Happy Birthday, Bah Humbug!

It happens every year. The godless cabal smuggles their misbegotten conviction into a cheery greeting. Slowly, they hope their bright smile and twinkling eyes will distract us from their evil intent. Gifts bestowed, brightly wrapped, conceal their secret message.

“Happy birthday,” indeed.

Bah, humbug.

When challenged, they always claim they hadn’t really considered the offense, as if pulling a trigger is fine, so long as they didn’t first examine the chamber. But each birthday greeting does pull the trigger, pointed directly at the unborn.

Life begins at conception, but we refuse to celebrate the beginning of life. Instead, once a year, we congratulate those who “made it” to birth. Fair enough, since those who didn’t are not around to congratulate. But why do we mark the day we took our first breath, as if the gift of life was not bestowed on us nine months earlier?

To be sure, not every conception is a happy one. Some learn they are pregnant and wish they could undo it, return the gift. But a famously pro-life advocate said it well to each frightened mother-to-be: “Are there no workhouses, are there no poor houses, are there no orphanages?”

Life begins at conception and anyone who marks the beginning of life as the day they emerged from their mother’s womb are not truly pro-life.

The government has been complicit in this deceit by insisting that every person be tracked in part by their date of birth, as if this is the date that matters. Studies have shown that babies delivered prematurely often struggle in school for several years. Likewise, babies delivered “late” are sometimes bigger and spend early years as bullies among their peers. Fixing each child’s school track to their conception date rather than birth date would begin to remedy these problems.

Understandably, a person’s date of conception is harder to determine, but technology is catching up. Doctors and scientists are gaining skill to determine the age of a fetus, its viability, and increasingly its likely fortunes in the world before he or she even enters it. As our government gets more involved in ending abortion or intervening with women for whom pregnancy is an inconvenience, we’ll be better able to track each person’s date of conception.

The government similarly tracks the day of a marriage, rather than the day that two people fell in love. As compensation and in recognition that every relationship reaching marriage arrives by its own path, we set aside a different day, February 14, to celebrate together that mystery of romantic love. If commitment is “born” for each couple on their wedding day, when was that commitment “conceived”? It’s different for each couple, but at least we mark that force of conception each year.

Birthdays, like marriages, were earlier conceived. And the conception merits the true celebration. No birthday arrives without an earlier conception. But fixing a date for conception is still difficult to do.

Until we’re able to do that reliably and for each individual, I suggest we choose a date to celebrate the miracle of life itself, bestowed on the born and unborn alike, remembering those who died before they were born and marking the power of love beneath the gift of life. March 25th, nine months prior to the most celebrated birth of all time. Happy Conception Day.