What does being a Catholic stand for if not supporting these basic protections again drugging people and practicing infanticide?
The French and others around the world looked on in horror as flames engulfed the wooden parts of Notre Dame Cathedral and licked at the twin towers. Horrific things are happening around us.
As the emblem of France was nearly destroyed before their eyes, some locals on the scene resorted to prayer. The French, believers or unbelievers, were losing a major symbol of their culture -- "Je ne suis pas croyant, mais la, c'est au de la foi" ("I am not a believer, but there is faith"). But the French have historically been fierce protectors of their culture. Notre Dame will be rebuilt.
Yet, our culture in Massachusetts is under a different assault. What have we become when the world is magnified by self: my body without consequences? No human action is without consequences. Drugs and abortion (now infanticide) -- twin horrors -- are taking possession of our culture.
These things are happening around us in real time. What does being a Catholic stand for if not supporting these basic protections again drugging people and practicing infanticide?
Fortunately, our Church has historically opposed both.
Massachusetts dispensaries crowd our town squares, clogging our roads as an ever growing human chain appears outside. In spite of brave Christians bearing witness against the horrors of abortion, the state's abortion clinics continue to do a "brisk business."
While Catholics oppose all abortions, two bills have made their way to the legislature for their consideration. The ROE Act bill (HB 3320 and SB 1209) filed here follows the model of others bills, which made headlines in Virginia and New York. The ROE Act would remove restrictions, such as parental consent, and requirements for late-term abortions to be performed in hospitals by doctors. Most grisly, the bill will legalize abortions beyond 24 weeks. What happens when the baby is born alive, after the "procedure"?
The tide of public opinion has been turning against abortion as parents see the ultrasounds of their infants. No one viewing "Unplanned," the real-life movie about Abby Johnson's conversion to becoming a pro-life warrior after seven years working in a Planned Parenthood clinic, leaves the theater unmoved.
Are we just narrow minded about marijuana when people need relief from pain? Advocates are vocal about its application for their pain. Yet, the reality is that there are medical alternatives approved by the Food and Drug Administration that offer the same relief without potentially dangerous side effects. Also, the National Eye institute found that drugs already on the market are more effective than marijuana in treating glaucoma.
Not only is smoking marijuana not FDA approved, but the risks are well-documented. We have all heard anecdotal reports of "medical" marijuana benefits from the lips of users. They avoid the real truth of marijuana smoking. Young people here in Massachusetts are already using marijuana 30 percent more than teens in many other states. Medical or recreational legalization will increase the chances of the drug falling into the hands of children. Imagine the possibility of children attending the preschool next door to the Brookline dispensary on Boylston Street picking up a joint from the sidewalk.
Studies show that marijuana use is strongly correlated with juvenile crime and contributes to both delinquent and aggressive behaviors. Adults who were early (say, teenage) users are found to be five times more likely to become dependent on any drug, eight times more likely to go on to cocaine, and 15 times more likely to use heroin later in life.
States that have already legalized marijuana have seen vast increase in impaired driving and accidents. Driving deaths have risen more than 30 percent in Colorado and Washington, the first states to legalize marijuana for recreation since their dispensaries opened in 2014. Today in Colorado, there are more pot shops than Starbucks and McDonalds combined.
The Holy Spirit's charge to the Apostles on Pentecost was and is to go out and change the culture in Christ's name. But the twin terrors of recreational sex and its consequences and recreational marijuana use are rapidly undermining our culture. "Culture," a fancy sociological term, can best be defined as "How we do things around here." How we behave, particularly in public. What values we live by and what we consciously work to instill in our children. For many reasons, today's culture is in tatters. However, these twin towers, infanticide and pot, are a step too far. We know better. We must act like adults.
And actions are being taken. The city of Lawrence has beaten the pot lobby and we can hope they take on the abortion clinics as well. Protestant and Catholic churches in Lawrence have banded together and convinced the city council to vote 8-0 to ban commercial pot. People interested in pursuing an OPT OUT movement in their community should contact Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org for information and help.
And the ROE Act -- or the Infanticide Bill, as it has been more accurately called -- must be stopped. We can't sit on our hands and have it happen here. Better to let your legislators know that you oppose late-term -- after 24 weeks -- abortion. Call your legislators at 617-722-2000 before we allow our government to legalize infanticide.
Kevin and Marilyn Ryan, editors of "Why I'm Still a Catholic," worship at St. Lawrence Church in Brookline, Mass.