The Slippery Road of Sin
Note: The italicized portions of this article are quotes taken from a letter to the editor printed in the August 29th, 2005 edition of the Connecticut Post.
On the morning of Monday, August 29th, as I sat and sipped my first cup of coffee and began reading the newspaper, I came to the "Letters from our Readers" section. My eyes landed on the title of a lengthy letter that read "Roe v. Wade brought surprising benefits". Unfortunately, in this day and age the title hardly surprised me. What did surprise, disturb and haunt me were the "benefits" that the letter writer claimed came from the killing of unborn children.
In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled...that it was unconstitutional to deny a woman an abortion during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. This ruling encouraged a large number of women (1.6 million in 1980) who were single, poor, uneducated, unskilled and pregnant to avail themselves of this decision.
You know, one of the most problematic things about sinfulness, is that once we can, in our own minds, justify even one sin, the next sin doesn't seem all that bad, even if it is worse than the first. With the opening paragraph above, the letter writer began to lay out his logic as to the benefits of abortion.
What is most curios and unexpected by crime experts was that in the late 1990s the teenage murder rate fell by more than 50 percent in the space of five years. By the year 2000 the overall murder rate was at its lowest rate in 35 years...It has been known for a long time...that the most crime-prone age group is the 16-24 age group.
Unfortunately, it is easy to see where the letter writer is headed!
I just so happens that between 1973 and the late 1990's, the most crime-prone age group, which would have been born and reached the ages of 16 to 24, was significantly reduced in numbers because they were not born to those undereducated, single, unskilled young women from 1973 on. In other words, one of the unanticipated results of Roe v. Wade was a sizable decrease in serious crime.
I would imagine that even many of those who support abortion were stunned when they read that last paragraph. You see, to accept as right something that is sinful, that is abortion, is to open ones self to a very dangerous and slippery road. As human beings we have the dubious gift of being able to rationalize ourselves into and out of almost anything. Once we can rationalize that abortion is not a sin, is not the killing of unborn children, then what is next? If we can claim "benefits" from this national tragedy that is Roe v. Wade, then what is waiting for us down that slippery road? What is next?
Or maybe the question really is who is next? If Roe v. Wade has allowed us the "benefit" of eliminating the "unskilled, undereducated and poor" 16-24 year olds, who do we want to eliminate next? Maybe Roe v. Wade is not enough. Maybe perhaps we need to begin thinking about forced sterilization for those not "smart" enough to quit having children that "raise the crime rate and put a burden on society." Perhaps we should legislate how many children a couple should have, as many advocate and some countries practice. Maybe pro-creation should no longer be a gift from God, but something that is voted on at an election or decided by a group of judges.
As priests, we are not so naïve as to not know that there are some who sit in the pews of our churches each Sunday who accept the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, maybe even applaud it. There are surely even those who stand in line to receive the Body and Blood of Christ every Sunday who feel the same way, even though it goes directly against the teachings of the Church. You only have to look in the back pages of this annual to see what the Church says about abortion - not just your Priest, not just your Bishop, not just your Diocese, but the Orthodox Church as a whole. While many may feel that they are standing up for women's rights or the separation of Church and state, in reality, what they are standing up for is sin.
The devil insidiously couches the sinfulness he wants to drag us into in acceptable or even "enlightened" terms such as "pro-choice" or even the words of this letter writer who concludes:
The anti-abortion people have a very serious dilemma. If they persist in their efforts to eliminate abortion, they will be responsible for increasing serious crime as well as filling our prisons.
It almost sounds like a sane argument....almost. The reality is that this type of thinking has led to serious crimes against humanity all over the world. We have even fought a world war over someone deciding who should live and who should die. Abortion only seems legitimate because its victims have no voice. It is up to us to be that voice. It is up to us to be a road block, if you will, on that slippery road to sinfulness and eternal damnation. Abortion is a first step in a path of sin that leads to the utter rejection of God and His creation.
Sadly, though while it may be hard to listen to the logic of this letter and the sinfulness it proclaims, in reality, many times we allow this same logic in our own lives. We only have to accept one sin as "normal" or a "little innocent" in order for us to begin our own journey down that slippery road. Our own road may not be as insidious as this letter purports, but it begins for us none the less. Once we allow sin to become normal, we have then turned our backs on God.
Yes, the premise of this letter probably outrages most, if not all of us. Yet, it has been said that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. We cannot allow this type of thinking, no matter how outlandish it may seem, to go unchallenged. We also cannot keep silent on the question of abortion or any other sin. The teachings of the Church are clear. Let us embrace them and live a life that then embraces God.
Very. Rev. Protopresbyter Luke Mihaly