As I sat at the traffic light at UCF Boulevard and Gemini Circle, a brightly colored electric yellow Hummer turned into the parking garage to my left. As it turned, I notice its tag - "Choose Life." These tags were ostensibly designed to encourage adoptions in Florida but actually have proved to be an inappropriate mustering of power by the Republican religious right faction in the culture war. It's essentially the so-called "pro-life" faction rubbing it in the face of pro-choice folks.
Frankly, neither of these descriptions of positions serves the debate over abortions. Choice is a larger entity than simply deciding whether one will abort a fetus or not. Choice in a hyperconsumerist society like our own tends to answer questions like what flavor of tofuti or color of computer monitor one wants, not questions about the potential life of a fetus, its prospects as a child and the impact its possible birth will have on a mother.
Similarly, pro-life is a highly disingenous description. Life is a lot bigger notion that mere birth, particularly a birth forced to occur out of a punitive moralism which says that if you can't refrain from sex you have to bear the consequences - in the form of a child whose life is thereafter strictly your problem. The same folks who scream "pro-life" in abortion controversies have absoutely no problem denying life in its fullest in the form of funding public schools and social services and would readily pull the switch to fry live human beings thus replicating the very heinous crimes this intentional infliction of suffering and death would punish. So much for life.
I watched as the bright yellow Hummer swing around the corner, ignoring a symphony of honking horns, its teenage sorority girl driver (her Greek ID emblazoned on her rearview window in case she forgets who she is) late to start through the intersection because she was looking at the ceiling while talking on her cell phone. And I thought to myself, "Choose Life....Whose life?"
- Hog more than their share of the dwindling petroleum supply leading to shortages and wars
- Hog more than their share of the highway and parking facilities leading to more parking spaces and wider lanes in perpetually under construction superhighways
- Kill more than their share of fellow motorists and pedestrians with their top heavy, turnover prone frames designed for combat, not for use as suburban assault vehicles
- Block more than their share of the view on highways making accidents more likely
- Destroy more than their share of the highways due to the extra weight
All of these aspects have effects on other human beings, on other human lives, if not the life of our planet and its living inhabitants. So, whose life is being chosen? And at the expense of whose lives?
The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando
If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.
Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bites.