Monday, December 11, 2006
Life devalued by the abortion debate?
There is a meme that I have seen going around that has started to bother me. There are certain pro-life organizations that are claiming that the legalization of abortion has caused people in the United States to have less respect for human life. I think that this is not only wrong, I think that they have it backwards.
Just today I saw a pro-life supporter claiming that there have been millions of innocent children murdered through abortion. I'd like you to think about that. This person is claiming that the United States government is specifically protecting people who have committed millions of murders, and this person isn't alone. Other people make similar claims, and most of them would be insulted if you questioned the sincerity of their beliefs.
Nevertheless, do they act as if they truly believe that abortion is murder? Would they be writing letters, making political contributions, waving protest signs, etc., if they felt that millions of murders were occurring?
The way I see it, there are two choices: either they are claiming that millions of murders deserves nothing more than angry protests, and attempts to change the law to restrict those murders, or they are cowards, unwilling to take a stand to stop those murders.
Of course, I believe that "abortion is murder" is simply a catch phrase for them, and they haven't really thought out the implications of it. If they have thought out the implications of it, and still make that claim, then they are claiming that millions of murders warrants nothing but political action, or they are lying.
The interesting thing here is that almost all of these explanations lead up to these people creating a culture in which life is not valued... at least not in the arena of political speech.
Obviously, if life is only worth angry political campaigns to protect, then they are saying life isn't a very valuable. If they are too cowardly to take a stand to stop millions of murders, they are again saying that life isn't too valuable. If the are willing to throw around hit claims about murder without thinking about them, then they don't consider life worthy of careful, rigorous thought. And finally, if they are willing to call something murder, when they know full well that it isn't, they are cheapening the word "murder", and turning the concept of life into cheap political rhetoric.
Speaking of rhetoric, there is one rhetorical device that I hate. People will ask questions like, "Once we have taken God out of the public schools, how can we be surprised that students are willing to kill their classmates and teachers?"
When someone says something like that, they are pretending that we already know that the first thing mentioned has a direct effect on the second. But we don't need God in the public schools to prevent killing; even if religion was required for people to have good, sound, moral principles, parents can teach their children about God. They don't need help from the public schools.
Nevertheless, I'm going to use that rhetorical device right now. You can decide for yourself if it is fair or not.
If someone is used to hearing that this country allowed millions of murders to occur, is it any surprise that these same people can blow off a news story saying that 600,000 people have died as a result of the invasion of Iraq? If millions of murders are worth nothing more than letter writing, political action, and protests, why would 600,000 deaths-not even a million-be worthy of concern?
Maybe the abortion debate has caused human life to be less valued ... but if so, I don't think it's happened the way the pro-lifers claim.