I have seen many things in my lifetime that have caused me to worry and to wonder about the state of our society, and its future. I am old enough to remember little black children being refused schooling at gunpoint, and protesters being pummeled along the pavement by high pressure hoses. I lived through the JFK assassination and the elaborate cover-up that followed, and through Watergate, and the elaborate cover-up that followed. The Vietnam War was a horrid carbuncle on the national flesh, perhaps our greatest crime in the Twentieth Century, and I recall clearly the climate of lies, chaos, and corruption, political, fiscal and moral which it engendered. All of these events touched, and helped shape, my consciousness, and provoked in me mixed feelings of anger, sorrow, and protest.
But nothing has so shaken me -- shaken me to my core -- and caused me to question, calmly and profoundly, the spiritual condition of American society as the recent Planned Parenthood videos. These undercover interviews have made it clear that that organization, which claims to be the spearhead of women's health care, is actively involved, at the highest levels, in the sale of fetal body parts.
Let me repeat that: A taxpayer-funded organization is harvesting and selling the body parts of unborn babies. And now, it appears, is selling entire baby corpses themselves.
Let us put aside for the moment the near-hysterical debate which these revelations have generated, and focus on the simple, cold fact that in America the harvesting and sale of babies' bodies is not only being carried on, it is being defended. I watch in wonder and dismay as intelligent and informed spokespersons for Planned Parenthood and its political supporters, go before the TV cameras and try to rationalize and even to justify this practice. It is a practice worthy of the worst Nazi nightmares; indeed, such experiments were carried out on the bodies of mothers and babies in the extermination camps during World War II.
I am sorry, but there is no finessing the matter: Harvesting and selling babies' body parts is a crime of monstrous proportions. Yet we see the Planned Parenthood executives and doctors discussing the matter casually over cocktails at lunch. Laughing, making jokes, and haggling over prices. In America. At taxpayer expense.
Organs and tissue and brains and entire little corpses, for sale in the United States of America. And those whose political affiliations demand that they defend it, go before the public and try to explain the necessity of it, even the benefits of it, and to excuse it in the name of science and women's reproductive freedom. I have noted before that, in order to rationalize their position, the advocates of abortion on demand must argue that unborn babies are not human beings, but merely "viable tissue masses." And now we see where that leads. If the babies are not babies but merely tissue then we can do anything we want with them: discard them, or, given that they have monetary value in the marketplace, harvest them, dissect them, and sell their organs.
Now, if, for any reason, you find yourself inclined to support this practice, you ought to do what Catholics call an examination of conscience. You need to counsel with yourself and take a dispassionate look at the position you are embracing. And if you feel instinctively that it is wrong (and in the case of selling baby body parts, you cannot help but feel this way), then you must ask yourself why you are taking this position, and what you ought to do to bring your behavior in line with the voice of your conscience. That much, at least, you owe it to yourself to do if you are to consider yourself a moral person.
If nothing else makes us think about God, sin does. And the greater and more hideous the sin, the more focused our minds become on the possibility, even the inevitability, of divine retribution. Well, there is scarcely a more hideous sin imaginable than removing living human babies from their mothers' wombs, cutting them up into pieces, and selling the parts to those willing to pay for them. Unless, of course, it is chatting about it over white wine and cheese.
I have written here before that I reject the conventional concept of God, though I do believe fervently in the spiritual nature and destiny of humankind. I also reject the idea of eternal punishment and reward as being a primitive fancy founded on an intuitive need for some final form of justice. But this business -- and make no mistake, it is a business -- stirs up in me precisely an instinctual sensation that in some way, at some time in this life or another, the people who do this must be repaid, and the innocents who suffer it must be consoled.
As for America... How much farther from truth and justice, from compassion and humanity, can our society get? Especially when there are so many who will clamor forward, not to condemn, but to justify the rape and murder of pure souls who ought to represent the best in us, and our hope for the future.