Sunday, October 28, 2012

Will You Let Your Freedom Float Away?

Ever wonder how Hitler came into power? In working on A Noble Treason for Ignatius Press, I recently learned more about it. The book reports how Sophie and Hans Scholl and their friends launched the White Rose movement to spark an uprising against the Nazi machine (an effort that cost many of them their lives).
     Hitler’s rise is an unsettling story—it’s almost a fluke.  It seems to have occurred largely because people simply weren’t paying attention. Hitler wasn’t seen as a threat; people didn’t take him seriously. Then, things changed so gradually that most didn’t notice what was happening until it was too late. Enough people came to agree with the Nazis that they were able to take over, while the few who recognized the danger were ignored by the majority who were asleep to what was transpiring.
     A small minority of us in America feel similarly surrounded by somnambulism. We’re living among millions who seem to be sleepwalking these days, focused only on their own day-to-day concerns.
     I admit that I’ve done a lot of sleepwalking myself over the years. But I am finally awake and extremely concerned. We have only nine days left; if Obama wins, the continued erosion of our religious freedom is certain.
      We're like Ophelia in Hamlet, singing as we float to our destruction.
      Or like a child reaching for a new toy, forgetting her balloon and the string in her handif we aren't careful, our freedom will float away.

Don’t be such an alarmist, you may be thinking. What’s the big deal? Didn’t Obama come up with some compromise? 

     If a compromise has been reached, why are over forty Catholic organizations suing the Obama administration? Why are Belmont Abbey College and Franciscan University and EWTN, among many others, asking for prayers lest they have to decide between exorbitant fines or closing their institutions?
     If everything is going to be fine, why did Cardinal George predict that, “unless something changes,” the page listing all the Catholic hospitals and health care institutions in the Chicago archdiocesan directory by Lent 2014 “will be blank”? (Cardinal's Column—the whole article is well worth the read!) 
     If there’s nothing to worry about, why does the Obama administration speak now of “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion”? As Cardinal George observes: “Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship—no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government” (ibid.).

     The only thing preventing Obama from mandating that institutions—Catholic, Christian, Jewish,  Muslim, or any other pro-life institution—fund abortion itself is his personal assurance that he won’t. Such an assurance isn’t very assuring, considering his record. He’s already changed his mind on gay marriage: as a candidate he said he opposed it; as president he decided the Defense of Marriage Act was unworthy of being upheld—despite his oath of office.  The job of the president is to execute the laws; it’s the job of the legislature to write the laws, and the job of the judiciary to judge if the laws are constitutional. This is a mammoth breach on Obama’s part, and few have even noticed.
     If he’s willing to do these things during his first term—risking that there won’t be a second—what would he be willing to do in his second term, without that worry?
     We have a short period of time before us in which to make a difference in the course of our country, in the course of history. Voting against such a regime is critical, but not enough. We must try to encourage and inform others who may be sitting on the fence to do the same.
     My personality shrinks from controversy; I don’t even talk about politics with my extended family. Until now. My husband and I are not only praying and fasting, and urging our children and friends to do the same; we're also going door-to-door and making phone calls. I’m doing whatever I can—including writing this blog.
     What will you do?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time to Wake Up

I recently found myself awake in the middle of the night thinking about abortion.
      With a nursing baby, it’s quite usual for me to wake several times a night. Being middle-aged, it’s not unusual for me to have trouble sleeping on occasion. But, sadly, thinking about the horrors of abortion is not something I often do.
     It’s not a pleasant thing to think about. But is that a reasonable excuse?
     It’s so easy to disparage those living in Nazi Germany for not doing enough—or anything—to stop the Holocaust. How could so many ordinary people let such atrocities happen in their midst? True, the system became very tyrannical and it would take heroism to oppose it. But how could they let that regime take over their democratic country and get so powerful in the first place?
     But am I in any position to criticize? In my own corner of the world, am I doing enough to stop the holocaust of innocents in my own community? Sure, the government has raised the stakes—I can’t peacefully block clinic doors and get arrested merely for a day anymore; now such peaceful civil disobedience could result in the loss of everything or years in jail. Paul’s words on how being single frees one up from such concerns comes to mind; I have to raise my children.
     But even so, there are other avenues open to me. Besides praying, supporting pro-life organizations, educating myself and others, I can also participate in prayer protests. Right now, 40 Days for Life is underway in over 300 locations. This is a particularly powerful campaign, but I don’t have to limit my prayer to those 40-day periods. There are many groups who pray outside abortion clinics every Saturday year-round. I can also help pregnancy centers in a myriad of ways.
     And the next few weeks offer a huge opportunity to make a difference. This year’s election is critical for many reasons. One may hear a lot about the economy, but the issue of abortion is more important. (Hitler, after all, did great things for the German economy.) During the next term, the President will very likely choose at least one new Supreme Court justice, which will impact the court’s balance one way or the other. Obamacare is already geared up to swell abortion, plus it gives the Administration tremendous leeway to expand it even further. The results of this election—not only for the White House but also in Congress—will likely amount to a watershed moment in our country.
     It’s not enough to go and vote to protect the littlest little guys. We must also try to encourage others to do the same. I’m not only volunteering to educate voters and help get the vote out—something I’ve never done before—but also trying to get others to do the same.

     Horrific as their plight is, it’s not just “little ones” (the meaning of fetus) who are affected. Both women and men suffer from post-abortion trauma. My friend and spiritual director, the late Fr. Blair Raum, was the head of Project Rachel in Baltimore and provided post-abortion counseling. He told me that, over and over again, these women would tell him, “The day I had my abortion was the day I entered hell.”
     Many of them have been lied to; they were told that the fetus is just a “blob of tissue.” The vast majority of women who see their little ones via ultrasound see a baby not a blob, and choose not to abort. They’re lied to about the possible complications, only to find themselves bleeding from unintended wounds, or sterile, or with breast cancer years later; some of them die. There are emotional wounds as well; many post-abortive women become depressed, turn to alcohol or drugs, or even attempt suicide. Most relationships with the father don’t survive the abortion; subsequent relationships are also negatively affected.
     A number of those who have left the abortion industry indicate that it is founded on deception. Dr. Bernard Nathanson admitted later that he lied before the Supreme Court during the Roe v. Wade proceedings, exponentially exaggerating the number of women who died in illegal abortions. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” in that case, says now that she wasn’t even pregnant. Carol Everett, who owned several clinics, reports in her book Blood Money a whole system of lies in the business. Notably, she states that the reason behind getting contraceptives to young people is to produce unwanted pregnancies and provide clients for abortions, in other words, to keep the money rolling in. With regard to abortion, they lied about the fetus, they lied about the procedure, they lied about the risks. It was all about the money.
     Planned Parenthood, in particular, has a vile foundation. Margaret Sanger admired Hitler, promoted eugenics, and founded PP in part to reduce the births of African Americans. Many maintain that racism is still intertwined with the organization, pointing to the fact that most of its clinics are located in minority neighborhoods.

While little ones are being ripped apart, limb by limb, in their mothers’ wombs, while mothers and fathers are suffering from post-abortion trauma syndrome, while I know all this, the surprising thing is that I can get any sleep at all.