Food for thought from David Harsanyi: Abortion, Religion, and Science
Though you probably didn't hear much about it, this week thousands of people marched for the pro-life cause in Washington and elsewhere. There were folks I generally don't hang with: Catholics for Life, Baptists for Life, Lutherans for Life — no denomination left behind.I think he's talking about snobbery. These shallow folks who recoil from uncoolness (and what is less cool than Christianity?) present a dilemma to religious people. Should we keep our convictions to ourselves, in hopes of maintaining connections with our secularist neighbors, co-workers, and even family members? Or should we wear our religion on our sleeves, thereby being honest with our non-believing neighbors but also risking scaring them away? Tricky.
It had me wondering: How many Americans avoid an honest look at the abortion issue because of the cultural dimensions of the debate. How many Americans instinctively turn to the pro-choice camp because pro-life proponents aggravate their secular sensibilities?
I was going to suggest that those with "secular sensibilities" get out and mix more. But I'll bet they're already acquainted with lots of religious folks; they just don't know it. Christians are everywhere but we're not always that easy to spot. And we're not a monolithic group.
Anyway, back to Mr. Harsanyi. He notes that the absurdity of the language of abortion is an offense to reason:
Does life really begin on the say-so of a single person—even the mother? Does her position or mental state change what a fetus is or is not? That kind of elastic calculation grinds against reason. Even our intuitive reaction to motherhood agrees. As Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is an ob-gyn, once explained, "people ask an expectant mother how her baby is doing. They do not ask how her fetus is doing, or her blob of tissue, or her parasite."Of course they don't. But pro-lifers have been waging war on the obfuscating language of the pro-abortion movement from the beginning. (Human butcher Kermit Gosnell had his own special terms, too.) Still abortion remains a thriving industry.
The Roe vs. Wade decision — made without considering evolving science or new facts — ensures that the debate is purely academic for now. I'm certainly not under the delusion that every problem has an answer. But if the pro-life movement is going to win the hearts and minds of the rest of the nation, it's not going to need more God. It's going to need more reason.I don't know. Some people will certainly be convinced by reason. But many will not. We already have sufficient science to observe a baby developing in utero, to reveal his human heart beating in the earliest stages of life. But in a culture that promotes self-gratification and denies the sacredness of life, relativism trumps science and might makes right. The evidence of the ultrasound and one's own common sense can be denied or ignored.
The lie of abortion has been exposed over and over again, but women and girls still file into clinics to have their babies destroyed. Reason may be absent from their decision-making process, but so is hope and love. Abortion, held up as an act of empowerment, is an act of despair. That's a spiritual problem.
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