In the rural area where I live, radio stations which come in clearly on a clock radio are limited, so I awake to news and commentary on National Public Radio. No idle morning banter, this station focuses on serious topics. The other day, they had a commentary on how conservative pro-life Catholics are defecting to the Obama camp because they recognize that 35 years of efforts to overturn Roe v Wade were fruitless, and admitted defeat. They wish to take a different approach and reduce abortions by reducing poverty.
This sounds like a reasonable approach, moreover it will make you more acceptable at university dinner parties, where you can join fellow pro-life Catholic defectors Doug Kmiec, and Nicholas Cafardi voicing their support for the first viable African American candidate for President of the United States.
Once, while I was in a moderately Catholic college, I contemplated joining the Pax Christi type Catholic liberal set. After all, they discuss many issues mentioned on the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship brochure; war, poverty, racism, the environment. These are important issues, and they are acceptable to the intelligentsia. They don’t cause jaws to drop in horror when you mention them in educated company like saying you oppose abortion. You can be part of the elite club which populates most Catholic institutions.
Half asleep, the memory of my near-defection from the pro-life movement, lay warmly upon me like the quilt I would have to shed, to enter the dark pre-dawn cold.
I woke with a jolt from my memories, startled by how far astray the siren song of the NPR discussion had led me. As I sipped my first morning coffee, I was reminded of the Japanese propaganda radio station during World War II. The soothing voice of a female announcer, called, “Tokyo Rose” played upon the homesickness of the American GI’s describing “walking down Broadway with your girl after seeing a show”. She played upon powerful images like baseball games and Mom’s apple pie, to lure GI’s into giving up the brutal battle for the Pacific, convincing them that the war was lost, and that they should desert and go home to their families. I remembered how wrong Tokyo Rose was, and how America pushed on to victory over Japan, by resisting the lure of the siren and listening to their commanding officers instead. Their valiant spirits were not diminished by the allure of comfort and the lies of the inevitability of defeat.
Pro-lifers have been hearing a lot lately about how the pro-life cause is lost, and how we might as well join forces with the Party of the Culture of Death, and be on the winning side. We should become part of history and elect America’s first African-American president. Let him lead us to overcome poverty, the root cause of abortion.
While not denying that this may be appealing, we must not be tempted to vote for a man who has promised to codify into law a “right” to an abortion with the Freedom of Choice Act. Far from making abortions “safe, legal, and rare” (where have we heard that before?) he will in one stroke of a pen, nullify 35 years of struggle on the state level to reduce abortions with waiting periods, informed consent, and parental notification laws.
Abortions are at the lowest rate since 1973 because of these laws. Those who say that President Bush has done nothing to help the pro-life cause forget the two outstanding Supreme Court Justice appointments he made; the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, Born Alive Infant Protection Act, Fetal Pain Awareness Act, the Mexico City Policy, and the law signed this October, the Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. These are decisive battles won in the war for the Culture of Life.
Don’t be lulled into surrender by defeatist polls either. Zogby has just come out with a poll which puts the underdog ahead by a point. The election will only be a defeat if Catholics surrender their staunch pro-life convictions in the eleventh hour, just before the battle turns in our favor. Listen to the leadership from our valiant commanders, Bishops Arthur Serratelli of New Jersey and Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi. We can further the trend which has a recent 19 point surge in Catholic support for the pro-life presidential candidate. We can prevent Congress from having a super-majority of pro-death politicians. We can prevent a pro-abortion Catholic Vice-Presidential Candidate and Speaker of the House from clouding the minds of the young by their false interpretation of Church teaching on life issues.
We have the potential to be the generation which saw the abolition of the greatest evil of our time. Someday the story of our movement will be taught to schoolchildren, like that of the abolitionists and civil rights activists, if we stay the course. Justice movements are always opposed until the battle is won, and society has come to its senses. Dawn will surely break on a new day when all Americans enjoy their Constitutional Right to Life. Until then we vote pro-life, spread the word and pray, pray, pray for a pro-life victory in this election.
We can settle for no less. We are the Church Militant.