Yesterday, as my faith in my ability to stand against politically correct fascism faltered, I little suspected that The Simpsons would come to my rescue.
Having a day off after my foray into London, I got a call from Minora, who'd just completed a Foundation Exam, saying that one of the questions had asked her whether it was right to use human/animal embryos in the search for a cure for Alzheimer's disease. She hadn't answered the question. I commiserated with her, trying to reassure her that I would either have left the question myself, or answered it with the contempt it deserved.
Science doesn't happen in a moral void. It always happens in an ethical framework, the question merely being which one. For example, animal testing, although not perfect, has a definite part to play in maintaining human health, a vivid example of this being when Baxter International, which is working on a vaccine for swine flu, sent avian flu vaccine containing live bird flu virus to Czechoslovakia. On taking the routine step of administering vaccine to ferrets, a subcontractor noticed that the vaccine killed the animals, and a disaster was averted. But when animal liberation fanatics get so tied up with non-human rights that they would gladly unravel the hem of the cloak of creation to salve their fevered consciences, we see big-hearted adolescents served up leading questions by exam boards in an attempt to stunt their moral and intellectual growth, thereby to reduce the ranks of free-thinking individuals who might see through their snake-oil salesmanship.
Then, I read Stephen Exley's exclusive in the Cambridge News about Cambridge University's Newnham College dropping its traditional range of Latin graces referring to Jesum Christum dominum nostrum, and substituting pro cibo inter esurientes, pro comitate inter desolatos, pro pace inter bellantes, gratias agimus - "For food in a hungry world, for companionship in a world of loneliness, for peace in an age of violence, we give thanks". My first reaction was to hope their food isn't as bland, then I realised what they were saying. A suitable paraphrase would be: for being fed and not going without, for being popular and not lacking friends, for being priveleged enough to live without fear of mixing with the uncouth, we worship here at the altar of our own worthiness. It's a fitting epitaph for a society which tries to plug the God-shaped hole in our hearts with that which comes from ourselves.
Lastly, I came upon a report about Hilary Clinton's visit to Brazil over at Don't Poke the Baby, recounting how Hilary Clinton had claimed that a hospital she visited had been packed with a disproportionate amount of women recovering from botched abortions. It appears the poor women suffered from the same condition as the snipers who fired at Clinton when she landed in Tuzla, Boznia in 1996 - an acute lack of reality. However, Baby blogger Linda deftly teases out the pertinent point in the story of a Brazilian woman who had had an abortion as her relationship with an abusive husband ended: "My sympathy is for her living in a situation where she is raped...Where are the defenders of her freedom before the pregnancy? [my italics]"
So I was feeling somewhat beaten down by the time I settled down to watch The Simpsons with my family. I like this show, and it's been praised by many Christian publications - for example the Scottish Catholic Observer - for providing a view of a nuclear, churchgoing family. But you could have knocked me over with a feather when the episode on C4 (#8, 15th season) turned out to have a pro-life lesson.
The episode was entitled "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays", and involves the blue-haired matron's fight against members of the above society when they sideline families with children as pariahs. Their ringleader, Lindsay Naegle, affirms her belief in abortion; and when Marge tries to get her daughter Lisa to win her heart over, Naegle replies, "I hope one of my eggs I sold turns out like you".
After refusing a (literally) Satanic temptation to give up the campaign, Marge founds her own society - "Proud Parents Against Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens and Gays". After a media campaign almost sunk by her husband's best-intentioned efforts, which are often his most destructive, the denouément occurs in the school playgound, as the anti-family activists prepare to tear the school down. In a charm offensive,the children hug the adults, who are stricken with hellish ailments because they have lost their immunity to the germs that kids harbour.
As Lisa says, the protestors have been defeated by "the humblest things that God in his wisdom has put upon the earth - children". It is, of course, a send up of HG Wells' The War of the Worlds, which was to be released in a modernised version by Stephen Spielberg later in 2005. But it touches on a truth which would be sobering, were not anti-lifers so intoxicated with their own rhetoric: a society lacking sufficient respect for children to suffer them to be born is its own Nemesis. Praise God for hiding these things from the wise and the learned and revealing them to children and Matt Groening.