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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Utopia

Life issues are a big deal for Catholics. As sacred scripture proclaims, we are created in the image and likeness of God. "Male and female...He created them". It is the family, the very foundation of society, which is the reflection of God...not Man alone, not Woman alone. It is the love of man and woman together and their cooperation with God's creation in the form of a little baby that is the full reflection of God.

This is beautiful.

Recently, a bioethitist in Europe agreed that abortion involves kiling a human baby. He has no problem with this. He took it a step further, though; he feels that there is likewise no problem in taking the life of an "imperfect" baby--that is, a newborn child who happens to meet the subjective definition of "defective".

Well, as the daughter of two "defective" parents, I have to take issue with this. My mother was born with only one hand. She is thus, defective. My father suffered from the defect of Spina Biffeda and always walked with a limp, even after many many surgeries in his youth.

My mother was told that she could never have children, thus when she was pregnant with her first miracle child, my brother, she was overjoyed, and even more so when pregnant with me...another gift from God!

In that time period, during which Roe V. Wade legalized the murder of unborn children, people actually had the gall to approach my mother in her pregnancy and suggest to her that people like her shouldn't have children. Yes, really! Perfect strangers approached my one-handed mother in the grocery store, at the gas station, etc., and suggested she should murder my brother and I because she (Mom) was "defective" and might "pollute" the gene pool by pro-creating.

As you might understand, I am quite offended by this attitude.

But alas, I was also an "imperfect" child. I was born with a very lazy eye. One doctor told my parents that their daughter would never so much as stack blocks...due to my lack of depth perception. I was supposed to have had a very difficult life as a result of this genetic problem which I was not supposed to be able to overcome. Thankfully, no doctors suggested at that time, as they would in Europe somewhere, that I be taken out behind the woodshed and shot to spare everyone the agony of my "quality of life" issues.

It's a slippery slope, isn't it? It's a slippery slope...first contraception, the idea that we should have pleasure at whim, without communication, without God. Yes, how liberating that must have been to realize a simple pill could prevent a life from forming, but where did that lead us? It lead to this idea that we could have sex with multiple partners without consequence, we could engage in the act of procreation without procreating, and then...oops! Procreation happened anyway. That kind of put a cog in things, didn't it?

What to do?

Oh, right...kill it. Kill the inconvenient child resulting from sexual indescretions. And because we all know that killing is wrong, it was easier to redefine that embryo, that fetus, that little boy or girl as a "mass of tissue" and depersonalize it, because without depersonalization, that bond happens...that incredible, mystical bond between mother and the baby growing and forming within her, in her own likeness. There is power there, people. Real power.

But I guess murder is easier than power.

And our society keeps telling us that it's not a baby, but a mass of tissue. And it's not murder, because murder involves a human being--and this is just a mass of cells, something like cancer.

And the deception goes on.

Now there's embryonic research and cloning. Now people, living people who developed from the meeting of a sperm and an ova, have begun taking other ovum and other sperm, and creating life in petrie dishes and test tubes. In the beginning, they were creating many of these little lives and using something like a turkey baster to "implant" the embryos into the wombs of women struggling to have children. Ironically, those women killed more children than they could ever have had in life, and many times, it was a failure and the embryo did not implant. So the lives lost were for nothing. Nothing at all.

The "doctors" knew that the lives were being lost, but I'm not sure the women and men choosing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) had any idea. When it comes to "reproductive rights", the medical community is amazingly close-lipped with regard to what is really happening.

Then things move on...to cloning, and now, some joker in Europe (Britain?) has declared that the "contents of the womb" which are barbarically scraped out in pieces is indeed a baby, just as we pro-lifers have always announced loudly and repetitively. He agrees with us. But in the next breath, he says that, if we are going to kill a baby in the womb, why not after birth if the baby is "defective" in some way? Why not indeed?

Let's go back to Plato's "Utopia", where he suggested that children who were not up to par should be killed at birth, because there was no room in his vision of a perfect society for those who could not, for some reason, support themselves.

Well, my brothers and sisters in Christ, we are living in Plato's Utopia. How do you like it?

We are killing unborn children, just for the crime of being conceived, contrary to our convenience. We are, with a large margin of error, identifying genetic illnesses in the womb, and encouraging parents to kill the child and try again for something perfect, as though the womb were a department store and the mother a machine! We are cloning animals and ourselves, we are combining animal and human DNA, all in defiance of God.

Life is not a toy. It is not a mistake. It is not defective. Never. Period.

I used to work with the disabled, ranging from the severely disabled who could not care for themselves in any way, to higly functioning people who just needed some supervision. Some of those people were like that from birth, and some suffered traumatic brain injuries which left them shattered and unable to go about their lives as they had before.

