Thursday, August 17, 2006

Everything That is Wrong With the Pro-Life Movement

Bishop Doran of Rockford Illinois penned a recent screed attacking what he thinks is wrong with American culture and public life (via Amy Welborn). He doesn't hold back:
"The seven “sacraments” of their secular culture are abortion, buggery, contraception, divorce, euthanasia, feminism of the radical type, and genetic experimentation and mutilation."
Interesting list. A cynic might so it was chosen to present the Republicans in the best possible light. I could easily think of another seven "secular sacraments" that also cheapen the culture of life: the death penalty, unjust war, poverty, disdain for the environment, lack of health care, racism, and torture. By that list, the Republicans don't look so good, do they?

But this is precisely the problem with the pro-life movement. By aligning themselves with one particular party and one secular philosophy, they lose integrity and seriousness. Bishop Doran's list is a case in point. Many will look at my list and argue that abortion is far more serious than anything on this list. But the same could be said of the candidates on Bishop Doran's original list!

Ultimately, it's not about getting into a pissing contest over lists and priorities. No, if the pro-life movement wants to garner broader support and respect, it must twin its opposition to abortion with respect for life in a broader sense. It must return to Cardinal Bernardin's concept of the seamless garment (see my earlier post on abortion). What seamless garment opponents fail to appreciate is that it is not an either-or choice. A consistent position brings respect, and respect can create the preconditions for political success. Bishop Doran's list will bring nothing but derision. We cannot let this group turn the Church into an affiliate of the Republican party.

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