Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
President Abraham Lincoln’s national campaign to enlist all Americans in resisting a Supreme Court decision was brought up in the second Presidential Debate by one of the candidates. President Lincoln considered the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott case illegitimate and refused to do anything to enact the court’s decision that a slave was a non-citizen, a non-person and property of the slave owner. Lincoln’s goal was to replace Dred Scott with the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. In the end President Lincoln was so abhorred by the decision that his refusal to compromise on it would lead four years later to bringing the nation into civil war.
The candidate who brought that up in the debate also stated that she would impose a litmus test on any appointments to the US Supreme Court, namely that any potential justices must be committed to protecting and defending the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. For me that is a deal breaker. Like Lincoln with Dred Scott, I consider the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe illegitimate and I am committed to resisting its implementation. Along with many others I am committed to engage in a national campaign to convince my fellow citizens to reject Roe v Wade and find ways to replace that decision with laws or a constitutional amendment that protect human life from conception to natural death.
The Pro Life Movement in the US has tried to change hearts and minds through its outreach to men and women in crisis by operating Pregnancy Centers throughout the country. We have also lobbied to elect government leaders who would support a Pro Life legislative agenda and have worked to use the courts to defend restrictions placed on abortions on a state level. Unfortunately many of those we elected have given only lip service to the Pro Life agenda and no longer deserve our support. The latest Supreme Court decision that struck down abortion restrictions in Texas will most likely cause all abortion restrictions in all 50 states to be struck down as well. Still despite the setbacks many of us will continue to hold the line and make the case for protecting the lives of preborn human beings.
Recently we witnessed the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood engaging in the illegal practice of selling body parts of aborted children. The filmmaker was quickly arrested and charged with crimes himself. Since then all charges were dropped. But the message was clear: if you dare to try to disrupt the abortion industry you will pay a price. We also witnessed the Little Sisters of the Poor being threatened with fines and jail time by the government for refusing to include in their employee health plan no-cost contraception and abortifacients. The Sisters appealed all the way to the Supreme Court and so far have prevailed.
The words of the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to the 2008 National Right to Life Convention sum up where we are at in this 2016 Respect Life Month:
The contention between the culture of life and the culture of death is not a battle of our own choosing. We are not the ones who imposed upon the nation the lethal logic that human beings have no rights we are bound to respect if they are too small, too weak, too dependent, too burdensome. That lethal logic, backed by the force of law, was imposed by an arrogant elite that for almost forty years has been telling us to get over it, to get used to it. But “We the People,” who are the political sovereign in this constitutional democracy, have not gotten over it, we have not gotten used to it, and we will never, we will never ever, agree that the culture of death is the unchangeable law of the land. The journey has been long, and there are miles and miles to go. But from this convention the word is carried to every neighborhood, every house of worship, every congressional office, every state house, every precinct of this our beloved country from this convention the word is carried that, until every human being created in the image and likeness of God no matter how small or how weak, no matter how old or how burdensome until every human being created in the image and likeness of God is protected in law and cared for in life, we shall not weary, we shall not rest. And, in this the great human rights struggle of our time and all times, we shall overcome.
Fr. John B.