows, the orphans and poor. Added, he commanded us not to murder.
    To waltz around words to keep from condemning those the LORD has already condemned is an exercise in futility and a great waste of the time He has given us to do his bidding.
    Others before me have said pro-choice is another way to say, this shoe fits on both feet. Or, I reserve the right to make up my mind to murder … or not, at my choosing. The refusal or inability to understand that pro-abortion is pro-death or weaseling out by saying I abstain from making a commitment is similar to an elected official who refuses to vote yay or nay on an issue. In such a case, the abstention is a NO vote, pure and simple. Yes, the Father gives us free will, but he also promised swift judgment and punishment, should our decisions violate any one or more of his commandments.
    I am 72 years of age and my long-suffering angel and I celebrated our 50th last November. Similar to yourself, I have been a public servant before retiring from the New Mexico State Police and since 1999 as a town councilor. I am fortunate to have a Savior, who is gracious enough to allow me to be an idiot and/or a sinner without being overly harsh in his judgments and punishments (thus far.) I bring the information in this paragraph to this virtual sheet of paper, to set the stage to say: I believe I have been able to reach a truism, or you might say an answer to the argument that abortion of a life is a woman’s decision and it is her’s alone to make. Well no. It is not, because we know abortion is a dirty prohibited business and we always leave an important person out of the decision … we never have and we never will see the tiny hand raise in the affirmative to say it is fine if you take my life, even though it is not yours to take. Of course we shall never get to that stage, because God would not allow his baby to go against his commandment.
    I’ve rambled right along and likely bored you to tears. The Lord and the LORD will always know that my sins are many, my mistakes are made by someone often too focused on his own selfish wants and he can always count on me to come to him for forgiveness.
    Our God has blessed you and placed you here for good work and good works. Thank you for what you are and what you do for God.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Chuck, thank you for this kind comment. I never meant that people who say that those who think abortion should be legal are “pro-abortion” are de facto committing slander. I apologize if I gave that impression.

      What I’m been trying to say — and it appears not saying it well at all — is that I, personally, will not engage in attacking these people. I want to convert them. Let me give you an example.

      A couple of years ago, I was a volunteer with 40 Days for Life. A young woman went into the clinic while we were there. After a couple of hours, she came back out. She got into her car. We were situated so that she had to drive past us on her way out. She stopped the car beside us, lowered her window and said something like (I don’t remember her exact words) “You don’t understand.”

      Now this young woman had just had an abortion. She had just killed her baby. She was a sinner.

      But to be honest, my first impulse was to reach out and hug her. However, before anyone else could do a thing one of a lady in our group yelled something (again, I don’t remember her exact words) condemning her.

      The young woman’s face closed up and she drove away.

      It is the easiest thing in the world to say mean things to another person. But once you do, it’s very hard to back out of it and get them to trust you or open up to you.

      I have been a target of the people who favor legal abortion for years now. I’ve been picketed, slandered, almost censured. I’ve had my tires slashed. My break lines have been cut. For a brief while, I even had to have a body guard.

      In all that time, I have refrained from calling them any kind of name. I don’t slander them. I very seldom even bother to answer them.

      To be honest, I couldn’t do that without help from God. The miracle is that He has used me more than once to change some of them. There are people now who are pro-life rather than pro-choice (there’s that phrase again) because I didn’t do what some of the commenters on this post are pushing for.

      You can’t fight satan with satan’s weapons. You can not.

      • http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com Wendy Macdonald

        Your graciousness and God given wisdom was once again so evident in this reply. This is why I follow your blog. I’m hoping some of it will rub off onto me. Bless you for walking the higher road!
        ~ Wendy

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Thank you Wendy. You are always kind, both in your comments on Public Catholic and in your own blog. I admire you.

  • Kenneth

    Hey Rebecca, this is what my post was about earlier. In your post here condemning slander, you give the impression of slandering pro-lifers who recognize the fact that the terms pro-choice and pro-abortion are substantially equivalent. Recognizing this is not the same as attacking those who support or get abortions as you describe in your example. These are separate points. But the impression you give in your article is that those who believe this about the terms are de facto acting unchristian, lying, and grazing the borders of hell.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Well … that wasn’t my intention. I was talking about the deliberate, malicious way in which people try to destroy other people’s reputations rather than debating the issues at hand. We’ve reached the point in our society that we don’t even debate issues, we attack other people.

      When someone sets out to destroy another person’s reputation through malice or when they deliberately and knowingly collude with those who do this, they are committing a grave sin. Slander can inflict a kind of social death on people

      Every abortion kills a living child. That’s just the fact, and saying it is not slander. In fact it needs to be said; clearly and often.

