Should there be some ordinance, or at least a respect, that prevents us from being subjected to such pictures? Do we have the right not to be confronted with hot-button issues?
The right to not have to see graphic images, found in the same article of the Constitution as the right to privacy and separation of church and state, is one treasured by a number of individuals. It is a good thing we can forfeit this right when convenient, or else it would be difficult for these individuals to partake of R-rated movies and M-rated video games.
Why is this right tied so closely to the right to privacy and the separation of church of state? Besides the first two being nonexistent as the third is, figments of creative legislation from the bench, they are also used to justify the same thing.
The right to privacy makes it legal for a couple to choose to use abortifacient birth control; it also gives a mother the sole control over the life or death of her unborn child. The separation of church and state is justification to pro-choice proponents who believe, as backed up by Secular Pro-Life, Pro-Life Humanists, and other non-religious pro-life groups, that abortion is opposed solely on religious grounds; hence abortion must not be abated or halted because Christians happen to be against it.
In a similar way, the right not to be confronted with photos of abortion’s aftermath are opposed; the first amendment should and must be compromised for our personal comfort.
During World War II, there were doubtless German citizens who were made aware of the atrocities in concentration camps, and said, “I don’t want to see that. It doesn’t directly affect me, and I shouldn’t have my day interrupted by such problems.”
Doubtless during the 1960s, there were people who saw the police brutality on blacks broadcasted on the news, and thought they shouldn’t have to see it.
The citizens in Turkey probably said the same thing when confronted with the Armenian Genocide.
When we turn on the TV and see starving children or abused animals, do we say, “I have a right not to see that”? Probably some do. But many understand the purpose- until we see the problem, until faces are put to the numbers, we don’t fully understand the suffering and the need for it to stop.
Hence the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Hence the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia. Hence the Tsitsernakaberd memorial in Yerevan, Armenia, and the like museums being built in national capitals across the world. In these museums, we find photos of the atrocities that happened. So we better understand them. So we don’t forget them. So they won’t happen.
This is why Martin Luther King, Jr. made sure brutal attacks on black people made it to television, newspapers, and magazines. He stated, "America will never reject racism until America sees racism." His niece, Alveda King, coined the quote by saying, "America will never reject abortion until America sees abortion."
We can charade all we want and say that presenting facts is enough. Facts are vital, but facts will not make you stop like a startling picture will. We can hear all the facts we want, but until we see what they mean, what the result is, they may never sink in. Or at least not move us to act. And that goes for anything.
Those who say, “I shouldn’t have to have my day interrupted with pictures of dead babies”, are often the epitome of hypocrisy. Those who are pro-choice and say this, tell us, “Yeah it looks like a baby, but I think it should be allowed. I just don’t want to see it.”
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see graphic images either. Some are unnecessary. But some are most necessary. The very fact that we turn away from it is our God-given consciences telling us there is something wrong with it.
But instead of saying, “There is something wrong with that, and I’m going to do something about it,” we say, “There is something wrong with you showing me that, and I’m going to do something about it.” We lash out at the messenger rather than receive the message. We are angry about being confronted with abortion rather than being angry with abortion itself.
What is the problem? If a fetus is an inferior being, or not alive at all, as pro-choice advocates claim, why is there something wrong with seeing the images? We’re just showing you a clump of dead cells. A surgical procedure.
But something inside says that is wrong, says we don’t want to see that. But the action itself will attempt to be justified.
Dare I say that, when a genocide is happening, we do not have the right to go about our daily lives as if nothing is happening? I dare to say it.
There were three groups of German citizens during the Holocaust. There were those who knew what was going on and refused to do anything. There were those who were not informed, through choice or not. And there were those who were aware of the horrors and did what they could to stop it, because it was wrong and they knew it. The Resistance.
When the Resistance tries to warn you that there are atrocities, you have the right to turn away, remaining willfully ignorant of what is going on. You can even become outraged with them. God will judge all our actions in the end.
But don’t ruin it for those who will have the character to stand up and stand out. There are many, and they are many in disregard of what you choose to believe, whose eyes will be opened for the first time to such evil. They will look, they will reason, and they will choose to believe it is wrong. At least their hearts will be pricked. Some will even ask what they can do to prevent it. Because our consciences tell us that that dismembered fetus on the board isn’t just tissue. It is as human as us.
Just like the Armenians. Just like the Jews. Just like the blacks.
Some of us don’t want to be ignorant.