Diluting the pro-life message

I think I appreciate the interconnectedness of things as much as anyone. People’s commitments (or values, or whatever you want to call them) tend to come in clusters or constellations if only because people try to live by coherent philosophies (or ideologies, if you prefer).

I long puzzled that the pro-life position was predominately “conservative,” while conservatives simultaneously tended to favor capital punishment and imperial wars. I’m not trying to make a hackneyed point about hypocrisy; I really found it puzzling, because, in the immortal words of Sesame Street, “one of these things was (at least superficially) not like the others.” I had some trouble discerning the coherent philosophy behind such a mixed bag of views. I now suspect that it involved credulity about (a) the guilt of all convicts on death row and (b) the legitimacy of some pretty flimsy causa belli.

And why couldn’t liberals, with their vaunted care for justice, see the injustice of abortion? I’m still not positive, but I think it’s because they have made celebration of the sexual revolution so central a part of their ideology (or philosophy, if you prefer).

I long for the day when abortion will not be a partisan issue because both parties will be pro-life.

And because I long for that day, I resent it when an entire conservative agenda, including some of the dumber talking points, is crammed into an ostensibly pro-life publication — resenting it if only because it is a conversation stopper and increases the likelihood that abortion will remain highly partisan. The GOP has been trying to make the pro-life cause its wholly-owned subsidiary, giving darned little in return, for a good 30 year now, and I hate to see the cause succumbing.

Exhibit A: a recent mailer from Indiana Right to Life. James Bopp, Jr., GOP activist (with a long and distinguished pro-life record as well) editorialized in a “Freedom Manifesto” that occupied one quarter of the mailer. Examples:

  • “President Obama is pursuing a socialist agenda based on … equality of outcomes.”
  • “Mr. Obama’s vision of radical equality … transform[s] our country into a socialist state, where all life’s decisions are subject to control …..”
  • “Taking over the auto and banking industries was only the start of the country’s most audacious power grab.”
  • “Gun control … is about equating law-abiding gun owners with criminals.”
  • “Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is based on moral equivalence and multiculturalism, denying American exceptionalism.”
  • And finally, “This fight is between freedom and a new evil empire of tyranny – previously the Soviet Union, but now it is our own government.”

Forget for a moment how shrill and “on script” some of this is. Why is it in an Indiana Right to Life publication?

I’ll give Bopp credit for not giving the GOP a free pass. He didn’t. He said they were “on probation.”

But why probation? Because Orrin Hatch and others folded on stem-cell research? No. Because it tolerated pro-abortion Republicans like Arlen Specter? No (unless “liberal” is now code for “pro-abortion”). Rather:

[T]he party compromised its position as the champion of conservative values when its “no-new-tax” pledge was abandoned; when elected Republicans failed to stop excessive government spending, earmarks and deficits, and then proposed bailouts; when the party spent millions supporting liberal Republicans in primary and general elections who then switched parties and or endorsed Democrats; and finally when the party nominated for president the media’s favorite Republican, who then voted for a trillion-dollar government bailout. [Bopp supported, by the way, Mitt Romney — a vehement position I never figured out.]

And how can the GOP get off probation?

The Republican Party can reclaim its leadership by recognizing that it is – the party of conservative principles and policies and thus the party of freedom, prosperity and security. But deeds must match words.
A united congressional Republican opposition to Mr. Obama’s socialist agenda is a critical step.
Also key is putting the Republican Party’s money where its mouth is, by engaging in aggressive lobbying against Mr. Obama’s entire socialist agenda, and by making available the party’s financial support to only bona-fide conservative candidates.
And finally, the party should never again remain silent when Republican public officials betray the trust of the American people by abandoning their conservative principles or engaging in unethical conduct. The Republican Party must recognize that it, too, will be held accountable.

Only one brief mention of abortion in the whole Manifesto. No mention of euthanasia. No mention of stem-cell research. Just lots of “power grab” and “socialist” and sundry other horribles.

Did I mention that this was an Indiana Right to Life publication? Doesn’t this kind of ideology dilute the pro-life message as surely as incorporating it into the “seamless web” so beloved of Catholic “social justice” folks? Or even more?

Exhibit B: Indiana Right To Life Political Action Committee announced a few months ago a blanket policy of endorsing no Democrats because, in essence, party pressure makes pro-life Democrats fold. I can defend that decision on its own, but then a few months later we get this “Freedom Manifesto.”

Virtually every Sunday, we sing from the Psalms “Put not your trust in princes, in sons of men in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth. On that very day his plans perish.” I’m not very trustful of interest groups, either, and nothing about this newsletter raised my trust in the judgment of IRTL.

Am I nuts to say this? Am I just being petulant? No, this sort of thing is a pretty settled conviction with me these days. See here and here.

One thought on “Diluting the pro-life message

  1. Unfortunately both parties have major strikes against them regarding the pro-life cause. Actually framing a conversation to uphold human dignity in our current realities requires a change of heart, mind, and soul for many people. When we encounter challenges where repentance proves the only viable option, we will certainly encounter resistance.

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