"Look, no one's for lynching," the speaker said to the citizens gathered around him in the town square. "Both sides can acknowledge that killing a black man is a bad thing. But can't we work together to work to eliminate the root causes of lynching, while still acknowledging that it is sometimes a necessity, and ought not to face a legal penalty?"
Most of us would immediately recognize such a speech as not just imprudent, but deeply evil. And yet, thirty-three years today after Roe v. Wade, we still hear such arguments about abortion. In today's New York Times, William Saletan calls for a "war we can all we can support." Saletan's compromise is not new. It calls for pro-lifers to abandon legal protections for the unborn while pro-choicers acknowledge that, "It's bad to kill a fetus."
And, of course, we know what Saletan would identify as "truly anti-abortion": support for the state's expansive sex-education, contraception, and "morning after" pills, coupled with the legal abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. "What we need is an explicit pro-choice war on the abortion rate, coupled with a political message that anyone who stands in the way, yammering about chastity or a 'culture of life,' is not just anti-choice, but pro-abortion."
What we are seeing here is the conscience the apostle Paul tells us about in Romans 2. The bald fact is that even in the most hardened abortion activist knows, in his heart of hearts, that it is "bad to kill a fetus." But we are also seeing the callous searing over over the conscience the apostle warns us about.
"So we're agreed?" the speaker asked. "Let's stop yammering about anti-lynching laws and a 'culture of life' and let's acknowledge that it's bad to kill a black man. Let's work together on poverty and education about the proper relationships between the races. And in the meantime let's work to maintain a more careful segregation, so we don't have black men alone with white women, which is the most often cause of lynching in our community."
And no one seemed to notice the corpse swinging in the tree above the town square.