Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Pro-Life Movement: I Plead the Fifth

Adam and Eve grieve over the death of Abel in "The First Mourning" by Bouguereau

 After the 2008 presidential election, I resolved to ignore politics, deciding that it really was not compatible with my place as the heart of the home.  I was much happier in this mode:  Ignorance truly is bliss in this regard.  However, after I watched the Cristero movie earlier this year, For Greater Glory, I realized how dangerously close Americans are to having a Cristero-type scenario with our government.  I decided that I could no longer keep silent, that I had a duty to speak up.

This I have done on Facebook.

I have pointed out the dangers of the military-industrial complex, the immorality of our wars, the hypocrisy of the "conservative" movement, and the Masonic agenda in both the major political parties, etc., etc., etc.

I don't think it has made a bit of difference.  As soon as Paul Ryan was chosen as Romney's VP, many of my Catholic friends jumped on board because Paul Ryan is Catholic and says he is "pro-life".

I really don't understand.

The man is big government all the way.  He supports all the wars and even wants more military spending.  He voted to make the Patriot Act permanent.  He voted for all the bailouts.  He supports NDAA, the indefinite detention of Americans without trial if suspected of terrorism.

Even his pro-life credentials are suspect to me.  He sees the protection of the unborn as a social issue.  Poverty is a social issue.  Murder is not.  And in 2010, he supported calling a "truce" on the pro-life fight until he was called to task by others in the movement.  Then he flip-flopped on demand.  He is just exactly the same as Romney.  He'll do or say whatever he needs to in order to get elected.

I think Catholics keep getting tricked into voting for candidates like Paul Ryan because of a faulty definition of what it means to be pro-life.  We wear "American baby in the womb" blinders and never consider that the pro-life movement in America today is just one part of the Fifth Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill".  It commands us to live in peace and union with our neighbor, to respect his rights, to seek his spiritual and bodily welfare, and to take proper care of our own life and health; controlling one's anger.  It forbids all willful murder, suicide, abortion, euthanasia, artificial contraception, sterilization, cloning, endangering life and limb of self or others, fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, and bad example.

To make being "pro-life" a litmus test for acceptability as a political candidate while ignoring his stance on the totality of the Fifth Commandment is morally wrong and completely illogical.  It is compartmentalized thinking, a hallmark of modernism.  How can supporting the wars in the Middle East (and elsewhere around the globe) be compatible with being pro-life in particular and with the commandment not to kill in general?  We kill innocent civilians there every day.  There are estimates that as many as a million Iraqis have died at our hands, even though there were no weapons of mass destruction and Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

I guess Middle Eastern babies do not count.  They are not exceptional.  They are not from the shining city on the hill.

I know.  We will never forget.  Almost 3000 Americans died in the twin towers!  So that gives us the right to destroy the Middle East, even the Christian communities.  Because America is exceptional.  Our people are more valuable than other countries' people.  As Christopher Check says in Dropping the Atomic Bomb:

My Country, Right or Wrong

Americans have another blind spot when it comes to evaluating our country’s political actions—perhaps especially our military adventures, because these are seen as patriotic events. The blind spot is nationalism. Patriotism, love of one’s native land, is a genuine virtue, to be sure. But when it becomes nationalism—an excessive veneration of one’s country and its government—it becomes a vice.
This vice is nothing less than a heresy condemned by Pope Leo XIII in 1899 as “Americanism.” Americanism, no less virulent in our day than it was in Leo’s, combines a collective sense of Christian exceptionalism (America as the “Shining City on a Hill”) with the hubristic conviction that America can draw up her own moral code. 

Catholics today seem mortally infected with Americanism.  I guess that is understandable.  We Catholics want to fit in.  I have often wondered if that is why American Catholic women ditched their veils in the '60s, despite no instruction to do so.  Was our desire to fit in the reason why we gave up so easily the Tridentine Mass?  Because we wanted to fit in and be American Catholics instead of Catholic Americans?  Whatever the reason, we have been assimilated.  As far as I can tell, there is little difference in the thinking of Catholics and other Christian Americans of the same socioeconomic group.

Now Catholics rally together with Protestants in opposition to the HHS mandate in order to fight for the "value" of religious liberty, rather than naming abortion and contraceptive use as immoral acts under the Fifth Commandment.

And every election, we put on our pro-life blinders and play the voting game.  Abortion continues unabated, whether we have a Republican in the White House or Republican control of Congress.  We let our enemies write the rules; we get beaten over and over again, but we keep playing anyway.


Meem said...

Regarding your first paragraph, I am reading Blood Drenched Altars about Mexico (and the Cristeros) written in 1935 and page after page is so descriptive of the times we are going through now! I could fill a blog with quotations!
As to the rest, you have summed it up perfectly and I am pleading the fifth as well.

Wendy Haught said...

Thanks for commenting, Meem. I haven't read Blood Drenched Altars, but I intend to. God bless.

Anonymous said...

I agree about what happened in Mexico very possibly coming here to the U.S.A, but as far as Romney and Paul Ryan, I think ANYONE (who "says" they are at least pro-life) is better than who we have now and the road this current government is leading us. I believe our moral obligation now is to chose the lesser of two evils...
They all lie and most are corrupt, so their judgement of their false beliefs and promises will be left up to God. So, even though Romney and Ryan "say" they are this or that, I only vote morally (pro-life in this case), therefore, if their actions oppose their supposed beliefs, then may God be their ultimate judge, and may my conscience be clear that I at least voted for the lesser of two evils.
Both roads are most likely leading us to imminent moral, social, and economic "danger," but the one we have now will get us there faster.
Just as you don't understand why Catholics are somewhat happy about Ryan being the selection, I don't understand how some will do nothing and just let a known evil stay in power. Just my humble opinion.
Jennifer J.M.J.

Wendy Haught said...

Hi, Jennifer! Thanks for taking the time to express your opinion on this. I really think this is THE conversation that we Catholics should be having. I will answer your points later, either here or in a new blog post. God bless.