Thursday October 29, 2009
Life Versus Death; Beggars Versus Giants
Special Report Commentary By Steve Jalsevac
Note: There has been much discussion lately among pro-life leaders about the chronic lack of resources the movement has had to endure during its existence while fighting the great battle against the Culture of Death. This article is one I believe has been needed for some time, and now more than ever. 40 years of this battle is a long time. It will be won, but certain things must finally happen to bring that about. This article addresses some of those needed developments.
October 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Mother Teresa, awarded the Nobel peace prize in1979, said, “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.” I was present when she said it in Toronto at a peace rally. Pope John Paul II called abortion “legal extermination.” He compared abortion to the Nazi Holocaust and stressed that the abortion “rights” movement could “drive democratic regimes to transform themselves into totalitarian regimes.” That decline in fundamental freedoms has been occurring now in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.
Pope Benedict XVI told the Pontifical Academy for Life in 2007 “to guarantee the right to life for all and in an equal manner for all is the duty upon which the future of humanity depends.” He has also stressed that “today’s gravest injustice” is the destruction of new life.
Abortion has spawned a long and still growing list of related assaults on life that are taking us down a truly frightening path, leading to even more massive killing of the most vulnerable and innocent.
And yet, mysteriously, despite all of this, there are still relatively few people who are taking seriously enough the great dangers of the international death culture spawned by abortion and its parent movement – the perversion of human sexuality.
The Beggarly Pro-Life Movement
Coincident with all of this is the mystery of the relative beggarly existence that most pro-life organizations around the world have been forced to endure while they have attempted to fight the massively supported and financed anti-life Goliath.
Pro-life leaders, through their intense commitment to the cause for many years, have developed an expert knowledge of the many issues involved in this struggle and the actions needed to restore a culture of life. And yet, their effectiveness has been crippled by poor or inconsistent support or even active opposition from influential persons or organizations that should have been their natural allies.
The “politically incorrect” and “controversial” work of pro-life organizations has been repellent to much of the secular and even religious establishment. It is not seen as attractive work. It is about opposing killing and about promoting traditional sexual ethics, which receives much hostility from the popular culture. Pro-life causes discomfort.
The result is that pro-life groups have been forced to depend overwhelmingly upon volunteers and minimally compensated paid staff. These groups, including LifeSiteNews, which assists them, are fighting the greatest war in history. And yet, they are usually handicapped by a severe lack of resources and a pattern of enthusiastic, bright young workers who come and then go because they cannot be given sufficient income to marry and raise a family. They also move on because of the long, stressful hours and seeming lack of success of what should normally be successful actions undertaken with the same effort and skill in almost all other contexts.
Most people believe that pro-life organizations are heavily supported by Church organizations. Idealistic new workers to the movement usually soon experience a shocking and deflating realization about this.
With the notable exceptions of some individual clergy and certain special events, church institutions and leaders are inconsistently supportive of the pro-life cause. Many do not in practice give it a high priority. Communications with pro-life leaders is poor. Indifference is common. Some Church leaders even actively oppose crucial actions undertaken by the movement’s organizations. This is especially the case with regard to political and legislative decisions and efforts. That is often the most disheartening aspect of pro-life work.
The Culture War
The Culture War is now at a dire crossroads. Peter Kreeft, in his book and frequently given talk, How to Win the Culture War, notes that “To win any war” one of “the three most necessary things we must know” is “that we are at war.” This has been a huge problem for the always struggling pro-life movement since its beginning: most principled, moral people still do not realize that this great war is going on, has been for about 40 years, and that they cannot avoid being affected by it.
As Kreeft says, “If you are surprised to be told that our entire civilization is in crisis, I welcome you back from your nice vacation on the moon.” The renowned Catholic philosopher and prolific author continues, “Many minds do seem moonstruck, puttering happily around the Titanic, blandly arranging the deck chairs.”
That, to some degree explains what most pro-life leaders and we at LifeSiteNews have been up against since we began our various missions to try to stop the advance of what Pope John Paul II labelled The Culture of Death or as Chuck Colson has warned is a looming “new dark age.”
