End of Life

Pulling the plug on life—Living and dying in the USA

Editor’s Note: In the July/August 2002 issue of Celebrate Life, we printed a two-page timeline of the infiltration of the contraceptive mentality into our culture. The response was highly positive. As we prepared ourselves to tackle an issue as broad as euthanasia, we realized this would be the perfect opportunity to take you back to where it all began.

Part and parcel

Why is this important to know?

The answer is simple, and it is one we refer to often: building a Culture of Life. Just as we want to spread the Gospel of Life and bring this society back to the appreciation of the sacredness of all human life, the Culture of Death strives to do just the opposite.

Some 30 years ago, many people in this country fought for the legal acceptance of abortion. At the time, the abortion promoters showed no concern whatsoever for the innocent lives that would be sacrificed. It is ironic that today, at the end of these abortion zealots’ lives, the roles are reversed. These same people are now at the mercy of euthanasia proponents who are similarly unconcerned about the innocent lives of the elderly and infirm.

They came for me

It brings to mind lines from a poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller, a survivor of Dachau: “In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me—and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

As contraception began to seep into our culture, many people remained passive. Birth control was falsely labeled a private, religious issue that should not be addressed in public policy. It was fine for Catholics to reject contraception, but the critics said this was not a matter in which Catholics could “impose their dogma” on the entire nation. When Roe v. Wade decriminalized the killing of preborn babies, the same argument was made.

Blow by blow

Unfortunately, many people failed to recognize that each of these blows chipped away at the fundamental dignity of the human being. Now a new threat to the lives of innocent human beings has been raised, and those who were once indifferent to the encroaching Culture of Death now find that they are the ones who are in danger. Complacency is always hard to overcome; a complacency of several decades’ duration is exceedingly difficult to shake. But it simply must be done.

As you read through this timeline and see how the pro-euthanasia agenda has quietly, methodically crept into mainstream culture, it will be evident that today’s attitudes do not represent an overnight development. We must remember that the ultimate victory will occur in God’s time, not our own. We must remain steadfast, vigilant and faithful, knowing that the battle against the Culture of Death is indeed a battle that God will win. We have His word.

We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life.

—Ronald Reagan

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in a time of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.

                                —Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

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Celebrate Life Staff