Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beatitudes, Babies and Baseball: The Hungry Second Baseman

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will receive it in full."
Matthew 5:6

The beatitudes should be more central to a God-based resolution for those considering or opposing abortion. Please consider whether abortion is consistent with these values or opposed to them. These essays look at each beatitude three ways: in relationships to God, to His laws, and to others, especially the least favored of humanity. The nine beatitudes also work together, much like the nine players on a baseball team. Accordingly, the introduction to each discussion relates a beatitude to a quality of a famous baseball player. See how many you recognize before you hear the player’s name. The following is a consideration of the fourth beatitude.

The Second Baseman Hungry for Justice. During the struggle for civil rights, this former second baseman wrote to President Eisenhower: “17 million Negroes cannot do as you suggest and wait for the hearts of men to change. We want to enjoy now the rights we feel we are entitled to as Americans. This we cannot do unless we pursue aggressively goals which all other Americans achieved over 150 years ago.” Until his death, he was a leader in the civil rights movement, as he implored others: “It is up to us in the north to provide aid and support to those who are actually bearing the brunt of the fight for equality down south.” Even when his fame and fortune were assured, he reflected, “I won't 'have it made' until the most underprivileged Negro in Mississippi can live in equal dignity with anyone else in America.” These quotes most accurately reflect the continuous life-long hunger and thirst for justice of the first black major league baseball player, Jackie Robinson.

People hunger for what they need and do not have. When we are oppressed, we naturally hunger for justice for ourselves. The key to this beatitude, however, is how we should hunger and thirst for justice for others. What separates us from animals is this hunger that we feel for others. Considering the three relationships discussed above, when we hunger and thirst for justice, we long to live where the protection of God’s law abounds. We labor to lengthen the reach of justice to others, especially our least brothers and sisters whose suffering we feel as our own. Justice follows when we love to lavish gratitude on God for all the gifts He has bestowed on us. In our relationship with God, we know that He does not owe us anything because he has given us everything.

The prochoice position inherently opposes hunger for justice and is complacent toward injustice. It rejects God’s law when it supports the violent destruction of the defenseless unborn. It withholds the protection of God’s law from the least among us, the unborn. Rather than showing gratitude toward God for His gifts bestowed, this position finds no fault with ungratefully destroying the gift of life itself, even when it is someone else’s gift.

Prochoice persons claim justice, however, by support for other causes, many of which in themselves are just. In the words of one, “there are other issues” to consider when deciding which stands to take, which efforts to work for, and which candidates to elect. The solace they find from support for other causes is, however, no substitution for giving to each person what is rightfully owed. This false comfort is, in fact, the antithesis of justice. One cannot hunger and thirst for justice much when one is willing to accept monstrous life destroying injustices to the most dependent class of human beings among us.

Our hunger and thirst for justice concerning abortion begins when we long to live in a society where God’s law protecting human life is followed. Abortions do not occur there. We must feel the oppression of abortion as if our own lives were in jeopardy. To paraphrase Jackie Robinson, “It is up to us who are born to provide aid and support to those who are actually bearing the brunt of the fight for life for the unborn.” We must adopt, in spirit, the unborn whose lives are threatened, fight to save them and grieve for them when they die. When tempted to put “other issues” first, we must remember that for the unborn, there are no other issues. For every breath we take, we must be grateful to God and we must act to preserve for others their gift of life from God.