by ProfDave, ©2022
(Mar. 31, 2022) — March for Life! Life matters and life is worth it. God helping me, I am going to put my body where my mouth is today (3/23/22). And I am scared spitless – mostly of driving in Hartford. Yes, I should have investigated the bus routes, but it has been twenty years since I rode the busses.
Why is life important? Because you are alive, duh! Every one of us owes our existence to the sacrifice of a woman. Yes, a man had something to do with it, and for your sake I hope he took responsibility. But we owe our very lives to our mothers. Without them there would be no USA, no civilization, and no humanity at all. Duh!
Life is a gift from God. We have no right to throw it away. The right to life is the first of all rights, without which there are no others. Duh, again! To end someone’s life without due cause and process is a crime answerable to God. Who is more innocent than the unborn? Is it a capital offense to be elderly and disabled?
Life is worth it, both at its dawn and at its sunset.
The March for Life went well. I drove to Hartford and back with no problems except my usual getting lost on my way back to the highway. The attendance was about twice what was expected, extending almost all the way around the route. We were told that we had outdone this year’s California march. Grassroots actions like this become important in the expectation that Roe v Wade may be overturned on the federal level. The Connecticut Assembly has seen chilling actions in the last few days, considering making the state a sanctuary for abortionists who have lost their licenses elsewhere for malpractice, amateurs to perform abortions and more. Another state proposes to allow abortion up to 28 days after birth. What do you call that? Clearly we have shattered an important ethical barrier by legitimizing the taking of human life. We are seeing consequences.
Perhaps in 1973 we did not recognize the significance of the fence that we tore down with Roe v Wade. The Supreme Court professed ignorance of when life began. We did not then know the difference between a fetus and any other human tissue. Our high school textbooks parroted the old evolutionary arguments that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” – that the fetus began as a fish and evolved through amphibian, reptilian and mammalian stages before becoming human – DNA had not been yet discovered by the authors. The essentially racist ideas of eugenics lingered in the air, despite the Holocaust – in the doctrine that unfit lives were not worthy of life. Women were claiming power over their own lives. They did not want to be “barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.” “It’s my body,” they screamed. But again, DNA said no, the fetus is in your body, totally dependent on your body, but totally a distinct and new body from both mother and father. Finally, the sixties generation dearly longed for free sex without consequences. So, we took down the fence without asking why the Almighty had erected it. Now we know that a fetus is an innocent human being, that it has a DNA of its own, that discrimination on the basis of sex or race or disability is wrong, and yes Virginia, babies are caused by sexual activity. Duh.
Why is that ethical fence there? Why is “Thou shalt not kill” in the Decalogue? Can we permit the killing of a person who is accidental? Who is responsible for that accident? Can we kill someone to evade responsibility? If I run over a dog it is OK to euthanize it; how about if I run over a child? Is it right to kill someone because they are unwanted or inconvenient? We can all think of a candidate who gets in our way. Who knows, we probably get in someone else’s way. Is it right to kill someone because they are dependent? Or do we have a moral obligation to those wholly dependent on us? Most of us are dependent until we reach 18, when we are sick, on welfare, on social security or elderly – oh yes, and before we were born. Should parents have a right to kill their young? At the other end, should adult children have the right to kill their parents when they become a burden? Where does it end?
The worldview of Ethical Monotheism puts the Almighty in charge of life and death. He alone can give life and has the right to take it back. Our bodies come from dust and return to dust, but our spirits come from Him. Now we have asked the Almighty to step aside so we may take over His job. We decide who should be born and who should die – in the womb or in the care facility, based on our wisdom and the calculus of our happiness. We have become their gods.
The new American self-gods rule by the ethics of relativism (if they may be called ethics): whatever the market will bear. It is not surprising that respect for life and humanity is ebbing away. Things get inverted: we respect the rights of the criminal and disrespect those of the victim. Save the whales but dump the babies. We are more interested in color than in character. Human dignity withers under the assault of pornography and exploitation. Our new self-gods devour women and children, exploit the weak and the poor, and are careless with human life in every dimension. We wonder why racial tension is rising – those different from ourselves are lives unworthy of life. We wonder why our cities are burning – not respecting people, we do not respect what they have built.
No longer believing in life, we have lost our hope when it rains – in old age and disability. We are no longer willing to care for the sick and handicapped, now that life has lost its transcendent meaning. Without sacredness of life and humanity, our own lives lose their value and meaning, and we seek oblivion in drugs, fantasy and – when those fail – suicide.
We should not have been so quick to take down the life fence, and we should not be too hasty to trample what remains. Whether Roe v Wade is overturned at the federal level or not, we should not prioritize death (at both ends of life) in state law beyond all decent regard for health and human dignity.
Yesterday’s BreakPoint (3/30/22) pointed us to a public manifesto issued by a number of public figures, “The Declaration on a New American Future.” Designed as an answer to the Nixon administration’s “the Rockefeller Commission on Population Growth and the American Future” March 27, 1972, it exposes Ehrlich’s “population bomb” as a dud and the resulting cultural devaluation of life and governmental population control interventions as destructive and contrary to American values, not to mention God-given “unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Read it for yourself at https://newamericanfuture.net/.
David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College. He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020). He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.