Here is my first rejected column. The editor didn’t like it partly because it is too long (but don’t let that stop you from reading it), but mostly because it takes a political stand and he doesn’t have an opposing view point to run along side it.
Well, duh! He’s not going to find an opposing view point because this is the only possible opinion any right-minded person could have! :)
I, of course, think this is a masterpiece of human genius, the rhetoric being equaled by no man since Aristotle! So, without further ado…
In the run-up to the American Civil War, the country was rigidly divided on the issue of slavery. Those who were opposed to slavery were VERY opposed to it. Those who were in favor of slavery were VERY in favor of it. The verbal war began well before the physical fighting. Many well thought-out verbal bullets were fired by both north and south before anyone had a chance to pick up a rifle. Although the south eventually lost, this outcome was not obvious before the war started. And most southerners knew exactly why they favored slavery and stood ready to fire any of several verbal bullets at the abolitionists from the north. It is one of these southern bullets I want to explore, and use it as a basis for examining a modern day dilemma every bit as contentious as slavery.
Hypocrisy was a common argument leveled at northern abolitionists. It seems northerners were opposed to slavery on principle, but were largely unwilling to put their money where their mouths were. A southerner could make a northerner squirm with anxiety just by asking how a freed slave would be treated in the north. Would the slave be welcomed in white stores? In white churches? In white schools and colleges? Would a black family be invited to Sunday afternoon dinner at the home of a white family? The rhetorical answer was “no”, and this was proved to be true when the war was over and black plight was only nominally better than it had been under slavery.
This is an embarrassing dichotomy. Now that blacks were “free”, they were no more welcome than they had been before the war. Why should a people who believed so strongly against slavery be so sluggish when it came time to bring their personal resources to bear on the issue? I believe the answer is that the issue didn’t affect them personally. Sure, owning another human was a moral wrong, in theory. But very few of them knew any actual slave owners; very few of them knew any actual black people. So the issue was something other people dealt with, not something that had any personal economic impact. Sort of like… abortion.
People who are opposed to abortion are typically opposed on the moral grounds that it is wrong to take the life of another human. While people who support abortion support it on the grounds that banning abortion would cause serious economic trouble for the young mother, and for society as a whole. Of course, we’ll never have another civil war over this issue, largely because we don’t have a defined set of states who are pro-life, and another set who are pro-choice. But the analogy is still valid. For all the anti-abortion rhetoric, for all the pro-life sermons, for all the impassioned debates, for all the protests, both peaceful and otherwise, there are precious few pro-lifers who are willing to personally do anything but talk.
I have some friends (married, with a child of their own), who opened their home to a teen mother who was considering abortion. They offered her room and board, transportation, health care, clothing, and anything else she needed, if she would agree to carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption. In short, they gave something of themselves, in order to stem the tide of abortions.
Sure, aborting a baby is a moral wrong, in theory. But too few of us know an actual troubled teenage mother who struggles with the guilt and anxiety of an unwanted pregnancy. Too few of us are willing to get actively involved in any meaningful way in the lives of a mother and her baby. Is a pregnant teenager welcome in our homes? Is she welcome in our churches? If she’s not, the chances are greater that she will fall prey to the forces that would have her abort her baby.
The fact that pro-choicers can point to a lack of support for people looking for abortions does not bode well for pro-lifers. One way to disarm the pro-choice movement would be to show them that the pro-life side cares very deeply for the mothers and babies involved in abortion. Deep enough to put their own lives and pocketbooks on the line. If this were to occur en masse, the pro-life lobby would have considerable more sway with the powers that be.
The north was able to free the slaves in this country because of superior military power, not because they proved the moral superiority of their cause. It would be nice if the pro-lifers in this country could put abortion to rest, not by military superiority, but by proving the moral superiority of their cause.
Our comments line is open…
UPDATE: The other reason, of course, that this column isn’t running in the paper, is because it has nothing to do with money, which is the theme of the column.