John-Henry Westen: Love alone is credible in the fight for life, family, and cultural renewal
December 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – It is the “argument of love” that can and will win the day in the fight for justice for the pre-born and for the preservation of marriage, family, and culture, LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen told more than 3,300 delegates from over 60 countries attending the World Congress of Families in Utah in October.
Westen said that the “argument of love” for the pre-born child as well as for the pregnant woman has moved America to a “tipping point” where in the past five years a majority of citizens identify themselves as “pro-life.”
He said the pro-life movement has learned important lessons from the American civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, lessons that also need to be applied by those fighting for marriage and family.
Westen quoted King’s response to the tragic circumstance when the 1963 children’s Crusade for Freedom to end discrimination resulted in the police releasing their attack dogs on the crowd and using fire hoses to disperse them.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said at that time: “We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we cannot in good conscience obey your unjust laws. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children; send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities and drag us out on some wayside road, beating us and leaving us half-dead, and we will still love you. But we will soon wear you down by our capacity to suffer. And in winning our freedom we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process.”
Westen called these “memorable words” for everyone in the fight for life, marriage, and family.
“Love, my friends, is the answer. Love. As horrific as the challenges we face are, love is the answer to it all. That kind of love. The love that the world would say is completely insane. But yet it is motivated by Christ who showed his love, not by great miracles, but like this (arms extended on a cross). And it is that great love in which we must use in the fight for life and in the fight for family,” he said.
Westen pointed out how the pro-life movement underwent a “metamorphosis” a number of years ago from focusing exclusively on saving children targeted for abortion to seeing the woman as another victim who is emotionally and psychologically harmed by abortion.
“Over the years we've learned a new language, a language of love, of recognizing the harm that abortion causes women. And so we speak out in love,” he said.
Westen related one encounter he had at a demonstration with a young woman who was adamantly pro-abortion and was arguing that women need access to abortion because they often have no support.
“She said to me, ‘Well, would you be willing to give the shirt off your back right now to support me and my unplanned pregnancy?’”
“And that was the most beautiful question in the world, because we can answer in all truth and honesty, ‘absolutely.’”
“As I said to her, ‘Yeah I'd give not only my shirt, but my right arm, because that child in there is a child of God, and I care about you enough to not let you go through with that,’” Westen related.
Westen said the pro-life movement has learned about using the ‘argument of love’ to great effect and it is now time for the defenders of marriage and family to learn to use this argument as well.
“The pro-life movement learned its lesson, as you can see by the crowds at the March for Life and by the fact that we're doing so well in America, at least, we can see the effect that it's had. We now need to take that ‘love’ and apply it in the fight for the family.”
Westen said that at the end of the day ‘love’ is the only answer that will remain standing in the face of the most convincing same-sex “marriage” argument out there.
The argument, he said, usually runs as follows: “If these two ladies, or these two guys, love one another, how come they can't get married? I thought you said your God was all love. How come you guys are against love?"
“And if our answer back can't be ‘love,’ we're going to be in big trouble,” he said.
“And how do we do that? By telling these young men and young women, ‘We love you enough to tell you that this behavior harms you. It harms your body, as we know from all the studies that have ever been written on it. It harms you psychologically. And it harms your soul.’”
“While we know that many of them aren't Christian, aren't believers at all, but we nevertheless say, ‘In full disclosure, let me at least say that we believe that homosexual practices cause you to lose your eternal salvation, and we don't want that. We want eternal happiness for you. But, if you don't believe that, that's fine, let's talk about the studies. Let's talk about the studies that show the harms psychologically and physically,’” he said.
For those who say the researchers are biased against gays, Westen turns to sources from within the gay community itself, such as Canadian gay-rights activist Gens Hellquist, who in 2009 — four years after the passage of same-sex "marriage" in Canada — argued for an increase of healthcare dollars for the LGBTQ community in Canada.
Hellquist, who recently died at age 66, wrote at that time: "We have one of the poorest health statuses in this country. ... Health issues affecting queer Canadians include lower life expectancy than the average Canadian, suicide, higher rates of substance abuse, depression, inadequate access to care and HIV/AIDS."
He continued: "There are all kinds of health issues that are endemic to our community. We have higher rates of anal cancer in the gay male community, lesbians have higher rates of breast cancer ... the reality is there is (sic) more GLBT people in this country who die of suicide each year than die from AIDS, there are more who die early deaths from substance abuse than die of HIV/AIDS….”
And powerfully he concluded: “Now that we can get married everyone assumes that we don't have any issues any more. A lot of the deaths that occur in our community are hidden, we don't see them. Those of us who are working on the front lines see them and I'm tired of watching my community die."
Westen said that genuine love demands that such truth about rates of sickness and disease within the gay community be spoken boldly.
“We are speaking in love and in truth when we tell practicing homosexuals that this is harmful for you. They know it too, because they see now that the whole wide world condemns us for saying it, but we say it anyways, out of love,” he said.
He said those who fight for marriage and family have one more lesson to learn from the pro-life movement, namely, lobbying religious leaders of every denomination to motivate their members to make a stand. It’s a tactic that is already used by those who oppose our efforts, Westen said.
“Margaret Sanger, when she started, reached out to pastors in order to convince them that they needed to encourage their congregations to implement population control for their own good. The other side has been lobbying the churches since the beginning,” he pointed out.
“Look at who our supporters are: everyone in this room will know that most supporters of life and family are religiously motivated. Every single study will tell you that. And yet, by not having our religious leaders speaking the truth, by having them shy away because the media pressure is so great and the lobbying they get from the other side is so great, we risk having our own base eroded, and it happens every day,” he said, to an applause of acknowledgment in the room.
Westen gave the example of how Catholic religious leaders caved to political pressures in allowing pro-abortion politicians Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden to continue receiving Holy Communion, despite an explicit directive from Rome in 2004 to the contrary.
“Can you imagine the outrage, the uproar, the wonderful and amazing stuff that would happen if Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden were told publicly that they would not be allowed to receive Holy Communion? What an incredible thing that would be: It would demonstrate, of course, the seriousness with which the Church, along with Christian denominations, take abortion,” he said.
Westen said that Christians need to boldly proclaim the truth about marriage and the family in love, without any fear or prejudice. He concluded with the words of Penn Jillette, one of America's best-known atheists, that he said should “convince us — God willing one and all — to proclaim Christ's truth without fear, out of love.”
Jillette said: “If you believe that there's a heaven and hell, and that people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward ... – how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?”