In a March 27 Toronto Star column, Michele Landsberg refers to Human Life International’s world conference in Toronto April 7 to 11 as “purveyors of hate and violence com(ing) to town, 2,000-strong.” “This is not an innocuous event,” Landsberg warns, accusing HLI of being “true fascists,” preaching “the most abysmal kinds of prejudice against lesbians, gays, Muslims and Jews.”

In an open letter to members of Parliament from Marilyn Wilson of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, HLI is called “the world’s largest network of international anti-abortion extremists,” whose members allegedly include “violent and dangerous individuals,” “white supremacists,” and “notorious fanatics.”

Now, one would hardly expect leftist feminists like Michele Landsberg and Marilyn Wilson to welcome HLI’s message. HLI is unapologetically pro-life. However, much of what Landsberg and Wilson say about HLI is patently false.

HLI flatly condemns violence against abortionists. “We firmly believe that violence is not the answer to ending the slaughter of babies,” its policy states.

The organization regards homosexual behaviour as disordered and sinful, in accord with the moral teachings of orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Believing that certain behaviours are morally wrong, however, does not constitute “hatred” of persons who engage in such behaviour. Traditional religious people also believe that extra-marital heterosexual behaviour is sinful, but it does not follow that they “hate” persons who indulge in such liaisons.

At HLI’s 1995 world conference in Montréal, some 2,000 pro-abortion feminists and gay extremists screamed threats and obscenities at HLI delegates leaving Notre Dame Basilica in a prayerful candlelight procession, pelting them with eggs, beer bottles, glass-filled condoms, and other debris. The “hateful” supporters of HLI, meanwhile, prayed quietly for their “tolerant” assailants. (The protesters later vandalized nearby buildings and destroyed a police car.)

The pro-life group has also been accused of “racism” and “anti-Semitism” by B’nai B’rith and the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC). HLI founder Fr. Paul Marx has observed that “Jews who are disloyal to the teaching of Judaism more or less lead the abortion movement.” There seems to be substantial evidence to support that conclusion, but many Jews actively support HLI, represented by groups like the Jewish Anti-Abortion League and Jews for Morality.

HLI, whose members include pro-life black leaders, explicitly states that it is “colour blind and race indifferent.” Alan Keyes, a once and future candidate for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination, is black and an HLI supporter.

On Feb. 28, 1995, the Judeo-Christian Pro-Life Alliance was formally established in Montréal. A joint declaration signed by Rabbi Yehuda Levin of New York and HLI President Fr. Matthew Habiger states in part: “This coalition, conceived in this spirit of mutual respect and brotherhood, recognizes the unfortunate inroads made by idolatry disguised as ideology, humanism disguised as humaneness, and convenience disguised as compassion.” An ad in support of HLI, signed by 44 prominent Jewish persons, including 10 rabbis, appeared in the Montréal Gazette that same day.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, MD, and Dr. Judith Reisman, both Jews, were directors and speakers at the Montréal HLI conference. Dr. David Harris, a Jew who signed of the Gazette ad, said, “B’nai B’rith and almost every other major secular Jewish organization … have come under the domination of Jews whose positions are not only contrary to Christianity and Christian beliefs and values but contrary to Judaism and Jewish beliefs and values as well …. They fear the growing influence of religious conservatives, both Christian and Jewish, who are trying to maintain a measure of moral sanity … in public life.”

As for Fr. Marx’s published statement that Jews are leaders in the abortion movement and comprise a majority of abortion doctors in North America, Rabbi Levin agrees. “An inordinate amount of Jewish organizations support abortion on demand,” he told the National Post, during a trip to Toronto to defend HLI against this latest round of attacks. Levin said that organizations like the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith are comprised of secular, liberal Jews who support a pro-abortion, militant homosexual agenda that is antithetical to the Jewish Torah and the standards and values their grandparents lived and died for.

So the hysterical and hypocritical charges against Human Life International are bogus, through and through. What’s more, the people levelling those charges are either very slow, or willfully ignorant; the same canards were completely shot down at the Montréal conference, at press conferences to which all the media were invited.

We’d like to think HLI’s persecutors are blinded by their passionate concerns about racism, and that the original lies about HLI have simply taken on a life of their own. Unfortunately, it’s much, much more likely they know exactly what they’re doing, and that if it weren’t for them, the lies about HLI would never have been told in the first place. Charles Moore
Interim columnist Charles Moore is a journalist in Sherbrooke, N.S. Interim columnist Charles Moore is a journalist in Sherbrooke, N.S.