With last week’s Supreme Court decision, we are reminded again of the ever-present place of abortion in American moral life. It just never really goes away, does it? Indeed, it cannot, because if the act is the willful taking of a human life, there will be and can be no peace in a society that permits it.
Even if and when it fades into the background, those who truly want to defend the unborn will not cease in finding new ways to protect them, and we will have the kinds of reminders we were dealt this week in the wake of their efforts: a crushing defeat for what seemed to be a reasonable, medical law requiring abortionists to have local hospital admitting privileges. To add insult to injury was yet another “conservative” judge hiding behind precedent to enable abortion to continue virtually unchecked.
But I don’t especially wish to address that decision, for if we still had any hope that the Supreme Court would end abortion, that should surely be dashed now. No, as pro-lifers, our best course of action remains to first change hearts and minds on the issue to save lives at the ground level and to work from the bottom up to make abortion illegal in as many areas as possible. Believe it or not, there is a pastor in Texas who is working to create sanctuary cities for the unborn in Texas.
Is It a Thirst for Justice or Overcompensation?
No, I think about this decision in the context of all of the social unrest in the name of justice. You know, demands that we completely shut down in the wake of Covid-19, marches and protests, and ongoing violence and the toppling of statues.
How can it be that progressives can be so deeply committed to so many issues of great social, moral, and cultural importance but miss the boat on this? Progressives will march, yell, picket, boycott, author books, run elections, cancel-culture-to-death, and make documentaries about transgender rights, black transgender rights, gay rights, lesbian rights, marriage, adoption, saving whales, saving dolphins, saving owls, carbon emissions, methane emissions, war crimes, income inequality, criminal injustices, police brutality, drug legalization, college professors employing free speech, and much more, but turn a blind eye when it comes to the systematic (oh, can I use that word in this context?) ending of small lives. How?
Maybe they are overcompensating. Maybe, because they know exactly what it is that they are advocating when the push the abortion agenda, they are hoping that their defense of other lives will offset the damage taking place through abortion. Maybe, instead of being a contradiction or unrelated, these two issues are actually deeply connected. The rage you see on the streets and on your social media page is the inverse of the shame for defending abortion.
Maybe this also explains why conservatives are more at peace with “the way things are”, i.e. they do not see injustice under every rock. Because they are already burdened with the injustice of abortion and they have accepted the toleration of evil in our nation. We have already learned to practice self-discipline in the wake of evil. We also have the perspective that abortion offers: millions upon millions of truly innocent human persons murdered versus a smaller number of criminal acts by police officers, for example.
Comparing body counts is a lousy way to understand injustice, of course. All injustices are wrong on a biblical worldview. But those who mourn abortion at least have a broad appreciation for the fight against evil. To look the other way on the issue of abortion means you are ignoring a massive injustice and placing a magnifying glass on all the rest. Hence the rage imbalance we see on the right and the left.
Is this why the left is so easily triggered? Is this why we see such fanatical activism or such deeply-entrenched positions? To make up for the blind spot that goes by the name “pro-choice”? Is the need to virtue signal that much stronger to prove to oneself and to others that they really are on the right moral path? It seems possible to me. After all, it would finally answer just how such an obvious contradiction can be explained.
Generally, when the response to one action is an overreaction, it might be worth asking why. And so long as the abortion mindset is tolerated, great imbalances will exist in the minds of the abortion defender. For they will know—they must know—that they defend something even more evil than the killing of an owl’s ancestral lands, police brutality, or carbon emissions. That must be a hard thing to live with, no?
Dealing with the Cognitive Dissonance
A central argument against abortion is not only the injustice towards the unborn individual, but the moral hollowing out that takes place in a society that permits it. When the weakest are not defended to the nth degree, anything will eventually become permissible. Not only will the lines of who deserves protection continue to blur and stretch and disappear so that no one will be safe, but the cognitive dissonance that is produced can never lead to peace. We must become a people who are so comfortable with rationalizations and outright lies (“they are not human beings” or “they are human beings but they are not persons” or “they are persons but the mother can decide whether they deserve to live or die”) that we lose our way on every other issue, too.
So maybe now I know. Now I know why those who defend abortion will defend and support every other cause imaginable. And perhaps I even know that it is pointless to debate each and every one of these issues with someone who also defends abortion. For what consistency can possibly be held by someone who defends some lives and not others? And without consistency, is there any possibility of a straight, moral path? Maybe we should just keep all debates very simple: do the lives of human beings matter or not? If not, why not? If so, how do you know?
Why don’t we just cut to the core already and find out why some lives win and why some lose. Then we can locate the actual fault lines in the debate, and know why we had to part company in the end.
Photo Credit: Richmond Hill Pentecostal Church