"Thank the Lord for another safe commute!"
Jenny Grisham, petite with brown hair, stepped out of her cheery, yellow painted kitchen as she heard those familiar words, and gave the one who spoke them a smile and a peck on the cheek. "How was your day?"
"Good, good", replied her stocky, rugged looking husband. He quickly added, "I made an opportunity to use...mmm...to use...IT." A sober look came across his face.
"Use what, hon?"
"That sickening photo of an abortion victim."
"Oh, Kevin!" The same sobriety came over the face of the young wife and mother.
"I know we've disagreed on whether or not it is appropriate to use that in discussions with our neighbors", the father of two fine sons gently said, as he sat down in the couple's living room. "I suppose the recent beheading in Iraq fired up my passion for the cause of the unborn a bit."
"Wasn't that horrible!" Jenny's expression became pained. "That poor man...his poor family! I cried when I saw the picture of the man's father, broken down with grief. And I felt some anger about the media's treatment of the matter."
"Yeah", returned Kevin, raising his brow with a grimace, "that's a whole different issue."
"Well, how did it come about that you used the abortion victim photo, and how does the beheading in Iraq relate to it?", asked the faithful wife.
"Sit down, and I'll tell you all about it. You've heard me talk about Ted, my buddy at work, the one originally from Massachusetts?"
"Well, my old briefcase contained some ancient, low priority papers that I needed to sort through. I took it to the cafeteria, aiming to get that task done during lunch. Ted joined me, and almost immediately brought up the beheading in Iraq. I reacted pretty much the same way you just did. That's when I remembered that the photo was in the briefcase, and saw my opportunity. Let me reconstruct our ensuing conversation for you, dear."
And so we offer it to you, dear reader...
"As horrific as that gruesome act was, Ted, beheadings are going on daily right here in the good old U.S.A., and they are perfectly legal."
"Wow, Kev, this seems like a pretty heavy subject to be making jokes about - but I'll bite, what's the punch line here?"
"Indeed, too serious an issue to make light of, in my book. I'm quite serious. Look at this."
Kevin reached into a back compartment of his oxblood leather valise, and drew out his photograph of a tiny decapitation victim. A big, bold superscription read -
What Ted saw was a set of pincers holding the diminutive upper portion of the head of a tiny human being. He or she had a well formed aquiline nose, and intricately shaped ears. Strands of thin hair were plastered to the nicely rounded cranium. The little eyes were closed in death, and the forehead and cheeks caked with blood. The lower jaw was missing, and in its place was an amorphous mass of torn, jagged flesh. The rest of the victim's body was nowhere to be seen. The pincers held these ghastly remains of an innocent, beheaded child over the open mouth of a glass jar, which evidently would be her or his final resting place. Kevin referred to the way these remains were being held for a camera as he spoke to Ted, who had blanched and was visibly shaken.
"It has been reported to us that brutal men in Iraq removed and displayed the head of someone's son, someone's brother for the world to see on video. Here is the head of someone's son or daughter, perhaps someone's brother or sister, removed by brutal Americans."
Ted began to recover his poise as that powerful, innate human capacity for rationalizing evil gave him utterance. "There's no comparison!", he cried rather loudly, but with hollowness in his voice. "When it comes to abortion, a woman's right to choose is at stake!"
Kevin prayed inwardly for guidance. He decided that challenging the popular ideas of a woman's unquestionably sovereign right over that Divine trust, her body, and her unquestionably sovereign right over the second human life within her, was not the route to go right then. So he softly replied, "What right of choice did this baby have, Ted?"
The graphic reality of abortion was on the table next to Ted's tray of hot food, which was cooling toward room temperature with every passing moment. In fact, it was destined never to be consumed. Ted was mesmerized by the photo with a morbid fascination. Even he, ideologically a pro-choicer, at that moment dared not use the trite and superficial defense which asserts that an abortion victim is only a lump of tissue. Instead, he blurted out, "Well, what if the woman was raped!?"
