Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
E-Mail: Enter 'Beacon' in subject box. Send to: Minnekota@Referencedesk.org
During the three weeks I was in the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa, the South Dakota abortion ban received as much news play there as the performances of the U. of Illinois Fighting Illini and the U. of Iowa Hawkeyes. The attitude around the basketball teams was hopeful. The attitude surrounding South Dakota's abortion ban was puzzled.
Abortion is not high on the list of political priorities in other places. The war on Iraq tops the list of concerns. Jobs and education rank up there with the war. People acquainted with South Dakota generally reflected the attitude that South Dakota has misplaced priorities. They think that if the state was really interested in human life, it would address the problems confronting so many of its living residents who have left the birth canal.
It has occured to me multiple times that the veneration of George Bush and the obsession with abortion are old cults revived from the Dark Ages. On my drive back yesterday, I had to stop at Jefferson to refuel. As I stood by the gas pumps, I could see a spire from an attractive church in the town. When I finished fueling, I drove for a look at the church. (A scholarly interest is the role that churches played in the American frontier.) The church is St. Peter's, and it has a graveyard behind it right on the town's main street. What was disconcerting was a memorial erected in front of the church by the Knights of Columbus. It was dedicated to all those souls whose lives were taken by abortion. It was like a war memorial.
All I could think of was the Wounded Knee memorial and the response that the words "Knights of Columbus" evoke on the reservations. Abortion is a distraction from some deeper moral issues.
One of the things that spurred the Reformation was a reaction by many Christians, clergy and lay people alike, to the cult of Mariolatry. In the cult, the Virgin Mary was elevated to the position of a deity, and the cult displaced the words of Christ and his teachings. Some theologians who repudiated the cult thought it was blasphemy.
The abortion issue has resolved itself into a cult. It is the cult of Zygotolatry. People phantasize that allowing zygotes to develop into embryoes and fetuses gives such believers moral stature. Their phantasies allow them to ignore the history of death and discrimination and oppression that is a part of life for many in South Dakota. It allows them to assume virtuous postures while they push many citizens of the the state back into the feudal social and political conditions of the Dark Ages.
Is that Paris Hilton lurking in Da Vinci's "The Last Supper"?