Carmen Salayka, a Grade 12 student in St. Theresa of Lisieux, Richmond Hill, Ont. won third prize in the Fr. Ted Colleton Scholarship, co-sponsored by Niagara Region Right to Life and The Interim
Once upon a time, as young children, our parents read us fairy tales. We allowed our imaginations to unravel the plots as we immersed ourselves in the magical mysteries of wizards, princesses, genies, and potions. Danish author and poet, Hans Christian Andersen, was best known for his touching and imaginative fairy tales. One fable, which can be paralleled with complex issues in our society, is “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” One such issue is the matter of abortion rights. Peppered with various characters, similar to what we encounter in modern day life, the story weaves us through a cunning deception. So too does the “pro-choice” agenda in Canada deceive us.
Human life is a miracle. Strangely, we take it for granted; we forget that the heart of the unborn child begins to beat as early as three weeks. What is more indicative of life than a heartbeat? We have indisputable medical proof that life begins in the womb. Indeed, life beings even earlier, at the moment of conception.
Abortion, the deliberate termination of human pregnancy, conflicts with what it means to be a human being. Yet, modern society accepts a distorted view of life, allowing us to exploit it. “In the great city… it was always very merry,” said Hans Christian Andersen. The author leads us through the land of an Emperor, who also holds a distorted view of society. No matter the obvious, so long as the Emperor only sees what he wants, life will be merry. So too is our steadfast view, in Canada, of abortion rights. We dispute the science when it comes in conflict with what society wants to see, which is convenience and power over life, not life itself.
Many religions believe that a human being is much more. Christians see life as a unity of matter and spirit, made in the image and likeness of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church articulates: “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person.” Unfortunately, laws do not coincide with Church doctrine, and thus degrade human life to a mass of tissue, acceptable to abort. Anderson says in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” that “All the people in the city knew what peculiar power the stuff possessed.” When, like the Emperor’s cavaliers in the fable, we liken our laws to an empty loom devoid of conscience and medical fact, we adulterate our powers.
Abortion can be viewed as one aspect of the spiritual deterioration of society, as it cheapens humanity. Most “pro-choice” citizens, while still upholding a woman’s right to abort a pregnancy, still agree there should be limitations. In Canada, since abortion appears to exist in a limitless landscape, what we need is a forthright discussion about boundaries. Absent the discussion, we work like Andersen’s weavers: “And not a thread was put upon the loom; they continued to work at the empty frames as before.” It has become such a woeful abomination that even the head of a key political party has shut down any debate or thought on the subject. Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, has decided that no future candidate may run in his party, unless they are categorically “pro-choice.” This policy essentially shuts down even the most reasonable debate on the issue. Trudeau’s actions are undemocratic.
Many people feel constrained in decision-making and feel they have no free will. Trudeau, like the Emperor, stated, “I have made it clear that future candidates…will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills.” Seeing such abuse of power, no wonder people feel helpless and out of control; even our elected members of Parliament are unable to express views on such important topics. Similarly, in the fable, the officers were unable to state the obvious, that the Emperor was wearing no clothes. “Yes, it is enchanting”, exclaimed one of the character’s in Andersen’s tale. It is important to recognize that, no matter the external factors, we still have free will. The Bible reinforces this fact in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.”
The author once articulated: “Every man’s life is a fairy tale, written by God’s fingers.” This quotation provides context about Andersen’s writing. Early children’s stories were often used to disguise political viewpoints. Andersen’s belief in God guided his writing. His views of political blindness are expressed in this masterful literary work.
Like the two rogues who approached the Emperor, the “pro-choice” movement of today attempts to sway our view and play with our logic. They seduce us, appealing to our emotional desires, and weave us through an illusion of facts, no different than the rogue weavers leading the Emperor through a tapestry of imaginary colours and patterns. Our liberalized media stands like Andersen’s two chamberlains, ready to carry the Emperor’s train. The author embellishes: “Then they pretended to be holding something in the air.” Very often, the media slants and distorts statistics to favour a pro-choice, politically “correct” view.
In the story, it takes an innocent child to cite the truth that the Emperor was really naked and his cloak was just a ruse. All the townsfolk had a choice to see truth but were influenced by deception. The Holy Bible reminds us that only the innocent are subjected to full and absolute truth: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Just as our childhood fairy tales were viewed as mysterious and wonderful, they are still poignant to us as adults. As Hans Christian Andersen believed, each of us is a character in a fairy tale composed by God. Our societal stance on abortion, presently, is mirrored in deception. We need to be like the children we once were, sustaining our innocence, so we may grasp truth. Medical science will someday make obvious the truth about the life within the unborn child, such that the rights accorded to it will be unquestionable. For now, we observe the lunacy and witness the naked procession of the Emperor. “And so he held himself a little higher, and the chamberlains held on tighter than ever, and carried the train which did not exist at all.”