Kreeft explains that there is a deeper, more ominous dimension to the Culture War. He says, “eternal souls will die – billions of Ramones and Vladimirs and Tiffanys and Bridgets will go to hell. That’s what’s at stake in this war.” It is really, he says, a war against “powers and principalities” – on a very great scale – perhaps the greatest in all of human history.
One Organizations’ Past and Current Struggles
Canada’s national pro-life organization, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), is an example of one of the larger and more effective organizations that has been heroically waging this seemingly impossible battle on many fronts. During it’s over 30 years of existence, CLC has been doing truly extraordinary things against a vastly greater funded opposition on both the local, national and international levels. Among its numerous projects, CLC was the original parent organization and the main financial backer of LifeSiteNews.com, but is no longer able to provide that support.
Right now CLC and many other pro-life groups are struggling financially like they never have before. At the same time, the organizations promoting the death culture have been receiving hundreds of millions, if not billions, from governments at all levels, giant private foundations and numerous other sources. In addition they receive massive ongoing other support for their agendas from the world’s mainstream media, government and education institutions, the United Nations and other international agencies and textbook, magazine and other publishers.
It is not even remotely a fair fight.
The leaders and workers at CLC (and for that matter the workers of most pro-life groups in the world) see up close every day the enormity of what the death movement is doing to individuals and to all of society. They are the professionals, the experts on these issues. And yet everyday they have to beg and plead for financial and other support that never even begins to approach the levels needed.
What would have happened if during the Second World War the Allied generals and troops had to constantly, personally beg for money and other resources to wage each desperate battle against the enemies of freedom, but were met with indifference from those whose help they needed the most? That is the situation of the pro-life movement.
Pro-life soldiers in the field at the battle front are often fighting with pea shooters, while at the same time having to constantly expend much time and energy pleading for even a minimum of moral support and financial support for real weapons to wage the culture war – which they know they can and will one day win.
Ordinary People The Real Heroes
Campaign Life Coalition, LifeSiteNews and the large majority of pro-life organizations in North America and elsewhere have been supported almost entirely by generous ordinary people – the real heroes of the movement. They have sacrificed year after year, giving up precious time and limited personal financial resources while not expecting anything in return, not even a tax receipt. They understand what this is all about. Many of them are dismayed over the lack of support and even opposition from the more powerful and wealthy in both civil and religious society.
Without these ordinary folks, there surely would not be any pro-life movement. The battle would have been over long ago. There would be no one putting the finger in the dyke these past many years limiting the great flood of physical death, death of consciences and the complete collapse of our traditional civilization that the anti-human, anti-God movement is leading us all towards.
Wealthy and Powerful Still do Not Comprehend Importance of Pro-Life Work
CLC leaders are very concerned that even the very limited financial support they have relied upon has been plummeting because of the current financial crisis. The little people, the traditional supporters of CLC, are hurting. The ongoing mystery is that wealthy individuals and organizations still do not comprehend the enormous importance of CLC’s work and have never, in 30 years, given any substantial donations to this life and civilization-saving organization compared to what they often give to other worthy causes.
Jim Hughes, president of CLC and vice president of International Right to Life, reports that in all the years of CLC’s existence the largest donation the organization has received was $150,000. That amount was received three times from an anonymous person who thankfully did not demand a tax receipt (In Canada, charitable tax rulings have been notoriously biased against groups that might upset the abortion status quo). That level of donation was an extreme rarity. Hughes says he has tried ceaselessly and mostly unsuccessfully to find wealthy benefactors to support the work of CLC and its incredibly dedicated workers.
Massive Funding Received by Anti-Life Organizations
In Canada, all abortions are fully funded by taxation dollars. Abortion advocating feminist and other organizations are given millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars from all levels of government, plus funds from wealthy multinational foundations and other sources. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation reported that Canada’s Conservative government gave $80 Million to de-population groups in 2006/07. $44,050,000 went to the UNFPA, and $18 million each went to Planned Parenthood and UNICEF.
The Minister for Canadian International Cooperation in the federal Liberal government in the year 2000 unveiled a $2.8 billion five-year plan to promote population control, abortion, abortifacient contraception, homosexuality and sex education targeted at poor nations. The list of abortion funding sources seems endless. By comparison, Canadian pro-life groups have had to work with a fraction of 1% of the amounts give to pro-abortion organizations to counter the influence of these groups.
