One of the most important lessons in life is learning the difference between what someone says and what someone does. For a long time, that’s all I thought hypocrisy was: the failure to practice what one preaches. That’s only part of it. Many people cover the truth with an additional layer of facade. What they say they believe is not what they actually believe. The preaching itself is a lie.
For instance, I used to think that those who opposed the right to legal abortion actually believed abortion was wrong, that the fertilized egg was a person, against what I always thought was the commonsensical notion that a fertilized egg is a fertilized egg, nothing more, nothing less. I thought religion dictated the endowment of the egg with a soul, and that given the nature of their beliefs, pro-lifers were sincere, if, from my perspective, deluded. No doubt this is sometimes the case. However, I believe upon close examination, it’s true less often than one might think.
If pro-lifers believe human rights begin with conception, then one should expect them to act on the basis of their beliefs, if they indeed believe as they say they do.
Pro-lifers say the unborn are people whose willful destruction is murder, yet the vast majority of them do not advocate severe penalties for those who procure, perform, aid, or abet abortions. Consistent with this failure has been the historic practice (when abortion was illegal) of rarely prosecuting the women who hired “hit men” to destroy the unborn, and penalizing such “hit men” with sentences far less extreme than those handed out to other “murderers.” Seems as if there is a failure of will involved here that I believe is proof positive of a less than passionate belief about abortion, loud condemnations of “baby killers” aside.
Another curious failure of the pro-lifers concerns the fate of billions of unborn that fail to implant or otherwise spontaneously abort. Seems to me that if a zygote is a person, then a solution to this natural holocaust ought to be on the agenda. Mandatory surgery to prevent miscarriages? Massive funding for research into correcting fetal, even embryonic, defects? Identifying and burying the miscarried unborn? All ought to be high on the list of any sincere pro-lifer’s priorities.
So here’s my short litmus test for pro-lifers.
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