Again silently seeking wisdom from above, Kevin decided to pass over the statistical information about the miniscule percentage of abortions that involve raped women. Instead, he said -
"Aah...the parallels with the horrors in Iraq thicken, my friend. Ted, you and I have found ourselves in agreement before today that, while we don't think the invasion of Iraq was a good thing for our country, we should nevertheless support our brave troops while they are there, right?"
"Yes, yes", said Ted, feeling like his mind had been injected with Novacain.
"OK. So let's say a woman was raped...invaded, so to speak, and became pregnant. Does that mean we should destroy the new life within her? That would be like those of us who did not think invading the territory of Saddam and company was right for America now going into Iraq to KILL all our own troops! What we hope for is the peaceful withdrawal of living soldiers. The right thing to do, even when rape is behind a pregnancy, is to peacefully withdraw the living child. That has traditionally been called giving birth", Kevin added with tinge of sarcasm in his voice.
"I think your analogy breaks down somewhere along the line", said Ted stubbornly.
"No doubt", Kevin responded. "The decapitation victim in my photo was inconceivably more defenseless than even that civilian fellow American of ours who was beheaded! Also, those who beheaded this innocent child must be far more cold and savage-hearted than Al-Qaida zealots. You're right, the analogy breaks down at those points, at least." Kevin looked coolly and steadily at his friend, and continued.
"No analogy is perfect, Ted, otherwise the two things compared would be identical. It would be like comparing A to A. That's pretty basic logic. Nevertheless, you must recognize that there is a valid comparison here. Your siding with those who would kill an unborn child because the pregnancy was unwanted is like conspiring with the enemy to kill our own active troops because you didn't want the war. My siding with an unborn child despite the wrongful origin of the pregnancy is like supporting our troops, even though I also didn't want the war. Let's be consistent in applying our beliefs, my friend!"
By now, Ted had turned the grisly photo upside down. Frantically trying to hang on to long held beliefs, he appealed in rapid fire to common usage, to authority, and even to what he now knew he could never defend again. "But abortion...it's a routine medical procedure! And it IS legal, as you said at the beginning! And our society does not recognize the fetus as a person!"
Kevin answered swiftly, blow for blow. "Persecuting and killing Jews was routine in Hitler's Germany. That doesn't make it right, Ted, c'mon! Majority opinion determines right and wrong? I don't think so! And laws, as well as the interpretation of them by activist judges, can be wrong in themselves. As far as recognizing a so-called fetus as a person, let me try this tack.
Do you recognize this poor, destroyed little one as a human being, as a PERSON?", Kevin asked, turning the photo right side up again. The squirming Ted's silent grimace gave his friend the affirmative answer he sought.
"OK, was he or she a person one hour before the abortionist went to work?" Ted's grim, up and down nodding of the head God had mercifully allowed him to keep thus far in life seemed almost forced from him against his will.
"OK", continued Kevin, "How about a day or a week before? How about a month? How about..."
"I see where you're going with this", interrupted Ted. "You want to persuade me that human life begins at conception."
"YES! I fervently hope that you WILL be so persuaded, Ted, and take appropriate action. If human life does not begin at conception, when does it begin? Can you offer a cogent, tangible alternative?
Clearly, once conception has occured, the rights of two people, two human beings made in the image of God, are involved. And one of them is a presently voiceless, defenseless child, utterly at the mercy of one who should be all mercy and sacrificial love toward her child."
Ted had nothing more to say. Kevin put the photo back into his briefcase, and silently rose, nodding his goodbye with the head God had graciously allowed him to use that day. He walked back to his office, praying inwardly as he went that there would be no more BEHEADINGS.
Will you reconsider your position, pro-choice reader? Will you pray with all the real life Kevins of the world, you who hold human life sacred?
May 12, 2004
Pastor Keith Graham
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