In the United States, Planned Parenthood receives massive funds from government. Jim Sedlak, the executive director of STOPP International reported that according to PP’s 2005-06 report, the organization received taxpayer funds for that year alone totalling $305.3 million and it has amassed assets worth $839.8 million. According to PPFA’s financial report for 2007-2008, the abortion provider brought in total revenue of $1.038 billion and posted an $85 million profit.
The giant pro-abortion US foundations have given hundreds of millions towards population control related initiatives throughout the world. One of the nation’s ten largest foundations, the MacArthur Foundation, in 2002 had assets of $4.2 billion and was reporting to be making grants totalling approximately $227 million annually. LifeSiteNews reported then that a list of recipients of grants from the MacArthur Foundation includes most of the enemies of life, faith and family that exist on the international level, as well as those in specific countries which the foundation targets. Apart from funding ‘Catholics for a Free Choice’ and International Planned Parenthood, the foundation targets funds towards abortion and population-control-promoting groups in Brazil, India, Mexico and Nigeria.
Then there is the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Packard Foundation and the newer, far larger Buffet and the Gates Foundations – all for many years pouring millions into initiatives and groups around the world that advance what we emphasize is a Culture of Death. A 2002 Vida Humana Internacional report gives some idea of where these foundation funds went to in Latin America at that time.
“The Most Important Work on Earth“
Wealthy principled, pro-life leaning groups and individuals regularly give millions, if not billions to all kinds of worthy charitable and religious organizations every year. This is good. But they still have not caught on that the work that organizations like Campaign Life Coalition do is of an even higher level of importance. Pope John Paul II told HLI’s Father Paul Marx in 1979 that pro-life is “the most important work on earth.” Other leading figures have made similar statements.
“The pro-life movement is really all that there is consistently and daily fighting the death movement,” says Hughes. “They are the David fighting the Goliath and yet they’re not even given the slingshot and stones which were all that David needed to slay Goliath.” “It can be disheartening at times,” says Hughes, especially given the intimate knowledge that the organization has of the great tragedy and destruction of abortion and its many related evils.
The situation is more crucial now than ever in history. In Canada, there is a greater vacuum of political and other leadership on the life issues than Hughes has ever seen. In the United States, the Obama administration is the most anti-life, antifamily government in U.S. history. Under President Obama the powerful American UN delegation has had it’s direction completely reversed and is now committed to pushing a world-wide right to abortion. The growing power of what is becoming a totalitarian EU bureaucracy is a massive threat to life and family.
“In other words,” says Hughes, “there’s never been a time that a strong national and international pro-life movement has been needed so much, including a much stronger LifeSiteNews international news service.” “And yet”, he says, “we are crippled by not receiving even remotely sufficient support from those who should be logically supporting us.”
Hughes says, “we don’t need much, you know, compared to the resources of our opponents. Pro-life workers around the world perform miracles with whatever they are given because of their incredible dedication and the fact that they are strengthened by their religious faith and their passion for justice on this issue.” “But,” he emphasizes, “they do need far more support than they have been getting — especially from the wealthy and influential who are pro-life.
Why CLC, for instance, hasn’t been getting donations of $1 million, $5 million, $10 million — is beyond me,” Hughes says. “But that has to change and very soon. Those amounts would provide the comparative slingshot and pebbles needed to slay the anti-life Goliath with it’s billions of dollars of funding.”
The veteran national and international pro-life leader suggests that “if those with large financial resources give a healthy proportion of their usual charitable donation funds to pro-life, they will save vastly more lives and do more long-term good for the world than everything else that they normally support combined.”
This is About More Than Abortion
“The pro-life moment movement is not only about abortion,” he says. “It is fighting an international movement engaged in a variety of efforts to massively reduce the world’s population.” “And to achieve that”, Hughes explains, “they know they must also eliminate or at least severely limit the influence of religion and traditional cultures that emphasize the dignity and sacredness of human life and the importance of the natural family. They are doing that now.”
