Monday, January 28, 2013

What's the big deal about Caylee Anthony?

Last week marked the fortieth anniversary of Roe v Wade. 

As an unwanted pregnancy who developed into an illegitimate child, who was then adopted, I've always been thankful that abortion was not legal until three years after my birth. 

This seems a fitting time to rerun the hands-down most controversial, most vilified blog post I've ever written. I still stand by every word of it. 

From 7-19-11



I didn't watch too much of the Casey Anthony trial. I caught up on the highlights every couple of days, that's about it. Despite the fact that I am sure she killed her daughter, I speculated she would not be convicted. There just wasn't enough physical evidence.

The 'crimes' that convinced me, and probably you, that Casey Anthony killed her baby girl somehow, someway, just weren't prosecutable under Florida law. It's not illegal to not report your child missing for thirty days. It's not illegal to go out partying while an invisible nanny fails to return her. It's not illegal to post photos of yourself in wet t-shirts on your facebook page while the child you carried in your womb decomposes in a humid swamp.

We all know she did it because we know that normal mothers never lose sight of their children for more than thirty seconds without having panic attacks - possibly not even Casey. So she must have known exactly where she was to be so relaxed. Casey wasn't worried about her daughter because her daughter was already dead.

Since the truth has not been and will probably never be revealed, the reasons as to why Casey did it remain concealed. But we all have our suspicions. Little Caylee was probably murdered because babies are incredibly, incredibly inconvenient.

And this alone is what has shocked the conscious of our nation as a whole: the idea that a mother could dirty dance at a costume party while everyone else who loved Caylee was frantic with worry. The idea that a mother could somehow, some way just get rid of the child that got in the way of her freedom, then carry on like she never existed. Conservative or liberal, right wing, left wing, Christian, atheist: our nation is unified in its mutual disgust.

Except for me.
I'm just confused.

Because if Casey Anthony had decided that a baby was inconvenient to her lifestyle just a couple of years earlier, made an appointment, paid a doctor several hundred dollars to kill her daughter, then gotten up the next night, put on her sexiest outfit, and danced and drank away the night and posted photos of it on facebook, stating that she had 'no regrets', the majority of Americans would not bat an eye. Many, in fact, would applaud her, and call her strong, resilient, an amazing woman.

At age two, Caylee Anthony's death was nothing more than an extremely late-term abortion.

So, I want to ask those in the media, the many vocal celebrities, the average person on the street who express such disdain, why does this bother you so much?

'She didn't want to be a mom at this stage in her life, so she got rid of it.
She's actually a very good problem solver. 
It was a private decision.
I mean, I could never do it myself, but I don't feel like it's my right to force anyone to be a mother if she doesn't feel she's ready.
It's really none of my business.
What other women do with their own bodies - and the bodies of the children they shouldn't be forced to carry - is their personal right.'

Can someone just tell me what's the big deal?

I imagine that they would say it was because Caylee was a human being, and didn't deserve to die like that. Okay, so, tell me what makes a human being so special? Why are we humans more deserving of life than the poor but tasty pig that I had for lunch today?

Christians have an answer for this one: it is because humans, as opposed to other creatures, are made in the image and likeness of God. 

And I think this is one area where all people who consider themselves in any way spiritual agree. Christians call this "imago dei"; many other religions believe that there is a 'divine spark' in all humans. The finer details will differ, but at least we have some sort of common ground on this. So, agreed:

Humans should not be murdered because we believe that God's fingerprints dance all over our very being. Caylee should not have been murdered and subsequently disposed like garbage because she was made in the very image of God.

But how exactly did Caylee reflect God? Is God three feet tall with light brown hair and big brown eyes? Does he even have eyes? Or hair? And if he does, isn't it long and white to match his long white beard?

Question 9 of the catechism that we teach our children answers this for us: No. "God is a spirit and he has not a body like men." Or little girls.

Which means, I have no idea what he looks like, I just know that he doesn't look anything like me, or Caylee, because both of us indeed have - had - a body.

Therefore, if I am a reflection of him, it must not be in my physical arms and legs and belly button and eyebrow form. It must have to do with that spirit side of it. God is a SPIRIT. I am a SPIRIT. I am made in his image SPIRITUALLY, not physically.

Which means my body really has nothing to do with it. I was made in his image when I was an adorable two year old; an awkward twelve year old; a skinny 20 year old; and even now as a saggy 41 year old. If I live to be an even saggier 90 year old, I will still be reflecting his image. 

I was made in his image when I was two weeks old. And two weeks before that. And two months before that. And seven months before that. I was made in his image as an embryo - because it was my spirit that was formed at conception, in addition to my body. My spirit that transcends my body. And my spirit reflects his spirit.

Caylee's spirit reflected God's spirit.

Caylee Anthony reflected the image of God from the moment of her conception. But if her mother had chosen to kill her just a few months before, she would have never, ever been arrested, never been prosecuted, never been tweeted about, never filled the internet, never been on TV, we'd have never have even heard her name.

