When I was in college I was eligible for Social Security benefits because the government felt that my father did not make enough money. But, don’t you know, just as I was entering college they raised the threshold just enough that I would not receive any benefits. Go figure.
But that was Okay, for the very next year my father was retired for half of the year and his income was less and therefore I was once again eligible for benefits! Except that they had changed the standards again and I was out of the group.
But that was Okay, because the next year my father would have been retired the entire year, making substantially less than he did just two year ago and once again I was eligible. Except, of course, that they changed the requirements once again and once again I was left out of the group.
This is not about a social security check. The fact is that I didn’t need it although it might have been fun. But it is an example on how slight changes in law can leave you out in the cold if you are on the margin. One slight change and you can go from favored status to non-favored status.
That is what the pro-life movement is about. When any person is considered Okay to put to death, the pool of what it is to be human with dignity and rights grows smaller and those not at the center of the pool see the edge move closer toward them.
The scary thing is that it doesn’t take much to be moved from the center of the pool to the edge. An accident, a false accusation, a disease, old age, loss of a job, an incident that can take place in the twinkling of an eye can move you from the center of the pool to the edge. (Look at the minister from Hudson in jail in a foreign country accused of human trafficking. Though seemingly innocent, things could go terribly wrong very quickly.) I remember being shocked at a Pro-Life march in Washington D. C. seeing people in wheel chairs holding signs that asked the question, “Am I next?” That they could even think that a possibility says something about where we are going as a people.
Today, in particular, we are encouraged to pray for the legal protection of unborn children. Masses for Peace and Justice are being celebrated. Thousands of people are weathering the bitter, bitter cold on the Life March in Washington today. You are encouraged to pray and fast. It doesn’t even have to be a full fast. Give up the last cup of coffee. Leave the last cookie on the plate. Don’t grab that handful of nuts. And every time you have the urge and wish that the beautiful, steaming, yummy mug of coffee was at your hand, offer it up with a prayer for those whose lives are not held as dear and worthy as yours.