The current fad of penning digital ‘open letters’ about a situation an individual endured or an individual’s pet cause has become nauseating. Often a perfectly good message becomes obscured with the odor of attention-seeking motive. Today there’s another one of these “viral” letters that has social media and news websites abuzz: An open letter to the parent that thought it was OK to invite the entire class to their child’s birthday except for my son. The stench aforementioned indeed lingers with this letter but it brings up an interesting, and larger, point.
The “letter” details a situation where a child with Down Syndrome was the only student in his class who wasn’t invited to a classmate’s birthday party. It goes on to explain how sad the boy was when he found out and how the mother is, understandably, upset about this.
I’m curious if many of the people sharing this story online, shocked this would happen, understand the ideology that has led to the brazen disregard for some vulnerable human beings. This situation is a clear symptom of the “Culture of Death” St. JPII regularly spoke about and, more recently, the “Throwaway Culture” that Pope Francis continually mentions. Should we expect any different behavior from a culture which makes it mainstream to encourage the abortion of babies that might require special needs from their parents? Should we be shocked at this display of disregard of human dignity when we have politicians and referendums calling for suicide assisted by a patient’s doctor when someone’s life becomes too burdensome to those around them?
I’d encourage the people who are touched by this woman’s unfortunate story to start questioning which culture they are celebrating with their words, enjoyment and money. Do they eat up the worldly, self-centered, and short-sighted Throwaway Culture that so easily disregards people deemed burdensome or contribute to the Culture of Life which strives to take into account the inherent dignity of every person it encounters, no matter their needs. Only one of these ideologies is compatible with the love everyone is so moved to talk about on social media. The longing for this tender love is engraved on the hearts of everyone–if only more people just reflected on this more maybe #lovewins could one day carry a whole different meaning.