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Save the ‘knuckle children’

Brooks Smith | Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In a recent edition of our fine student paper, The Observer, the Viewpoint contained an editorial on behalf of the March for Life, written by our esteemed professor emeritus Charles Rice (“Embrace Life,” Jan. 23). In this editorial, Professor Rice explained the moral and theological evils inherent in what he termed “the contraceptive ethic” in general, and the legalization of abortion in particular. The article as a whole is a beacon of holy light in a country currently shrouded in secular darkness, and an important step in the right direction. However, as much as I admire Professor Rice’s courage in standing up for the rights of the millions of unborn who are aborted every year – those who are “nonpersons” as seen through the distorted lenses worn by our cynical, worldly lawmakers and judges – I feel that he does not go far enough in defending the rights of the unborn.

Although he recognizes that “Contraception … affirms that … man [of both sexes], rather than God, is the arbiter of whether and when human life shall begin. If you claim the right to decide when life begins you will predictably claim the right to decide when it ends,” he fails to see that his own focus on the evils of abortion and abortifacients is itself a delineator of “when life begins” – according to him, at conception. In this error, he is joined by most of the Catholic Church. I would argue that this is too late: that life, or its potential, begins far earlier than conception – at the creation of sperm and eggs in the testes and ovaries.

Each of these tiny little cells has the potential for jointure and the creation of life. The importance of making sure that these cells carry out their mission is made clear in the Bible, where in Deuteronomy we see God strike down a man named Onan for the crime of “spilling his seed upon the ground.” But abstinence, no less than masturbation, is a moral failing as well, for it does not recognize the intrinsic value of every human life – potential, conceived or born – instead subjecting gametes to death for the sake of social acceptance.

Clearly the moral attitudes of the vast majority of the United States are intrinsically disordered with respect to the unconceived millions, the potential populace. The girls who menstruate away their fertile ova, the boys who thoughtlessly fire off knuckle children without even considering donating their unwanted semen to a sperm bank, the adults and doctors who encourage them to use condoms and IUDs – all perform a separation far more sinister than the separation of the unitive and procreative purposes of sex: the separation of the very ingredients of life. The genocide- for there is no other word for murder on such an enormous scale – that results from such attitudes is simply horrifying: the wasted gametes that one 13-year-old boy expels in a month would make enough people to colonize and terraform the Moon, and send a sizable expedition to Mars besides.

I also rebuke our social scientists: their focus on such evils as “war” and “poverty” leaves no room for the more important problem of uniting the men of the world with the women. If all the sperm and all the eggs were paired off as God intended, the loss of a few hundred thousand or a few million in this war or that natural disaster would be as a drop in the ocean of happy, healthy, fruitfully multiplying people who would cover the planet as thickly as the stars in the skies.

But while it pains me to say it, the Catholic Church offers no solutions, only problems, to the conundrum of the unborn. Their stance on masturbation, bolstered by their conclusive scientific research proving that frequent self-abuse leads to headaches, loss of eyesight, excess hair on the palms, and poor study habits, is laudable; but they offer no better direction for the young men and women of America than abstinence- an equally poor line of action, and one which will likely lead to legions more of the unconceived perishing.

Also, theologians of all denominations fail to address an important point: what happens to the souls of the unconceived? Do they go to heaven? Are they doomed to hell? Does eternal limbo await them, these sinless little sperm and eggs? Or is there another spiritual locale entirely, known only to God and the cherubs and seraphs, where these poor halflings pass their dreary eternities? No religion yet established, as far as I know, addresses these essential questions.

I recognize that, as a sexually abstinent young man, I am no less guilty than others of this crime against the potential people. Untold millions of spermatozoa live and die within the confines of my gonads every month. How many Einsteins, how many Jeffersons and Franklins, how many Platos and Aristotles pass into oblivion through my selfish lack of sexual activity? What might this world be if I had sowed my wild oats like a good boy, instead of keeping my struggling seed imprisoned within my testicles to preserve our confused and immoral society’s good opinion of myself?

There is only one remedy I can see for this terrible state of affairs. Starting tomorrow, I will go around to each of the thirteen girls’ dorms on campus. I will take down names on clipboards, painstakingly penciling each one in for a particular time slot; and when that time comes, I will do my best to create a new life in each one of these hitherto barren wombs. I will accept no thanks for this heavy chore, for it is but my holy vocation to atone for the unconceived babies I slew. It is my sincere hope that the females of Notre Dame, and later, of St. Mary’s, will find it in their hearts to accept this extraordinary task, laid upon each one of us by the Lord in Heaven; and that my fellow male students will also do their part to stamp out the scourge of abstinence from our fair campus.

Brooks Smith is a math major and a member of the Class of 2011. Hecan be reached at bsmith26@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.