Saturday, June 5, 2004

War - what is it good for?

Perhaps you heard that a (high school?) teacher in California was fired for showing his students the notorious footage of Nick Berg being beheaded by masked Iraqi terrorists. I'm certainly not inclined to watch it. I spent enough time in early college searing horrific images from the Internet into my mind with dorm mates to know that once you get the idea, you got the idea. (Hm. I can now dimly see why some people found The Passion of the Christ gratuitously graphic. But I digress.) A buddy of mine here, Brett, scoffed at such reactionary prudishness, saying, "God forbid our kids actually learn what war is all about." Point well taken.

It got me thinking. Anti-abortion campaigners are often reviled for polluting our sidewalks with graphic images of aborted fetuses. But, I reply, "God forbid we should actually know what abortion means." As you may recall, seeing our lady of St. Petersburg, Terri Schiavo, respond to stimuli was one of the strongest forces in rallying her supporters at her crucial hour.

I said it then and I'll say it now: Terri Schiavo is a sacrament of our age. She is, perhaps even more precisely, an icon of our age. And I do mean "icon" in the most robust, traditional, sacramental way. She symbolizes what her struggle also in fact conveys to the observer: the Culture of Death in a sleek lockstep march against the Culture of Life. We needed to see Terri - and she needed us to see her - as desperately as her "husband" wanted to prevent her parents' from seeing her. Should seeing the carnage of the "free choice" of abortion be any less persuasive - or permissible?

No comments: