French president Emmanuel Macron, recently decided to stupefy me.
That’s a good word – stupefy. It’s on my son’s vocabulary list for the week. It means “to make someone unable to think or feel properly.”
President Macron was speaking on the issue of African population and said, “I always say: ‘Please present me the lady who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight, nine children.’”
He stupefied me.
I’m sure he kind of meant something other than what he said. But, you know, when you’re the president of a major country your speeches should be a bit more deliberate if you don’t want to stupefy me.
Because, whatever he may have thought he was saying, what he did say is that no perfectly educated woman would choose to have a large family. Thus, only stupid women have large families?
Now, I is no perfectly educated woman, but I’s not dumb enough to mistake a stupefaction for a good, old-fashioned tizzy-throw. (from throw-a-tizzy: to enter a nervous, confused, or excited state.)
In response to Macron’s pronouncement, a movement of large-family parents took to Twitter with the hashtag #PostcardsforMacron, sending the president photos of beautiful, large families and their educated mothers.
I was moved as I scrolled through some of the photos tweeted. Families with their children, some with four, others with 11, let him know that their openness to life was a choice that gave them more joy and fulfillment than the degrees on their walls.
Husbands boasted of their wives’ careers, but more-so of their beautiful families. The smiles on their faces spoke for themselves. I soon discovered that I had been scrolling and just enjoying these strangers’ family pictures, without any thought of Macron.
So, unwittingly, Macron’s ugly comments opened a doorway for large families to celebrate the life of their children. But they shouldn’t need doorways to celebrate. I don’t want to exaggerate, because many people congratulate Scott and I on our six kids, but sometimes there is that feeling that we need to defend ourselves, apologize, or prove that we were educated enough to know what we were doing.
The fact is human life in general is increasingly being seen as a burden on the planet. Every life, other than our own, needs to prove itself worthy of existence. A poor, farming child of Africa in bare feet? Better off aborted than thirsty. A “planned” only-child, free of blemish and gender stereotypes? Celebrated, and made a mascot for every trendy children’s clothing line.
As Catholics, we (should) know that each and every human life is a precious, unrepeatable gift of God, made with a unique purpose and an eternal soul. Every one of my six children, as livid as they may make me on any given day (livid: furiously angry), is only and always designed and chiselled out by the Hand of the Creator.
I have friends with one child in arms, and more up in heaven. Each of those lost children were also designed and chiselled out for eternity. Their lives also have purpose.
But until we are really and truly convicted of this fact we will go on looking at humans as being disposable, the waste products of the under-educated. And we, a rich, educated country, with access to medical care and clean water, will go on dismembering a hundred-thousand of our children every year with utter impunity (impunity: exemption from punishment, or consequence).
Now, my vocabulary list is still growing, but there is one thing that I am perfectly educated in: God’s perfect providence and sovereignty, and my frailty. But even without God, protecting human life should be the battle cry of every atheist pagan who claims to believe in science and human rights.
If you’re on Twitter, send a #PostcardforMacron with a picture of your beautiful, God-designed family. If you have one child, or a dozen, send a picture as a reminder to yourself, and to them, that they are worthy of life, celebration, and love – PhD or no PhD.