Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"Right to Life," a phrase we should abandon

"That's the language of the revolution," I said calmly, putting my knife down.

"What are you talking about?" my would-be antagonist sputtered.

"That, using terms like 'rights.' That's the language of the French Revolution, the UN, and the EU. We don't have any 'rights' as Catholics or as humans. We have responsibilities. First, to God, then to our family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. There's no catechism that instructs me on any 'rights' I am born with as a Christian, pre or post Baptism."

And that's because once we accept that such a thing as "rights" exist, we are also pocket-conceding that such a thing can be given or taken away, by whatever authority recognizes (or doesn't) said rights.

Think about the sacred phrase used by all those millions who "march for life" annually in Washington D.C., oblivious to the fact that not only was their battle lost a long time ago, but by continuing to pursue a legislative path to a "fix" for abortion in America while using the language of "rights" the war was over before the first baby disappeared down a suction tube.

We have no "rights," not even a right to life. We were given an incredible gift by our Creator: life, beautiful life. We have a short time here on earth to give an account of how we have known, loved, and served him so we can be happy with him forever in heaven. That is hardly some "right" enumerated by the so-called philosophes. It's a grave responsibility.

When we stop using their language - when we start redefining the terms of our engagement to tell our story (like a Rosary procession, perhaps, instead of a "march") we might make some real progress. Until such time as we do, the March for Life, just like the Charlie Hebdo march in Paris, will remain an exercise in "feel-good" activism, the sort of sugary coat that will burn away at the first heat of trial.