Time For A New Pro-Life Strategy

Several bloggers that I greatly respect - notably Leticia, Chelsea, and C.K. - are trying to rally the troops around Mike Huckabee in a last-ditch effort to stop John McCain from getting the GOP nomination. After playing hard-to-get for months, James Dobson finally endorsed Huckabee this week. A few people who aren't terribly pro-life but can't stand McCain for other reasons will probably do likewise.

Sad to say, it won't matter. Steven Taylor has the numbers. To win the GOP nomination, Huckabee must get 96% of the remaining delegates. Like Huckabee, I believe in miracles. But I also don't expect the Lord to perform one and lead that many delegates to Huckabee. The opposite may be more likely; is He trying to tell us something by allowing events to develop as they have?

One thing we may want to consider is that not as many people share our pro-life views as we would like to believe. This is true even among faithful Christians. Exit polling from Super Tuesday states revealed that most Catholics voted for McCain or Clinton. Likewise, Huckabee has yet to attract much support outside of Evangelicals.

This suggests to me that those of us who are pro-life might want to change our strategy. We can't expect to win the political battles when we haven't even convinced the people who sit in the pews with us on Sunday. Maybe that's where our energy should be directed.

Back in November I wrote about a survey that showed most Evangelicals place abortion far down the list when decided how to vote. The same seems to apply to Catholics. Until we change these hearts we aren't going to change the national consciousness. And until we change the national consciousness, even getting a Supreme Court that overturns Roe. v. Wade will not accomplish the goal of stopping abortion. It will remain legal almost everywhere. Babies will continue to die.

Last month Elizabeth Andrew posted this quote from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. It's been haunting me ever since.

"Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts waged inside the souls of modern men and women, for nothing happens in the external world that has not first happened within a soul."

Just substitute "abortion" for "world wars" and it remains equally valid. Abortion happens not only because it is legal, but because the souls of the men and women involved in it are lost. If those souls can be converted, if those men and women open their hearts to Christ, abortion will cease to be a problem - even if it remains nominally legal.

I'm not suggesting we ignore politics, by any means. I hope Huckabee and Ron Paul stay in the race and continue to get votes, however small the numbers may be. The politicians need to know we're out there and can't be ignored. We also need to work at the state and local level to build up a generation of principled leaders for the future. And we need to continue all efforts to help and educate the women who have abortions. It may take many more years, but in this way we will ultimately win.


Chelsea said...

It is clear we've got serious problems. That is why I was just happy to see Huckabee get the level of support that he did early on. I don't expect much more from here on out. It didn't help that John McCain has been able to tout his 96% 'pro-life' voting record from NRL and speak the same 'pro-life' rhetoric as every other vaguely pro-life Republican candidate. So the average voter wouldn't see his position on life as any different then another pro-life candidate. NRL even issued a release prior to super tuesday thanking all of the remaining candidates, including McCain, for their pro-life positions.

No doubt, as you say, we do need to start from the ground up with our candidates in local and state offices.

You know there are Catholics who haven't heard about the importance of these issues even from their own priests. Our priests need to be encouraged to speak out on life issues more often, and do more than just right to life fluff pieces on designated pro-life days.

Patrick said...

Indeed. You're setting a great example with your work there in Missouri.

You also make a good point about priests. We need their leadership, but they have a lot on their plates. In many parishes it is all the priest can do to keep his head above water. I can see why pro-life activities get a lower priority.

The good news is that the seminaries are overflowing with fine young men. In a few years there should be more priests to share the load. Then I'll bet we start to see more action.