“To raise awareness among the general public about the global clean water crisis, the artist Belo created an image composed of 66,000 cups of colored rainwater simulating levels of impurities found in water all over the planet. This major work of 3,600 square feet, representing a fetus in the maternal womb, emphasizes the necessity of water, even before birth, for each living person.” — from the Youtube video description
While a certain Catholic publication is receiving a hefty backlashing over their report that “climate change is the number 1 pro-life issue” — I don’t quite agree with that one either — I find it interesting how this environmentally focused video inadvertently sends a strong pro-life message. Inadvertently?
Whether the artist intended it this way or not, I’m not so sure, but the fact that his work communicates a powerful pro-life signal is undeniable and inevitable. The medium he chose — the idea and the image of life itself — necessarily invokes our intimate sentiments for the sanctity of life.
Two takeaways from this lesson.
The first is that being pro-life means more than actively opposing the legalized murder of a child in her mother’s womb. That is negative and it certainly needs to be opposed, vigorously and actively. But the pro-life message is bigger than just saying ‘No to abortion.’ At its core, the focus must be positive.
A positive image — the sacred beauty of an innocent child in the womb — communicates this message simply, because it touches each one of us at the core of our being. It speaks to the heart: we all once were that child; we all share the same intimate bond with our mothers (and mothers with their children); and so, we naturally desire to be preserved and defend the very thing the artist presents to us, the precious gift of this human life.
On a superficial level, one could object and say it’s really all about water. It starts with water and ends with water. After all, it just consists of individual cups of colored water that are intended to “raise awareness among the general public about the global clean water crisis.” By itself, though, the water doesn’t get that message across. What effectively transmits that message is the icon of life the artist creates to impress that notion on us. He communicates his idea elegantly and eloquently, through the image of a child, because that image suggest something we should grasp immediately: the sanctity of human life (and the artist is obviously aware of this fact).
This is all clearly pro-life and clearly positive.
The second takeaway is that the pro-life cause is also concerned with issues beyond the crime of abortion alone. We do protest vehemently, as we should, against this crime, because it is murder. There is no backing down from that. Recognizing the broader implications of embracing the pro-life position affirms and reinforces our convictions, and in no way is that backing down.
So we mustn’t be accused of myopia, as we often are, when it comes to being pro-life advocates. We can and should continue unashamed in our outspoken stance against legalized abortion, until it’s no longer legal to kill an innocent child. If we are strong in our beliefs about the dignity of human life in all its stages, we should also be strongly convinced, and when necessary, outspoken with regard to environmental and social concerns that affect the quality of life on this planet. This isn’t watering down the cause to end abortion and it isn’t just a matter of being thorough and consistent about what we strongly believe. As the video featured in this posts suggests, very effectively, it is the love for life that drives us to do everything within our power to protect this precious gift.