ProLifeCorner.com- by Larry Plachno – Those of us who work in the Pro-Life area, or in similar areas where morals come into play, are frequently chastised for being so inflexible. Why is everything so black and white? Why don’t you allow for a little “wiggle room” and some shades of gray?
The answer is that there are certain areas where everything is black and white by its nature. These include spreading germs, spreading pollution and spreading selfishness and moral relativism. Give me a few minutes of your time and I will gladly walk you through some of this and explain why some things have to be black and white.
Many people are not aware that our knowledge of germs and how they spread disease is less than 200 years old. Prior to that there were all kinds of thoughts on why people were afflicted with disease . . . including the possibility that they or their parents had done something morally wrong.
It was back in the 1840s, before the days of sanitation and modern medicine, when the Boston area had an epidemic of puerperal fever among women giving birth to children. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a physician, writer, poet and professor, set about trying to figure out how individuals were infected with the disease. If his name sounds familiar to you it is because his son, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., became a famous Supreme Court judge.
Holmes researched and studied all of the cases he could document, eventually creating what we today would call a pile of statistics. The statistics made it clear that puerperal fever was contagious and was being spread by doctors and midwives. The situation was not helped by the fact that many of the doctors insisted on wearing old frock coats that had never been washed. Their disreputable condition and number of stains were considered a mark of tenure in the medical community. Today, we would know that those coats were full of germs that the doctors were bringing to their patients.
Change was slow in coming because many people refused to believe that germs existed and could move through society since they could not be seen. However, as recommended by Holmes, people learned about sanitation and how to prevent the spread of germs.
Spreading germs is black and white. You can ask whether it is OK for nurses to spread germs on Mondays or whether it is OK for doctors to spread germs on the west side of hospitals. The answer is always the same: it is always wrong to spread germs. Spreading germs is black and white with no gray area.
More recently, we learned to deal with pollution. Statistics and reports educated us on how toxic chemicals polluted our atmosphere and waterways. This was easier for people to understand and they made a special effort to avoid polluting our atmosphere, lakes, rivers and streams.
Once again, spreading pollution is black and white. You can ask whether it is OK to pollute the west side of rivers, or to pollute lakes on Wednesdays. The answer is always the same: it is wrong to spread pollution. Spreading pollution is black and white with no gray area.
Selfishness, the pro-choice attitude and moral relativism spread through our society by a process called desensitization.
The best way to explain desensitization is to go back to the argument some years ago over whether kids should be allowed to watch violence on television. Liberals insisted that the kids should be allowed to be pro-choice in their viewing habits. Parents were extremely skeptical. It was the experts who stepped in and sided with the parents. They said that as kids were continually exposed to violence, they became desensitized to violence and began to accept it as normal behavior.
Desensitization is at work in our society on both youngsters and adults. If we are told that it is OK to be pro-choice and accept moral relativism, then we become more accepting of the pro-choice attitude and moral relativism. If we see other people being pro-choice and accepting moral relativism, then we become more accepting of the pro-choice attitude and moral relativism. The process is very similar to how germs and pollution spread.
None of this is rocket science. Desensitization is simply a technical term for what we used to call “giving bad example” years ago. Neither is it something new. If you look in the Bible at Luke 17:1-2 you will see Jesus quoted: “He said to his disciples, ‘Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.’”
Spreading selfishness, the pro-choice attitude and moral relativism through society is black and white. You are either harming others by desensitizing them or you are not. It is black and white because there are no gray areas.
However, there is one interesting difference in this situation. You can move society to the good as well as the bad. You can tell people that selfishness, the pro-choice attitude and moral relativism is wrong and evil. You can also influence others positively by being unselfish, by choosing good over evil, and by rejecting moral relativism in your own actions and decisions. Just stand up and support life, traditional marriage, families and children. You can be a positive influence on society instead of a negative one.
Please Note: Many of our readers are familiar with the excellent writings of Larry Plachno which he has so graciously shared with us over the past years. Larry is a businessman and a parish respect life coordinator. You can read more of Larry’s excellent work at: www.unselfish.org