Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pro Life & Slavery

The argument that the pro life cause is related to slavery is powerful and obviously true at the foundational level of having the ability to destroy a human being as if an individual human life was simply a commodity.

This article from John Allen looks at that.

An excerpt.

“In a stroke of pro-life rhetoric that may have particular resonance in the United States, senior church officials are increasingly comparing the defense of unborn life today, including opposition to abortion and the destruction of human embryos, to the struggle against slavery and racism in earlier historical periods.

“That argument comes at a moment when the United States is celebrating the election of the first African American to the presidency, and thus the country’s progress in race relations since the era of slavery.

“Yet in making that comparison, officials may also have to come terms with the church’s own checkered past, since prior to the late 19th century official Catholic teaching did not generally regard slavery as an “intrinsic evil.”

“Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, linked the struggle against slavery to the church’s opposition to abortion during his presidential address at the Nov. 10-13 fall meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore.

“Symbolically, it is a moment that touches more than our history when a country that once enshrined race slavery in its very constitutional order should come to elect an African American to the presidency,” George said. “In this, I believe, we must all rejoice.”

“We can rejoice today with those who, following heroic figures like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, were part of a movement to bring our country’s civil rights into better accord with universal human rights. Among so many people of good will, dutiful priests and loving religious women, bishops and lay people of the Catholic church who took our social doctrine to heart then can feel vindicated now.”

“George then explicitly made the parallel between racism and abortion.

“The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice,” he said. “If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be President of the United States. Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good.”