Friday, January 23, 2009

On Obama and Abortion

I am again struggling for soemthing intelligent to say regarding Obama and abortion. There was an interesting article in this month's issue of the journal First Things - it was called "The Will to Disbelieve". In it, the author compared the views held by the intellegencia on Communism in the 1980s and those currently held by the intelligencia on the sexual revolution. Her verdict was that in both cases, the views of the elite had a tendentious to non-existent connection with reality. Communism was bad for the people who lived under it. So also with the sexual revolution. But nobody wants to say so.

I read an article yesterday with a quote by an 85-year old woman stating "What's the good of being free if someone can tell you what you have to do with your body?". The reference was to abortion. You see, it all hinges on freedom. I want to be free. But we live in a society that demands mutual interdependence and the demand for freedom doesn't exist in a vacuum.

The sexual revolution was about freedom, and especially about freedom for women. And it is true that women are, by and large, more free today than they were fifty years ago. But it can not be denied, although it commonly is, that the sexual revolution has exacted a terrible toll. The authoress of the above referenced article pointed out that the population most effected by the sexual revolution were children, both born and unborn. But even if the toll is only counted among those who have survived abortion, it is still terrible. And it should not be overlooked that it is still being counted. We have not seen the full effect of the virtual elimination of sexual mores amongst the young girls of our current generation.

I liked what Ranerio Cantalamesa had to say last week at the Family Conference in Mexico City. He pointed out that the battle for the family does not merely, or even mostly, depend on changing legislation. The early Christians catalyzed a revolution in the decaying Roman Empire through example - and really by example alone. The power of demonstration can go so far. We need to show people what healthy families look like. Granted, they are much harder to come by and to create in this day and age. But not impossible.

The point is that the value of freedom needs to be compared to the value of the family. Neither of these things exists in isolation. Freedom gets a lot of good press. The family not so much. But stumbling upon a loving family, as I have had the good fortune to do on occasion, can be revolutionary.

People look to "freedom" in this day and age with something nearly approaching idolatry. It is commonly understood as a "good". And it is. I don't think we can focus on prying the good from the collective hands of our co-culturalists. We need to present another good - the family.

So get to work.

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