A Parent’s Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

FirstThings

By Katie Morroni

My friend J.D. has composed a beautiful, open letter to Richard Dawkins — and it’s by far the best thing I’ve read in some time.

Before J.D. and his family moved to Nebraska, I babysat for their son Max a few times — so in a very small way, I have experienced the joy J.D. mentions, evident in playing games, reading stories, and rocking their sweet then-baby to sleep. I pray Richard Dawkins accepts this invitation, or otherwise encounters such joy.

I can’t very well put forward this letter that speaks so much to my heart without adding another part of the reason why: My husband and I are preparing to welcome our first child into the world later this year! Just yesterday, I felt an actual kick for the first time, and with that has come a whole new, different awareness of the baby. So know that that’s how I approached this letter, albeit subconsciously at first. And now I can’t help but shudder to think of how our society decides if a child is or is not “worthwhile.”

You’re invited to read this beautiful excerpt below, but I think you’ll want to follow this link to read the full letter.

I have two children with Down syndrome. They’re adopted. Their birth-parents faced the choice to abort them, and didn’t. Instead the children came to live with us. They’re delightful children. They’re beautiful. They’re happy. One is a cancer survivor, twice-over. I found that in the hospital, as she underwent chemotherapy and we suffered through agony and exhaustion, our daughter Pia was more focused on befriending nurses and stealing stethoscopes. They suffer, my children, but in the context of irrepressible joy.

I wonder, if you spent some time with them, whether you’d feel the same way about suffering, about happiness, about personal dignity. I wonder, if you danced with them in the kitchen, whether you’d think abortion was in their best interest. I wonder, if you played games with them, or shared a joke with them, whether you’d find some worth in their existence.

And so, Dr. Dawkins, I’d like to invite you to dinner. Come spend time with my children. Share a meal with them. Before you advocate their deaths, come find out what’s worthwhile in their lives. Find out if the suffering is worth the joy.

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