A humanist and a Christian were interviewed on CBC Radio recently. The humanist declared that Thomas Jefferson didn’t really mean that bit about “under God” in the American constitution. Then he argued vigorously for separation of church and state – actually, for a secular state independent of religion. The Christian had very different ideas.
They did agree that an individual’s concerns reflect his world view. To see each human being as a redeemed child of the Creator having an immortal soul, is to regard each human being, regardless of condition, as a brother or sister. That naturally leads to a great sense of responsibility for others, and great concern about issues like abortion, fetal experimentation, marriage, euthanasia and morality in general. These were concerns that the humanist seemed to consider misplaced and illogical.
Many people today seem to be “logic-challenged,” preferring to substitute feeling for reasoning. Nevertheless, the humanist said his ideal world would be built on logic and science, not on religion and religious principles.
Then came what he obviously considered his crowning argument. “Who wants to be like the patriarchs in the Old Testament? They were into all kinds of wickedness: cheating, lying, drunkenness, adultery, murder and war. What kind of role models are they?”
He was missing the point – the same one missed by the very biblical characters he referred to: that whenever they ignored the Creator’s directives and went off on their own, they went very far astray.
Our country and our politicians often make a similar mistake: trying to govern without God, and going astray. They’re like climbers on Everest, too stubborn to use a Sherpa guide.
The study of logic was compulsory at my alma mater (St. Dunstan’s University). During celebrations of its 150th anniversary this summer, Bishop Vernon Fougere of Charlottetown spoke about the university’s motto: Ex eodem fonte, fides et scientia. (From the same font come faith and science.)
“In our culture, the scientia part is dominant,” said Fougere. “But we must not forget the fides part. They come from the same font, the same source: the Creator. He knows each of us needs both knowledge and faith. He knows our world needs both.”
Pro-lifers have always combined fides and scientia in working for life, faith and family.
Our tools include the recently used ballot and ballot box. They are imperfect tools, often giving results that fill us with dismay. Some election winners are truly noble and conscientious people, some are not. Some are idealists seeking to improve the world, some are self-serving opportunists, some power-hungry. Many have been strongly influenced by humanist and secular philosophies.
Fortunately, in this spiritual struggle, pro-lifers have tools more certain than the ballot, more effective than petitions and protests.
One is prayer. A website notes: “Little children and aged saints, kings and presidents, priests and preachers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. All of these have prayed.” Then it quotes the poet Tennyson, “More things were wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
History is filled with examples. Many attribute the peaceful defeat of communism in Poland to prayer. And the 1986 peaceful overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos in Manila. And the conversion of former abortionist Bernard Nathanson.
Tennyson’s poem continues, “Wherefore, let thy voice rise like a fountain day and night/ For what are men better than sheep or goats, if knowing God they lift not hands of prayer?”
Canada has only 308 members of Parliament, and 105 senators. Pro-lifers greatly outnumber them. We have a tool that will strengthen the good, enlighten the misinformed, soften the hearts of the stubborn and even remove the toxic. We should use it “to the max.”
Suppose we each spiritually adopt a politician or other influential public figure and surround them with prayer. Suppose we start this very day to let our voices “rise like a fountain” for them every day! And for added impact, suppose we engage our families in this project.
Sooner or later, something will change. Then we will see that our efforts did more than we could ever dream, to protect life, faith and family, and to influence the destiny of our country and our civilization.