I sat there wondering how on earth it came to this very bizarre situation. How did abortion not make it onto that list in today’s society? I imagine it was omitted because to call Christians to pray for such an issue would seem to admit that it is ‘an issue’. And leaders of prayer meetings just don’t need that kind of agro. And so, the result: week by week, meeting by meeting, prayer by prayer, the dreaded and unspeakable ‘non-issue’ quietly drifts away from our minds, our hearts, our cries. Then one day we look up from our pews and find we have effectively become a generation of functional holocaust-deniers.
Imagine now an equivalent slide at a prayer meeting in mid-1860s Chicago that didn’t mention slavery, or 1980s Cape Town that didn’t mention Apartheid. Unthinkable? Abortion was unthinkable once too. Now, the majority of the minority world has duped itself into thinking that the systematic and profitable slaughter of unborn children is far too complicated to speak against. And the Christians apparently agree. After all, think of all that would have to change if something changed. Think of all the legislative and anti-legislative procedures and lawsuits. Think of the fact that the alternative reality is far from perfect. Think of the mothers’ livelihoods. Think of the loss of liberties, etc.
etc. etc. etc. etc.
Complexity is a funny old thing. Ironically, the more complex something appears, the less we tend to actually think about it. Nuances and caveats pile up, etc. after etc. And if you can find enough etceteras (whatever their cumulative value), the etceteras usually win. Even when the end result is the killing of small babies. This ought to be strange to us, but we imagine that it isn’t. In fact, society imagines that this result, though regrettable, is in fact ‘right’, when all etceteras are considered. Somehow we know that can’t be the ‘right’ result, but the etceteras are so daunting that we can’t seem to find a way to say so out loud. And so we say nothing, again.
We know our silence has some sense to it, of course. We know of the insensitivities, the clinic bombings, the graphic placards, the political agendas, and the general thoughtless unkindness that haunts traditional pro-life association. But this partially reasonable silence begins to make less sense next to that other pile of etceteras: masses and masses of small babies who are murdered in their wombs, daily. ‘But wombs belong to women,’ they say, ‘not babies. And they’re not really babies anyway.’ Thus, the not-babies become doubly unwanted tenants, taking up space, dodging rent payments, and causing general inconvenience to their agitated landlords who already have enough bills as it is. Effectively, this makes them squatters. Thankfully for the landlords, there is a way to be rid of these squatters that is not only legal but socially acceptable to all the neighbours on the street. After all, all this foolish talk of ‘murder’ is obviously just thoughtless and inflammatory rhetoric from those in the less desirable parts of town. Such talk is unnuanced and ignores the wider implications clearly outlined in the detailed and perfectly reasonable policy document. However, at the end of the long and infinitely complex line of etceteras is a far longer line of digits: 51,000,000. We rightly call them ‘digits’ because we do not have graves for them. Their plot is a cell on an Excel spreadsheet, where no flowers may be brought.
If Christians understood Gen. 2:7, we would not accept this. We would pray; we would speak. And because we’d speak, we’d be spoken back to and slandered. We’d be slandered as being simplistic idiots for our refusal to heed those many etceteras. We’d be treated as though we had no place in this socially progressive neighbourhood, which finds complex ways to make simple things like the killing of small babies sound frightfully reasonable. But to be denied admission to a socially progressive society would be a small price to pay. Indeed, we might even begin to feel empathy for those who have been denied admission not only to their right of free speech, but to their very right to exist.
This is Part  of Aaron's three-part 'Silence' series about abortion.
For Part  - "On Silence And Disgust" - see here.
For Part  - "On Silence And Etiquette" - see here.