March for Life, Not For Bush
An Urgent Appeal to Participants in the 32nd Annual March for LifeAs January 22nd approaches, our thoughts once again rightly turn to the wickedness of legalized abortion. It seems to me, however, that any Catholics eager to turn the 32nd Annual March for Life this year into a victory parade, in celebration of the re-election of a "Pro-Life" President, ought to spend some time considering a more basic evil whose persistence in our country is crucial to the dominance of the baby killers: idolatry.
"I am the Lord thy God", Yahweh told Moses on Mt. Sinai prior to dealing with all other moral issues; "thou shalt not have other gods beside me". Many American Catholics are, unfortunately, guilty of precisely that idolatry which the Living God commanded us to foreswear as a prelude to a truly moral existence. The idol that they have fashioned for themselves is "The American Way", as represented by the contemporary Republican Party. This, rather than the Most Holy Trinity, is what is really adored as the chosen vessel for the redemption of mankind; this, rather than the sacraments, is treated as the instrument for a serious transmission of redemptive grace to the world. There is no god superior to Republican Americanism, and George Bush is that greater deityís Prophet. Unfortunately, the Catholic Faith, in terms of any practical significance it may have for daily moral, political, and social life, is rendered utterly meaningless and impotent by this all-holy competitor; Catholic Action is reduced by it to the level of a conscience-soothing parlor sport.
The Pro-Life Movement has been seriously compromised by involvement in this self-destructive cult of a golden calf. The baby killers cannot help but draw profit from its compromise. I urgently beg all march participants and all believing Catholics to consider making the following three resolutions in order to save the cause of the unborn from the emasculation which worship of the American Republican Idol entails; an emasculation for which we will one day justly be called upon to give an account.
1) That We Will Recognize No Obligation to Be Deceived by the Idol. The Catholic duty to reject outright supporters of abortion involves no corresponding obligation to swallow the lies of false "friends". We are not called upon to prove P. T. Barnum correct in his assertion that "a sucker is born every minute". The Republican Party has learned that we Catholics are millions of just such willing victims. It has digested the lesson that so long as it chants a few positive phrases regarding "American freedoms" and "moral values", so long as it takes a flashy stand on certain pro-life positions over which it knows that it exercises no real control, and would be bogged down in endless litigation in the courts if it did, it can literally get away with murder. Republicans know that Catholics who react bitterly against the slightest Democratic pro-abortion activity will offer them a great deal of latitude for their own political shenanigans. Hence, they will justify the presence of Patakis, Giulianis, Schwarzeneggers and Bloombergs at churches and podiums, the election of pro-choice Republicans, and reliance on judicial arguments which would merely shift the abortion question back to the states where it successfully made its progress in the first place. Catholics seem to be so worn out by thirty-three years of battle--a span of time which boasts 5 Republican presidents out of a total of 7--that they can be counted upon to believe absolutely any sweet nothing whispered in their ears by candidates calling themselves pro-life. They seem to be so grossly limited that they cannot connect the dots which would definitively condemn the cynicism of the Grand Old Party. The fact is that George Bush will never have to start paying Catholics returns on the political capital that they have invested in him. Republicans will never be called on the carpet for doing nothing. The Alberto Gonzaleses of the party will continue to support the right of underage girls to get abortions without their parentsí consent. They will continue to swear to uphold Roe vs. Wade, and without the kind of earnest call for its revision which accompanied the future Attorney Generalís recent assurance of his similar continued support for the Geneva Convention. I can only presume that pro-life activists ready to accept this kind of treatment must feel that joyful frisson experienced by all too many politically impotent Christians since the time of Constantine when given the opportunity to enter into the orbit and bask in the reflected glory of "the big shots".
