I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live. Dt:30:19
Today, we mark the 40th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade abortion ruling . It was on this date in 1973 that the U.S. Supreme Court, in stark defiance of the Constitution’s limits on federal power, imposed abortion as a nationwide “right.”
Millions of babies’ lives have been snuffed out since then, destroying vast amounts of human potential and scarring our national conscience.
Nothing in the Constitution authorized the court to seize from the states the authority to regulate abortion, much less to institute that grisly procedure as some kind of right. Ironically, unborn humans today often enjoy less legal protection than even the eggs of some endangered bird species.
Since 1973 when two women, prompted (some might say, used) by their activist radical women’s rights attorneys, challenged laws prohibiting abortions and won(i), nearly 55 million unborn and nearly born babies have been killed. That is nearly 16% of the current population of the United States. Fifty five million babies who had no choice were sacrificed on the Altar of Choice—proving that when activist attorneys with no moral grounding argue cases before activist judges with no moral grounding, bad things happen. Ironically, the two women whose cases—and one might say bodies—were used by lawyers intent on advancing a pro-choice agenda ended up repudiating the very outcome of their cases and became pro-lifers. As a result of these rulings, millions of children died, countless women have suffered, and babies with all the potential of life were left with no legal right to live. Whether they are ripped from the womb is left entirely to the whim of the mother and The Law does not protect them. The culture of death prevails in the United States and the law will not aid the most defenseless among us.
Because of our abortion laws, millions of children will never grow up. Their families will never know them. They will never sit at the dinner table, be educated, grow up, marry, or work at a job. They will never become presidents, explorers, doctors, inventors, the person who discovers a cure for AIDS or a cure for human hunger. They will remain just a statistic—one more faceless, nameless potential life that never was. They could have been someone; they could have been a treasure to their parents, a father or mother or sibling or grandparent some day. They could have led exemplary lives. They could have soared like eagles. But the Justices of the Supreme Court—ruled by man’s law and not by God’s—disregarded the obvious religious prohibition against harming the little children, and declared that the mother and her doctor may decide which babies live or die. The baby, in short, has no vote and The Law will not protect it.
Which reminds me of eagles. The bald eagle and the golden eagle have now been removed from the endangered or threatened species list by the federal government. This is, of course, wonderful news. I am all in favor of saving the eagles and all other species (including our own) from extinction. In fact, our laws(ii) are so intent on protecting the eagle that simply injuring, molesting or destroying an eagle egg could cost you a serious criminal penalty, civil fines, and a year in the slammer. All for disturbing an egg. The law takes this seriously. Whatever else you do, don’t disturb an eagle egg. We go to great lengths to protect unborn baby eagles while they are vulnerable and in the first few weeks of their embryonic life. In fact, the laws do more than that–they protect unborn eagles from conception to the end of life. That is how much we value eagle life. So too, the plover. Recently, I discussed the Missouri River with a United States Park Ranger who managed a stretch of the river near Yankton, South Dakota—my home state. I asked him why the government was holding back so much water at the Lewis and Clark Dam near Yankton. “To protect the baby plover,” he replied. “If we let out too much water right now, the baby plover will drown and they won’t have a chance to fledge, because their parents build their nests next to the water.” A noble goal I thought—protecting the baby plover. Imagine that…one of the largest rivers in America dammed up and held back for months because the federal government wants to protect baby birds. What lengths will we not go to in order to protect baby birds. We criminalize anyone who disturbs them and we hold back mighty waters so they do not drown.
The esteem in which we hold unborn baby eagles is remarkable. The protection which the law affords them is noble and inspiring. If only unborn human babies had feathers…perhaps we would not kill them.
i Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973); Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973)
ii Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, 16 U.S.C.S. Section 668 et seq.; Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C.S. Section 703 et seq.
“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” –Saint Augustine
A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.
Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.
These data are not unexpected. I have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.
On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”
Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth “following,” as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame.
Using computer games, our sons and daughters can pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or sharpshooters. And while they can turn off their Wii and Xbox machines and remember they are really in dens and playrooms on side streets and in triple deckers around America, that is after their hearts have raced and heads have swelled with false pride for “being” something they are not.
On MTV and other networks, young people can see lives just like theirs portrayed on reality TV shows fueled by such incredible self-involvement and self-love that any of the “real-life” characters should really be in psychotherapy to have any chance at anything like a normal life.
These are the psychological drugs of the 21st Century.
As if to keep up with the unreality of media and technology, in a dizzying paroxysm of self-aggrandizing hype, town sports leagues across the country hand out ribbons and trophies to losing teams, schools inflate grades, energy drinks in giant, colorful cans take over the soft drink market, and psychiatrists hand out Adderall like candy.
All the while, these adolescents are watching a Congress that can’t control its manic, euphoric, narcissistic spending, a president that can’t see his way through to applauding genuine and extraordinary achievements in business, a society that blames mass killings on guns, not the psychotic people who wield them, and—here no surprise—a stock market that keeps rising and falling like a roller coaster as bubbles inflate and then, inevitably, burst.
That’s really the unavoidable end, by the way. False pride can never be sustained. The bubble of narcissism is always at risk of bursting. That’s why young people are higher on drugs than ever, drunker than ever, smoking more, tattooed more, pierced more and having more and more and more sex, earlier and raising babies before they can do it well, because it makes them feel special, for a while. They’re doing anything to distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy.
Distractions, however, are temporary, and the truth is eternal. Watch for an epidemic of depression and suicides, not to mention homicides, as the real self-loathing and hatred of others that lies beneath all this narcissism rises to the surface. We had better get a plan together to combat this greatest epidemic as it takes shape. Because it will dwarf the toll of any epidemic we have ever known. And it will be the hardest to defeat. Because, by the time we see the scope and destructiveness of this enemy clearly, we will also realize, as the saying goes, that it is us.