Politics Jaded. Prayer Works. Who Knew?
It started Sunday, November 4th. Fred Thompson, the man whom many conservatives hoped would be "the next Ronald Reagan", committed the un-Reaganesque thumbing of nose at the pro-life plank of the Republican Party platform. It happened on "Meet the Press". Tim Russert, his persistent interviewer, read the entire plank aloud, and asked for Thompson's position on it. He opposed it. It was a serious blow to many of his pro-life supporters.
Committed pro-lifers who are fairly new to the 30 year debate over how best to strategically end legalized abortion, might consider his mere opposition to supporting a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution acceptable, especially in light of his support for overturning Roe vs. Wade. If one considered it long enough, one would realize that his position, supporting the overturning of Roe, and then leaving it to the states, would have allowed slavery to continue in some states.
But it gets worse. When pressed, Thompson said, that although he believes that life begins at conception, and that abortion is the taking of a human life, he doesn't believe it ought to be "criminalized" (read: made illegal).
The blow set off....
All in the same week:
Evangelical leader, Pat Robertson, would endorse pro-abortion, pro-gay, cross dressing, adulterer, Rudy Giuliani, the man who has inspired a sizeable opposition among serious Catholics, a key constituency for Republicans.
After flirting with the idea of doing the same, and then receiving outrage from his former supporters, Senator Sam Brownback, former candidate for president, instead chose to gamble away his pro-life Catholic political capital on "Gang of 14" leader, embryonic stem-cell research supporter, illegal immigrant slave trader, John McCain.
Paul Weyrich, Founding President of the preeminent conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, and considered by many to be the "father of the modern religious conservative movement", would endorse "Multiple Choice Mitt" Romney.
David Osteen, Director of The National Right to Life Committee, would defend Thompson's "pro-life" voting record on nominally pro-life legislation as proof enough of his pro-life position, in spite of his aforementioned opposition to making abortion illegal. (UPDATE: A week later, the National Right to Life would endorse Thompson!)
What disappointment and disarray! What confusion and utter chaos!
From the Ashes
For the last several months, the diverse array of pro-life bloggers have been cheering on their guy (any one of the
nine eight, well...nine if you include Alan Keyes) and yet anticipating the whole of our movement to pick one of the Republican candidates to get behind before the primaries and caucuses, so we'll be united and ready to defeat the pro-death wing of the Republican party and their covert plans, so we can move on to defeat Hillary. And then these "leaders" divide themselves up between our worse possible choices.
It would be depressing if it wasn't so comical. Or so biblical. (Psalm 2:2-4)
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
Amazingly, this implosion was triggered on day 40 of the 40 Days for Life campaign, the largest simultaneous, pro-life mobilization in history that promises to be "the beginning of the end of abortion in America."
The campaign was not political, though of course, we hoped it would have political impact. It was a mobilization of thousands of Christians across 90 cities, to pray and fast, and hold peaceful vigil in front of their local abortion clinic. Some cities also did community outreach to educate the public about abortion, but the main components were prayer, fasting and vigil outside the abortion clinic. Prayer to end abortion, in our laws and in our hearts, for the mothers, the fathers, the clinic workers and all involved, including politicians.
Those of us participating had little to no time for politics during the 40 days. We were on the front lines. We saw amazing things that only come about through the power of God. Answers to prayers for the individuals we saw there. I really could write a book about our campaign in Everett, Washington alone, and if I can stop for long enough, I just might. (Check out the blog)
I wondered many times aloud, what would transpire on day 40. Would the Jericho Walls of Planned Parenthood come crumbling down? Would the liberal U.S. Congress suddenly have an "aha" moment and pass laws outlawing abortion? Would married women of childbearing age and their husbands suddenly be converted to embrace the gift of their fertility and of life, and single men and women commit to saving themselves for marriage? I hoped.
No. Instead of the Culture of Death imploding, pro-life leadership did. This is consistent with what I felt that God was saying through the 40 Days for Life campaign.
