I had an interesting conversation recently while out with my family. My uncle couldn’t get his head around the Kermit Gosnell case & how the courts, the government &/or the general population can make a distinction between aborting/killing a baby during the first trimester (or at 20 weeks or 24 weeks), and killing a baby you tried to abort, but had the audacity to survive. What makes one legal, and the other a horrific crime of murder, and why can’t our government do something? The detailed descriptions of the conditions at the “clinic” in Philly and the gruesome treatment of both babies and mothers is enough to turn anyones stomach. It was, indeed, as the prosecutor put it, a “house of horrors”. My mother asked my uncle why he keeps looking to the government to help solve this old battle between pro-life & pro-choice. Government can sometimes help and occasionally they make good laws and create departments that help with social justice, but mostly government is dysfunctional (the politically correct term for corrupt!). I personally don’t like to weigh in on the abortion issue because I’ve known women who have had abortions, and although I believe it is wrong, I can appreciate the arguments from some pro-choice supporters who in turn appreciate mine. To be clear, I am pro-life. That means that I respect all life from conception to natural death. As in an earlier post, my actions will always be informed by love. Let’s be honest though; there are fanatics in every camp and on every issue, and I try not to be a fanatic.
My mother’s question got me thinking. She pushed my uncle a little further down the road with something I’ve been trying to put into practice in recent years; being “globally aware & locally active”. We can be aware of injustices all over the globe, but it becomes overwhelming. Our 24/7 access to news from every corner of the world can catch us like a deer in headlights & we become immobile. We don’t know which injustice to tackle first. Or we become so overwhelmed by wanting to help all of them that we throw our hands in the air & give up in hopeless frustration at the impossible tasks. My mother pressed my uncle on the Gosnell case & asked him what bothered him the most about it and if there was anything that he could do about it. Lot’s of things to be bothered by with this case, and of course there wasn’t anything to be done about it. Or was there? My mother’s response to the problem of abortion is to support the local Pregnancy Care Center that helps young mothers with their unwanted pregnancies. It’s local, it’s not an overwhelming action, and it helps. There are many local agencies and charitable help centers that support mothers who opt for having their babies, and there are charities that help women who have decided to have abortions heal their emotional wounds. If it matters to you, then you will do the leg-work to find something local to get active with. This is something everyone can do.
I believe we need to be educated and aware of what is going on in the world around us, but then (in most cases) we need to focus our efforts locally. We also need to figure out what we are passionate about & focus our efforts there. I feel a greater passion about the human rights & social justice issues that affect the vulnerable members of society like immigrants, women and children, so I channel my gifts and energies there. Now, according to some fanatics/bullies, I am a bad Catholic by not making abortion my focus (just like the LCWR & the Vatican take-over!). If God gives each of us different gifts to use for some benefit (Eph. 4: 11-16), then I need to be true to myself and identify what my gifts are & use them in a way that helps build the Kingdom of God, or at least my local corner of it.