The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Dilemma

You’ve probably heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. For the past couple of weeks, the news-feeds of my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts have been BOMBARDED with people pouring buckets of ice water over their heads. Pretty soon the inevitable happened: I was nominated. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the challenge, allow me to explain. A friend who took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge nominates you to also take the challenge via social media. Here’s how the challenge works: either you dump a bucket of ice water overhead and/or you donate to the ALS Association. Then you nominated about three other people to take the challenge. This challenge has raised a LOT of money for the ALS Association in the past few weeks. 

ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is an awful neurodegenerative disorder which slowly and painfully destroys the nervous system, eventually resulting in death. My heart and prayers go out to all those suffering with this terrible disease. 

…. But, I didn’t take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge when I was nominated. And I feel good about that decision. Here’s why I didn’t participate:

– The ALS Association uses adult and EMBRYONIC stem cell research. Obviously I would never donate to an organization that takes advantage of the unborn. 

– Even if I dumped ice water over my head and didn’t donate to the ALSA, I would nominate people (who would in turn nominate people who would…) that might donate to the ALSA and thus encourage embryonic stem cell research. 

– Taking the challenge seemed like more of an opportunity to make a funny video of myself than to actually raise awareness. And narcissism should not be my goal.

Despite confidently choosing not participate in the challenge because of the ALSA’s support of embryonic stem cell research, I can’t help but feel insensitive. 

Do you feel this dilemma too? I know I could never support embryonic stem cell research, but at the same time I wish I could show ALS patients that I care. It makes me seem like I’m insensitively saying, “Well, I’d rather you die than the unborn baby.” Really, I want them both to live! I would gladly support a cause that morally searched for ALS cures! And that is entirely possible with adult stem cell research. People donate blood all the time; why don’t they donate stem cells?

I can’t imagine how bad the pro-life view looks to those with ALS or those with a relative with ALS. Gosh, we must seem awful! Attempting to deny them / their loved ones of a possible cure! The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a lose-lose for Catholics. If we took part, we’d be supporting the murder of babies. If we don’t take part, we appear to be condemning to death those with ALS. 

Here’s where the distinction comes in, a distinction that most pro-choicers will most likely never understand. While the ALSA’s end (finding a cure for ALS) is great, its means is inappropriate. Let me attempt to offer an analogous example. What if we wanted so badly to eradicate the ebola virus that we decided to kill everyone with ebola to minimize the risk of transmission? Would that be morally just–killing the vulnerable in order to save the living? Well, some people might support this…but c’mon, we know that’s wrong. Likewise, it is wrong to kill vulnerable babies in order to save those living with ALS. 

However, we should strive to stop ALS and the suffering it causes through morally just means. ADULT stem cell research would be one option. 

Still, though, I can’t shake the feeling that I am insensitive; after all, I don’t have ALS, and I don’t know anyone who has ALS. How would I feel about the Ice Bucket Challenge if I had a connection to ALS? Gosh, I just don’t know. I would like to think I would still not support the means by which a cure is sought. 

So I guess I will end this decisively, yet indecisively. I am confident in my decision not to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but I wish there were a way for me to show ALS patients/family that I still care. 

Abortion (Cue Beethoven’s 5th)

Now that the appropriate mood is set….

I used to be pro-choice. (GASP!) As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t come from a highly-Catholic family, so my parents are kind of liberal. And so I was liberal for a long time.

But, as I explored the Catholic Church’s teachings and read up on abortion, I saw the light.

I believe there are two primary disconnects that cause such an acceptance of abortion.

1) It’s seen as human progress. You know, freeing the slaves, civil rights movement, abortion. SAY WHAT? Well, that’s how it’s taught in AP Gov. Those things are all taught as a part of civil rights and liberties. Doesn’t really sound like civil rights for the babies involved. 

2) People don’t actually know what happens in an abortion. When I read about it, I actually cried. It’s infuriating. In one method, the baby is killed by an injection of saline that burns him/her. In another method, the child is pretty much dismembered and taken out piece by piece. Gruesomely, his/her brains are literally sucked out of the head. For more on the procedures, see here. Even worse, it is likely that the baby can feel the pain. No one knows exactly how early on the baby can feel the pain, but apparently there have been studies that show the baby wriggling away from instruments. 

Why is Abortion Wrong?

I don’t care if you’re a Catholic, atheist, or anything in between. Your human reason and religious beliefs (if applicable) shouldn’t make this too hard to figure out. 

From a purely philosophical standpoint:

You are a functioning human being reading this blog post right now. Before that, you were a kid, before that you were a baby, before that you were in your mother’s womb, before that you were conceived. Based on the example of YOU, embryos are people. Destroying you as an embryo would have destroyed you as you know yourself today, a conventional human being. Killing an embryo kills a person. 

From a religious standpoint:

“Thou shalt not kill.” ‘Nuff said.

Also, as Catholics we believe that God has a plan for every person. These plans intertwine with the plans for others to form our beautiful lives. So, we’re at liberty to just remove a piece of the puzzle of humanity? (Clearly, God can adjust because He’s GOD, but seriously, who do we think we are?)

5 Things You Perhaps Had Never Considered Regarding Abortion

  1. Mary didn’t ask for an abortion. And Jesus was pretty much an unplanned pregnancy. Mary recognized that God’s will had to be done. After the angel Gabriel told her about her imminent pregnancy, she replied, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
  2. Planned Parenthood, which commits most abortion-murders, is in it to make money. Of course they’re going to encourage abortion and act like it’s normal. They’re going to claim they are trying to HELP women (even though they hurt baby women). Cha-ching. Don’t fall for that.
  3. The early Church fathers condemned abortion. The “Didache,” aka “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” dates back to the late first or early second century. This work was pretty much a catechism, which you can read in its entirety here. In chapter 2, it reads: “You shall not murder a child by an abortion nor kill that which is begotten.”
  4. The pro-life world is bigger than the news makes it out to be. Remember, most new sources are liberal. There is an annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.,where pro-lifers from around the country gather in a rally against abortion. 650,000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_for_Life_(Washington,_D.C.) people attended this year. How does that not make the news!!!???
  5. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was into eugenics. Eugenics is basically what Hitler was all about— the idea that certain groups of people, based on their physical features, are inferior to others. She was racist too, believing that those with light skin were superior to those with dark skin. She even spoke at Ku Klux Klan rallies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger). And her organization sure has done a good job of killing black babies– it’s terrible. According to http://www.blackgenocide.org/black.html, black women are 5 times more likely to get an abortion than white women are. 

Bottom line: Abortion = bad

Loving God means loving what He creates.