      On the other hand the people themselves need to be converted. It’s a tricky thing, making clear the seriousness of the sin without condemning the person who commits it. But I believe that is our task. Fortunately, if we let Him, the Holy Spirit will do most of the work for us. By that I mean we don’t have to convict them of their sins. We just have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He does it.

      Part of what makes it so hard to stop abortion is that people who are pro choice are actually scared of people who are pro life. They think we hate them. More to the point, they can get the idea that we think that God hates them.

      When they begin to open up to seeing abortion for what it is, they are also confronted with grief and guilt. I personally was almost wiped out with this grief and guilt. I also was afraid of pro life people. FWIW, I was roundly rejected and attacked by pro life people when I first tried to be open about my change of heart. That’s one reason why I love the Catholic Church so. The Catholic Church not only forgave me, but my Catholic brothers and sisters have treated me from the beginning as a new person in Christ. As one wonderful lady told me, “We don’t care what you did. We DON’T CARE.”

      We must be very careful when we’re tossing words around that we don’t inadvertently tell another person that God hates them. That is what I fear often happens with this obstinate insistence that we should all use the specifically pro-life approved words to describe those who support abortion. Being clear about the reality of abortion is one thing. Deliberately using that clarity to wound and drive away people who desperately need Christ’s forgiveness and love is another. Communication across the divide of guilt and shame is difficult enough without adding prescribed labels to it.

      After all, look how this misunderstanding over my words took wings; and we all share the same beliefs here.

      To get back to the true point of the post; slander, real slander that is deliberate and malicious, is a grave sin. You really can go to hell for it.

      Thank you for the conversation Kenneth. Talking things through is an important part of growing community, which is what I want on Public Catholic; a strong Christian community.

      I’m going to go silent until Monday. Have a blessed Sunday.

      • Larry

        I am no longer catholic nor christian but I still come here because my belief is that good people exist everywhere. Anyway, I agree with you. It is always better to educate than to berate. But when it comes to politicians, the gloves come off.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          The deliberate malicious destruction of another person’s reputation is never right my friend. Not even if the object of your vitriol is a politician. It is a right and good thing to criticize our elected officials and their policies. That is healthy democracy in action. But there is no person who does not deserve to be treated like a person.

  • http://heartsonfire33.wordpress.com Father Paul Wharton

    Timely words heading into the presidential election in less than 90 days.

    The Internet gives people the freedom to post things on line that they would never say in person. There is a huge difference between fraternal correction or prophetic admonition, on the one hand and vitriolic, hateful name-calling and /or self-righteous condemnation, on the other hand. I take the words of Jesus quite seriously: “Judge not lest you be judged.” “The measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Father Wharton.

  • will He find faith on earth?

    The problem in the Catholic blogosphere is that roughness on others is rewarded with clicks. Think of the top ten blogs and several are there partly through roughness on this group or that group. Roughness on others is sometimes necessary but if it is constant, bloggers are holding themselves above the charity that Benedict urged on bloggers and they are holding themselves above 2 Timothy2:23-
    ” Avoid foolish and ignorant debates, for you know that they breed quarrels.
    24 A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant,
    25 correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth…”
    Let’s face it. The bloggers that are obeying 2 Tim.2 daily are out there in Catholic blog, no man’s land where a comment a month is a lot. The blogs who denounce roughly almost steadily, flourish. Yet with one commandment amongst them whether they’re on the left or right…the Pope is off limits. You can denounce everyone else….NO Mass fans, Bishops, dissenters, democrats, republican war mongers, Maroon Five, China in general ( George Weigel). But will anyone question Pope Benedict on problems in OT inspiration as per Verbum Domini sect.42? Not in a thousand blogs. Maybe it’s good they don’t since 2 Tim.2 is more honored in the breach once things get heated.
    2 Tim.2 is often ignored in favor of John the Baptist calling the pharisees “brood of vipers”. Benedict tried to fix that by urging bloggers to be charitable. And that means Benedict was grossed out at a reading of some Catholic blog(s).

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I agree that many of the bloggers seem to feel that garnering hits is more important than the quality of the discussion. It’s obvious to me that many of them indulge in dragging people with famous names through all sorts of mud. BUT, the nitwits who provide the clicks for this trash play a part, as well.
      We are each one of us responsible for what we do.

  • http://www.thresholdofheaven.com Peter

    This reminds me of a verse:
    Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Well said Peter. Thank you.

