Every Precious Life (or none?)
“Life is Precious,” the bumper sticker proclaimed. There’s no question about the meaning; the person driving the car wants the world to know that women shouldn’t get abortions.
Life IS precious. Each of us just gets one, at least one that we can remember. Life is something to be treasured.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that says these words but doesn’t mean them. Life is precious, but “nuke the bastards” in Iran or Saudi Arabia, or wherever we hate today; “annihilate” those children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. Life is precious, but “fry” the person in prison who has committed a heinous crime because “it’s expensive” for prisoners to live out their lives in prison, repenting, or at least facing the consequences of their actions. Life is precious, yet people, including children, are sold into slavery. Life is precious, yet the right for anyone to own guns in America is more important than the right of American children to stay alive at school, while riding in a car, and even in their own homes.
Face it: in America, life really isn’t precious.
What’s worse is when religious leaders, who should be in the vanguard of helping to safeguard followers, don’t even understand how easily a life can be destroyed. This week, for example, a Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Richard Bucci, said “Pedophilia doesn’t kill anyone and [abortion] does.”
Dear Father Bucci: Pedophilia most certainly kills people. Children, including infants, have been killed by rape. Nor is death necessarily direct. Children who are sexually abused are two to three times more likely to commit suicide later in life.
Dear Father Bucci: A child’s life is precious.
If America wants to insist that life is precious, then it’s time to start living that truth. If life is precious, the focus on diplomacy and stop sending sons and daughters to war. If life is precious, abolish capital punishment (murder by the state). If life is precious, stop watching media that glorifies the killing of others. If life is precious, adopt the almost half million children already in foster care and give them loving homes. If life is precious, support those most likely to abuse and neglect children so that they don’t.
We can take it even further. If all life is precious, then stop treating the planet like a disposal bin. Stop poisoning it. Stop the slaughter of other living beings, from elephants to cattle. Understand that to each creature, its own life is precious.
Life is more than a fetus. Life surrounds us: our sons and daughters, our friends and neighbors, our enemies, the other beings with whom we share the earth. Each has one precious life. Each should be treasured. And if we cannot do that – if we cannot see the holiness of each life on earth – then those who focus on ending abortions “because life is precious” must rethink their true reasons.