In one location, I remember reading the charts, and in every single one, there was a DNA (Do Not Rescuisitate) order--Every. Single. One. This defies statistics, and it nagged at me. Were all of these lives seen as "not worth saving"? That's what it said to me. Was it an institutional requirement that they have a DNA order on file?

I will never forget the joy in the charges' eyes when I cared for them, or the simple things that gave them great pleasure--things you and I take for granted. They were grateful for everything. Their small successes were worth, in their eyes, far more than our large successes.

I would argue, therefore, that the measure in any society is how we treat those who are vulnerable, how we value them, and what we are willing to learn from them. Their lives are not in vain; I am still coming to realize lessons these beautiful "defective" people taught me during the months I spent in their presence. I still remember many of my clients with great affection, realizing that my life is better for having known them, for having looked into their eyes, for having recognized their souls.

We live in a dangerous world...for if we think that it's ok to kill a normal child, then it must be ok to kill one who is imperfect in our eyes, thus it is ok to kill someone who is older and maybe cannot speak for him or herself.

People, I am the voice for those dear people who cannot speak. I am the voice for those who are imperfect in some way. I am the voice for those who are being deemed "useless" in this world that some are trying to turn into Plato's Utopia.

And I stand here with the armor of God, for I am His daughter, I am in his image, my imperfections and all, and if you want to kill all of those innocent souls, then you'd best kill me and all those who stand with me first, for I would rather be dead than to live in the "Utopia" that this world is headed for. I would rather be dead than to acquiesce to the barbaric practices being placed on ballots and taking place every single day. I would rather die then let another soul be lost to such a demonic agenda.

Each child that dies through abortion is God's own son or daughter. Each embryo killed via the thin veneer of "research" is a son or a daughter of God. Each soul born into an "imperfect" body is a son or a daughter of God.

Each one of us is a son or a daughter of God, whether we deny that reality or embrace it. I am a defective daughter of God, born of defective parents who were told to kill my brother and I only because of their own "defects", not ours. Thus, I am a voice for the defective, and I ask that you all join me in your own defects, and realize that if you do not, then you may be next. You may be the next target of this culture of death, or perhaps your son or daughter, or your mother or father.

Will you remain silent while those you love are slaughtered? No? Then why remain silent now?

Plato's Utopia is really another word for "Hell"--it might have a pretty face, but then again, so does the predatory spider have a pretty web, so much the better to ensnare.

Show me a world without those who are "imperfect", and I will show you a world which has forsaken its very soul.

18 comments:

Angela Messenger said...

One word Adoro - WOW!

Ray from MN said...

Thank you, Adoro. Your sharing of your life is so incredibly moving that all I can do is say it again. Thank you.

Monte said...

Wow ditto.

When I was in chaplaincy training we had a bioethicist come to tell us about the counseling given to parents with potential to have defective children. He then showed a series of slides, the last of which was his face superimposed over the body of a baby. In a macabre way he commented, "now this one definitely should have been terminated." ARRGH! I commented during the Q&A that followed that this was offensive humor. Especially considering the eugenics of the Nazi's, thought to be the most advanced society of their time. BTW, he was Jewish. Pardon my insensitivity in the face of his crassness. I was later warned by my supervisor that I was too opinionated and insensitive to others.

Adoro Te Devote said...

angela- Thank you. I know you are a pro-life angel, and you are one of those who inspires me to write such things. Let me be clear...every word I wrote is true. :-)

Ray-- not just my life, but the lives of others. Believe me, the longer I live the more I relize that none of us is in a vacuum. More like a vacuum-pac with a bunch of others!

Monte-- You have GOT to be KIDDING me! Although I know you're not. Insensitive and too opionated? Really? Unbelievable.

I'll take your version of "opinionated and insensitive" any day.

Jennifer F. said...

Excellent. I couldn't agree more. Keep telling your story! You're a brilliant writer, and the fact that you were born "imperfect" (by some ridiculous definition) of "imperfect" parents makes your message all the more compelling.

Angela Messenger said...

A pro-life angel...I have never heard that expression before. I am deeply honored that you would think so. Wow. Again.

PS - Father read your quote about the shoe boxes and he wants you to join our parish!

Adoro Te Devote said...

angela...is he willing to offer me a job when I get my MA degree? LOL :-) Although I'd settle for his prayers and be happy to publicize your parish as one of the good ones!

I love good priests!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: WOW! Angela is right. I don't want to jinx your job hunt after your MA but I hate to see you move out of state!

How many imperfections are unseen? It always amazes me how visual our culture is. Didn't God give us more then just eyes to "see" with?

I have the imperfection of impatience-among many others.

One day: we will be talking about removing certain personality traits from DNA. You can bet on it.

