Presidential elections in the United States are in many ways the start of silly season. But as a Canadian Catholic living in the States, I’m always appreciative of the visibility of life issues in the discussion. As divided as the country is, at least there are people who can speak powerfully and vocally in defense of the most vulnerable in society. In spite of that there is a downside that there is not necessarily any apparent momentum at the societal level toward a more respectful reverence for life.
Without this discourse, though, the visibility of the exposé videos on Planned Parenthood regarding their selling of fetal parts would not have achieved the level it did. Yet, if we are hoping that these videos did anything to change minds, I’d say it would be too late to have any new outrage over these new findings. We’ve known of the use of needlessly killed young life for research. President Bush authorized federal funding for stem cell research extracted from embryos who were never given a chance to flourish. Those who attribute no value to those not yet born couldn’t be any further disgusted by research on body parts from those who died a little later than at the embryonic stage.
The battle over leadership in America, as it should be in any country, should be over how innocent life is respected and protected at all stages. I can’t help but think how the discourse over whether to bring in any refugees from Syria exposes many politicians as simply “Anti-Abortion but not pro-life”. The presumption of guilt as an excuse to turn away from thousands of helpless Syrians escaping their predicament betrays the lack of a consistent life ethic in a country struggling over its collective values in this area.
I pray that the visit of the Holy Father to Washington DC and New York, the centers of political and financial power in the country will illuminate and further humanize the values of these places.
Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us!