Though I knew that it was not beyond the power of God to crush the Culture of Death, with only a word, as I told the crowd at our midway rally, I was convinced that He wouldn't. That instead, He was calling all of us to take part in ending abortion. More than putting a bumper sticker on our car, or voting for the right candidate, or even campaigning for the right candidate. More than giving a few dollars to a pro-life organization. What He wants from us is not political, but will have impact on politics.
He wants total commitment from us. He wants repentance and sacrifice. Our own sins have had a part in getting us where we are too, and He is calling us to repentance for ourselves and for our nation. Repentance for our immorality as well as for our apathy and for our lack of courage. Our actions, as Fr. Pavone says, "have not reflected the magnitude" of the blood that spills out daily on our land from abortion, and cries out to God...that is, until 40 Days for Life, according to Fr. Pavone. I agree.
Participants here in Everett, showed the magnitude by giving of their time, standing out in the cold, sometimes rainy, sometimes stormy, windy weather, often enduring insults from Planned Parenthood supporters, to show their love and commitment to the mothers and babies and most of all, to God.
Soaring to Heaven
Everyone who took part in the 40 days across the nation has sacrificed in some way, and each is a touching story. I encourage you to learn about Regis Burlas (pictured left), the man in his 80's, who was killed in a car accident on his way to a 40 Days for Life vigil in Jacksonville, FL on the final Saturday (listen to the audio version of the story here). You will be moved when you hear about the deep commitment to life that Regis and his wife shared.
Though the exhausting 40 Days has concluded, pro-lifers have a renewed commitment and energy to work like we've never worked before and pray like we've never prayed before, with firm resolve to end abortion. After rejuvenating for a little bit, here in Everett, we will continue to hold vigils on targeted days in front of the local Planned Parenthood. New people are entering pro-life work for the first time, and veterans are encouraged by their presence to persevere. Whether it be weekly prayer vigils, sidewalk counseling, pregnancy aid or post-abortion counseling, running for public office or teaming up to flood the caucuses, pro-lifers are committed. We will not quit until we see the end or until our Lord calls us home.
If the latter comes first, I suppose we'll still be at it there.
Victory and Peace
I think it's no coincidence that the aforementioned implosion was triggered on day 40. I see the hand of God in it. The Human Life Amendment hasn't had this much public discussion for a long time. Now it does. On day 41, a Washington State potential candidate for Congress, from Seattle, no less, wrote in favor of it, and 2 presidential candidates responded to Thompson's opposition of it.
Putting it charitably, I think the imploding pro-life leaders are tired and weary. Their endorsements aren't likely to change the opinion of very many voters. If they were combined, it would be another story. Thank God they're not.
As I write this, my feed reader has a new headline from the Sound Politics public blog, "Big News for Pro-Life Washington Tonite" [SIC]. The news is that "A federal judge has suspended Washington state's requirement that pharmacists sell "morning-after" birth control pills [which works as a chemical abortion if the woman is pregnant], a victory for druggists who claim their moral objections to the drug are being bulldozed by the government. "
And last night, I saw something else that was inspiring, and what I believe to be part of God's plan in all of this. A new film maker has a trailer out for their first film, due out in Spring of '08. It's called "Come What May" and it's about Roe vs. Wade, and the trailer indicates a theme of "no compromises". "Do the Right Thing, Come What May," it's graphic says. What a fitting name. That should be our new theme.
I don't know what will happen when Republican primary and caucus voters make their choice. Politics is jaded. Though it shouldn't be. My hope is that they will pick one of the few candidates who consistently stand for Life and for our nation's founding principles. I hope these candidates have a heart to heart before that, and decide which one of them should go forward, so that we don't split the pro-life vote or split the coalition, and as a result, hand the nomination to Rudy. I'm hoping some of the other campaigns implode before then.
Our nation is at a turning point in the coming months. But whatever happens on a political scale, I know that it's all in God's hands. His Truth is Marching On!
Our job is to "do the right thing, come what may." Don't compromise. Pray. Trust in God's mercy and perfect justice.