AT LARGE | With abortion, non-threatening words describe horrific actions

Killed.

There, got your attention.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson used this stark word with great impact in his homily at the Mass for Peace and Justice on Aug. 9, the one-year anniversary of Ferguson.

He used the killing of Jesus as his first example of forgiveness.

"... when He forgives those who killed Him."

That certainly got people's attention, and right off the hop, too. If Archbishop Carlson had used "crucified," the impact wouldn't have been as great.

Crucify, crucifying, crucifixion, each loses its meaning after we hear it a million times. But no matter how many times we hear it, "killed" makes the ears perk up and made the archbishop's message of forgiveness more meaningful.

Jesus forgave the people who killed him?! Wow! If He did that, I can forgive anything and anyone.

"He forgives those who crucif ... " Eyes glaze over.

A good homilist does this all the time. He starts with impactful language so folks pay attention, or he tells a funny story to connect with the congregation, then delivers the message.

But this isn't about a good homilist; it's about the word "killed" and how it applies to not only the event more than 2,000 years ago but also events today.

In the current P.C. climate, we often use soft words to nicely talk about horrific things, like we're worried about hurting someone's feelings -- i.e. euthanasia, assisted-suicide, abortion, to name just a few.

People in favor of those things, let them use those words. We should call them what they are -- killing.

• Euthanasia: Nothing more than killing old people and the terminally ill. Sure, death stops pain, but why else do others want to kill them? To save on health care (state funds, insurance company's money or their own)? To ease the burden on themselves and get it over with, to start the grieving process now instead of at an unknown time in the future? That's what it comes down to, isn't it?

• Assisted-suicide: Let's have medical personnel serve as assistants to help people who have decided it's their right to die. Please. Someone wants to kill him/herself and wants help doing it.

• Abortion: As driven home by the videos about "Planned Parenthood," abortion is nothing more than killing babies. It's always been this; it's just that more people really understand now.

The "pro-choice" crowd uses non-threatening language such as "choice," "decision" and "fetal tissue" to describe atrocities performed in the name of "health care." None of those words seems so bad; neither does "planned" nor "parenthood." (Natural Family Planning is smartly planning for parenthood, without the killing.)

Who're they trying to kid? The "choice" or "decision" is whether to kill the baby or not. Bottom line.

Gruesome photographs of the killings have helped sway opinions in four-plus decades since Roe vs. Wade. The pictures have been called gross, graphic or harsh, gut-wrenching images to evoke emotional responses. Well, yeah. But while the images have helped change the hearts of some, they have offended others, which renders the message as secondary to the offending image.

Ironically, language used by people in the recent videos, not just the videos themselves, have swayed public opinion. Captured on video talking matter-of-factly about horrific things, the people don't use nebulous terms such as "fetal tissue" or "clumps of cells;" they use words that apply to everyone -- heads, brains, hearts.

These are body parts ... of babies who have been killed.

Luecking is a reporter for the St. Louis Review.

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