The number one most-emailed article in the New York Times at the moment is Thomas Friedman’s “Why I am pro-life”. Friedman is a regular columnist and Pulitzer-winning author. He is opinionated, clever and insightful, but also a supporter of abortion rights, so I was intrigued by the headline.
“Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth,” he thunders. What about gun control? What about biodiversity? What about free breakfasts in underprivileged schools?
I detected a link here to this week’s focus on the theme of “Can Christianity bounce back?” For 2000 years Christianity has provided a framework for moral argument. In recent years, however, this has been dismantled in some countries and is looking rather shabby in others. This is unfortunate because without clear ideas on ethics, people get their priorities quite muddled.
Friedman is a classic example. He claims that the most pro-life politician in America is Michael Bloomberg. Why? Because the New York mayor has banned smoking in bars and parks and giant sugary drinks, all of which are killers. I am no expert on public health, but it seems a tad inconsistent to be pro-choice about the lives of babies and anti-choice about cigarettes and Fanta. Perhaps Friedman sees something in Bloomberg’s moral rectitude that I don’t. More likely he is just very confused.
Clarifying moral priorities is one good reason why we all have a stake in the revival of a vigorous and intellectually robust Christianity. Benedict XVI sees this clearly. He has just concluded a gathering of the world’s Catholic bishops in Rome for a pow-wow about re-Christianising the West. He is optimistic and so are our contributors. Edward Pentin reviews the legacy of the landmark Second Vatican Council; yours truly has written about alternative visions of salvation; and we interviewed Mike Aquilina about the first Christianisation, back in the first 400 years of the Christian era.
I almost forgot – Happy Halloween for those Americans who are not shuttered inside, waiting for Hurricane Sandy to finish his destructive work. To mark the occasion, I have speculated a bit about the bioethics of zombie euthanasia.