It doesn't seem logical to me that a different date on the calendar should make such a big difference regarding our ideals of acceptability and justice and maternal love and all that.

So y'all, come on now - what's the big deal??





If you think I'm the crazy alarmist right-wing Christian, I invite you to read this article from the very secular Journal of Medical Ethics: Ethicists Argue in Favor of "After-Birth Abortions" as Newborns 'Are Not Persons'








32 comments:

  1. Thought this post was amazingly, unbearably spot-on the first time...and sadly, it still is. Thank you.

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  2. A friend who shared this post on FB is how I found your blog. So terribly right you are. Thank you for being bold enough to say it as it is.

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  3. I have been pro-choice for my entire adult life, and will likely continue to be pro-choice. However, I am a big fan of seeing all sides of an issues, contemplating it, and making my own decisions about it. This post offers a side that I had not considered, and I thank you for challenging me to think differently about this issue.

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    1. Your comments are the types that make my day Jill. Thank you.

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  4. And still one of my favorite post I've ever read- so incredibly honest. And my husband and I happened to have almost the same conversation before ever finding your blog...Caylee and our oldest were born about twelve days apart and we think about her from time to time when our now big girl reaches certain milestones.

    Keep on telling the truth!

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  5. I have read your blog for a long time and have never commented. This post however has such a beautiful truth (the explanation of our being made in the image of God) and such a gut-wrenching truth (we do not value human life, plain and simple). Beautifully written and so overwhelmingly thought-provoking.

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  6. You can view an abortion online. At any stage in the baby's development. Very sad and gruesome, just like Casey's death, and yet...

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  7. You have expressed my evolving thoughts and feelings on this topic (that I have been unable to express properly) beautifully. I am thankful that you decided to post this again, as I missed it the first time around. On another note...I really love your writing style. It makes me smile, laugh, cry and angry at times. Your blog is bold and purposeful, and I am very glad I am able to read it regularly!

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  8. About two years ago in my state, there was a case where a man killed several cats (about 12 of them), and received 10 years in prison. At about that same time, a parent concealed the birth of/abandoned a newborn and it died, and received a two-year sentence. You're exactly right -- we simply have stopped valuing human life as something special or worth saving, even when the child is already born.

    I remember that journal article -- horrifying, horrifying, horrifying. Come, Lord Jesus.

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  9. This post pierces my heart every time I read it. Thank you, Missy.

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  10. This is so well written. Thank you for sharing again.

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  11. I wrote about the anniversary of Roe V Wade and called the B word on my blog.

    We have lost our way and refuse to see as a society.

    Very well written, thanks for sharing. . I can only imagine the hate mail.

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  12. I have never thought or heard that perspective before. Thank you! Well written and well thought out.

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  13. And every day 19,000 little ones, under the age of five, die from preventable causes. If it's preventable, and no one prevents it... where does that leave us?

    Sandy

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  14. I peek in on your blog from time to time and read. While I do not always agreewith your posts I respect and admire the clarity with which you write and express your opinions. And reading your posts makes me consider things from a different perspective.

    However this post hit a very sensitive nerve within me and I am teary eyed right now. From the moment I read the title of your post my heart sank and I got both sad and angry. Caylee was a real, breathing human being created in God´s image. She was someone that suffered a terrible fate which no child deserves ever.

    And what is the big deal? A child was murdered. A life was taken away. That is never okay, never, no matter what. Caylee was a real child, not just an image or an imaginary being. And that is the part that saddens me the most, that a child´s life was taken away so unjustly. So I understand the outrage.

    I do not agree with your post but I thank you for writing it and challening people to think differently.

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  15. Anna, Missy's post is written tongue-in-cheek to highlight our country's callousness toward the horrors of abortion, not to make light of a little girl's murder. Maybe give it another read...

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    1. How can you be tongue-in-cheek without making light of something? Here is an exact analogy of this post:
      "My neighbour's daughter was hit by a car and killed yesterday. Everyone is rallying around to support her family, but what's the big deal? Hundreds of children are killed in gun violence every year. Who cares if they catch the driver who killed my neighbour's little girl, the real issue is gun control."
      See why it's callous?

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    2. I'm not being tongue in cheek. I'm being hyperbolic to make the point that puncturing the skull of an infant, then dismembering the boxy, then sucking the body piece by piece of a baby girl or boy and then disposing of that precious body as 'medical waste' is just as disgusting, just as vile, just as murderous, just as heartbreaking, and just as shocking as what happened to Caylee. Yet it happens to millions of children every damn day only because they were still in what should be the safest place in the world, their mother's womb.

      Why do you refuse to acknowledge this, Sophelia?

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    3. Because I don't understand how you can equate a zygote or embryo with a child. My dog is more of a person than a zygote is.

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    4. As I said, it grieves me to see such a hardened heart with so low value for human life that you would place an unborn baby below a dog. Lord have mercy on your soul.



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  16. Amen and amen. The truth is not always pretty, but it is always the truth. God bless.