Once we started "selecting" babies, we have started down the slope, going faster and faster, into ANYTHING is permissible.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who developed rheumatoid arthritis as an eight year old. She never grew after that and remained the height of an eight year old. When I go out walking with her -(she will be in a wheelchair if the distance is too much)- it is amazing how many people will talk to me about her! They seem to think she is deaf and blind and not able to speak for herself. Just walking with her gives an insight into how she is so often treated. She is an intelligent woman who has been immensely loved by her family. She is creative, especially with words, and now has her own business.
Too often our own 'discomfort' with people with disabilities limits their lives.

Angela Messenger said...

Kiwi - good point. I hate it when a disabled person goes to a restaurant and the waitress ignores them and expects the others in the group to do the talking for them. When I waitressed I would look the disabled person in the eye, ask what they wanted and presumed they would answer. If they could not only then I would shift my attention to the person helping them.

Cathym said...

Excellent post! I was told by doctors to kill both of my babies. Thank God I was given the grace to make the right 'choice.' A few years ago, my older son, who is now 33, gave me a Mother's Day card and wrote - 'Thank you for choosing to give me life.' I now volunteer at a pregnancy center and always tell that story when a young woman is considering abortion. It is very powerful.

Adoro Te Devote said...

Wow, so many posts! Thanks for all the comments! Although I'm not a bit surprised that a bunch of Catholics are supportive of life. ;-)

Um, let's see -

Thanks Jen, your compliment means a lot to me, given that you are a brilliant writer yourself.

Cathy- my imperfections are numerous, and impatience is one of my issues as well. My physical imperfections aren't so bad...there's a story there for another post, but God granted me a miracle healing when I was a child. Oh, and I doubt I'll be moving out of state. Somehow, I have the impression I belong here in MN. Perhaps as a speaker, though? At conferences? To visit other parishes? We really need to evangelize Catholics.

Kiwi - you really nailed it! Although thankfully many people aren't like that. When I was working with that population, we once took 4 of them to a restaurant. We actually had to feed 3 of them because they couldn't feed themselves. The staff at that restaurant were wonderful! We were near the grill, and even the cooks rushed over to help when something was needed, usually simple things like silverware, a cloth to wipe a spill, or a napkin replacement. We never had to ask for anything! At the end, we asked to speak with the manager, inadvertantly terrifying our waitress that we were going to complain! We wanted to praise EVERYONE in that restaurant for their assistance. They didn't ignore us or our charges, but went out of their way to help. Well, the manager turned the compliment around on us...he had a disabled sibling and was eternally grateful to all those who cared for him! LOL!

It was a humbling experience...I should formally blog about that. Thanks for the inspiration, Kiwi!

Cathym...thank you so much for choosing life! What a beautiful testimony!

Sarah said...

Your writing is beautiful and powerful, and you make your point in a way that brings tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. For, surely, with a voice like this, the defenseless have a chance. For, surely, with the Cross before us and the Lord at our side, our prayers will not go unanswered, the murder will not continue.

THANK YOU for this post. I plan to share it widely.

Anonymous said...

DNR (do not resuscitate) orders on charts are part of the 'Living Will' mentality, and few realize the dangers involved in signing them today.

As for going to Europe to hear the thinking of killing defective children..we don't have to go that far at all. Peter Singer has been saying it right here in the US for quite awhile at Princeton University. He wrote in his book "Should the Baby Live" in 1985 about those born with disabilities, saying that if the parents want to kill that child, they should be allowed to do so, and 'replace' the child...

As an adoptive mother, I have actually heard young women tell me that they would rather have the child be dead by abortion than place it for adoption and 'never know where it is'. My adult children are VERY glad that their bmothers did not feel that way!

Mark Schultz does not feel that way either! http://tinyurl.com/y2mh5p

Good post! God bless!

Anonymous said...

That url did not work. Not sure why tinyurl is not doing its job.
Mark Schultz video is here on my site:
http://wicatholicmusings.blogspot.com/2006/11/natl-adoption-month-2006-mark-schultz.html

Anonymous said...

Plato's Utopia? Aren't you thinking of St. Thomas More? Plato didn't write "Utopia", he wrote the ?Republic".

Adoro Te Devote said...

Anon, St. Thomas More did not advocate the killing of "imperfect" children.

Go back and read "Repbulic". Perhaps Plato did not write a book in the name of "Utopia", however he did discuss the concept I described as a perfect world without the imperfet people. He liked eugenics. You may be correct in that the philosophical "ideal" of "Utopia" was not defined in a seperate work.

Thanks for your comment, but be assured, "Utopia" is attributed to Plato. Do a google search.

Tiber Jumper said...

Beautiful post, as a geriatric specialist, I see daily how the society attempts to put these unwanted people out to pasture. when I order a feeding tube to provide basic nutrition to an Alzheimer patient who has lost the abilty to swallow, they look at me as if I am nuts!! What a daily battle in this culture of death!

God bless you keep writing