St James Cathedral - Seattle, WA

Friday, June 7, 2013

Needing a Little Courage with Being Pro-Life

In case you're wondering if I'm pro-life, this is what I think:
  • Life is beautiful and sacred, even if it doesn't always seem that way. 
  • Each person is unique, unrepeatable, and has something to offer.
  • Life doesn't begin at birth, but at the very beginning at conception.
  • You shouldn't kill people.
I believe this not just because the Catholic Church teaches this, but also on my own discernment.  I've also found that whether you believe them or not doesn't take away from the reality that they are all true. 

So what's the problem?  Well, I didn't think I had one until I started thinking about getting the Choose Life specialty license plate for my car.  

If you haven't seen what I'm referring to, Choose Life America is an organization that started the Choose Life license plate with the idea of funding prenatal care for mothers considering adoption and to help fund pro-life pregnancy centers.  It actually started in Florida where I grew up and is now available in at least 29 other states.  According to their website, they have been able to raise $14 million so far.

Initially, this seemed like a great idea.  I'm pro-life, and a license plate that reflects my values and beliefs is available in my state.  It raises money for a charitable organization and brings attention to a worthy issue.  The problem is it also brings some attention to me, and this is where I stopped.

Let me explain.  I'm not a shy person.  I'm not one to hide my Catholicity or being a Christian.  I often participate in casual conversations about faith or religion in the workplace.  I hope my faith life is reflected in my behavior (although I know it sometimes isn't).  At the same time, I've always been a very prudential person and tend to pick my battles.  I prefer getting the job done rather than being the announcer that says it has to be done.  I prefer to talk to people when they're not emotional, and do not care for heated arguments that typically don't lead to anything but misunderstanding and frustration which is why the argument started in the first place.

And that's my fear, getting caught up in some confrontation that I don't need to get caught up in.  I'm not sure how rational or realistic this fear is, but I have it.  Do I want to be caught in a debate about abortion at a gas station when all I want is to pump gas?  Would that police officer have given me a break on that ticket if he/she wasn't so convicted that a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body?  Maybe that garbage wouldn't be on my car when I came out of the store if it had the regular license plate.  I might be able to live with things like this, but what if my kids are there or my wife is driving the car?

I know I might be over thinking this a little.  Maybe I'm thinking about myself and my family too much.  Regardless of where you are on being pro-life and how you convey it, this can be a very desperate issue.  People do unnecessarily crazy things when they're desperate, and I prefer them not to do them to me, especially if I'm in a hurry or my kids are watching.  Is this a good reason not to get the Choose Life license plate?  I couldn't seem to arrive at an answer, and I wasn't even sure if there was a right answer.  After all, you don't have to have a license plate to be pro-life.  On the other hand, if everyone did nothing out of fear, then nothing in the world would get done.

So, I turned to my wife and asked her what she thought.  She's not the kind of person to rock the boat and doesn't like it when people argue.  Waiting for her to pass on getting the Choose Life specialty plate with a multitude of reasons including mine and a few more, she says with the wisdom of Solomon: "Paul, it's pretty obvious we're pro-life.  Get the plate."

And so with a little courage, I did.  The application has been submitted; the plate should be arriving any day now.  Even before putting this license plate on the car, I've realized some things about being a pro-life Christian: 
  • Some people preach on street corners, others prefer a subtle approach.  Both are fine as long as you are using your God given talents fully.
  • Being a Christian comes with a price (and an eventual reward).  All the important things in life do.
Who knows, maybe I'll help save a life by having the Choose Life plate on my car.  

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's thought about this, or even been deterred from getting the license plate for similar reasons.  If you're pro-life, do you think you should get one?

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