Update: Given that this piece seems to have confused some people into thinking that I was claiming Zmirak embraces every point of right wing hostility to the Magisterium (which was not at all my intent), I have edited the text to make clear that he does not do this. He has, for example agreed with the Church on the injustice of the Iraq War, condemned the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, opposes torture, and favors a moratorium on capital punishment in the U.S. to address its systemic abuses. This is all to his credit. But, as I point out below, his cavilier dismissal of Catholic Social Teaching a “myth” and his contemptuous claim that a Seamless Garment is an attempt to “poison” the prolife movement constitutes an open invitation to all the rest of Right Wing dissent I describe.
…with another attempt to use the unborn as human shields in his war on Catholic Social Teaching.
The man who attempted to dismiss Catholic Social Teaching as a “myth” and who famously argued that “Amnesty Equals Abortion” (because God forbid prolife people treat 11 million people like human beings and win their support: easier to just deport ’em!) is back again, making cheap arguments that Catholic Social Teaching is utopian and lying that a Consistent Life Ethic is about trying to defeat the prolife movement and not about being more prolife than ever.
What this boils down to is yet another invitation to the faithful to use the unborn as human shields for making war on everything else in Church teaching that the Right dislikes. To be clear, Zmirak does not accept every right wing culture of death dissent from the Church. His focus seems to be primarily economic, with a minor in rejecting the Church’s teaching on the morality of lying and a heapin’ helpin’ of hostility to the Church’s welcome of immigrants.
But when you declare that Catholic Social Teaching is a “myth” you recklessly fling open the doors to rejecting everything the Church says and give aid and comfort to a culture of right wing dissent that has convinced itself that abortion and a couple of pelvic issues are the only things you need to bother with since “prudential judgment” is taken to mean “go ahead and blow it off if it troubles your politics.” When you sneer that CST is a utopian wish for poopless ponies and, still more, a deliberate scheme to destroy the prolife movement, it is an invitation to FOX-educated Catholics to *claim* that they are defending the unborn while in fact diverting all your real time and energy to making war on the Church whenever she crosses Right Wing Culture of Death Priorities on unjust war, torture, poverty, refugees, gun violence, a living wage, and the death penalty.
My approach is much simpler: just agree with the Church’s whole teaching and then get back to defending the unborn. Stop wasting your time fighting the Church just because conservative man-made dogmas tell you to. When you do that you will, yes, find yourself agreeing with dreaded liberals in those areas where they agree with Holy Church. But you will not give an inch on the sanctity of human life because the point is the teaching of Holy Church, not the doctrines of Democrats. And now, you will be in the position of being able to say, “You are right about the poor, gun violence, torture, a living wage and health care. How is you cannot see that unborn babies are among the Least of These? How can you endure that contradiction?”
Up till now, the Left has only has to point to a John Zmirak or the rest of the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife Right, hiding behind the unborn as human shields and battling the Church for a host of right wing culture of death priorities, many staining themselves even to the point of pretending that a swine like Donald Trump must be supported Because Abortion.
But if you simply stop fighting the Church and agree with her social doctrine, which is very real and not a “myth” as Zmirak pretends, you take almost all the wind out of the Left’s very just critique of the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife Right. No longer can the Left point to “prolife” people cheering for a stupid and disastrous war that met no criteria of Just War teaching. No longer any cheers for torture from “prolife” people. No more excuses for Trump’s racism or misogyny. No more “prolife” excuses for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No more “prolife” struggles to defeat the Church’s guidance on the death penalty or a living wage or refugees. You don’t have to *do* anything. You simply have to stop doing something: fighting the Church. You can do what you *claim* is your number one priority: defend the unborn and stop wasting all your time and energy doing things like writing attacks on listening the Church’s consistent life ethic and libelling people who say “Be more prolife, not less” and “Listen the Church” as “putatively prolife”.
Zmirak has, repeatedly, threatened to ditch the Church if it’s teaching is not compatible with his demands. One of these day, if he does not check his hubris, he will carry out his threat. Don’t follow him.