Friday, January 27, 2017

Wanting America to be Good

To be Catholic is to be a bat in the animal kingdom, neither fitting with the birds because you have hair, nor with the beasts because you fly.  Today is the March for Life.  Thousands have come together to march on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.  Our nation has for the past 47 years, been fighting a battle over the definition of ideas.

I worry and I know, to some, this worry seems crazy.  After all, the March is getting covered, the Vice President spoke, so theoretically it should be hopeful, and yet, I am not.  Why am I not?  Because I know, we have to judge a tree by it's fruit.  We cannot allow the zeal for justice for one group of people, to blind us to injustice done to any other group of people. It is an easy charge to lay at the feet of those of us who march for the unborn, because those who issue the charge, see the opportunity cost of the good we advance (that is, the child's life), being thrust on the mother and possibly, the mother alone.  

While I can cite countless organizations and people of good will, who minister to people in crisis pregnancies, to win this argument, we must not miss one, and there are many who are missed, who fall through the cracks.   So I worry, because I want this nation to not be great, but good, overwhelmingly good, overwhelmingly kind, overwhelmingly merciful, overwhelmingly generous and forgiving.  

The right to decide, is at odds with the discussion, what are we allowing to be decided.   The women and men who brave the elements (this year it's nice, last year, not so much), believe one's right to exist should not be threatened by geography.

All people of good will on some level, agree with this issue. It is why many on the liberal side of politics, fight for the refugees and the immigrants to not be prisoners of law by the arbitrary reality of their geography.  One should not receive the death penalty because a crime was committed in one state as versus another.  (I would argue, no death penalty).  Law is to serve humanity, not to make humanity servile.   Politics have made issues of serving the public good always an either or discussion, when faith, Catholic faith, demands we respond to all of life with a Both And. To be against the torture of even our enemies, is to think with the same sensibilities as one who argues for the innate dignity of the unborn.   It is not what we do, or can't do, or even if we are acting in a kind or unkind manner that determines our innate worth.  We are innately of infinite worth.

It is hard to speak on this matter, believing that every child deserves to be allowed to be born, without seeming to be insenitive to all the reasons a woman might opt to abort.  The presumption of our culture, is to hold that one should not do something (EVER), even if allowed by the law, is proof of a closed mind and closed heart.

 We should do everything in our power to facilitate life, providing shelter, (room in the inn), care (when I was sick), compassion (when I was lonely), and answering the call of the Holy Spirit, which is always to love, always to do more.  Since we are not saints, we have not always answered this call, we have not always made a gift of self, and thus the theory goes, because we are not perfect in being pro-life, we have no moral authority to insist upon this particular injustice.  

Politicians and those who follow law and policy can rightly say, the right is not pro-life because it allows for war, it seeks to repeal health care, it won't enact policies which curb the use of heavy firearms in our society.  The right can also rightly say, the left do not care about the little guy or the innocent, because no one is more innocent or little than the unborn and you demand we pretend they aren't human and don't count.  Both parties point to the planks in the other's eyes and say, "Yeah, but your plank is bigger," and so we go on being blind.  We will allow injustice to persist, and trumpet the goods we've championed, as though the ballance sheet works out when all our policies agree with us.  
The subsequent argument to the people marching for the unborn is, take care of everyone out here, or if you're not taking care of everyone out here, you've lost the moral authority to speak for these people who aren't people.  They're just cells. They're just blobs of tissue.  They don't have legal standing.  They're not human persons, ergo, they're not worth wasting your time marching for, you'll never change everyone's hearts, so stop already.  The call to act is correct, but the condemnation is not.   The counter could also be made, take care of the unborn, but the reality is, everyone, should be taking care of everyone.  

Yes, we've all failed on many occasions, but each day offers the opportunity to begin again, to be a light.  All it requires of us, is the courage to say yes.  The question is not, when is it licit to kill, or when is it legal to kill, or when is it licit and legitimate to hate, and when is it not.  The question is, do we want a society that can arbitrarily decide to be unjust to a whole class of people or not?  

If the answer is yes, then understand, one day, we will all wind up in that class which has been deemed unworthy.  We will grow old and feeble, and be less useful to the state.  Ergo, we will be told, it's a good, it's better this way, and ushered out.   We will hold an unpopular opinion.  The political wind will change.  At some point, we will be on the outside looking in.  We will have children who aren't all star athlete honor role musician scientists, and thus they can be ignored.   We will at some point become poor or homeless or ill, and not productive enough to merit protection.  If the answer is no, then it is our job to help shape that society with that particular ethic, all human life has infinite innate dignity as the inspiration and impetus of all policy and all action. Life may not be fair, but it is for us to make it as fair minded and good as possible, to value truth, kindness, forebearance and forgiveness, generosity and gentleness.  

To be fully pro-life, is to know and be energized by the reality that we can act, and that we were all created to do exactly this, to love our neighbors, in all the distressing disguises we encounter.   Every act of injustice poisons our society and makes it less just.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."  It's true. To be pro-life is to march today for the unborn. Tomorrow, remind the government not to allow for the deportation of people fleeing war torn countries and religious persecution, to beg them to provide sanctuary. One day, the person who knows each person is of infinite value regardless of creed, race, capacity, nationality and ideology, will jam the phones at the legislature to make sure people aren't tortured, and the next that same person will say, "Today I am Muslim," if the government decides to register people based on their nationality and/or faith.  It will take incredible persistence to keep up with the world's ever increasing inventive ways of trying to make us choose death over life, but we're up to the task.

To stand against creating a register of people based on faith, go here.

To call your representative and stand against torture. Here's the link to contact your senator as well.

To provide aid or help to a place that provides healing for mothers and fathers post-abortion.

To get the facts from a woman who ran the largest Planned Parenthood in Texas before stopping and learn about the ministry she runs to help people leave the industry.

To deal with addressing a pro-life issue that tugs at your heart and there are as many as there are stars, here's a good starting point.

It's a lot of work and it's why we've been given a lifetime to do it.  Let's roll up our sleeves and get started.  

1 comment:

Marc Antonetti said...

Excellent piece. Thought provoking. And inherently correct in its philosophy. So to take it to the next level, what does one do when the choices are either/or, and there is no apparent meaningful third alternative?

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!