Yesterday I stood with 1,000s of other fellow Wisconsinites in the annual LifeChain, where we stood along major roads in the greater Milwaukee area holding signs protesting abortion. The signs read “Abortion Kills Children,” or “Adoption: the Loving Option,” or “Abortion hurts Women.” During the hour and a half that we stood along the roadside I reflected on ‘moral consensus’ and the realities of a land that lives post Roe vs. Wade.
We live in a land that constitutionally (and if you have followed the debate and comments on Karen’s recent post) and morally believes in ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ it is ironic that we also live in a land that denies life to unborn children. There seems to be quite the similarity between saying that babies in the womb are really fetuses and slaves aren’t human (well, maybe 3/5th human). We change the definition of who the constitution protects so as to create a moral loophole. Unborn babies are not babies, therefore not protected by the constitution, our declaration of civil moral consensus. It took constitutional amendments to make slaves human, and that seems to be the only way to get abortion ended in this country.
The other thought I had as I stood silently protesting was the similarity between standing on the side of the road and voting against gay marriage. I’m not suggesting that gay marriage and abortion are similar, the murder of unborn children is completely different than one’s sexual preference. But I thought about the effectiveness of holding a sign on the side of the road. In many ways, it is about as effective as trying to vote against gay marriage. Is it successful in accomplishing it’s goals? Slightly, but there are better methods. Yet, I still stood there because it is effective, if only slightly. A slight effectiveness does not mean that I should not do it. A slight effectiveness of voting in the issue of gay marriage does not keep me from voting. But I have to confess that the annual LifeChain is about the only time I get involved in the pro-life movement. Just like casting my vote is about the only time I take a stand against gay marriage. I’ve become content to be involved in only ‘slightly’ effective means of social change. Slavery did not change because once a year people stood on the side of the road and protested. Maybe they did that, but social change took place through social debate and discussion and action.
The abortion debate also has a bearing on the debate of law and morality. The majority in this country seem to support abortion, but does that make it right and ‘moral?’ Does government have a responsibility to ignore the masses and do what is ‘moral?’ When it comes to gay marriage, I confess that I often think ‘no,’ but when it comes to abortion, I resound with a definite ‘yes,’ which really serves to muddy the waters even more. Where is that line between government being reflective of the masses and doing what is moral?
In this instance, the out is provided by the constitution. My pursuit of happiness is limited by another’s liberty. Currently, a woman’s happiness trumps a baby’s life and liberty. “It’s my body” sounds similar to “that slave is my property,” both of which are constitutionally wrong. A gay man’s happiness in marrying his lover is fine constitutionally unless tax rates have to be raised on everyone because he now gets a tax break for his sexual preference of marrying a man. Now his happiness is encroaching on my liberty. I could even make the same case against abortion. Killing off part of the next generation of workers and tax payers makes my taxes go up, again affecting my liberty.
All of which, I believe, shows that we have a good standard of moral consensus in the constitution. With that as our guide, it seems that moral consensus on many of these issues could be handled. So, I throw this question out to my fellow bloggers…how does the constitution apply to gay marriage?