Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama and Abortion

Tomorrow hundreds of protesters will be at to Notre Dame University to protest President Obama's being invited to give the commencement address, and also for his being given an honorary degree. The reason is, of course, is that Obama is pro-choice and Notre Dame, as a Catholic institution, is supposed to be against such things. But the University is, thankfully, too smart to get sucked into that little quagmire. Obama is going to do his thing. The protesters are going to do theirs.

Now I could go in a lot of directions with this one people. But I will choose one so as to keep this post short (in keeping with my goal to not turn off those folks who don't like to look at anything longer than 4 or 5 paragraphs).

My point is this: why has abortion become the defacto moral litmus test for Catholics and other like minded religious folk? Why not, say, capital punishment, or maybe ...uh...war. These are also against "Church teaching". I can't tell you how many so called "pro-life" people I have have talked to who are ready to "flip the switch" themselves when it comes to killing the "bad adults". I guess it is really not just about Church teaching after all. And how about poverty? Why are all these so called religious folks not getting all outraged at the great gulf between the rich and poor in this country. Jesus seemed to talk about this issue a lot, as I recall. Sure, abortion on demand was not really an issue is his time, but what if it was? Would he be standing on line at an abortion clinic? I think not. He would certainly have been against abortion, as it is an act of violence. But I believe he would have taught that there are greater acts of violence as well. If he were around today I think abortion would probably be about #6 on his to do list. Maybe lower.

But to get back to my question: Why is abortion the big hot button issue? Let me suggest one possible reason: It's easy. I mean lets face it, it's pretty damn easy to be against abortion. You don't really have to do anything other than be indignant. If you are really motivated you can write your congressperson or go stand outside a graduation ceremony at Notre Dame. But for the most part all you really need to do to prove your morality is to be outraged. And you can do that in the comfort of your own home, after supper while waiting for your favorite tv show to come on.

I do not mean to impugn the good faith of people who feel really drawn to the pro-life cause as a moral imperative for themselves. To each his (or her) own. I can respect that. There are very good people for whom this is an important issue. But lets face facts: if you were to choose poverty (which is responsible for a lot more death), a much bigger task would be on your hands. After exploring it, you might have to look at the way you yourself live. You might have to make some lifestyle changes, you might need increase your giving, volunteer at a soup kitchen, even change your job. You might have to really work.

Whose got time for that?


JacobFeldman said...

I dig it man. Never thought about the poverty argument. Good thinkin'.

talandisjr said...

Well-written, Mike. It's quite a mystery as to why this issue is so hot. Such inflamed passions make people easy targets of manipulation by unscrupulous politicians. It's easier to "divide and conquer", as they say, if people are off in anger-land.

One thing I really liked about O's speech was how mature he sounded. He was all about listening, respecting, communicating, connecting, finding common ground. Very moving!

theswearingchef said...

A very thoughtful post. I don't talk about this issue much, because it is so emotional and often pointless.

I do also wonder about some of the inconsistencies, such as why it was OK for IVF clinics to discard unused embryos by the score for so many years without protest, until scientists proposed to use them to benefit others.