Quite recently I was at my parents’ house, and at my suggestion, we watched a movie. The movie box was tucked away, so I thought it would be best to see which ones were easily accessible, and there I discovered the nostalgic 2008 Horton Hears a Who! The Dr. Seuss story is about Horton the Elephant who discovers and saves a tiny speck of dust with an entire society upon it. Throughout the movie, only Horton has the acuity of hearing to detect the existence of the tiny Whos, and as the only one aware of their existence, he is the only one whose heart is moved to defend them from the dangers of the world.
Several things struck me about the story, but maybe just a couple will suffice for this article. Horton’s life is changed by a tiny call. Like a man whose life is forever changed by the tiny cry of his baby child, Horton became a caregiver, a father perhaps. When the Whos cry for help, Horton steps up to meet the challenge, and this is what God’s call does to us. God’s call is a tiny call, quiet, but when heard, it resounds in the walls of our hearts with such noise that we cannot help but answer. Yet we are only moved if we listen, like Horton. God is constantly calling us to heroics in little ways and with quiet voices, through our neighbors asking for help and in the sacred silence of prayer. God’s voice echoes in the depths of our conscience, thus helping us to see right and wrong, his will and what is not.
Yet, what struck me even more than the tiny call was the mantra that animated the entire story: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Here the abortion connection becomes quite obvious. Horton was the lone voice of reason amidst the voices that claimed to be reasonable but were otherwise. That speck was more than a speck, just as we know that a fetus is far more than a fetus. Interestingly, it was more than just Horton’s view of the Whos that caught my attention, however. Horton not only saw the Whos as persons, but he consistently saw his opponents as persons as well. Throughout the movie, he never fails to see goodness in everyone he meets, even those who attack him. Here we find a powerful lesson for us who defend life. There is hypocrisy if we claim to defend life while hating those who disagree. Pro-life means that we are pro-life inside and outside the womb, and inside and outside our religion. Love is the standard we aim for, in all circumstances, even if that sometimes looks like reprimanding or correcting, but never hatred.