Trees have standing and other roots of madness

I think that I shall never see a person so lovely as a tree. That’s right, you heard me. A tree can be accorded legal standing as a person according to our very own beloved Supreme Court. But children in the womb are not have no such claim to personhood as decided by that very same court. Don’t believe me? Read about this Supreme Court case, the Sierra Club vs. Morton, in which Justice Wm. O. Douglas wrote the following:

The ordinary corporation is a “person” for purposes of the adjudicatory processes, whether it represents proprietary, spiritual, aesthetic, or charitable causes…So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life

The voice of the inanimate object, therefore, should not be stilled. That does not mean that the judiciary takes over the managerial functions from the federal agency. It merely means that before these priceless bits of Americana (such as a valley, an alpine meadow, a river, or a lake) are forever lost or are so transformed as to be reduced to the eventual rubble of our urban environment, the voice of the existing beneficiaries of these environmental wonders should be heard.

Perhaps they will not win. Perhaps the bulldozers of “progress” will plow under all the aesthetic wonders of this beautiful land. That is not the present question. The sole question is, who has standing to be heard? [Quoted from Sierra Club v. Morton at Wikipedia. Emphasis mine.]

Justice Douglas apparently had great love for our beautiful country, as do I, and I am grateful that he worked hard to protect our environment. But isn’t it ironic that only a few months after he penned these words in praise of the environment, he would strike a blow against another group of beings at least as much deserving of his protection and rhetoric when he ruled with the majority in Roe vs. Wade that …the word person…does not include the unborn. The court didn’t deny the personhood of the unborn as much as it simply refused to acknowledge, establish and uphold it. Justice Blackmun, who wrote the final decision, asserted that if the fetus was defined as a person for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment then the fetus would have a specific right to life under that Amendment. (Quoted from Roe v. Wade at the Wikipedia.)

I first read of these astounding decisions a few months ago when I read Fr. Frank Pavone’s book, Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It. Since then I’ve shared this revelation with many of my friends. I’ve even shared it with strangers on the street. (I’m forever getting into conversations with strangers in unlikely places.) None of them were aware that trees and rivers were considered persons by the highest court in our land; and none of them were aware that that same court had denied personhood to children in the womb.

Inanimate objects have standing. Trees and rivers have standing. Human babies waiting to be born don’t. Is this not truly frightening? Is it not equally, if not more, frightening to think that decisions like these are made without our awareness or approval; and that more than thirty years later most of us still don’t even know it ever happened? What is this philosophy of idiocy that guides the politics of our day? What other nightmarish visions have crept silently into our world while we slept?

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