The other day, LifeSiteNews writer Hilary White posted an interesting question: “A question that has been haunting me lately: given what we know, given what is happening in the world, what business do we have pursuing a quiet, ordinary life?” That depends, I suppose, on your definition of quiet and ordinary, but it reminded me of a quote from Ronald Reagan that applies perfectly to today’s culture wars. “When you’re outnumbered and surrounded and someone yells ‘charge,”” Reagan noted, “Any way you’re facing, you’ll find a target.” At this time and in this country, if you’re not fighting, you’re ceding ground.
I’ve tried to put into words what the realization of the abortion reality does when you first come into contact with it. In articles and presentations, I’ve described how seeing a video of an abortion procedure changed the way I viewed Canada, and how speaking with a young university student who had an abortion a few weeks earlier on my very first day of pro-life outreach changed the way I viewed the abortion wars. But I think Dr. Monica Miller, in her superb book Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars, describes this realization better than anything I’ve read or heard so far:
“I opened the door to the refrigerator to retrieve a carton of milk,” she wrote, “In the midst of reaching into the refrigerator my hand stopped. I was gripped by a realization. I thought, I’m not living in a normal world anymore. Standing there, suspended in time with one arm in the fridge, I realized that ‘normal’ could not apply to a world in which the murder of the unborn was protected by law, and that I could no longer consider myself a normal person. I knew that I could not live my life in the expected way: get an education, get a job, get married, buy a house. I felt I could not deal with those things. No, I had to be seized by a radical act. I had to drop everything—forget about milk and lunch. Babies are being murdered. They are being murdered down the street, in my own town. I know about it and I have to give up my life and do something about it.”
It’s true. Seeing dead babies, chopped limbs and crushed skulls, and realizing that this is an ongoing atrocity rather than a historical footnote, is something that changes the way you see your country. The human rights rhetoric of the politicians sounds even more contrived than usual, lines of the National Anthem (glorious and free?) seem slightly absurd, and the cavalier way in which people treat “the abortion issue” starts to make you angry. Canada isn’t just some benign peace-keeping country, it’s part of the All-Abortion-At-All-Ages Club with North Korea and China. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
“Normal” and “ordinary” are in many ways subjective terms. Is it normal to ignore state-funded (indeed, funded by us, the taxpayers) destruction of human life without so much as an uncomfortable thought? Is it ordinary to pretend that economic stability and a fictitious reputation for politeness can somehow erase the reality of over two million violently ended and discarded lives?
Somehow, I don’t think so. If it is, it’s time to redefine our terms.