Catherine Parish: There is only one answer

14 May 2008

By The Record

The strangest things crystallise one’s ideas when mulling over what to write in these columns.

I took my five-year-old to see Horton Hears a Who on the same day as I later read a most momentous story. 
There, tucked away at the bottom of page 17 of The West Australian on May 7 was the brief report of the defeat of the State Government’s proposed therapeutic cloning laws in Parliament. 
What a signal victory for those who respect life; what an enormous credit to those courageous State parliamentarians who have consistently voted against such laws and have achieved such a success.
What a great boost for our faithful right to life campaigners who have never flagged in their courage, facing unpopularity, abuse, ridicule, and even threats of prosecution. 
It allows one to hope that another ghastly story on the same page – which indicates the horrifying consequences of devaluing life and seeing children as commodities to be used as adults see fit – may eventually become a shameful memory rather than an ever-increasing problem. 
And finally, what a credit to those MPs who took the time to examine the issue impartially and have the sense to see that a form of research that has yielded no positive results and that hardnosed investors are no longer backing might not be such a good thing for the government to be legitimising.
And what has Horton to do with all that?  Well, amongst all the triteness and somewhat irritating antics of Horton, the movie contained at its kernel an extremely significant  truth – just because we can’t see it or hear it doesn’t mean it isn’t there (Hamlet said that better – “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio …”, but you get the idea), and “a person’s a person, no matter how small”. 
One of my ways of remaining hopeful is to look for signs like this in the secular world that there are people out there who have the strong feeling that in many ways our world is dehumanising us at a rate of knots, we are on the wrong track, and are no longer happy to go along with the mores of a society that increasingly refuses to acknowledge the non-material aspects and needs of its members. 
There are people out there genuinely seeking true answers to the eternal question of our place in the universe and why we are here. 
It shows the questions are once again being asked in many forums, not only in films like Horton, and Juno, and The Incredibles, but in an increasing number of books and articles. 
And the questions are being asked now not necessarily by Christians (who already have the answer anyway), but simply by people out there who have experienced the disregard for others that is unfortunately the inescapable corollary of the ‘freedoms’ the post-Christian society delivered to the children of the sixties. 
The questions are being asked by the bewildered children of those children, who have experienced the fallout of ‘liberation’ – the pain of broken families, abortion, abuse, neglect, infidelity and the countless other tragic consequences of false freedom. 
And, hearing the questions, one desperately hopes and prays that one day they will find and accept the real, the only answer.