Opinion

August 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The delicacy required around death is always a tough thing for political enemies, but also for people of faith when dealing with the death of someone who opposes fundamental moral truths.

While the left would enjoy painting moral conservatives as rejoicing over the death of Layton and hoping that he is now burning in hell, the reality is just the opposite.  There is mourning rather than rejoicing, and the hope and prayer that God has mercy on his soul. 

There were prayers for his conversion in much the same way as the movement has been praying – some daily – for the conversion of abortionist Henry Morgentaler – who is also nearing the end of his life’s journey.

What was the reaction of the political arm of the pro-life movement to Layton’s cancer announcement last year? A call to prayer.  And to his death yesterday? “May God have mercy on his soul.”

In reality moral conservatives follow the Biblical teaching of Christ to “love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.” (Matt 5:44)

However, at the time of the death of such a loved enemy, the question becomes: ‘what can we say publicly about such a man?’  With effusive praising comes the grave risk of betraying our deepest principles.

For argument’s sake let us pretend that Prime Minister Harper is a strong moral conservative – which he is not.  His official statement on Layton’s death was mostly fine.  He offered condolences to the grieving family – as he should, fondly recalled his interactions with Layton and also noted Layton’s admirable qualities, such as his courage in battling cancer. 

However, then there came this line: “On behalf of all Canadians, I salute Jack’s contribution to public life, a contribution that will be sorely missed.”

With that there comes a betrayal of principle.  Layton’s contribution to public life had many good aspects it is true – his hope, optimism, resilience, courage and leadership.  However, despite these qualities which in the eyes of the world made him a hero, he was one of the nations most vociferous and long-standing pushers of abortion on demand at taxpayer expense and of same-sex marriage and the indoctrination of society into its acceptance.

However good and noble some of the qualities of Layton may have been, the legacy of his anti-life and anti-family ‘contribution to public life’ will haunt Canada for years to come. 

Layton’s passing in the prime of his political career and at the early age of 61 is also a stark reminder for all of us that death will come and we know not when. 

What matters then is not how we squared in terms of the world – not how popular, how beloved, how famous or how smart we were.  At the final hour, it’s all about love first for God and then neighbour.

We love our enemies, we do not hate them.  We pray for them and wish them the best – which is conversion to the truth and ultimately heaven.  This is exactly why we pray that Jack Layton experienced a conversion before his death.  And we now pray that God has mercy on his soul.

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