Years ago I overheard a conversation. A co-worker had the misfortune of using the expression “Don’t beat a dead horse” at which point he received a thorough tongue-lashing from a fellow co-worker who identified herself as a horse lover. It wasn’t pretty.
So at a safe distance, both in terms of time and space, I want to go on record that the title of this post is just an expression!
And once again I wade into the subject of the language of “the culture of death” as used by the people of the “Gospel of Life”. For language not only informs us, it forms us. And that formation is the catalyst for how we act. Including in this respect our behavior in response to the social injustice of what an abortionist does to a human being.
Today, I had a conversation about abortion and language with a co-worker who self-identified as a pro-lifer.
And she most certainly is.
But she said while she abhors abortion, that is not her passion.
She also worried about using “inflammatory words”, voiced her concern about “condemning” language, noting such language might “incite.” In order to satisfy this concern however she ended up using words like “perform” and “clinic” as well as “procedures.” She also cautioned to beware that the purpose of such language might be to satisfy a need to “be right”. She had not read, but could have written the editorial I responded to in my previous post. In fact the words that concern me are used in many pro-life publications and by many I know. They are all good people. But it needs to stop.
Now I readily admit that I like to be right. But 41 years of being right is no consolation. Particularly with a body count of well over 57 million and counting.
No, my concern about language is being accurate. And most importantly to not betray the victims of the abortion holocaust by using the language of their oppressors.
My co-worker worried out loud that the word oppressors sounded “inciting” as well. She thought likewise of my use of the word “commit” (i.e. abortionists commit abortions). I suggested that my language would come better into focus if she assumed the perspective of the intended victim. Of the Gianna Jessens of today. She said she wold ponder that one.
I also pointed out that using minimalist language also changes us, and more importantly shapes our response (or lack of the same). I pointed out how ridiculous, I would say scandalous, it is that we rarely even PRAY about what an abortionist does to a human being. At least in Church.
I want to scream at the top of my lungs, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Not even pray about it?
There are actually conversations in Church rectories, among liturgical committees about whether our Worship should include prayers about what abortionists do to human beings? Really?That’s up for debate? Am I the only one who finds that stunning?
Actually I suspect it’s even worse than that. I wonder if, after 41 years, the conversations even occur. That we’ve gotten so used to abortion (as our individual “language of choice” shapes our perception of the word abortion) that it doesn’t even occur to us to do something about it. Abortion is the scandal of the “Christian” church, in that for over four decades, it’s been committed right under our collective noses. That it’s occurred because of what we’ve done as well as what we’ve failed to do.
But we don’t want our children exposed to “abortion” we’re told.
Then end it.
In the meantime, since we didn’t do that in the past, our children have already been exposed to abortion. They are all survivors of a holocaust that took the lives of a third of their peers.
So whenever and wherever they gather our children (actually everyone under the age of 41 plus) live among a despairing version of “It’s A Wonderful Life”: absent all the “George Baily’s” of their generations. in our world, George’s brother drowns in the ice…the troop carrier sinks…his children are never born…..
We do not shelter such survivors when we massage our language to be inoffensive; rather we condition them (and ourselves) to tolerate an injustice of unimaginable magnitude, and dishonor the memory of their peers. We not only failed to protect their peers from abortionists, we now seek to keep what happened to their peers from interfering with our daily lives. And generations experience an unidentified EMPTINESS.
My co-workers concern is shared by many whom I respect: that we might be offensive. So how do you inoffensively describe the most offensive act imaginable? And if you do find such a way, what exactly are you then describing?
Keep in mind, from the beginning abortionists also sought to describe what an abortionist does to a human beings in an inoffensive manner.
That’s how they came up with “pro-choice”. They used other inoffensive words like “clinic”, “procedure”, “perform” and “providers”.
How is it even remotely possible that the people of the Gospel of Life use the language of the “culture of death”? Of the oppressors? Share with those who dismember, decapitate, poison and otherwise kill innocent human beings a common language with a common goal to be inoffensive?
The irony is that we’re told we need to use such inoffensive language in order to maintain “our credibility.” The real question is: what credibility can we claim when we use the language of the perpetrators and end up doing less about what an abortionist does to a human being?
And finally, what exactly are we being “faithful” to….
if we can’t even manage a public prayer…
about the very public scandal of abortion in America?
I maintain if we discipline ourselves to talk (dare I say pray) about what an abortionist does in a way that truly represents the horror being perpetrated, then being on the front lines standing in the breach will no longer seem radical.
It will become the norm.
Then we can truly begin to protect our children from the horror of abortion.
We have to end this madness.