My Pro Life Dinner
Life is all around, and certainly something to be pro about.
Learning from observation
Ever wonder what the term “Pro Life” really means? I’d heard the term used quite a bit, but I never really took the time to consider exactly what it meant until I was at a restaurant dining one day, and a proud, “tipsy,” patron brought the whole issue to the attention of everyone in the room. Well, at least he got my attention.
No one was eavesdropping. We were all minding our own business, trying to enjoy our meals, but it became difficult not to notice what was being said when loud, slurred words filled the air proudly proclaiming, “I’m Pro Life.” The clatter was such that most other chatter in the room immediately stopped, and heads turned to see what the problem was. I, too, turned to look, but immediately understood the situation, thought little of it, and was about to turn my attention back to my own table when something caught my eye. It was the man’s plate.
He had just announced his noble interests to his dinner guest, (and most of the free world, too), but on his plate there sat a half-eaten piece of steak. Across from him, his dinner guest had something “fowl” on her plate that I suspect was fried chicken. “Wait a minute,” I thought. “Aren’t those, or weren’t those once “life”, too?” referring to the food before them. “Aren’t animals life?” The Proud Patriot didn’t seem to notice, but it occurred to me that maybe some types of “life” were more important to him than others. Or, maybe I misunderstood the term. Maybe, “Pro Life” really meant to enjoy eating, wearing, or otherwise using “life” for one’s own pleasure and sustenance. I wanted to ask this “Pro Life” fellow to clarify his meaning, but he had already changed subjects, and, at the same time, answered my question.
In his next loud exchange, he began, “Why should my tax dollars go to support something that I am morally opposed to?” His slurred words were not quite that clear, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he said, and, suddenly, I felt a connection. “Good for him,” I thought, “His attitude must extend to things like war, genetic engineering of food, nuclear power, and other things the government spends tax dollars on with little concern for morality, or whom is harmed.” For a moment, it felt good to believe others understood the potential for catastrophe, the tragedy of unnecessary loss of life, and, thus, the importance of supporting all “life preserving” causes. But, the connection fell apart almost as quickly as it had come together. His “beef,” as it turns out, was not with any of the moral issues I thought, but only with “Planned Parenthood.” He was opposed to government funding of that organization for that one, undesirable service they provide without regard for the education, counseling, and health care they provide, too. It became more and more apparent that he wasn’t “for” life at all as he said, but that “Pro Life,“ to him really meant, “Anti Abortion,” and nothing more. Well, why didn’t he just say so? Why did he feel compelled to hide his true feelings?
There are many people who oppose abortion. I, for one, oppose the “recreational” use of abortion. Still, as sad as it is, I also understand there are times when a mother’s life is in endangered by a pregnancy, and a choice has to be made. There are also the cases of incest or rape that are sad, too, but does the government, or anyone else but God have the right to decide those cases? I guess society will continue to wrestle with such important questions for some time to come, and I suppose when he’s sober the “Pro Life” patron could better explain his point of view, but I doubt he could ever explain why his strong moral conviction didn’t extend to ALL life instead of just to unborn, human life. How could anyone seemingly so concerned not feel just as strongly about the potential loss of life from war, frankenfood, nuclear power, or other such similar causes? After all, war causes great loss of life, even to those with no interest in the war. Isn’t that life important? And, what about the potential loss of life from genetically altered foods? Is that life not important, either? Use of nuclear power certainly proved its potential for catastrophe and loss of life. Shouldn’t a concern for life extend that far as well? It didn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t anyone who claimed to be “Pro Life,” and use such a broad term, extend that “Pro Life” attitude just as broadly to include ALL life? If the term is to have any meaning at all, and be completely accurate, “Pro Life” has to be more than just an empty, shibboleth used to make people feel better about themselves while still allowing them to remain complacent about any of their other,“Anti Life” habits. Anything less, and the term becomes more of a misnomer than any kind of noble proclamation.
After I paid my dinner bill, and began my walk home, I actually felt thankful for the words of the “Pro Life Patron” who had unwittingly brought about my period of deep introspection leading to better understanding. My attention, however, was soon again sidetracked as the “Pro Life Patron” once more took center stage. It seems he decided to leave right after I did, and I was compelled to watch as he and his acquaintance stumbled toward a huge, six-mile-per-gallon, SUV, and, without regard for anyone’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, climbed in and started the engine. “My God,” I thought. “How can someone be ranting about “Pro Life” one minute, and then be so willing to take such “Anti Life” risks the next?” It’s one thing to have little regard for one’s own life, but what about his passenger, or any other citizens who end up in harm’s way simply for choosing to use public streets and walkways? I had heard the man’s words, but I still found nothing in the way of proof from any of his actions to support his proud talk.
As he drove toward the street, and, perhaps his destiny, he actually pulled out a “Smart Phone,” and began to text. Now, not only was he drunken, and driving, he was distracted, too. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that formula. The irony and hypocrisy combined with all my thoughts, and struck me like a bolt of lightening from the heavens. The man eats dead animals and wears their skins, he isn’t concerned about the loss of life in war as long as it’s not his own, he doesn’t care if the genes of his food have been altered, he doesn’t worry about nuclear reactors melting down, he has no qualms about endangering the lives of friends, family, innocent bystanders, or even himself by driving drunk and distracted, he doesn’t care about the carbon and other pollutants his vehicle pumps into the atmosphere, and, yet, he has the audacity to make such a broad claim as to be “Pro Life”? Really? If that’s what being “Pro,” or “for” means, how, exactly, does one distinguish what “Anti,” or “against” means? Are we “for” or “against” something just because we claim to be, or do our actions speak louder than our words? As for the drunken patron, (no longer Pro-Life in my eyes), I hope he made it home safely that night, and, I hope while he was sleeping off his condition he had time to think about the hypocrisy of his words, and how they clashed with the person he really was. I hope we all do, and I hope we all clearly see that it is one thing to loudly, and proudly proclaim to the world how noble we are, and certainly quite another to use our actions and behavior to prove the validity of our words.