We Hate Life
by Kristyn Komarnicki
I've been too sad this summer to write about the crushing injustices that seem to be rushing at us so fast and furious and with no sign of stopping. Too sad about dark-skinned people being victimized, like Sandra Bland ending up dead in jail after failing to use her turn signal. Too sad about girls and women being systematically enslaved by ISIS. Too sad about all the lies being sold to young people about the meaning and purpose of sex. Too sad about the blindness that allows a human rights organization like Amnesty International to turn its back on women and girls by euphemizing torture with the oxymoronic expression "consensual sex work." It paralyzes, all this sadness.
But when I watched the Planned Parenthood employees sifting through tiny human body parts with the casual air of a kid looking for the meaty bits in a bowl of stew, something clarified for me, even as the grief thickened. We humans hate life. We are misogynistic misanthropes. We dance with death; we succumb to its seductive promises.
When we treat human life like human waste and then quibble over the legality of it, we are in some very deep shit. I'm not going to talk about sheep and goats here. I'm not going to say who is on the side of evil and who is on the side of good. Because we are all complicit, to one extent or another, in this self-hatred, this disregard for God's incredible gift of life. Every last one of us tolerates violence in our hearts. I know I do.
I hardly know what to say about it, except to urge each of us to repent of the ways we capitulate to, minimize, or ignore the culture of death we are swimming (drowning? gagging) in. And to pray for each of the victims, ourselves included, and for each of the perpetrators, ourselves included.
I will, however, list here some of the sanest responses to the Center for Medical Progress/Planned Parenthood videos and to the broader topic of abortion. They are sane because they don't point fingers, or, if they do, they make sure to point at themselves as well. These thoughts are articulated by people who, although very different from each other, refuse to demonize the "other side" and realize that unless the whole human family takes responsibility, we're lost. Lend them your attention for a moment or two, and allow their words to settle in your hearts and minds and make a difference. This isn't an exercise in agreement; I ask you to simply allow them to challenge you.
- I Don't Know if I'm Pro-Choice Anymore by Ruben Navarrette, Jr.
- Dear Dr. Nucatola: I used to harvest fetal tissue for Planned Parenthood just like you by Abby Johnson
- An Honest Conversation about Abortion that Asks Us not to Turn Away — from Anyone: The Emmaus Option by Ann Voskamp
- A Better Way to Talk about Abortion by Aspen Baker (TED Talk)
- The Shaken Conscience of a Pro-Life Activist by Karen Swallow Prior
Whether you call yourself pro-life or pro-choice, pro-baby or pro-woman, pro-voice or pro-grace, we all have something to learn from each other. May God grant us the grace to lay down our weapons—our politics and our laws, our stereotypes and our rationalizations—for even five minutes—so that we can be honest about all the pain (on all sides), so we can share, heart to heart, gut to gut, just how bad all this death feels, just how broken we all are. Do we dare to feel it? And might we be capable of some kind of change if we could feel that pain together?
Kristyn Komarnicki is ESA's director of communications.