July 30, 2010
Our own Tom McClusky wrote a funny blog this week about DCs beautiful people. Today on a more serious note I would like to take up the topic of beauty and the dignity of the human person.
I am motivated by deep beauty. To me, that which is real, true and good is always beautiful. Part of what makes something beautiful is that it is inherently creative and mysterious. I believe that when something is contrived, it becomes less beautiful. For example, we can think of any number of famous actresses or TV personalities who undergo plastic surgery and emerge looking more artificial and, thus, much less beautiful.
Beauty frequently communicates a deeper reality. It has been said, "The most beautiful act in the world was Christ dying on the cross. Intended as an execution, Jesus death was the ultimate expression of love. It defined and illustrated beauty in its truest sense.
With this as our backdrop, I learned of a most unattractive, ugly reality this morning: there is now available to our American consumer a fertility clinic to create beautiful babies.
Ever worried about having an ugly baby? Fret not, a popular dating website exclusively for beautiful people has branched out to provide a fertility forum aimed at creating beautiful babies. Criticized by some as narcissism gone mad, the project was launched in June, shortly after BeautifulPeople.com booted out 5,000 people who gained weight and were deemed too ugly to remain members. Presented as a solution for parents who worry about having ugly children, the Fertility Forum is "like any charitable work," according to managing director Greg Hodge, a goodlooking Brit.
There is so much wrong about this it is hard to know where to begin.
Clearly, one of the most amazing aspects of life is the way in which a human being is created. We take it for granted even as our society does everything possible to control and manipulate this ability. But the truth is that a human being is the miraculous co-creation of an act of love between his or her parents. It is one of the greatest miracles on earth that the act of love would bear fruit in the miracle of life. In doing so, parents become co-creators with God.
Every baby is a gift. A baby is not a right. It is a gift from God, its co-creator. He chose, deliberately, to make every little one conceived within a womb.
A baby is a creation. A unique masterpiece. That does not mean that in order to be beautiful a baby need possess perfect, asymmetrical features. One of the most attractive babies I have even seen was a little girl with Down Syndrome. This baby glowed and had a smile that lit up the room (and her parents lives).
Another masterpiece was my friends son who had a heart defect and lived only a few days after birth. If you could have seen how this newborn radiated, your heart would permanently be strengthened.
Manipulating how life is created to produce physically attractive babies is wrong. Not only does it take the Creator and loving act which envelopes conception out of the equation, but it attempts to control and manipulate what is, in essence, a miracle. It moves in the direction of defining human beings by their features, rather than by their dignity and personhood.
In the process of producing beautiful children, many (beautiful) embryos will be killed because they somehow did not measure up to the qualifications the sponsors were hoping for, or perhaps the parents only wanted one baby, but five were created, etc.
This is a dangerous trend one that will not have pretty consequences. Persons are not items to be designed for appearance or utility but are co-created to love and to be a unique reflection of their Creator.