2008-12-12 / Letters

A Tribute

Dear Editor, In a few short weeks Christians across the Peninsula will be celebrating the birth of our "significant other." Today many here are grappling with our new President's view on conception and birth, rights to life and Roe v Wade. Also instructive was the recent horrific tragedy of Niasha De Lain, a young bank employee on Beach 116 Street who was butchered to death for choosing life.

The issues and their advocates confuse me.

Many young Americans aggressively seek to end capital punishment, yet far fewer seek to abolish abortion, but both human-rights issues are inextricably linked.

The argument against the death penalty goes that even the vilest perpetrator, irrespective of his horrible crimes, is first a human being and therefore subject to the same sanctity of human-life provisions as all Americans. Government, they note, must protect human life, not destroy it. The U.S., they say, is not a vindictive nation. We are founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Further, they point out, our founders were very troubled by and fearful of royal Europe's justice and sought a more clear-headed, fair and blind justice system with "juries of peers" and penalties without "cruel and unusual punishment."

Yet, the very proponents of these rightly held arguments are not prominent to protect the innocents, the unborn. Rather, they claim, the rights of the mother to choose hold paramount and her social, psychological and material interests supersede the future of the fetus.

These young enthusiasts for life and freedom say government has no right to broker the sanctity of human life, even in the name of protecting society, yet a pregnant woman does.

On October 25, young and pregnant De Lain paid the penultimate price for her heroic actions. Against convention, against her future and against her lover, she chose life. In bygone Celtic times, such an unassuming young woman who quietly, but adamantly defies authority would have been memorialized with song and word for decades, maybe centuries. Today, I'm fearful De Lain's memory will be lost by the time the ink dries on next week's Wave.

The baby Jesus was born into a barren, backroom surrounded by loving parents and visited by friends from close and afar, as Luke records. Maybe today, the Lifers, with our hospitals, can foster more barren backrooms suffused with warmth, care, attention, support and sustenance for those like De Lain who may be confused and scared, but who know and wish to do right.

Soon, I hope, the sanctity of human life will not only be sought behind the walls of Attica and Angola, but enthusiastically bolstered by America's youth and aged, arm-in-arm, throughout our lives.

PETE STUBBEN

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