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Note: For our European readers, here in Quebec, "soccer" is what you call "football". In Quebec, the word "football" brings to mind huge guys in quasi-medieval armor who pick up the ball with their hands and run into each other at full speed (in other words, "American football").
Good evening girls and boys (and also good evening to your parents, of course!)
Welcome to the Quebec City LifeWeek Conference 2007!
My name is [Speaker's Name], and tonight I will try to talk about a very difficult topic: abortion. I almost wish the topic of my presentation was soccer! It would be much easier! It's a lot of fun to look at pictures of soccer players making incredible moves, but it's no fun at all to look at pictures of aborted babies. It's easy to call your friends to invite them to play at the local soccer field, but it's hard to invite them to come and listen to a speech on abortion. It feels good to kick the ball around with your teammates, but it makes you feel sick in the stomach to think that right now, over one third of your teammates are not even there with you, because they were killed in their mother's womb...
Is this true? Is abortion really bad? Should we worry about this problem, or is this just some mistake on the part of Christians who don't understand women's rights? I will now try to answer a few of these questions.
In a way, abortion is a lot like soccer. If you don't know what a soccer ball is, or if you think a soccer net is something used to catch "soccer fish", you can't have an intelligent conversation about soccer! It's the same for abortion: we have to first find out what an abortion is, before we start asking ourselves whether abortion is good or bad.
In a way, an abortion is a bit like having your tonsils or your appendix removed, or a tooth pulled out. You go to the hospital, a doctor does something which involves a bit of blood and a bit of pain, and then something gets thrown in a garbage can, and you go home and maybe eat ice cream to feel better.
As you can imagine, the part people disagree on is the "something" that gets thrown in the garbage can. If that "something" is just a clump of human tissue, like an infected tonsil or appendix, or a tooth with a big cavity in it, there is nothing wrong with cutting it out of your body and throwing it in a garbage can. It's the same thing with socks you wear to play soccer, when they are worn out and full of holes: they are now useless, so you just throw them away.
This is important, so I will repeat myself. Everybody agrees that if an abortion is just removing a useless clump of human tissue, then there is nothing wrong with abortion! Indeed, if that is the case, not only are abortions tolerable, they are positively good! If an abortion is removing some clump of tissue that can harm us, people who get abortions should be happy, and doctors who perform abortions should be proud, and the Government should pay for abortions with my taxes.
But is the "something", thrown in the garbage can, really only a clump of human tissue?
In order to find out whether abortion is good and honorable, or if on the contrary, an abortion kills an innocent human person, we have to explore what a human person is. In order to do this, we will perform a dangerous and audacious scientific experiment, right here in this conference hall.
First, bow your head down a bit... Second, grab your head with your hands, just as if your head was a soccer ball... Third, close your eyes... (No peeking now! Well, I can peek, because I have to read my speech!) Fourth, think silently...
Think about how amazing it is to be a person! Right now, you exist. Of course, you exist as a body (you can still feel your soccer ball, I mean your head, between your hands). But you have another kind of existence: existence as a person. It is difficult to explain this with words, but let's try (just don't open your eyes yet). Not only do you hear me talking, but you can also "hear the you inside you". Maybe while you are listening to me, you are also thinking that it feels weird to close your eyes during a conference, or maybe you are thinking that it's funny to hold your head like a soccer ball! But in any case, you are thinking.
Not only can you think, but you can also act. For example, you can decide to open your eyes and let go of your head. (Yes, you can do that now. Go ahead and open your eyes.) Who decided to open your eyes? It was this mysterious "you". This is just as amazing as your ability to think. You can decide to do something, without anything or anybody making you do it, except the "you" inside you. A soccer ball is not like that. A soccer ball only moves if you kick it. The soccer ball cannot "kick itself"! But you can "kick yourself"! You can be sitting there, in the middle of a soccer field, enjoying the sunshine, and suddenly remember that your Mother is very tired because she has a cold. So you decide to get up and run home to help her make supper. In other words, you have what is called "free will".
So what is a person? A person is not a "something" like a pair of cleated soccer shoes or the whistle of a referee. A person is not a dog or a cat (after all, you don't see any dogs or cats sitting in this room, carefully listening to my conference while holding their heads in their paws!). A person is a "somebody". A person has intelligence and will. Your intelligence lets you think, and your will lets you act freely. This is why you are a person. This is why you are not just a clump of human tissue.
How come we are persons, and things like referee whistles and dogs are not persons? What is it that makes us different? Is it because we have a body? No, dogs and cats have bodies, and a whistle is a bodily object. Is it because we have brains? No, dogs and cats have brains, but they are not persons. We are persons because we have a spiritual soul, created in the image and likeness of God. If we didn't have a spiritual soul, we could not have intelligence and free will. We would be running around barking or meowing, or eating bananas like monkeys. We would not be sitting here listening to a conference on abortion and soccer.
Why do we say our soul is "created in the image of God"? Think about how you would make something in the image of something else. Suppose you wanted to make something in the image of a soccer ball. You could take many, many black and white Lego blocks, and build something roughly like a ball. Or you could take some mashed potatoes and shape them like a ball (but don't do this during supper, your Father won't approve). Now, how would you make something in the image of a person? That is not easy! Could you shape a lot of mashed potatoes to make them look like a person? Well, you could make something that would look like the body of a human person. But you could never make mashed potatoes look like the intelligence and will of a person.
