Will Pro-Lifers Quit? Father Neuhaus Eulogized; Charmaine Quoted in Christianity Today


obama_new_yorker_cover.jpgThe church was full to overflowing. Even visiting priests had to stand in the aisle.

I’m sure this exceeded the Fire Marshal’s Max Occupancy. But no NYFDer was going to stop this Mass demonstration.

Father Richard John Neuhaus was buried today. We were reminded of his final writings on abortion. That we would never tire nor grow weary in defending Life.

Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine talked about the funeral on the train back to DC. Pleased and humbled and encouraged by what Father Richard accomplished.

We were resolved to do two things to help carry on his work:

1) Continue to fight the good fight for the sanctity of Life. And,

2) Have more dinner parties.

We will pass on the cigars.


The abortion debate will have some challenges during the Obama administration.

Sarah Pulliam writes in Christianity Today, Battle Fatigue

Abortion opponents head into Obama presidency after big losses

“The first thing I’d do as President,” Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood in 2007, “is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” The bill would remove almost all state and federal restrictions on abortion. But observers wonder if the anti-abortion movement has enough life in it to successfully fight the legislation or similar measures…

Signs of fatigue aside, observers agree that abortion will remain a major political issue.

“People are still energized and ready to fight a radical agenda on abortion as it comes down the pipe,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life.

[She should have said ‘pike’ not ‘pipe.’ She has a delightful way of mixing the metaphor: Belly up to the plate; Step up to the bar, Easy as cake, It’s a piece of pie. She is a fun woman to live with…]

Polls and other research suggest that younger evangelicals are more supportive of abortion restrictions than older evangelicals are. A 2007 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 70 percent of younger white evangelicals favor “making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion,” compared with 55 percent of older white evangelicals.

The Pro-Life Movement as the Politics of the 1960s by Richard John Neuhaus

Copyright (c) 2009 First Things (January 2009).

Whatever else it is, the pro-life movement of the last thirty-plus years is one of the most massive and sustained expressions of citizen participation in the history of the United States. Since the 1960s, citizen participation and the remoralizing of politics have been central goals of the left. Is it not odd, then, that the pro-life movement is viewed as a right-wing cause?…

These are the issues addressed in a remarkable new book out this month from Princeton University Press, The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right, by Jon Shields, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College…

The pro-life movement is a movement for change, indeed for what some view as the radical change of eliminating the unlimited abortion license. “Meanwhile,” writes Shields, “the pro-choice movement is a conservative movement defending the status quo. Pro-choicers have little to gain from engaging their opponents and from the deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion.”

…the abortion battle is over abortion and whether the unborn child counts as a human person, but where one comes out on that question is, I believe, powerfully influenced by a host of other beliefs and attitudes aptly summarized in the pro-life language of a culture of death versus a culture of life. There are two cultures, one focused on rights and laws and the other on rights and wrongs; one focused on maximizing individual self-expression and the other on reinforcing community and responsibility….

“One of the great political ironies of the past few decades,” writes Shields, “is that the Christian Right has been much more successful than its political rivals at fulfilling New Left hopes for American democracy. Far more than any movement since the early campaign for civil rights, the Christian Right has helped revive participatory democracy in America by overcoming citizens’ alienation from politics.” As one has all too many occasions to observe, history has many ironies in the fire. To the 1960s proponents of participatory democracy, the maxim applies: Be careful what you hope for. To those flirting with despair in the face of an Obama presidency, the advice is offered: You might want to get a copy of The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right by Jon Shields. And all of us would do well to ponder the wisdom in the observation that there are no permanently lost causes because there are no permanently won causes.

Join Fight FOCA


Thank you (foot)notes:

We had dinner last night at the Algonquin Hotel, birthplace of the New Yorker. Where writers and what-not would gather at the The Roundtable in the 1920’s and 30’s. We sat at The Roundtable and learned about the literary giants who walked those floors and sat at these places. We stared at the large wooden table and marveled and mumbled something about history to the waiter.

“The Table? Nevermind. It’s a replica. Dunno where the real one is,” he said. “New owners did something with it…”

The table was a fake. Made us think about all those authentic pro-choicers at the New Yorker.

Read more from First Things at the jump.

Vital Signs also recommends First Things.

Also see Wake for Father Richard John Neuhaus.

Joseph Bottum writes,

The result is already clear, with an announcement from Obama’s transition team, only days after the election, that the new president will remove all restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research immediately on taking office. The Mexico City policy (which requires all groups that receive federal funds not to perform or promote abortion abroad) will disappear the first day, as well. Back in 1992, the Clinton administration gave social policy at the United Nations and other treaty organizations–all the minor jobs in international affairs–to the far left as part of its spoils in the Democratic victory, and the first signs suggest that the Obama administration will do the same.

The Freedom of Choice Act currently before Congress is as extreme a measure as the nation has ever seen, invalidating for the entire country all restrictions on abortion before viability, including parental notification, waiting periods, and partial-birth abortion bans. Obama was one of its sponsors in the Senate, and in July he announced at a Planned Parenthood event that “the first thing I’d do, as president, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”

It’s possible to read the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff, the flirtation with Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, and the announcement that Lawrence Summers will oversee the National Economic Council as signs that Obama is willing to resist on several fronts the leftist agenda of the more radical members of his party. On the life issues, however, he’s given no such signals. Certainly he will invest no energy in stopping Congress from overturning the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion.

All this means that Obama is unlikely to resist when the abortion extremists in Congress hijack or extend the White House’s new economic and social legislation. Nancy Pelosi in the House and Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, for example, are certain to include, in health-care reform, provisions that mandate abortion training for doctors and abortion services for hospitals. And while Obama’s political advisors may regret the political objections that will result, the president himself will see it only in those terms: a problem of electoral politics, rather than a problem of constitutionality or ethics. Resist the far left on some things, but pacify them with complete support on the life issues–that seems, so far, the method of the Obama team, and it is a method wholly in keeping with what we know of the new president’s own predilections. He has already said that his Supreme Court nominations will begin with the litmus test of support for Roe v. Wade.


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