Spirituality for Today – January 2010 – Volume 14, Issue 6

Editorial – A Little Life

By Rev. Raymond Petrucci

Thirty seven years have passed and tens of millions of deaths have occurred. Nevertheless, a mass of indefatigable and faithful marchers will parade through the cold streets of Washington, D.C. to the Capitol. As in the past, they will protest for the worth and the protection of human life in every stage of existence. The issue of the legalization of the degradation and cheapening of life will not go away. Abortion is the most volatile social issue to confront American society since slavery.

A photo of a baby grabbing an adult hand

When does a human being come to exist? Following sperm-egg fusion, a single cell is generated, the human zygote or one-cell embryo. To decide if this cell is a human being, as opposed to merely a human cell, we need to consider the difference between a cell and an organism. The key feature of an organism is that all of the parts of the organism work together in a coordinated manner for the good of the entity as a whole. In the case of the one-cell human embryo, the scientific evidence clearly indicates that all parts of the zygote – those contributed by the mother and by the father – work together from the beginning in a highly coordinated way to promote the life, health and maturation of the embryo itself. The one-cell embryo functions like an organism to generate the structures and relationships that are required for its own, ongoing development – and it does this from the very moment of sperm-egg fusion onward. The embryo functions from the beginning like an organism and is therefore a human being; a whole and complete member of the human species at the earliest stage of life.

Dr. Marie L. Condic, Columbia Magazine

In reference to the argument of affirming the beginning of human life, the question, it would seem, is no longer moot. There is another question, however, which poses ominous and far reaching consequences. When does a human being have value? Another way of positing this question would be when does a human being have rights? If secularism becomes dominant, the unborn, the physically or mentally challenged, the elderly, and, why not, the imperfect in any way may be deemed unworthy of life. The world would be operating under the dictum: Might makes right. History is not devoid of instances of political and military regimes that have adopted just such a philosophy. Vigilant must be a people who would deter such Godless credos. Let the marches continue, let the voices of opposition be heard, and let a nation based on freedom for all and the dignity and worth of the human being not be seduced by a truly un-American element of its populace whose policies support the most decadent and vile aspects of human nature.

A bright light will appear at the end of the tunnel when the culture of "me" becomes a culture of "me and thee." When the human mind and heart and spirit work in unison and in spiritual awareness, the possibility of change in the way people value people and care about how one life needs to sustain the rights of others may come to pass. Maybe this will be the final march. Maybe it will be this time?