God is a personal being. God has intelligence and will (actually, to speak more precisely, God is infinite Intelligence, and God is infinite Will, and infinite Love, and infinite Goodness, and so on). God wants to love persons, and God wants to be loved by persons. It is a bit like your parents. Before you existed, your parents wanted to love you. So your parents decided to collaborate with God to make you. God is called the "Creator", and your parents are your "pro-creators", because God creates your spiritual soul, and your parents give you your body. Maybe your hair is the same color as your Mother's hair, or maybe you have the nose of your Father, but one thing is certain: your intelligence and your will come from God. You have a great dignity, because your spiritual soul is made in the image and likeness of God.
At the beginning of this presentation, I asked the question: What is the "something" that is thrown in a garbage can, after an abortion? Is it really only a clump of human tissue, or is it a human person, like you and me?
Let's think about it. Let's put our heads in our hands again, and think about what it means to be a person. Are you a person now? Come on, kids, you can answer all together! Are you a person now? Yes, of course! You have a spiritual soul, and you know that, because you can think and you can will. But what if you didn't have any hands? You would not be able to hold your head like a soccer ball, but you would still be a person, right? Right, of course! Now what if you had five legs instead of two? Wow! You would be the best player on your soccer team! But you would still only have one spiritual soul that made you a person. Now, what if your brain stopped working temporarily, for example if you had to go to the hospital for an operation, and they gave you something called an "anaesthetic"? Would you still have a spiritual soul while you were under anaesthetic? Yes. It's a bit as if your spiritual soul was still there, but "on the sideline", waiting for its "turn to go back and play on the soccer field".
The more we think about how human persons begin to exist, the more mysterious and wonderful it becomes. When your Father and your Mother decided to procreate you, your Father gave half the seed, and your Mother gave the other half. Then, the two halves were kind of "glued together". Starting right from that moment, called "conception", something started to build your body into what it is today. Nobody explained to that seed how to build your body. Is it possible that God gave you your spiritual soul, starting right from the moment of conception? Yes. Intelligence and free will don't take up any physical space. You need your brain to think, and you need your legs to run, but as soon as God creates your spiritual soul while uniting it to your body, you exist as a human person. Your soul will need some time to build you a brain, and some arms, and legs, and so on, but you will start to have human dignity, as soon as your spiritual soul starts to exist.
In other words, we have very good reasons to think that every abortion kills a human person, not just a clump of tissue.
Maybe you've organized a game of soccer once already. You know there are rules, for example that your dog cannot be a player! Also, if the other side tries to put one of the fathers on their team, that would be cheating if, for example, it was a game for 7 to 10 year-old girls. But there are other ways to cheat. For example, if the captain of your team refused to let you play, because he said you were ugly.
Soccer games are like real societies. In a real society, like Canada for example, there a rules. Most of these rules are good. A soccer ball cannot be a Canadian citizen, and neither can a dog. To be a Canadian citizen, you have to be a human person, just like you and me, and just like your parents.
Now imagine if Canada had a bad soccer captain. Imagine if Canada had a bad rule to decide who could be on the team. Something like: "If you are a bit ugly, you can never be a Canadian citizen, because your are not even a human person! And since you are not a human person, we can throw you in the garbage can!" Of course, such a rule would be very cruel and evil!
This is the part of my presentation where I say some things that are really, really sad. This is the part of my presentation where I can't try to talk about soccer, to make things easier for you and me. Even if I did try to talk about soccer, I would have to say that this is the part where we run as fast as we can, right into a concrete wall...
Right now, right here in Canada, anybody can kill any unborn baby for any reason, from conception up to birth. If some parents find out that their unborn baby has no hands, they can just kill it. If some parents find out that their unborn baby is a girl, and they wanted a boy, they can kill it. If some parents like to make babies, but don't like to raise children, they can make all the babies they want, and kill them all before they are born. This is the Law in Canada as we speak.
Today, right here in Canada, about three hundred unborn babies were killed by abortion. Three hundred human persons, with a spiritual soul, were taken out of their mother's womb, and thrown in the garbage can. There are eleven players on a typical soccer team, so that means about twenty-seven soccer teams were killed today, right here in Canada. Tomorrow, another twenty-seven soccer teams will be killed. And again after tomorrow...
Maybe now you understand why I said it was like running full speed into a concrete wall. Obviously, Canada currently has some bad "soccer captains". Something needs to be fixed in our rules of the game. But what can we do?
A good start is to pray. Pray for the unborn children that are killed, so God may receive them in Heaven. Pray for the mothers who get abortions, because often those women suffer a lot too. Many mothers get an abortion just because they are given bad advice by some very misinformed people. Pray also for our country, because Canada needs some good "soccer captains" who will make the rules better. Many of those "captains" are politicians, like the Prime Minister and the Members of Parliament. But some of those "captains" are the Priests and Pastors of our churches. We have to pray for them too, so they will have the courage to speak out for the unborn children. Our Priests and Pastors must educate all Christians about the importance of defending the right to life of all innocent human persons, from conception to natural death.
If you are a bit older, you can also talk to your schoolmates about how bad abortion is. If you hear about a poor girl who is pregnant and who is afraid, please encourage her. Tell her there are many good people who can help her. If she is too afraid to keep her baby, explain to her that there are many good families who will be happy to adopt her baby and take good care of it.
Finally, sooner or later, you will come across somebody who claims abortion is a good thing. Those are the human persons for which you have to pray the hardest. Often, those persons have shown God the red card, and thrown Him out of their lives. They are now like a soccer player trying to play alone in the dark, without a soccer ball, just running around like crazy...
And remember, next time you see a pregnant mother with a big belly, that's not a soccer ball hiding under her dress! It is a human person, created in the image and likeness of God.
I thank you kindly for your attention.
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