  • Confederate Papist

    I’m sending the link of this post to our youth minister…one of our upcoming topics for Life Teen is about gossip.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I am honored! Thank you.

  • http://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/ terry nelson

    Excellent post – thanks for calling it to my attention at least – I can’t be reminded of these dangers enough. Keep up the good posts!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Terry! This is a danger to all of us. It’s become downright fashionable and that means Christians must actively refuse to participate.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    Was my comment posted last night deleted? I guess you only want to hear from people who agree with you.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I deleted two comments. One for calling the President of the United States the n word. The other for being rude and hateful. I have no idea if yours was one of them.

  • http://littlehouseongardenlane.wordpress.com Ellan

    An especially good reminder for Christians-as we will one day give account for all the words we speak.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Ellan. This is the point.

  • http://www.unwalled.wordpress.com Kim

    Thank you for that truthful exhortation. We in the Body of Christ need these reminders in a world where too often what God deems evil is seen as acceptable and/or good. May God continue to bless, keep, encourage and give you boldness as you take a stand for righteousness on the front lines…….Kim

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Kim.

  • http://ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com Erin

    Thanks for this post. Slander can ruin people’s lives. Not only is it horrible, it is unloving.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Erin.

  • Arkenaten

    There is a saying -(excuse me, I cannot remember who said it) – that,
    ” a country gets the government it deserves.”
    Things may be different in the States, but for me, as soon as you bring religion into what is primarily a secular post, you lose credibility, especially with a line like this….
    “Do not fight satan with satan’s weapons.” It also demonstrates that you have limited understanding of the source of the character ‘Satan’. If you knew more, you might not quote so blithely.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I never intended this to be a secular post.

      You have no idea how real my acquaintance with satan actually is.

      Again, restrain your flights into personal insult and blithe assumptions and focus on issues.

      • Arkenaten

        Excuse me if I have misunderstood. You initially use political defamation as an example of slander – this would generally be considered secular -then you introduce theological doctrine -going to hell – eternal damnation – for telling lies.
        This is where normal people come unstuck with such inculcated ridiculous dogma. And saddest of all, it is passed on to children.
        As for your acquaintance with Satan – sorry, one cannot have an acquaintance, ‘he’ is a narrative construct, so if you are ‘struggling’ or ‘fighting’ with anything it might be your conscience.
        I apologise , I did not mean my comment to read as ad hominin, but like all Christians, you do have a habit of using religious dogma to try to strengthen your point.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Douglas, in this particular post religious dogma is my point. I am not referring to slander in the legal sense, but rather in the moral and religious sense.

          There are over 2 billion Christians on this planet. Given that, your broad claims as to what “all” of us do seem rather grand; ditto for your claims about what “normal” people do.

          • Arkenaten

            Ah, yes, as the saying goes,….”Eat horse manure, 100 billion flies can’t be wrong.”

            When I use the term normal people I generally mean people behave normally until it comes to religion and then so often rationality flies out the window in the face of such erroneous dogma such as Hell etc.
            As for the number of Christians on the planet…so what? You can’t count on any but the Catholics as every non-Catholic does not consider that Catholics are Christian and believes, and I mean truly believes, that they are all likely going to Hell.
            No, I don’t get it either.
            Now, I’m an atheist, and I don’t think you’re all going to Hell. (any more than we’re all going with Alice down the rabbit hole)

            You have to love religion. *Smiles and shakes head*

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Douglas, I’ve stopped answering your comments because they are so repetitive. However, I am going to point out that “every” non-Catholic is a LOT of people who believe all sorts of things. Your comment is inaccurate on its face.

  • Arkenaten

    I do not expect an answer on this comment. But to clarify:
    Non-Catholic Christians, and especially evangelical reborns (including those that claim they have a “relationship” with Jesus) do not consider Catholicism a christian religion or Catholics true Christians.
    I do not believe I can make this point any more succinct.

  • Nucc3 .

    Respectfully people…Not if it’s true and stated in a TRULY LOVING MANNER.

    Prov 27:6

    6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
    But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. NKJV

  • hamiltonr

    I’m going to allow this, but Akenaten, who is a long-time Public Catholic reader is an evangelical atheist. I think his question is a sincere one, but, evangelical atheists have a habit of trying to create wedges between Christians with this type of thing. It’s a common happening on this blog.

    Nucc3, if you have grown closer to Christ through the Protestant approach, then I am happy for you. However, I won’t allow comments that degrade the Church on this blog.

    I also am not going to allow this discussion to devolve into a destructive back and forth between Protestants and Catholics. The purpose of Public Catholic is to empower Christians, not divide them.


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