Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Friday, February 08, 2013

What Price to Pay to Stop Abortion?

Last night DBQ Co Right to Life had their monthly meeting. The main part of the agenda dealt with those sharing their experiences at the annual March for Life in DC last month. During the discussion, the question of what price are we willing to pay came up. It came up in the context of how, back in the 80s, Pro-lifers followed the example of the civil rights movement & used civil disobedience to block access to abortion clinics so that they could prevent babies being aborted. Many people were willing to risk arrest & jail time. But in the 90s under Clinton, the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrance law was passed that turned this into a federal crime with long prison time, rather that a fine & some jail time. 
So, unlike the civil rights movement, we lost the tool of civil disobedience that Martin Luther King & others used so effectively.
The question is, how do we get it back?
But before I get to that, I would like to share a bit about what the Catholic Church says on civil disobedience. To do so, I will be referencing paragraphs 400-1 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The teaching of the Church talks about the "right to resistance". Par. 400 explains that this right is based on natural law. It then says there are many concrete ways of doing so. It doesn't list them, but clearly peaceful civil disobedience is 1 of those included. Then it goes on to explin why this is done. "Resistance to authority is meant to attest to the validity of a different way of looking at things, whether the intent is to achieve partial change, for example, modifying certain laws, or to fight for a radical change in the situation. "
Par 401 talks about exercising armed resistance an the means of last recourse. Since we have yet to exhaust all other peaceful means then it is clear that we cannot resort to violence. In fact the Church makes it clear that passive resistance is preferable.
So, blocking access to clinics to save lives is acceptable, just like the sitting at whites only booths/seats by blacks in the 60s was. & for the same purpose, to modify laws & bring about a radical change. In our case, saving the lives of the unborn.
So, that brings us back to the question, how do we regain the use of the tool of civil disobedience to help put an end to abortion?
The 1st thing I feel we need to look at is, how strongly do we feel about ending abortion? Do we feel that it is an evil that we must put an end to by doing all we can?
If so, then what can I do to bring about the end of abortion in the USA?
Obviously, you have got to start with prayer. I know, I talk a lot about the importance of prayer. & intercessory prayer is very important. But there are other types of prayer that we must be using as well. In this case, it is praying to seriously seek what God is asking you to do.
But there is also 1 question you need to answer before doing so, "Am I willing to pay the cost God may ask of me to do so?" Even if the cost would include going to prison?
Don't forget that those who felt slavery was wrong & helped slaves to escape faced a 6 month imprisonment & $1000 fine, (About $27,000 at the current value of a dollar). For most people it was a huge cost, yet they were willing to do it.
But how many of us are willing to even spend an hour a week praying in front of the nearby abortion mill? Or even once a month if it is a little further away?
I will admit that I struggle with am I doing enough myself? Especially when I think of someone like Sr. Blanche. This is a picture of her at the recent celebration of her 90th Birthday.

Sr. Blanche is 1 of 3 elderly sisters that shows up every weeks, all year round, to pray in front of the DBQ Planned Parenthood. They have done so since PP opened its clinic  4-1/2 years ago, long before they started doing abortions. We have been accused of forcing her to be there. But if you knew Sr. Blanche you would know she doesn't do anything she doesn't want to. & she wants to pay the cost to stop abortions in DBQ.
When the DBQ PP opened, I was able to go every Wednesday. But, for a variety of reasons, I have not been able to make a commitment to a weekly time for several years. I do occasionally substitute. & during the 40 Days campaign last Fall, I did take a lot of the hours when they were not normally opened because they were harder to fill.
Part of the reason I haven't made a definite commitment lately is that I am unemployed. But then I ask why I am not subbing more? Are the reasons serious? Or just an excuse to not pay the price?
Yes, I do other things, like this blog, being politically active & writing letters to the editor, that others can't or won't do. But does that justify me not spending more time praying besides when I drive by the place? Which, by the way, is a block & 1/2 away from where I live & on the route I normally have to take to get to most places I go to.
What I am saying is that I know how easy it is to get comfortable & not do more.
Yet, I can't. None of us can.
That having been said, I have to ask the question, is that the real reason we in the Pro-life movement have given up on trying to find ways of peaceful civil obedience so we can save the lives of more unborn babies?
When I 1st heard about Operation Rescue, who lead the way in the 80s, they explained why they were blocking the access to clinics with a quote from Scripture.  It was Proverbs 24: 10-12. "If you lose heart when things go wrong, your strength is not worth much. Save those being dragged towards death, but can you rescue those on their way to execution. If you say, 'But look, we did not know,' will the Weigher of the heart pay no attention? Will not the Guardian of your soul be aware and repay you as your deeds deserve?"
So, what are we willing to do? Are we willing to find a way to return to civil disobedience?
1 or 2 people blocking an abortion clinic won't be enough. What we need is more. We need large groups who will make it difficult to arrest everyone, let alone process them. That is, assuming this is what God is calling us to.
There is 1 thing I am sure of. Unless things change, this administration is going to start treating us like what they have labelled us as, domestic terrorists. That means that standing up for life will entail arrest, maybe even being indefinitely put in jail without anyone knowing where we are.
Add to that the administrations rules forcing people to pay for coverage of birth control & abortifacients like ella. & the failure to do so could cost people their businesses, their savings, & whatever else the administration may decide.
The early Christians refused to worship the emperor, & paid for it with their lives.
Those fighting slavery did so based on their faith. They were willing to pay the price.
The same with those who did what they could to save Jews from being slaughtered by Hitler. Some paid with their lives, others lost all their worldly goods. But they knew it was God was asking of them. They saw the price as worth it.
I hope that if that time arrives when I may have to sacrifice my freedom, & maybe my life, that I will be willing to pay the price.
But, in the meantime, I pray that God will give me the strength & willingness to do all I can now. May that be true of all of us who claim to be Pro-life.


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