(Warning to the faint of heart. This post includes a graphic image that may disturb some readers.)
I can’t remember a court case that captured the country’s attention as prolifically as the recently acquitted Casey Anthony trial. Only since OJ’s “glove doesn’t fit so you must acquit” circus have we as a nation been so emotionally invested in a “guilty / no guilty” possibility. In my experience, 2 out of 3 people I talk to are familiar with at least several aspects of the case…have knowledge of a key piece of evidence that they believe was central to her defense, or her prosecution.
If you sit long enough, you’ll hear by way of television or radio or conversation about how the child wasn’t reported missing for “x” number of days. Or you’ll hear about the tatoo that Casey had inked in that span of time. Listen long enough and you’ll find a common denominator essential to the mass moral outrage. There is a single and common ingredient – the leaven by which their cries for punishment rise across the airwaves and the water cooler. Casey was, and in some ways still is, indifferent to the life, or death of her child. She really didn’t care. And that made America mad.
I didn’t really follow the case, I’ll admit. I’ve had my fill of sensational journalism. I’ve lived on both sides of the political trailer park and watched twisters carry residents from both sides away with equal indifference. I sit somewhere in the wilderness beyond the park now, a resolute conspiratorialist, taught by wise mentors to “follow the money” when addressing most issues of mass excitement and outrage. If you’ll sit long enough and listen between the sound bytes, there is a lot being said, and more often, not said – the latter often more importantly than the former.
Caylee Anthony was 24 + months old when she disappeared. She was later discovered buried in a wooded area near the family home. As a nation, I would argue as a world-society, we looked at Casey and said, “How could you not care about your daughter? How could you not protect someone who was vulnerable and dependent on you?” There is something inherently more sinister and depraved in this case than say, a child abduction case. Something that existentially causes us all to pause and corporately feel a tremor in the moral Force. Casey, if you believe she killed her daughter – violated the most fundamental and empirical of trusts and duties- that is to say, protecting and defending the life of her child. A child that depended 100% on her mother for survival and well keeping.
But if you follow that outrage, that argument to it’s other side, it leaves me with a question today that I can’t comfortably answer for America as a whole.
The whole question of whether or not we should care at all, if you follow the argument of the enraged, pivots on another life. The life of a little girl you haven’t met yet.
Meet Amillia Taylor. Were you to see her sitting on a park bench today, you would find her to look like any other little girl her age. She jumps as high, swings as high, laughs as /cries as loud as any other little girl her age. Like little Caylee was, she is also a Florida resident, and is now nearly 5 years old.
What you wouldn’t know about Amillia, is that she was born 21 weeks and 6 days into her gestation. When she was born, she weighed 10 ounces. Look around your desk or house right now. Read a label. 10 ounces is 5 Emerald granola breakfast packets. 2 Iphones is 9 ounces.
When Amillia saw the light of day, she was greeted by a mother who protected, and loved Amillia in the classic senses of those emotions – in stark contrast to Casey Anthony’s accusers nationwide. Put the two women together in an emotional and maternal line up. You’ll have a classic “apples and oranges” comparison in morality.
Consider the following statistics for a moment.
1% of babies born at 21 weeks survive.
9.8% of babies born at 22 weeks, survive.
53% of babies born at 23 weeks
67% of babies born at 24 weeks.
82% of babies born at 25 weeks.
Their hearts beat. Their thumbs are sucked. Air passes in and out of their lungs. They react to pricks of pain, and touches of love and solace with equal intensity.
These preemies are born, the overwhelming majority of time, to mothers on the “apples” side of the “Amellia-Caylee” scale. Born to a mother that protects, nurtures, and loves them. And the world sits back in its Hallmark rocking chair and applauds their efforts. We celebrate their efforts with an onslaught of gifts and edible arrangements once a year, in fact. The hand that rocks the cradle, after all, rocks the world.
But Casey Anthony, didn’t want her baby anymore. Didn’t care if it lived or died. And for that, millions of Americans ran to moral arms.
But here’s what I don’t understand.
If we celebrate Amellia’s story – and the maternal prowess of her mom – and react nauseously to Caylee’s story, and the material indifference of her mom, we are left with an 800 pound moral gorilla in the room.
Amellia was born, because her mother loved and wanted her.
Across town, across thousands of towns in America today, babies older than her, 22, 23, 24 weeks old will be discarded, by women that don’t “want”.
In clinics around the world, babies even older than 24 weeks are “not wanted” by their Casey Orange equivalents.
This was the result of one morning’s work in a Canadian teaching hospital. These babies had attained fetal ages of 18-24 weeks (4-5 months) before being killed by abortion.
Christian or Athiest. Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu. Hell, whip out a copy of Dianetics and your autographed Tom Cruise Thetan poster. Whatever moral angle you fly in from – I don’t get it.
Rodney Dangerfield’s character said, “Now I know why tigers eat their young!” in Caddyshack, when first encountering Judge Smells disheveled grandson. I laugh, and most other people laugh.
But if we all evolved from ectoplasm – if the materialists are right. If Nietzsche was correct – and God is dead – why should we care what one woman in Florida does…and what the other woman doesn’t do? What separates them from Tigers in determining the fate of their young? Mother knows best, right? Amillia’s genes advance. Caylee’s do not. The herd moves on.
Moreover, what ivory tower could we possibly shout down from, surrounded by cemeteries filled with shoe box caskets of unwanted children. 1 in 5 children world wide conceived this year, and each year into the foreseeable future, their future occupants.
