By Dave Andrusko
“The presumed stripping of personhood from embryos has other frightening and horrifying dimensions for pro-life people. It is probably safe to say that in our society (as in most), the relationship between mother and child is assumed to be the most intimate, most sacred, and most self-sacrificing relationship of all. To people who assume that the embryo is a child, the logic is clear: if even this most sacred, least `worldly,’ least `useful’ relationship can be disrupted, no relationship is safe. As one mother said, `If a baby can’t be safe in his mother’s womb, where can he be safe?'” — Kristin Luker, “Abortion & The Politics of Motherhood”
Like most of you, I am frantically trying to fit in last-minute Christmas shopping. My wife does most of it for us, but I try to add a special “gift from dad” for my kids, my daughter-in-law, my sons-in-law, and my grandkids.
I first read Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories more than a decade ago. What William Kilpatrick and Gregory and Suzanne Wolfe teach in their remarkable book is significant not just for my grandchildren but, I believe, carries lessons for all of us.
In the early pages, the authors tell a story of four-year-old Crystal, who, when her two-year-old sister began to cry, quickly assessed the situation.
“She wants her Dogger,” Crystal declared, referring to a missing stuffed bear. Unprompted, Crystal offered one of her own stuffed bears as a substitute.
“Dogger,” it turns out, is a story about “a boy who loses his worn stuffed dog, and his older sister, Bella, who trades a large and beautiful stuffed bear to get Dogger back for him.” The authors of Books That Build Character then offer what I believed correctly anticipated would be the underlying moral of their book: “Crystal, who had heard the story only the night before, was putting into practice the good example set by Bella.”
The evils that we confront, abortion and euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide, are intertwined like the two strands of DNA. They have colonized the imaginations of all-too-many Americans. The encouraging news is that this almost nonchalant acceptance of these attacks on vulnerable human beings can be found in the mental file cabinets of fewer and fewer Americans.
Why? Because the cabinets are not locked. Indeed, the drawers are open and the contents, yellow with age, are crumbling.
Ask yourself this. Why, 16 years into the 21st century, is the pro-life movement still growing, becoming better organized, and closer than ever to carrying the day? Why are pollsters time and time again finding increasing resistance to unabridged, unbridled, and unchecked abortion on demand? Why is the Abortion Establishment stumbling–unsure of its footing but determine to bury their uncertainty by treating abortion even more cavalierly? (Against all odds, the election of a pro-life President might explain a lot.)
I would not pretend to have the answer. For starters, there is no one answer, of course. However, I would hazard to guess that had the body politic been hooked up to an EKG, the machine would have shown that our hearts missed a beat when, way back when, we first learned about the insanity known as partial-birth abortions.
Prepackaged answers about “choice” and “rights” and “blobs” couldn’t hold a candle to the unvarnished truth: that it requires verbal gymnastics of Orwellian proportions to disguise the truth that partial-birth abortion is akin to infanticide.
We are now gradually making inroads into the public’s consciousness (and conscience) about the truth that unborn babies can and do experience pain–and about the horrific nature of dismemberment abortions.
For me, looking ahead to all the challenges of the year 2017 and beyond, the panicky reaction of the Abortion Industry and the relentless introduction of pro-life legislation is very reassuring.
Moreover, the fundamental decency that is an essential component of the American character still lives. People were–and continue to be–moved by the atrocity that is abortion. After almost 44 years of darkness, the light refuses to be extinguished.
It would, of course, be much too simplistic to suggest that by merely telling stories of virtue, Americans could be persuaded to chuck the evasive platitudes that pass for pro-death argumentation. Yet never forget that truth-telling–what we do at NRL News Today and NRL News–does have an impact. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes overt, but pro-lifers have kept the flame burning by never allowing the moral dimension of the fight for life to be obscured.
To return to where we began, there are stories that people read and there are “stories” that are modeled in the conduct of daily life. We could not possibly prevail if we only “talked the talk.” But, thanks to you, we have also “walked the walk.”
No matter what the New York Times says (or fails to say), you do care about both mother and unborn child. No matter what the Washington Post prints (or fails to print), our “values” are not “outdated” or “anachronistic.” No matter what the major networks air (and don’t air), we are not motivated by “fear of the future” but embrace a future where legal protection is enjoyed by all.
Compassion, love, devotion, mercy, a fearless championing of the weak and the powerless–these are not mere “values” that come and go, but virtues, qualities of character which stand forever. Virtues are the sterner stuff out of which we create our moral imagination.
This richer, deeper, broader vision enables us to incorporate for ourselves “how people can act when they’re at their best,” to quote again from Books That Build Character. The outgrowth is a kind of highly developed peripheral vision which enables pro-lifers to “see” suffering and injustice where others–staring straight ahead– see nothing.
But I believe that as more Americans read the “story” of your selfless devotion, they will (like Crystal) “put into practice the good example” set by you. I do not believe it is a stretch to conclude that, because of your unwavering faithfulness, we are closer to the day when Americans fully awake from their slumber and emphatically say to abortionists, “You may not do that!”
Let me conclude with a thought that came out of a conversation I had years and years ago with pro-life Congressman Chris Smith–my personal hero. Ever humble, Chris remarked to me that there are those of us whose work on behalf of the little ones has garnered us more praise and recognition than we deserve, which is 100% true.
But one day we will receive our eternal rewards. And at the very front of the line, Chris said, will be all of you–those millions of unsung grassroots pro-lifers whose decades of devotion have gone largely unnoticed.
If Chris is right, and I am utterly convinced that he is, then Someone of unsurpassed importance has been watching all along. He knows what you are doing on behalf of His little ones.
And that, my pro-life brothers and sisters, is the ultimate recognition.