Ten thousand Canadian dollars. That’s a whole lot of money. And it’s the amount which Campaign Life Coalition Toronto is willing to pay for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the 1992 fire-bombing of the Morgentaler clinic.
Some pro-life people have asked why a pro-life group would offer such a reward. I certainly don’t speak for Campaign Life Coalition, but for my own money, I think the offer is just what the pro-life movement needed to do. My only regret would be that the offer wasn’t made sooner or that the reward wasn’t even bigger!
There has been a rising tide of violence directed toward abortionists and abortion clinics in the United States. After each well-publicized event, pro-life groups issue statements separating themselves from the violent act and denouncing violence. Despite this, the pro-abortion forces work hard to pin ultimate responsibility for the violence on the activity of the pro-life movement. The pro-abortionists know that to be associated with violence means to plummet in public support. They have been quick to point out any pro-life statement which appears to give even tacit approval of violence.
Some statements made by a few pro-life leaders have left room for ambiguity. Some have followed their condemnation of violence with the observation that the clinics created the violent atmosphere. Others have stated, where no human life is lost, that the violence which takes place in the clinic is an even greater tragedy.
Such statements, while true, can create the distance impression that the violence against abortion sites and their staff is being condemned with a nudge and a wink.
What is needed is the clearest sign from pro-life people that we will have nothing to do with violence as a way of solving the human tragedy of abortion. On this there is no point of compromise. Either violence is an acceptable way to solve this problem or it is not.
Once we have embraced violence as in any way acceptable, we have crossed an enormous chasm and entered a land without limits. Whether we draw the line at shoving people, or endangering their lives by setting off a midnight bomb, or shooting them, we would be merely quibbling. A mere quibble. We will have embraced the rather bewildering notion that good will be advanced by us doing evil.
Fortunately, the pro-life movement has recognized that evil will not produce good. What we have not been able to do is to make it clear to the world in an unambiguous way. And that is where the reward comes in.
By offering such a reward the pro-life movement says it opposes violence, whatever its form and whoever may have committed it. The reward moves us beyond mere words. In an age of spin doctors and public relations departments, one’s word seldom establishes one’s true thoughts. But money – ah yes, this makes the world go round. By offering a reward, and a substantial one, Campaign Life Coalition has established that it is genuinely opposed to violence.
The reward is a tremendous act of courage. Most of our society accepts the principle that you can do evil to promote good. Yet this idea has been consistently rejected by the diverse elements in the Canadian pro-life movement. I think back to a pre-rescue meeting at which Rev. Ken Campbell, the Baptist Minister, spoke. He told the rescuers present to look into their hearts and if they found that any part of their motivation was anger or hatred of any kind, they should stay home.
Campaign Life Coalition by issuing a reward is continuing the tradition of embracing peaceful but active resistance to evil. By doing so, Campaign Life Coalition has again shown that it deserves the label “pro-life.”