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  17. I'm going to stretch this discussion a bit. All these sentiments are good and true. But let's not forget what should be
    supported for children AFTER birth. Please consider the benefit of Obamacare to children. Millions of children previously without good--CONSISTENT--health care will now have it. Occasional visits to emergency rooms do not constitute proper health care. That alone should make everyone a supporter of the new health plan.











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  18. I suspect (hope) that this post was written as some kind of a metaphor to describe how our country feels about abortion, but unfortunately I don't think that your writing skills are strong enough to have made that clear.
    I had really been enjoying your blog, until yesterday. I'm an atheist, and I really appreciated the way that you talk about your religion without shoving it down our throats - until this, of course. Now I see you as no different that the radical members of any religion who refuse to accept that there are any valid opinions that might differ from theirs.
    How could you write things like this about a child? What's the big deal? She was murdered and left to rot in a field, that's the big deal. I suspect you'd feel pretty differently about abortion vs. the murder of a child if god forbid one of your own children were to get sick and die or to be killed in a car accident. Try to compare that to having a miscarriage. It's not the same thing. I think you've really done yourself and your beliefs a huge disservice with this post. I'm sure you don't care, since I don't believe what you believe, but you've lost a reader here.

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    1. It's called hyperbole, Rachel. I'm sorry you completely missed the point of the post.

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  19. I think your point was crystal clear when you wrote this and is obviously continuing to challenge people's hearts today. The lies of this world are so difficult to reconcile with the pure light of Truth.

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    1. Missy's point was absolutely crystal clear. Very thought provoking. Can't wait to discuss it with some of my friends.

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  20. Here's the thing: a women with an unwanted pregnancy can't just pull out the zygote or embryo and give it to someone else to incubate. If she could, I doubt we'd still be discussing abortion.
    You write as though the idea that life begins at conception is some sort of universal religious value, when in fact it is completely modern. Judaism is explicit that life does not begin at birth. Medieval theologians described the idea as ridiculous. Neither Catholics nor Protestants held that life begins at conception until the nineteenth century. If you believe that from the moment of conception a fertilised egg has a soul or spirit or whatever term you use, you get left with some puzzling conundrums. When a fertilised egg later splits into identical twins, which one keep the soul? Or do twins share a single sole? What about chimeric pregnancies, when two fertilised eggs merge to produce a single body? Do those people have two souls?
    The idea that a cluster of parasitic cells is exactly the same as a two year old child is bizarre, and using the name and details of someone else's beloved family member to make a lurid political point is downright disgusting.

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    1. "Judaism is explicit that life does not begin at birth." Maybe you haven't read the Old Testament in awhile, but this scripture disputes your statement about Judaism.
      The verses are from Psalm 139:13-16
      13 For you created my inmost being;
      you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
      14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
      your works are wonderful,
      I know that full well.
      15 My frame was not hidden from you
      when I was made in the secret place,
      when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
      16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
      all the days ordained for me were written in your book
      before one of them came to be.

      Clearly the writer.... a Jew...believed that God saw him as a person WHILE he was in his mother's womb.

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    3. You can read more at
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism_and_abortion or directly from a Rabbi at
      http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_birthcontrolabortion.htm

      St. Anselm wrote "No human intellect accepts the view that an infant has a rational soul from the moment of conception."

      Abortion until the moment of quickening was legal in early America, and was not banned until the late 1800s when the medical establishment and prominent political leaders became concerned that the declining birth rate among Protestants meant the country was at risk of pending political takeover by prolific Catholic immigrants.

      In 1968 an evangelical gathering hosted by leading evangelical publication Christianity Today called for the legality of abortion and in 1971 the Southern Baptist Convention formally called for abortion laws to be loosened so as to allow for abortion in the case of rape, incest, fetal deformity, and emotional, mental, or physical duress of the mother.

      (From Jonathan Dudley’s "Broken Words".)

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    4. It makes no difference to me what 'some people' said. If I had a nickle for every time I've disagreed with a Catholic or a Baptist I'd be rich by now. And a Jew, for that matter.

      I'll take what the bible has to say over it. There are countless biblical arguments, but the fact that John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother's womb when Mary approached him is plenty for me.

      Sophelia, if you're wrong, and you are, you are defending the murder of innocents. That's on your soul and your conscience. So if you want to take that risk, that's your choice.

      It grieves me to see a heart so hardened.

      Please feel free not to come to my blog anymore. I've never even heard of you before, and you come over here and leave all kinds of comments trying to argue that killing an unborn baby is not only okay but somehow fine with God. You're not going to convince anyone of that.

      There are plenty of blogs that thrive on arguing abortion. Since that is what you long to do, please go find one. This is a life-affirming, pro-adoption, anti-abortion blog. If you want to come here to learn and discuss with grace, that's awesome. But you're not doing that.

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  21. I love love love this post. It's thought-provoking and beautifully written. I feel sad for the people who don't get it.

    On a lighter note, I also feel sad that you moved away from Houston. I live there and always hoped I'd spontaneously run into you so I could tell you how much I love everything you write and we'd be besties. I love your authenticity and wit!

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