AWAY  WITH  WORDS

  Daniel Boland Ph. D.

 

AWAY  WITH  WORDS

 

Daniel Boland Ph. D.



Photo by Robert Phelps

 

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3 June 2024

 


Le’chayim, To Life


In a recent visit to my church, I was gratified to find our parish kindergarten children rehearsing their upcoming graduation ceremony. The Little People (several dozen, attired in our school’s red and blue uniforms) were supervised by no-nonsense teachers who assured that everything occurred in timely fashion.

Among activities the children rehearsed was a “Thank You” song (with thrown kisses) dedicated to their parents. T’was a grand moment watching these Little People … and I was moved to gratitude for the fact that these children were so fully alive.

My reaction – gratitude for these children’s lives – may seem strange, until we recall that we live in a nation in which killing unborn children is a policy of our government. Many adults believe that destroying the life of an unborn-but-living person is a “human right.”


Personhood


As I watched these Little Persons rehearse their graduation moves, I was again reminded that their development as individual human beings - distinct persons - begins at conception and is a life-long process. Their development involves (especially at their age) constant change, growth and aging (as we elders attest).

I was also reminded that our dignity and rights as persons are given to us at the moment of our conception. In that instant of miraculous unity, the mystery of life begins and our personhood is activated. At conception, our dignity as persons is established; we are endowed with powers of thinking and choosing – our powers of reason and free will which unfold for our lifetimes.

From conception onward, this developmental process takes us through many stages of change in ways which are physical, psychological, moral, intellectual. Beginning with the instant of conception, we strive for measures of maturity in myriad ways.

This process of growth and change is universal; we all go through it … but the specific timing is unique to each person. Each of us is utterly unique. Our development is mysterious and complex, miraculous in detail … and solely ours.

Thus, the gift of our personhood is an extraordinary fact. There is no other person like you or me. We are - all of us - individual persons. We did not make it so. It is the Will of God.


Moral Values


Our personhood is a gift from God. It is right and just, therefore, that, when we use this gift, we accept the responsibilities to God and to one another which come with it. These responsibilities comprise the moral code which spells out (1) God’s universal expectations, and (2) the restraints which God puts on personhood. Chief among these expectations is respect for the dignity of other persons, beginning with their right to life.

Sounds fine … but many people don’t see it that way. Instead, they prefer radical individualism which disdains universal moral standards, disregards the Common Good and seeks only personal gain - even at the cost of the lives of others.

The impact of radical individualism is evident in much research. For example, the Barna Group recently published a disturbing study which says: “… a majority of adults accept abortion, along with lying, consensual intercourse between unmarried adults, gay marriage and the rejection of absolute moral truth... Less than half of all adults embrace the Bible as their primary guide to morality. A large minority of adults accept the notion that as long as you do no harm, you may do whatever you wish…


Abortion


More than any issue, abortion spotlights the depth of selfishness which radical individualism promotes. It’s mantra “My body, my choice” exemplifies moral indifference about the dreadful price another person pays for counterfeit freedom.

As America celebrates abortion, the sacred nature of life (born and unborn) is obliterated as the fragile dignity of childhood is assaulted. Abortion leads to moral oblivion in which human life is readily dispatched. Abortion uses the gifts of knowledge and choice to destroy the most innocent persons amongst us.

Radical individualism stands in stark contrast to our nation’s religious traditions which attest to the necessity of objective (i.e., universally applicable, not individualistically determined) moral norms binding all persons. For discussion, see this essay: Christian ethics and moral symmetry | WORLD (wng.org)

Radical individualism acquiesces to individual wants which are deeply hostile to objective moral standards. Whatever the individual wants is allowed: doctor-assisted suicide, transgenderism through surgery and noisome chemicals, same-sex marriage … God knows what else.

Radical individualism nullifies personal responsibility for the impact of our choices on families, education, society and future generations. It erases standards of good and evil and stifles moral accountability. Civil and criminal laws are rendered useless, even detrimental, to the individual’s disordered pursuit of self-centered “freedom” over tradition, morality, social ethics, religious virtues and the Common Good.


Major Overreach


The Supreme Court (Planned Parenthood v Casey, 1992) emboldened abortion proponents when it declared: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

The Court’s approval of abortion as a “right” highlights the corrosive impact of radical individualism on our nation’s moral heritage, on our religious traditions, on history’s lessons, on our Constitutional integrity … and more:


  • Americans now turn away from religious affiliations and the moral insights which our religious heritage provided.

  • We lose the true meaning of “personhood” as created by God and defined by Nature, not by Woke spokespersons who despoil Creation and distort science.

  • We choose lies over Truth, false “freedoms” over self-restraint, counterfeit “rights” over virtue.

  • America’s struggle for decency and justice is derailed by fatuous racist accusations.

