National Affairs Rory Leishman

National Affairs Rory Leishman

Prior to the 1960s, the great majority of Canadians deplored the immorality of fornication, adultery and abortion. Tommy Douglas, founding leader of the New Democratic Party, was no exception. In his master’s thesis in sociology for McMaster University in 1933, he called for the sterilization of “mentally defective” women on the ground that they are prone to breed “sexually immoral girls” who are “guilty of illegal parentage, or abortion.”

Within 30 years, Douglas had thoroughly recanted. In a nationally televised debate with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and other party leaders in 1968, he called for the legalization of both abortion and homosexual acts.

Still, by today’s “progressive” standards, Douglas remained morally benighted. In defending the legalization of homosexuality, he said: “If ever we needed in this country to adopt a new attitude towards homosexuality, this is the time. Instead of treating it as a crime, and driving it underground, we ought to recognize it for what it is: it’s a mental illness, it’s a psychiatric condition which ought to be treated sympathetically by psychiatrists and social workers. We’re not going to do this by tossing people into jail.”

If Douglas had made this same statement 40 years later, he could have been charged with communicating hate messages under section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Among left-wing political leaders in the 1960s, Douglas was not alone in adopting a radical change in moral outlook. Many other “progressive” politicians in Canada, Britain and the United States did the same. As late as 1971, United States Senator Ted Kennedy still affirmed his opposition to abortion. In a letter to a constituent, he wrote: “While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life.”

Within a few years, this same Ted Kennedy became an implacable advocate of unbridled abortion on demand. Today, every left-wing political leader in the English-speaking world likewise maintains that a mother has a right to have her baby deliberately killed in the womb.

Most recently, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau decreed that no one who conscientiously objects to abortion on demand will be allowed to run for his party in the next federal election.

What has gone wrong? Left-wing political leaders used to take pride in upholding the natural family and defending all of the weakest and most vulnerable of our fellow human beings. How is it that most of these same politicians are now so callously indifferent about widespread family breakdowns and the mass slaughter of unborn babies?

Melanie Phillips has addressed this issue in her latest book, The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power. She traces the moral degradation of our times to the widespread loss of religious conviction among left-wing and libertarian intellectuals throughout what used to be aptly denoted as the domain of Christendom.

Phillips is well aware that not all atheists are evil-doers or that all Christians are virtuous. Douglas was an erstwhile Baptist preacher and Kennedy was a life-long professing Catholic. Phillips, who is Jewish, maintains that by renouncing the time-tested truths of Judeo-Christian teaching on sexual morality and the sanctity of human life based on the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, “progressive” Christians and their Jewish counterparts have become a law unto themselves embracing the most grievous moral errors.

To be sure, heretical Christians and Jews are only part of the problem. It is militant atheists like Richard Dawkins, the eminent British biologist, and Peter Singer, the notorious philosopher at Princeton University, who are leading the attack on the traditional principles of Judeo-Christian morality. Phillips notes that Dawkins has gone so far as to laud Singer as “the most moral person I know,” despite Singer’s advocacy of a host of evils ranging from abortion on demand to infanticide, euthanasia and human cloning.

In the face of this immoral onslaught, what are beleaguered pro-lifers to do? For faithful Christians, our duty is clear: instead of conforming our thinking to the corrupt pattern of the world, we must strive continuously to uphold that “good and acceptable and perfect will of God” as revealed in the Bible and expounded in the traditional teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.