We’ve been friends for over forty years. He knows I am bossy but he says he adores me anyway. I pester him with endless questions; we never run out of things to talk about. Enjoying every bite of a grilled cheese sandwich while lunching together in a crowded restaurant he asked me, “So, are you pro-life or pro-choice?”
Strange question. After all, like him, I was born and baptized a Roman Catholic. I’ve visited the Vatican and have lit candles in St. Peter’s Basilica. I sat next to nuns during Mass on the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary in the Sistine Chapel. By the way, the artwork in the Chapel definitely is not over-rated. Michelangelo did a bang-up job with the ceiling and the walls are not too shabby, either. Insofar as the Basilica goes, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed at the Pieta. It was smaller than I had imagined and catching a glimpse of it through the huge crowd was nearly impossible. Same goes for the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris. Anyway, since then, I’ve hopscotched as a pilgrim through several different religions, trying each one on very carefully for just the right size and fit. I continued doing this until I found the Perfect Tailor. More on that another time.
Of course, “I’m pro-choice” was my answer. His jaw dropped.
While explaining why, I challenged him to imagine the role of the federal government as our civic parents. We agreed, as parents, it was our job to keep our children safe. Later on in life, we are called on to issue sage advice.
Conversely, as children, it was our job to learn how to honor our parents and learn how to not hurt people or damage things. If we wrecked the family car, we had to work to replace it. We expressed our regret tearfully, an indication we are using the conscience we are given at birth.
My dear old friend is a secular humanist by profession. He agreed the conscience is developed by the time we are seven years old. “Don’t steal the cookie unless you want go to your room. Don’t steal the car unless you want to go to jail, if you wreck the car, pay up,” and so on and so forth.
Premise in place, I moved on with my thoughts about the federal government. It’s the Federal Government’s job to keep us safe, locking the doors at the border to prevent monsters from sneaking into our country, stealing all of our food and burning our huts.
The federal government's job is to issue laws for our collective protection, settling disputes if we can’t work through them in our own houses. Freedom and justice for all. Good parents. We agreed, it is NOT the federal government’s job to be our personal conscience.
It’s not my Country’s job to be my conscience; nor is it my Country’s job to collect money from me to facilitate another person’s sin.
Further, we agreed legalizing sin should be the matter of a deciding State or Commonwealth. Want to hire a hooker? Nevada is your place to go! Want to welcome and harbor illegal immigrants, feeding and housing them with your own money? California is your ticket to Nirvana! Want to educate the masses with money out of your own pocket? Move to Connecticut! Want to take care of an endless stream of refugees all from your own personal wallet? Move to Florida! See? There’s a place for everyone! You get to fund your own causes and vices in your own State with your own money! Responsibility at its’ best!
Naturally, I am pro-life – whatever that’s supposed to mean. What’s the alternative? Anti-life? Really?
Naturally, I am pro-choice – whatever that’s supposed to mean. What’s the alternative? Anti-choice? Anti-matter? What’s the matter?
These labels are stupefying.
The truth is, we really do have to use our conscience to make our own decisions. If I steal something, that’s my sin. If I kill someone, that’s my sin, too. Slander someone until they lose everything? My sin. See? Personal responsibility trumps convenient labeling pro-choice, pro-life, pro-sin, pro-zac, pro-liferate, pro-noun. Conjugate verbs on your own time with your own nickel.
Let’s see how many people move to Connecticut or Florida with new norms like these in place.
All of this is true because I said so, and I am Sister Mary Bossy Hat. Amen