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Where Are We?

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July 2022

Six bucks a gallon. It’s not a bad dream. It’s reality—at least for now. People are thinking twice about getting in their vehicles. It’ll be interesting to see if motorcycle sales rise. But summer is in full swing, and for most people, that means vacation season. Americans love to travel; it’s in our blood. So though we’ll complain about gas prices, most of us will still get in those vehicles. Autumn will be here all too soon.

At one time or other, we’ve taken a long road trip. It’s an experience. There’s the joyful anticipation that comes with the planning. Then the packing for all kinds of weather. Finally, the big day comes and we’re off. We can usually make it out of our driveway, out of town, and even out of state, pretty easily. Then we hit the border, and confidence starts to wain. Nothing looks familiar. Google Maps is confusing. We take a wrong turn here, a wrong road there. We miss a detour sign. We find ourselves crossing a bridge 50 miles from where we belong. The yelling starts—or intensifies. We finally ask ourselves: Where are we?

Life is like a road trip. For most people, it can be pretty long. That leaves plenty of chances for getting lost along the way. And we all do. A wrong decision here, a missed opportunity there. Plenty of distractions that take our focus off our destination. Thankfully, there are people along the way who can help get us back on track. They say the right things. They show us the right paths.

What’s true for individuals has also been true for civilizations throughout human history: they get lost. Some have fizzled out rather quickly. Once great cultures flourished for a time, stagnated, then regressed and disappeared. Oftentimes, they lacked staying power because no one could bring them back to what was important.

One week ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision that for 50 years had wrongly given women a constitutional license to kill their unborn children, no questions asked. Roe v. Wade was the crown jewel of the sexual revolution. It gave legal cover to the lie that women are slaves to their biology, victims of their anatomy. It allowed women to embrace the falsehood that true freedom and fulfillment lay in “choice,” the universal code word for killing. Women were too eager to lay claim to their own private “right” to question the notion. Men were too weak to challenge it.

Now 50 years post-Roe, where are we a country and culture? For now, is apparent: we’re lost. We’re lost because we no longer seem to understand our role in the epic story of mankind. Quite simply, our role is to carry the torch of life until it’s our time to pass it to those who will follow us. And more, our role is to bring them forth and prepare them carry on better than we did. We take from the past to give to the future. It is vital and noble work we do.

Each of us is important to the process. But as a culture, we have lost sight of it. We make lesser life more important than human life. Destroying the egg of a sea turtle will result in fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. Intentionally destroying a bald or golden eagle egg is cheaper at $5,000, but the time behind bars can be as long. There’s everything good about protecting sea turtles and eagles, but when the law treats killing an unborn human as a fundamental freedom, our priorities are way out of whack.

What is even more disturbing is the wanton destruction of crisis pregnancy centers. They give pregnant women fearful of the future a chance to regroup, build up courage, see friendly faces, and gain valuable resources. They give women what they are most lacking—hope. Women go to the centers voluntarily because they want and need to be there. They go by choice. So why are the very people claiming to support “choice” depriving women of it?

Perhaps it’s because after 50 years of being told that children are punishments, people have come to believe it. Today, children are seen as burdens on our time and energy, strains on our pocketbooks, intruders on our dreams, and menaces to our lifestyles. In short, they are in the way. Abortion is about self. The abortion mentality is summarized in three words: Kill the problem. Unhealthy baby? Kill it. Bad for the career? Kill it. Wanted a boy? Kill it. Finances tight? Kill it. Too many kids? Kill it? Wrong guy? Kill it. Didn’t want one? Kill it. Whatever the reason, the answer is always the same: pardon denied, death by execution.

Moral life has a different mentality: Work the problem. In doing it, we find Godly fulfillment. Our greatest satisfactions come from helping others, particularly those in most need. And so our greatest sense of fulfillment is in them. To bring an unborn to birth is a burden, sacrifice, and struggle all in one. But its joy is unspeakable. Raising a child takes time, effort, and money, but provides a genuine pride that can’t be matched. Children allow us to express our true selves. They bring out our best because they require us to be at our best. They help us to be who we are called to be—people of courage, strength, justice, mercy, and love.

When our history is written, our names will not be recorded. But we can take satisfaction in knowing that we helped rebuild a culture that got lost along the way. We put it back on the right road and in the right direction. It won’t be easy. But the road will lead us back Home.

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 2022.  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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