"But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you..." - Matthew 5:44No doubt at this point you have probably heard about the murder trial of professional abortionist Kermit Gosnell. (I won't even consider calling this man a doctor, and I hope you won't either, because true doctors actually value human life). If you think at all like I do, you will find the entire saga disturbing and frustrating to say the least, but not at all surprising.
Whether you are an "activist" in the pro-life movement, you consider yourself to be "pro-life" in the very loosest of terms, or if abortion simply is not one of your priority issues, this case should galvanize your beliefs and re-energize your activism. I've heard it said before, and it rings so perfectly clear especially in this instance: I can't know what I know about abortion and not do anything about it.
Let me be clear: The argument is over. Abortion is brutal, horrible murder - no two ways about it.
Because of this case, abortion should be a thing of the past. Abortion should be outlawed around the country and around the world. Abortion should be a word on par with "racist," "slavery," and "nazi."
A brilliant piece appeared in the National Catholic Register today by Chris Crawford, a junior at George Washington University:
Because decent people shudder at the notion of a baby’s neck being “snipped” on an operating table, they are forced to realize that the same disturbing procedure is legal when performed inside the womb. It is not the brutality with which Gosnell operated that made his actions illegal; it is merely the age of his victims.
You see, when you draw an arbitrary line, then rationally speaking there is no line at all. Anyone who is honest with themselves, truly honest, will admit this.
And herein lies my struggle.
I feel bad for the sad excuse of a man that is Kermit Gosnell. I really do. My heart hurts thinking about how dark his heart must be to do what he did. Yet, somehow he really believes he was doing the right thing. I cannot fathom how he thought beheading one human being was a service to another.
My struggle is two-fold. First, how sad is our society that we can allow a Kermit Gosnell to exist? How far have we gone down the road of darkness when a man (a man who considers himself a doctor no less) has convinced himself that to murder children is to the benefit of others? I think we all know the answer: We live in a culture of death. In this sense, I can understand why Gosnell would act this way. Life is simply not valued as it should be, even with all its struggles, handicaps, and failures. For Gosnell, abortion, murder, and infanticide were nothing more than pejorative terms for medical procedures. We who are people of life see the brutality; I doubt Gosnell knew any better. I struggle to understand, but yet I understand.
As for the second part of my struggle, it relates to the verse above from the book of Matthew. Christ calls us to have mercy on everyone; not just when it's easy, and not just towards those people we like. I recently heard someone ask the following rhetorical question: imagine being the "defense attorney" at the Pearly Gates for the most horrible person you can imagine - someone like Kermit Gosnell. Imagine standing in front of God and asking Him to have mercy on someone like this man. Imagine what you would say. Imagine just how difficult it would be to say just one decent thing about this horrid human being. Why do this? Because Our Lord Jesus Christ did exactly this for all of us when He suffered and died on the cross.
He who committed no transgression suffered for nothing He did Himself. He went through the passion and death not just for you, me, and our lovable grandmother. He did so patiently, with ultimate charity even for the sins of Kermit Gosnell.
Therefore, we must pray. We must pray for the conversion of hearts all around the world. We must pray that our brethren find the truth. And we must pray for men like Kermit Gosnell. Pray that his heart, and others like him, will come to understand the value of life. Pray that these people will come to realize their sins, acknowledge them, and seek God's everlasting forgiveness.
As Christ goes on to say in Matthew "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." We may never be perfect, but praying for men like Kermit Gosnell may help us take an enormous step in that direction.