God invites us to a kingdom of peace, fraternity, communion, and love. In God’s kingdom, the innocent have the right to live, to grow, and to thrive, according to the divine plan. Who refuses to come to such a beautiful banquet? Well, those who commit acts of unjustifiable violence against the innocent. Killing the innocent means saying a big, fat, rude, ‘No, thank you!’ to God’s invitation to the Kingdom.
The evil acts of terrorism committed in the Middle East have stunned us all. A couple weeks ago, President Obama lectured the United Nations’ General Assembly about this. He concluded, “At this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done.”
I stayed up late to watch the re-play of the speech on CSPAN. The camera panned across the joyless faces of the representatives of the countries of the world. I could not help but think to myself: One of these ambassadors could reasonably raise his or her hand and ask our president, “Yes, Mr. President Obama, yes. We condemn terrorism just like you do. But are you Americans so innocent?”
Now, maybe this ambassador would be referring to the bombs we drop from the sky, which regularly kill innocent bystanders. And we do not, as a nation, seem to give that a second thought. But there’s more.
Couldn’t the intrepid UN questioner follow up by asking, “Mr. President, what about the spilled blood of the countless innocent and defenseless unborn children? Blood that cries out to God from the soil of the United States. Do you not terrorize unborn babies in your country? You kill one out of every five of them.”
Now, some people say that they have a problem with ‘Church teaching’ on the subject of abortion. I think we need to clarify the idea of ‘Church teaching’ a little bit here.
Holy Mother Church teaches us about Jesus. Without the Church teaching us about Him, we wouldn’t even know who He is. We take on faith that the Church knows what She is talking about, when it comes to Christ. Jesus loves me; this I know, because the Church teaches me so. That’s what we call faith in Church teaching.
On the other hand, there was a time, before the advent of modern science, when thoughtful, intelligent Catholics disagreed with each other about abortion. Some wondered, “Maybe there is a transition point during pregnancy? Before the transition, the embryo or fetus isn’t human. Then, after the transition point, a baby!”
Scientific investigations, however, have made this position untenable. We certainly don’t know everything about pregnancy. But one thing we have discovered is: Ain’t no ‘transition point.’ It makes as much scientific sense to deny the humanity of the original cell as it does to deny the humanity of the newborn. Both are points in one, continual process of development, which begins at conception.
The idea of ‘fetal viability’ also goes right out the window, as soon as we pause to think about what each of us needs to survive. None of us are ‘viable’ all by ourselves. We all rely each other, just like the child in the womb relies on his or her mother.
My point is: This is science, not faith. We condemn abortion out of scientific honesty and human decency. We don’t ‘believe’ abortion is wrong. We know for a fact that it is wrong.
Now, other people try to condone abortion on these grounds: It’s not right for strangers to moralize at a poor, desperate pregnant woman. The pro-life position is for self-righteous prudes!
Let’s analyze. Who is moralizing? The pro-life thinking goes like this: Pregnant under bad circumstances? Okay. This situation has two aspects. Yes, on the one hand, an immoral act may have given rise to this pregnancy. That’s a matter for the confessional; not really any of my business. But, on the other hand: Here is a mom and a baby! That is a beautiful, wonderful, altogether happy thing! Let me do what I can to help!
Meanwhile, at the abortion mill, the thinking runs like this: We judge this pregnancy to be bad. Evil gave rise to it, therefore it is altogether evil. We pronounce a sentence of death upon the child conceived in sin, the child conceived in a way that runs counter to our ideas about how and when and why children should be conceived.
Who is the severe moralizer here? And who is the minister of mercy?
At the UN last month, the general consensus held that the fight against terrorism presents us with the challenge of our time. Ok.
As long as we are humble enough to admit that we ourselves have a reign of terror here in our own land. And the ‘fight against terrorism’ won’t be over until all the innocent and defenseless are safe. It won’t be over until every pregnant mother, no matter what the circumstances, gets love and support, instead of a summary death sentence for her baby.
May the love and support start with us.