  • Some physicians do incalculable harm as they support transgender delusions (even among pre-teens) while ignoring harmful, lifelong effects of hormones and surgeries never meant for humans - especially children. 

For discussion of these points, see this link: Our Pagan Society | Auguste Meyrat | First Things

So, let us say again: Abortion is a moral evil which renders the lives of countless children worthless. For discussion: Pro-Life Politics After Dobbs by Various | Articles | First Things



Yes, But …


Dissenters deny that the enwombed child is a “real” person who deserves recognition and protection. They say that the “imagined child” is merely a clump of parasitic cells, an unwanted intruder, to be readily discarded because of women’s autonomy.

Pro-abortion folks often accuse pro-lifers of religious extremism to villainize those who uphold moral tradition, self-restraint and human dignity. Pro-lifers who honor moral tradition, virtue and truth are subject to being “canceled” or sent to prison.

Abortion is so widely accepted in some States that they declare themselves abortion “sanctuaries.” They spend millions of taxpayer dollars to expand access to abortion, including travel and other expenses for out-of-state abortion seekers. California has also enacted protective laws for those who commit abortions, insulating them from legal action by pro-life states.


More Yes, Buts …


Some people say that their “pro-abortion” position is really a “pro-choice” position. This distinction creates obscurity rather than clarity. Why? Because this distinction does not, in any way, alter abortion’s grisly methodologies or fatal outcome.

  So, given 1) the moral gravity of a child's' life and, 2) the less-than-candid rhetoric of politicians who celebrate abortion and declare it a “right,” the message is clear: pro-abortion adherents protect, defend, and subsidize abortion around the world. The result? Uncounted millions of dead children. And this, they insist, is a woman’s right!

No matter what degree of murky misdirection the abortion movement employs, facts are obvious. Beyond the words, the facts about the grim surgical procedures and fatal outcomes are unavoidable. Facts speak.

When anyone says "I am pro-choice" to becloud their support for abortion, their verbal ambiguity creates a rhetorical façade to conceal their support for aborting unborn children. Pro-abortion proponents may “re-phrase” their words, but no leap of logic obscures the facts about abortion’s deadly results on babies.


The Child Has Rights From God


  God has not given us our ability to reason clearly and choose freely so that we may perpetuate moral ambiguity or pretend that moral evil does not exist. We are not meant to twist the truth, to deny our responsibilities especially to defenseless children or to side-step our accountability to God and, in truth, to ourselves. We have serious obligations to one another – starting with our children, born and unborn. As sanity attests, the age of another person does not determine that person’s rights and dignity.

Each and every one of us is a statement in favor of life. Yet, these days, we hear some people (even religious leaders and Christian congregations) contend that abortion can be an act of mercy which protects the unborn child from future pangs of poverty or from wages of criminality in later life (or maybe a parking ticket or a bad hair day?).

In the authentic Catholic context, the rights and dignity of each person (a child of God) informs our pro-life values and behavior … our whole way of living and believing.

  The commitment of the Catholic Church is irrevocably pro-life (despite the contradictory behavior of some politicians who claim to be Catholic). No Catholic may, in any way, support the abortion of an unborn child.

To some dissenters, this may seem “unfeeling.” It may cause suffering for an unmarried mother and her family members, so let us destroy the child (embarrassment and inconvenience are most often cited as reasons for the majority of abortions). But a pro-life person believes that bringing forth and educating a child into adulthood is the greatest privilege we receive in the sight of God, Nature and mankind. And it should be noted that the Catholic Church does indeed make provision for authentic medical necessity … a fact usually hidden from public view.


The Blessing Of Our Twins


Nature dictates that our lives begin in our mother’s womb where we are created as individual persons, uniquely programmed for our lifetimes. Pro-abortion folk say otherwise, but beneath all the argumentative rhetoric, the heart knows the truth … and rejoices at ultrasound evidence of new life … rejoices at the sight of a child in utero who is just beginning life’s blessed journey.

I well remember the days when my Beloved and I were made aware that our grandchildren (our grand twins) had arrived. It was the privilege of a lifetime to watch the twins week by week, as they followed Nature’s directions. After their birth, it was a delight to babysit them, to feed them and laugh with them and take them to the park, and watch them slip into that deep and precious slumber of utter innocence, as only a child can do.

Now, two decades later, our twins approach adulthood as they enter their Junior Year in college. Both are intelligent and healthy, taller than I am, busied with routines of youth, beginning to contemplate their futures between sorties with friends and breezy visits to us waiting elders - those of us who love them so.

With wonder and delight, we watch them grow and change, as they grab their lives with confidence and courage. And, once again, I am (as I was in church) moved to gratitude that these children - my grandchildren - are so alive and so well loved.

It is, I believe, devoutly to be wished that countless other children would be so cherished and so welcomed into life. Do you not agree?


 


 

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