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Teaching Truth to Power

By Judie Brown

It is the role of each person who comprehends the unrepeatable miracle of human life to be defenders and educators when the dignity of the human person comes into question or is challenged in any way.

When Louisiana senator John Kennedy, for example, spoke during a Senate committee hearing about the horrors of abortion, his comments were interrupted by Rhode Island Democrat and committee chairman Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

The truth is unwelcome when a time constraint is bridged by those who do not wish to hear it.

In the United States House, South Carolina Democrat congresswoman Nancy Mace introduced a resolution that condemned the recent South Carolina Supreme Court decision recognizing the personhood of human embryos created through in vitro fertilization. Five Republicans supported her deceptive resolution.

After all, in vitro fertilization is not about partisan politics, it is as Ratzinger wrote in Donum Vitae, “science without conscience,” which he taught “can only lead to man’s ruin.” He continued, “Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming.”

Understanding this theme, ethicist Ryan Anderson opines,

IVF itself treats children as products of technical manufacture. It thus fails to respect the equal dignity of human beings in their very origins. Or as some have put it, persons should be begotten, not made. They are to be welcomed as the fruit of an act of marital love. Relating to a child instead as a producer relates to a product is the seed of all the abuses of the IVF industry—the causal creation and destruction of “spares,” the filtering out of “defectives,” the selection for sex (boys) and other specs (eye color), the commodification of (often poor) women’s bodies as incubators. Nor are the fundamental moral concerns about IVF sectarian. While today the Catholic Church most prominently teaches that IVF itself is wrong, the three most prominent moral thinkers who opposed IVF’s introduction in the 1970s and ’80s were non-Catholic: The University of Chicago’s Leon Kass (Jewish), Princeton’s Paul Ramsey (Methodist), and Oxford’s Oliver O’Donovan (Anglican). 

As if to underscore the point that truth must be spoken to power, Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, said in a statement. “Each person, from the tiniest embryo to an elder nearing the end of his life, has incalculable value that deserves and is guaranteed legal.”

Evidently those who understand the science and know that a human being begins at her beginning, not when lawmakers or doctors choose to recognize her humanity, are rejected when the truth interferes with a differing worldview. Truth is never welcome when an agenda or a personal decision is at odds with that reality. This is why the nation condones the killing of thousands of innocent children every single day.

So let us recall these profound words written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning [he] made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.

As we absorb this truth, we find it impossible to understand why everyone cannot see the same facts. But as is usually the case in a nation devoid of faith, we are called to speak the truth to power because too often the powerful are unwilling to relinquish their human instincts to the Lord of Heaven and Earth.