I recently debated a fellow pro lifer, who is very insistent in his views that anyone getting arrested for any reason pertaining to the pro life issue is ‘hurting the cause’ and is acting immoral. This was spurred on by discussions pertaining to Notre Dame specifically, and the idea of challenging unjust and immoral laws in general. Despite giving this gentleman the circumstances surrounding the arrests, he was very adamant about the legalistic view that one should not go out of his way to break a law in order to draw attention to the cause of ending legalized child killing. It appears from his point of view, that ‘trespassing’ in the name of drawing attention to the immoral law of the land is somehow worse than the evil act of slaughtering an innocent human being.
Unfortunately, too many well meaning, but misguided pro lifers think this way, and it actually goes against what is taught in Scripture and traditions within the Catholic Church. As I presented scriptural evidence of that, as well as traditions and teachings of the late Blessed Pope John Paul II, this man held onto his position, and was unwilling to budge from it. When I asked how legalized child killing would end, he gave the response of ‘changing hearts and minds’. (Interestingly enough, this man demonstrated an inability to change his mind about the arrests, and was unwilling to even consider the fact the majority of the ND 88 felt strong conviction by the Holy Spirit to go through and be arrested). I pointed out how it has been an abysmal failure for the past 38 years, and asked what needs to happen to change directions. He had no response.
If one takes the time to study social change, in this country, or for that matter, anywhere in the world at any time in history, it was always those that had strong conviction, and the willingness to put much at risk personally to draw attention to their cause. Because many are uncomfortable with this, if not feeling outright terror, it is easier to justify condemning those who use these tactics than to investigate or to look at themselves and see if they need to adjust their own behaviors and attitudes. But the biggest issue is, these people actually undermine the efforts of those who are willing to risk significant personal damage to themselves by attempting to make them look extreme, and by distancing themselves from the mainstream ‘pro life movement’. It is in this way that efforts like the ND 88 can be wasted by the ‘mainstream pro lifers’. They would rather sit back and go the easy and convenient route than consider the way of the cross when considering the plight of their unborn brethren.
Yes, these are strong words, but no where in scripture or in our traditions are we to take a defensive and weak posture when it comes to protecting the most innocent and vulnerable of our society. If one can justify doing little to nothing by being overly focused on not ‘violating’ man’s laws, what are they going to do WHEN sharing one’s faith and speaking in public about Christianity is illegal? Will they then ‘violate’ the law and obey the Master? I doubt it. I have heard too many justifying inaction, and then throwing out some theoretical situation, in which they will suddenly have courage and ‘do the right thing’. Doing the right thing is sticking up and protecting the unborn, regardless of the cost. I don’t need to ‘pray about it’ or ask advice on this matter. It is clear in Scripture and our Churches teachings and there is no need to investigate any further. I do agree that one may not be called to participate in significant civil disobedience, but they sure well better not condemn those who are called and obey the Master in this task. The least they should and can do is to support these warriors in following their paths because ultimately, this is how change is going to take place. Holding up signs and signing petitions that will never be read has not, nor will ever work.