I heard a caller on a Catholic call-in radio show recently say that she was pro-life but also pro-choice, against abortion but feels that it should be a woman’s choice, and absolutely against the death penalty. Against the death penalty for who, I wanted to ask her. Obviously she’s not against the death penalty for a tiny baby who hasn’t had a chance to commit a wrong for which to be penalized. To his credit, the host of the call-in show responded in a calm and rational manner. And he made it abundantly clear to the caller that her position was completely illogical and untenable. And manifestly not pro-life by any stretch of the imagination. Why? Because she is saying that she is pro-life, which term means that she is for life, and specifically, that she is for doing what it takes to respect, love and care for the lives of the mothers and the babies and the fathers and old people and all people. Yet she is also saying that she is perfectly fine with mothers deciding to kill the babies in their wombs.
She couldn’t see that at first. She maintained that she is pro-life but that the mother has a right to choose to kill her baby because she has freedom of choice. The host asked her if a husband has a right to do violence to his wife. And the caller said, “No, of course not.” Of course not? By her own “logic” (or lack thereof) the husband should have freedom of choice and should be able to harm, even kill, his wife. But she instinctively answered, No, of course not. And still she didn’t see the connection, that to choose to kill is to choose to kill, to choose to murder is to choose to murder.
Then she made the logic-defying leap of bringing up the death penalty issue. It boggles my mind when people do this, when they equate abortion with the death penalty, the murder of a baby who hasn’t done anything at all with the regrettable (and in this day and age, rarely necessary) execution of a tried and convicted criminal, generally one who has murdered at least one person himself. I mean, we don’t usually sentence people to death for lesser reasons. So, as much as I don’t like the idea of the death penalty either, I still don’t see what it has to do with the issue of abortion, which is the deliberate cold-blooded murder of an innocent tiny helpless defenseless baby.
The radio show host never did ask the caller if she was Catholic or any brand of Christian. She did say that she had only recently begun listening to the station, which is Catholic. I can tell you that she didn’t seem to know any Catholic teaching, nope, none at all. She had only the vaguest of notion of Christian teaching of any sort. I doubt very seriously that she attends any church with any regularity; she probably would have picked up at least a little piece of the Gospel here and there if all she did was show up and sit in the pew.
I wish I could say that this is an isolated incident but the years have taught me otherwise. Somewhere along the line we stopped teaching religion in the schools and we stopped teaching religion at church too, with the lamentable result that even the smallish number of people with some sort of religious education have only a smattering of one, and a distorted one, at that.
But then I suppose that has been the goal of those who insist that even the mention of religion be removed from our schools and even in the public square. Now we have a generation or more of Christians who are ignorant of what Christianity is and of Christian teaching. Score 1 for the enemy. Let’s not let him score any more. It’s time for Christians to learn the faith they profess to hold. The stakes are too high to hand any victory to our opponent without putting up a fight.