By Elise Harris*
Consumerism: the promotion of the consumer’s interests, or the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; also: a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods (Merriam-Webster).
Now what does consumerism have to do with abortion, specifically threats by President Barack Obama to veto a bill banning the abortion of babies 20 weeks along or further, due to their capacity to feel and experience pain?
The consumeristic attitude, with an excess focus on ourselves and our own interests, has the great danger of leading to entitlement; especially here in America, we are always consumers, and as such, we feel entitled to different things: to what we want, or what we desire, when we want it.
This sense of entitlement can lead to an increased individualistic attitude and a lack of concern for others, because we are only thinking of ourselves, and of our needs. If we don’t like something, or if we don’t want it, we don’t have to have it.
Also being in a culture of instant gratification, we seek to have immediate positive consequences in our lives for many things; as a consumer, I should be able to have what I want, and it should be available for me all of the time so that I may get it whenever I want. If there is something that is unsatisfactory, I should be able to return it, get rid of it, or dispose of it in a quick and painless way, so that I won’t have to go through the “pain” or “inconvenience” of dealing with something undesired for too long.
Let’s face it: we – and I mean all of us – are an individualistic, consumerist, and entitled society that fears suffering, so much so that we are willing to allow others to suffer so that we do not have to; we are so engrossed in ourselves that we will gladly kill an innocent child in the womb, whether (s)he feels the excruciating pain of being ripped to pieces or burned or not, simply so that we do not have to deal with the “pain” of inconvenience, and we can continue to hold onto our own comfortable lifestyles where everything is “perfect;” so long as I put “me” first, and then extend my vision to those around me — after all, we deserve it, don’t we?
It is sad to see that we are so attached to our own comfort that many will completely ignore science and the question of fetal vitality, and as the leader of our country, President Obama seems to have no shame, or no consciousness, that he is taking his place at the helm of these attitudes, and encouraging us in these poisonous mentalities, telling us to move onward and forward with our own ego. And to be honest, for me, a President that will veto even the possibility of saving a tiny being in the womb – one of his citizens – from feeling excruciating pain, is cowardly and inhumane.
Is this the leader we want to follow? He is our president, yes, and as such deserves our reverence, but Jesus of Nazareth is our Lord, and it is He who extends the invitation to “Follow me” (Jn 21:22), saying that “Whoever wishes to be great, must become the servant of all” (Mt 20:26-28), and who defends the rights of the poor, the weak and most vulnerable.
The laws of our country are important, but there is a Higher Law, and every law which is passed should be a reflection of that Higher Law. If they are not, then it is our duty as faithful Christians, faithful Catholics, and faithful citizens to fight to reverse them. The Lord is calling for Saints, will you take up the Cross and follow?
*Elise Harris is the Assistant Multimedia Specialist for CNA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Northern Colorado.