Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Identity in lifestyle or in Christ?

"Lifestyle always overpowers traditional morality in the war within the Western conscience, and nowhere more obviously than when abortions reach the level of pro-life parody, as they do more commonly than most abortion rights advocates will admit. The British gynecologist P. Greenhalgh writes of a rich mother of three who came to her for an abortion. She wanted a fourth child but not just yet, since the family had already reserved a ski vacation months down the line. Many ob-gyn specialists have stories like this and, when one hears them, it's easy to see why women feel so guilty about owning up to the pedestrian nature of their reasons.

But then most people don't really consider lifestyle pedestrian, especially not their own. In a society organized around a succession of acquisitions and thrills, questions of lifestyle determine one's identity, one's rank in society, one's allegiances, one's loves and hates. It's not a matter of monolithic, time-honored religion versus itty-bitty, flighty lifestyle. It's religion -- marginal vestige, subculture, private matter -- versus lifestyle -- the engine, the symbol, the central organizing principle of the most powerful nation in the history of mankind.

. . . That ski vacation that the mother of three is aborting her child for might be a repository of all the happiness or love or pride she has."

Christopher Caldwell, "Pro-Lifestyle," The New Republic, 5 April 1999, page 15.