“Their movement is a danger to everyone,” Hughes says. “And unless we begin to take seriously that we have to fight this war, all the other things that we fund will achieve very little.” “There will be far less of a future for people of principle and traditional values and a disturbing future for their children and grandchildren in this new world order that will be radically different from what we have worked and hoped for.”
“However,” Hughes stresses, “as big and as powerful as our opponents are, we are on God’s side, so we have truth on our side. We have natural law on our side.” The condition, he says, is that “we need much more support of every kind from those who know what is right and what is wrong.”
The CLC President says, “Right now, our organization, for instance, is struggling to not have to lay off more critically needed staff. It’s not going well. And yet, that is ridiculous. We have so much to do.”
Angel Investors Needed
The little people are still doing their very best for the cause of life. What is needed, as can be seen from Jim Hughes’s comments, is for those with larger financial means to finally come on board.
There is a special need at this moment for what is termed in the business world, “angel investors”, to not only just keep CLC, LifeSiteNews and all the other effective, dedicated groups in the world going, but to help them get to that higher level of organization and influence that will eventually result in more funds coming in to sustain the new level of activity.
The return of investment for the angel investors would however not be a direct financial return on their investment. Pro-life angel investors would receive the same return as all those who have already been giving so much of their lives for this cause — the sure knowledge there that they are contributing their required share to “the most important work on earth.”
At the end of their days they would be assured of the certainty that they responded to God’s call to protect the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable of his highest creation willed by him specifically to be with him for eternity.
“In other words,” says Hughes, “being involved in or at least supporting pro-life work with the right motivation, has lasting benefits that cannot be compared to the always passing rewards of the material life. It is a work of justice at its very highest level. It is the best possilble type of legacy to leave the world.”
Some years ago U.S. Congressman Hyde made a speech on the abortion issue that struck so deep to the core of the responsibility and rightness of defending the unborn that it has been repeated on numerous websites and in many print publications ever since. The quote seems to be especially appropriate to end this article.
When the Time Comes by Henry Hyde:
“When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, “Spare him because he loved us,” and God will look at you and say not, “Did you succeed?” but “Did you try?”‘
More Powerful Quotes to Consider
The following are additional quotes from prominent individuals emphasizing why abortion and its related anti-life evils must be given a very high priority:
“Abraham Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should therefore be slaves. Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide.”
Ronald Reagan Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation
“everything collapses without respect for life.”
Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Vatican City, Oct. 3, 2000
“The abortion law has a common denominator with the spirit of the Nazis and of communism: We may kill..”
Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg Andreas Laun in an interview with the Austrian magazine News
“Some will say that the defense of innocent life is only one issue among many, that it is important but not fundamental. They are wrong. In the natural moral law, the good of life is the most fundamental good and the condition for the enjoyment of all other goods.”
Archbishop Raymond Burke Jan. 2004
“Defense of human life is the only foundation on which all else must be built, or else, all else is eventually going to collapse. ..”
Bishop William Murphy, Archdiocese of Boston in Pilot Column
“The taking of innocent human life is so heinous, so horribly evil, and so absolutely opposite to the law of Almighty God that abortion must take precedence over every other issue.”
Bishop James Timlin, D.D., Bishop of Scranton, “The Ballot and the Right to Life” Fall 2000
“…we have a most grave obligation to defend all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. God help us if we fail in this most fundamental obligation.”
Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey – May 4, 2004
“A new ‘ideology of evil’ is threatening society and it includes gay ‘marriage,’ and abortion”
Pope John Paul II in his book, “Memory and Identity.” about his experiences with 20th-century totalitarianism
[T]he failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics” (1998)
I am writing as the great great grandson of William Wilberforce, who campaigned vigorously for the ending of the transatlantic slave trade in 1807, which ultimately paved the way for the abolition of slavery itself throughout the entire British Empire in 1833. I am often asked what would be the campaigns Wilberforce would be fighting if he were alive in 21st century Britain. I believe that there would be a number of different issues among them human trafficking and the scourge of drugs. But almost certainly at the top of the list, would be the issue of abortion.
Fr. Gerard Wilberforce.
“Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up.”
Winston Churchill’s shortest and most memorable commencement speech of all time at his alma mater during World War II as quoted by Peter Kreeft in his book How to Win the Culture War.