2) That We Will Not Accept the Idolís Injustices As a Trade-Off For the Defense of the Unborn. Protection of innocent life is an issue of paramount importance. But outrage over other injustices does not somehow denigrate from the importance of abortion. Have years of circulating photographs of aborted babies hardened us to the photographs of dead or hooded, naked, and leashed inmates in American military prisons? Has listening to the ugly shouts from the mobs of pro-aborts outside of clinics where pro-lifers protest or counsel deafened us to the screams of Arab boys being abused by American soldiers? Will the hungry, thirsty, and naked who are imprisoned in George Bushís gulag, or the homeless, sick, and dead in American-occupied Iraq have no advocates at the Last Judgment? Is Arab life in no sense sacred? Are the born worthy of no pity all? Can the Administration and its propagandists who justify or downplay the gravity of our crimes honestly be counted upon to be "pro-life"? If injustices of any kind are dismissed by us as being inconsequential, it casts doubt on our real commitment to and understanding of the Christian message in general, and the cause of the unborn in particular. If our voices are not raised against the horrors of a fraudulent war, unjust imprisonment, and torture, do we have a right to, and can we practically expect to get any serious hearing in our fight for the unborn?
3) That We Will Not Destroy the Entire Basis For Catholic Moral Action In Order to Protect the Idol. A favorite argument of the idol worshippers is that their golden calf cannot be attacked on other moral issues since these are somehow intrinsically more fuzzy. Abortion is always wrong, they say, while questions involving the justice of a given war are mere opinions. Many argue that in the absence of a definitive papal statement regarding such matters, Catholics are obliged to follow the judgments of their rulers. Forget, for a moment, that the supposed pro-life position of their golden calf is a political ploy. Forget that the requirement of direct papal intervention would historically have required Catholic silence in an endless number of situations that everyone can now nevertheless agree required a moral intervention. Forget, to take but one example, that it would have obliged German Catholics to support Hitler in the Second World War. The basis for Catholic action is not the extraordinary intervention of a papal pronouncement with the breakfast cereal each morning. Individual Catholics have the ordinary means provided by our Faith and Reason to guide their personal moral judgments. If our Faith and Reason tell us that something we were tempted to say is a contemptible lie, then, even though the majority of our Catholic neighbors assure us to fire away with any whopper that we might care to invent, we still need no encyclical to save us from eternal indecision. We must not lie. If our Faith and Reason, faced with the evidence of years of twisted public statements and actions on the part of the Bush Administration show us that we are faced with rulers who believe that the world must be made safe for an unlimited American-style "freedom" in which the strongest prevail and might makes right, we cannot shut our eyes and mouths to the horror confronting us. We are obliged to oppose them, and without any fear of "imposing our values on other people", all of whose moral "choices" regarding war are equally acceptable. Proponents of a "freedom" which ushers into yet another region of the world that globalism behind whose banners libertinism and abortion itself triumphantly process must be thwarted. Accept the arguments of the "just war" relativists and you end by creating precisely the sort of atmosphere in which the "freedom" and "choice" of the baby killers thrives as well.
Many Catholics were convinced in 2004 that they were obliged to support President Bush because they could not endorse his competitor, and because they believed that voting was their patriotic responsibility. Participation in community life is, indeed, a responsibility, but there are other ways of participating than by giving oneís assent to a fraud. Italian Catholics were directly ordered by the Papacy not to vote in national elections in Italy in the late nineteenth century because those elections, by their very nature, were designed always to hurt the cause of the Church. Italian Catholic participation took the form of an organized abstention from support for the existing system, and a dedication of energies to a militant education of the Catholic population for governing roles in a future, better nation. Poles did something similar by refusing to participate in an unrepentant Communist government and organizing the Solidarity Movement to oppose it. All such approaches, however, require Faith and time. They cannot guarantee the immediate rewards provided by the mighty. But are seats close to a tinsel throne at the Inauguration of an Idol really worth more than service to Christ the King and a substantive victory for the unborn? I think not. So, God bless the March for Life. But let that March be a March for life, true to Christ, and not a triumphal procession before a false prophet and a golden calf.
Return to main page.