Mark Shea accuses those who have dedicated their lives to fighting abortion of using the unborn as “human shields.” In fact, pro-lifers are willing to serve themselves as human shields, defending the vulnerable against the callous indifference of the Democrat party, pro-choice elites in other parties, and our deepening culture of death.”
“In good faith, Rich, I am sorrier for your perjury than my peril.” – Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons
Dear Jason: I support the fight against abortion. I support those who, with truly single-minded devotion, focus only on stopping abortion.
What I do not support–and what I believe gives scandal and brings the faith into disrepute, wrecks prolife witness, and has manacled the prolife movement to the disaster of the Trumpified GOP–is people who *say* that their core value and “non-negotiable” focus is stopping abortion, but who then, in fact, spend all their time attacking Holy Church on a host of issues ranging from the unjust war, to torture, to gun violence, to a living wage for poor people to refugees, to the death penalty, all while using the unborn as the excuse for battling the Church for these right wing culture of death priorities.
“Launching a war in Iraq is a prudential judgment and what does a peacenik like the pope know? But abortion is where our focus should be!”
“Who cares if we ‘torture’ a bunch of rag-heads? The *real* torture is abortion!”
“Amnesty equals abortion! We should kick all those Mexicans and the brats they raise here out because for some reason they won’t vote for us prolifers!”
“Sandy Hook was a conspiracy to make gun owners look bad. Obama is just about to confiscate all our guns. And besides, 33,000 dead a year is nothing compared to abortion! Ignore that silly call by our bishops to curb gun violence. Focus on abortion!”
“Only abortion matters. And to prove abortion is all that matters, I will now spend another several articles talking, not about the unborn, but about the fact that Catholic social teaching is a complete myth and should be fought, and then another one besides asserting that it is impossible and evil to imagine that support for the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life before birth can be reconciled with the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life after birth.”
“We are totally dedicated to the goal of stopping abortion, and to prove it we will constantly write mendacious and hostile hit pieces on Pope Francis and suggest to our readers that he is the gravest threat the Church faces–instead of, you know, focusing on abortion.”
I would *love* if the prolife movement’s leadership really focused its energies on saving the unborn. And indeed there are many who embrace a whole life ethic. I think, for instance, of Aimee Christine Murphy’s Life Matters and Students for Life. And there are others who are truly focused solely on abortion, just as other Catholics are solely focused on prayer, or serving the poor, or what have you.
The mark of using the unborn as human shields is simply this: *saying* one’s focus is on abortion, but in fact devoting one’s energy to fighting the Church whenever she teaches things inimical to right wing culture of death priorities. Don’t do that and a prolifer is fine. Continue doing that and a “prolife” person will find himself forced to defend every shameful and disgusting thing your political leash holders demand you defend.
The solution is simple: just stop fighting the Church and embrace *all* she teaches. You don’t have to undertake every work of mercy the Church is doing or go out and advocate for everything the Church defends. Nobody can be everywhere and do everything. So if stopping abortion is your apostolate, then do it with all your heart. But don’t spend all (or any) of your time defending torture or insulting Pope Francis as “Che Guevera’s pope” or prattling about how stupid the Church is to want to abolish the death penalty and then claim you are “focused on abortion”. If a person is doing that, he is not focusing on abortion. He’s focused on fighting the Church on behalf of an American right wing culture war agenda that regards the prolife movement as useful idiots. That is how we have now arrived at the hour that prolifers are spending their time and energy defending a guy who took vengeance on an infant nephew with cerebral palsy, a man who mocks the disabled, POWs and Gold Star families, a man who says abortion law should remain exactly as it is, a man who will not tell us if he ever paid for abortions for his sexual conquests. All the energy and time goes now to defending all that, not to defending the unborn.
In short: be more prolife, not less. Listen to the Church’s whole teaching and stop setting its teaching on abortion and euthanasia in opposition to the rest of its social doctrine in order to meet the needs of a political subculture that has completely lost its way.