"To win any war, and any kind of war...the three most necessary things we must know are first; that we are at war; second, who our enemy is; and third, what weapons or strategies can defeat him. We cannot win a war, first, if we are blissfully sowing peace banners on a battlefield; or second, if we are too busy fighting civil wars against our allies [to fight our real enemy]; or third, if we are using the wrong weapons. For instance, we must fight fire with water, not fire."These are all true things indeed, and if they were followed the culture war would eventually be won. This advice may be contrasted with the advice of the progressive Christian paper Sojourners. In a similarly titled article written late last week, and which arrived in my email inbox today, Sojourners founder and editor-in-chief Jim Wallis gives his own advice concerning how to win a culture war. Mr Wallis advice begins: "Want to know how to win a culture war? Don’t fight one."
Profound. His answer is that the best way to win a war is to surrender, or better still, to pretend that there is no war. And how could Mr Wallis make such an audacious claim--that there is no real culture war? Perhaps it is more important to ask why Mr Wallis would make such a claim. He continues, "The biggest fear of those leading the culture wars is not an attack from the other side or the threat of losing ground on their issues — it is common ground."
I have written about Sojourners so-called "common ground" solutions before. To quote from Thomas Peters of the American Papist blog, "Problem is, if pro-lifers want to head East towards life and pro-aborts want to move West towards the death of unborn children, any turning to the center of common ground by pro-lifers is movement in the wrong direction." The problem with the common ground solutions is that they don't really look for real common ground. The pro-life position is not just of fighting abortion, its of ending it. Reducing the numbers of abortion is a good thing, but it is not the end goal; we cannot settle for merely "reducing" abortions from, say, 1-1/2 million/year to 1-1/4 million/year, though that may be a first step. The next step is to reduce from 1-1/4 million to one million, and then to 900,000, and so until to as near zero as possible.
Now it is obvious that this won't be accomplished by laws alone. Society needs to change if abortion is to become history. The laws will help in this regard, but so do the volunteers who will help the woman facing a crisis pregnancy, so will the centers who help prevent unintended pregnancies (abstinence is the most effective means of this), and so will the counselors who show a woman with an unplanned pregnancy that she has options besides abortion. What will not help is for those who oppose abortion to settle for a "common ground" solution. After all, it was once "common ground" to state that women ought to have access to abortion if her "health" was at risk (so implied the Supreme Court in the Doe decision handed down on the same day as the Roe decision). Of course, we now know that "health" generally means "convenience"--though even a woman who is not inconvenienced can legally get an abortion; some have as little more than a sign of "solidarity."
I agree with Mr Wallis that people ought to have access to health care; I do not agree with him that the answer is to have the government step in and run the entire industry. More importantly, I do not agree with his assessment of the relative importance of the universal health care and abortion. "At this point in the debate, abortion should not become a wedge issue that could doom the chances of any legislation passing." In other words, the common ground solution is to ignore the problem and work on something else. A real "common ground" solution will be one which is both/and, not "either or."
Finally, Mr Wallis discusses briefly and in rosy terms the Ryan-Delauro bill.
"On the issue of abortion itself, Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Tim Ryan’s “Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act” addresses how best to both prevent unwanted pregnancies and support pregnant women who desire to carry their baby to term.It also makes adoption easier....Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro are wise public servants who are trying to unite us around the new common ground of abortion reduction, a place that people on both sides of the debate can agree to. Helping young people to delay sexual activity, preventing the pregnancies that people don’t want, economically supporting low-income women to give them real choices about having a child, and encouraging adoption all will reduce abortion in America. Who could be against any of that?"My answer is that nobody is really against any of that. The problem is, the bill does not do any of that, at least not without some very serious strings attached. Making adoption "easier" is not common ground if it will codify as law the right of homosexual partners to adopt--thereby opening the door to close more adoption agencies as happened to the Catholic Charities in the Boston area. The eventual closure of the major Catholic (and other religious) adoption agencies will not increase the umber of adoptions; if anything, the number of adoptions will be decreased, particularly for the "hard" cases.
Furthermore, providing $700 million to the abortion providers (as this bill does) is not a good way to reduce abortions. There is a reason why one of the sponsors of the Bill, Tim Ryan, was recently booted from the Democrats' for Life advisory board. Why, moreover, the Democrats for Life oppose this bill. There is no common ground to be found between those who sincerely want to allow for the killing of an innocent person and those who want to prevent it.
If you enjoyed this post, here are some other related posts:
Disorientation: A Review in Four Parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
Social Services and Blood Money
Thoughts About "SlutWalk"
A Tale of Two Columns
Love and Responsibility (Book Review)
Modesty and the Culture Wars (Catholic America Today)
Return to Home Page