"Choice on Earth" proclaims the cover of Planned Parenthood's Christmas
card in clear allusion to the biblical verse "Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace and goodwill to men." Planned Parenthood is the largest
profiteer in the American abortion industry and a tireless advocate of the
culture of death ideology. It's no accident that their paean to choice
comes out during the season that celebrates a birth.
Secular moralists like Planned Parenthood often borrow the language of the
Judeo/Christian moral tradition especially when their actions violate the
precepts of the tradition. This borrowing is a clever but necessary ploy
because the moral tradition still has authority in the larger culture. It
blurs the difference between right and wrong and thereby creates the
appearance that their prohibited activities are justified by the tradition
they actually seek to displace.
Planned Parenthood wants to elevate "choice" above "thou shalt not kill" as
the highest commandment involving any decision about the life and death of
unborn children. This is why their card comes out at Christmas and why they
replace the received narrative with a secular variant of their own creation.
At the same time, Christians and other religiously minded people can draw
an important lesson from Planned Parenthood's self-justifying display. The
card has power because people still perceive the contradiction between
secular morality and the moral tradition. If it were otherwise, publishing
the card would be pointless.
Planned Parenthood, like most culture of death ideologues, understands that
religion is the wellspring of morality. If morality was solely a matter of
private opinion, Planned Parenthood's rewrite would not be necessary. We
could all be pragmatists and the abortionist could move on with the
confidence that no blood stains his hands.
But questions about life and death necessarily reference a higher authority
because they deal with the beginning and end of life. Obscure or obliterate
the transcendent character of these questions and what remains is a
relative morality where decisions about life and death become arbitrary.
Who lives and who dies becomes subject to the person holding the gun -- or scalpel.
By the term "choice on earth," Planned Parenthood inserts a different value
into the heart of the Christian narrative. The card strikes at their
opposition by adulterating the well from which the moral tradition is
drawn. They want to abort the narrative before it is heard.
This objection doesn't apply only to Christians. Devout Jews should take
notice as well. The only reason Planned Parenthood lowered their sites on
the Gospel narrative is that America is predominantly Christian. If they
tried the same gambit in Israel, they could just as easily rewrite the
Exodus narrative so that mother of Moses aborts him rather than releasing
him in a basket on the Nile.
Next year Planned Parenthood could create a card that remains faithful to
the moral tradition as well as their own principles by citing the narrative
titled "The Slaughter of the Innocents." In the story Herod the king heard
that a new king of Israel had been born. He ordered the killing of all
children under two years old hoping to kill this new king to protect his
usurpation of the throne.
It was a ruthless slaughter but certainly justifiable to someone who
believed that "thou shalt not kill" was meant to be selectively applied.
Herod exercised his "choice" with great certainty. Planned Parenthood could
title their card "Herod Celebrates Choice." Maybe they could explain away
Herod's actions by defining them as delayed partial-birth abortions. This
way Planned Parenthood keeps the moral tradition unadulterated while
remaining true to their values.
The card reveals that Planned Parenthood understands that the moral
tradition repudiates the culture of death that they represent and promote.
Yet it also reveals that the precepts of the Judeo/Christian moral
tradition still carry considerable authority in the culture. Consider
"Choice on Earth" an affirmation that the challenges to the merchants of
death are more effective than they let on.
Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse is a Greek Orthodox priest and manages the website
www.OrthodoxyToday.org. Article reprinted with permission.