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The Ring

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July 2020

The credits ran for miles, hardly surprising given that the trilogy won 17 out of 30 possible Academy Awards. The last film won 11 out of 12. Director Peter Jackson assembled a team of over 2,600 people. He used 26,000 extras. His team created 64 miniature sets to go along with the grandiose real life sets. Jackson believed that creating the right effect was critical for people watching a battle for a mythical place called Middle-earth. He was retelling J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, Lord of the Rings.

Superb as they were, the filming, special effects, lighting, music, model making, costumes, makeup, computer design, stunts, acting, on and on, took second place to the story. Lord of the Rings is the epic tale of good versus evil. As the story unfolded, the forces of evil held the decidedly upper hand. The world of men had become divided. Old alliances had shattered. A small group of fighters were backed into the corner of their stronghold as 10,000 savage Orcs marched toward it. Their goal: destroy the world of men. As a beleaguered king readied for near certain doom, he could only ask, “How did it come to this?”

The reason? A ring. Ages before, the evil Sauron, dressed in disguise, forged 19 rings for elves, dwarves and men. But secretly, Sauron created a 20th ring to rule them all. He put part of himself in it. The ring was pure evil and needed to be cast into the fires of Mount Doom, where it was created. In a great battle against Sauron, a fighter captured it. Only one thing remained: to throw it into the fire. But the ring’s evil power called to him, and men are seduced by power. The ring destroyed him. Others who held the ring called it their “precious,” while the ring slowly but surely ate away at them. Ultimately, the ring came to a young hobbit, who with a fellowship of hobbits, dwarves, elves, and men set on a quest to break Sauron’s chokehold and destroy the ring once and for all.

We are a few days away from celebrating the 244th anniversary of our country’s birth. The founding of America was the most radical experiment in self-governance ever known to mankind. It was premised on the self-evident truths of equality and freedom and the truth that God gave us the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To create a more perfect union and preserve the fledgling concept of ordered liberty, our founding fathers later established a constitution still standing today. Nothing is perfect, but perfection cannot be expected in any long-term human endeavor. Yet even with its imperfections, our country is a place where people the world over want to live.

We’ve always had differences, but we are now more divided than at any time since the Civil War.  We are not divided just about policies. We are divided over the very values by which we live. A painful reminder came in late May with the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police under the suspicion of passing counterfeit money. They made him lie on the ground, and an officer put his knee on his neck and head for an extended period. He died, some claiming by asphyxiation from a chokehold, others by saying by cardiac arrest. The involved police officers have been charge with murder.

Protests over injustice to blacks spread like wildfire nationwide. Some of the protests turned violent. Protestors set fires, broke windows, looted stores, and spray painted property. Innocent people, including black people, died—and not at police hands. In Seattle, protestors created a six-block autonomous zone, forcing police to leave. The leaders promised peace but could not deliver. More violence and deaths followed.

So the king’s question must be ours to answer: how did it come to this? How did we become so divided? It’s really not because of racism. Floyd’s death may have triggered unrest, but something far more sinister than racism is at work. Of course black lives matter, and righteous protest against unfair treatment is appropriate. We must treat all people with the dignity and respect they deserve.

But we need to be honest. Some people are using the specter of racism to grab power. It’s a problem we’ve struggled with since Adam and Eve. They wanted autonomy—the power to be like God. Power was their ring, forged by a disguised Satan, and they fell for Satan’s lie. Power is still mankind’s ring, precious to behold, but slowly eating away at our very souls. Recently high-ranking Democrats wearing African kente cloth knelt in the halls of Congress in solidarity with the black lives matter movement. Ironically, the cloths they wore were worn in the day of the Ashanti Empire of Africa, which in the 1800s was a major player in the slave trade. But anything for a photo-op. Anything for power. Whatever it takes.

Their lust for power is so strong that those very same leaders support killing the unborn to get hold of it. Democrat leaders have seduced good people into believing that they can hold the ring of power over life and death. That’s what legal abortion is all about—the power to play God with others’ lives. It’s the ultimate ring. It divides, and it destroys all sense of the dignity of God’s children. Recently, a group of medical providers stood outside their facility to publicly proclaim support for the black lives matter movement. But watch what happened when a black man asks the group if black unborn lives mattered. Stone. Cold. Silence. Black people comprise 13% of our country’s female population and have 36% of its abortions. Any outcry from those kneeling Democrats? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

This year’s election truly is a battle for our nation’s soul. Legal abortion has divided us. You won’t find more than a couple Democrats on the national ticket who will support the right to life. So it’s up to us to form a new fellowship of voters willing to throw the evil ring of legal abortion into the fires where it belongs. For if we fail in the quest, it will destroy us, too.

 

Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.

© Paul V. Esposito 2020. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Visit us at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/ and on Facebook.

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