In our small group last week, I asked my fellow Christians to think of the first word that comes to mind when considering what the world thinks about us, and our faith. Without exception, we all agreed the word “hypocrite” topped the perceived list. The word is derived from its greek base, “hypokrisis” which means “play acting”. Essentially the classic interpretation of saying something, and acting completely differently.
I would argue from the above, that the world just said something, and is acting completely “in” differently, to the tune of 40,000,000 lives since 1973 according to the Center for Disease Control.
In a study done between 1987 and 1988, women reported the following reasons for choosing to abort a pregnancy:
- 25.5% Want to postpone childbearing
- 21.3% Cannot afford a baby
- 14.1% Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy
- 12.2% Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy
- 10.8% Having a child will disrupt education or job
- 7.9% Want no (more) children
- 3.3% Risk to fetal health
- 2.8% Risk to maternal health
- 2.1% Other
In 2004, another study revealed that 440 “Amellias” (21 weeks +)a week were discarded. If we extrapolate the 1988 statistics, over 91% of the time for reasons that have nothing to do with the health of the mother, or the child.
What I don’t understand, and have yet to find someone who can explain to me adequately – is this. If Caylee had paid a man in a white coat to kill her, 21, 24, or even more weeks old, there wouldn’t even be a trial. We would, as a world, silently celebrate the occasion in fact – as an exercise of a legal right of freedom.
What I don’t understand is if an assailant had hit Caylee’s mother in the stomach as hard as he could have with a baseball bat, 1 day before her delivery date, and killed her, he could not have been charged with murder – only assault. If he hit the same baby, 1/2 inch on the other side of her mother’s womb, 1 day later – he would receive the death penalty.
But because Caylee had a photograph. Because she had a “Baby-Gap” tee-shirt on, the pitchforks are polished and the torches blaze bright. Because she was found in a wooded lot, and not in a dumpster in a medical bag, CNN gets a great teaser commercial and people buy more Coca-Cola as a subliminally sensationalized result. The world spins comfortably on his blindfolded axis once more, sleeping soundly in the kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that IS okay.
I don’t get it.
As I sit here writing today at lunch, I wonder if there will be an “Auschwitz” exhibit someday in a museum like preserved abortion clinic where people will look back and wonder how any generation could let something like that go on -again. If they will file past velvet ropes, observing posters and pictures on the sterile white walls and stainless steel laden procedure rooms. If a generation of Amillias will weep uncontrollably in silent contemplation viewing pictures of dumpsters filled with babies born older than her, with vacuum tube holes in their heads and limbs torn from sockets by forceps and clamps.
GOD IS DEAD
Adolph Hitler was a student of Friedrich Nietzsche. So much so inspired by him that he handed a copy of Nietzsche’s writings to Mussolini. The implications of his God-Death enlightened writings carried even farther east into the Soviet block, influencing men like Joseph Stalin.
Hitler, Emboldened by his writings, wrote something that you’ll see on a poster at Auschwitz that says, in part,
“…I want to raise a generation devoid of conscience…”.
Sound like any generation you know?
In the end, Hitler took his own life, with six million lives to his holocaust credit.
Stalin, credited with the deaths of 60+ million Russian and Ukrainians, as told by his daughter Swetlana, was observed in his last breaths to have sat up, and raised his clenched fists towards the heavens – shaking them in rage before he collapsed in death. Angry at a God he professed to not believe in.
“…My father died a difficult and terrible death. . God grants an easy death only to the just. . At what seemed the very last moment he suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance, insane or perhaps angry. . His left hand was raised, as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse on us all. The gesture was full of menace. . The next moment he was dead.”
And Nietzsche, went insane. Accompanied and cared for in the end by his Christian mother Franziska in the final passing pneumonia filled delusional moments of his life.
His stipulations were that “right and wrong”, “morality and conscience”, “good and evil” are merely constructs of human delusion and that we are all ultimately beasts, descended from beasts, and thus if we are to rid ourselves of “the pitiful pathetic weakness and meekness of Christianity”, Germans needed to “unleash the beast within” to aspire to “supermen” because it was only thru the savagery of the survival of the fittest in the animal nature, that one can ascent to the higher order.
One man and an idea. Untold quantities of caskets and unmarked graves later.
This is what I’m thinking about today.
I don’t think the two thoughts are all that disconnected.
Both legacies left millions in their wakes. In their quest to be freer, and more enlightened, they stood and stand on the shoulders and gravestones of the weakest and silent of their times.
Both generations entirely justified in their enlightened, moral-less Jihads. Both subjectively picked and relativistic-ally chose what they were outraged about, what they celebrated, and what fell silently under their moral radars, in the mutually decided absence of a Moral Law Giver.
I’m honest and open about my hypocrisy. I am working out the mysteries of my salvation each day – increasingly aware of my need for forgiveness and humility in the presence of my shortcomings and host of faults. I am being made “more like Him”, but I have “thorns in my side” that approach closer the faster I run. Those thorns are blessings, in that they remind me I was born broken, redeemed by a Creator who cared enough to die to bring me back across the demilitarized zone to Dad, forever.
Be not deceived, God is not dead. But He did die – just long enough to breach the gap and bring us home again. He told us things would get really bad before he came back the 2nd time. I think we’re right on schedule, and pretty close to round 2…but then again, I said I was a Conspiratorialist.
If someone can explain the difference between Amillia and Caylee to me today, from the bleachers of my Hypocritical Accusers, I’m all ears.
Because I don’t get it, and I fear it may be too late.