It is customary at this time of year to sound a note of celebration for the birth of the One who overcame sin and death by His death on the Cross. In personal terms, it is a time for taking stock of things, appreciating one’s blessings and perhaps giving more thought to family, friends and the community at large.
For pro-life, pro-family Canadians, it is an ideal time reflect on the real reasons we have become involved in this effort. The birth of a Savior – one who would tell His disciples, “Suffer these little ones to come on to Me” – is a key note on which to focus our spiritual energy over these next few weeks.
Above all it is a time for hope and optimism, a time to reflect for a moment on the difficult struggle to promote greater respect and protection for the innocent unborn, the disabled, the infirm elderly, and all others whose right to existence has slipped beyond their control.
To be sure, recent events might work against that sense of optimism. Our courts have ruled that there is no basis in law for pregnant women to refrain from behavior harmful to their unborn child. The ruling, justified in part by the court’s higher regard for the right to abortion, leaves the preborn as the only group in society completely unrecognized in law.
In Saskatchewan, a jury finds farmer Robert Latimer guilty of murder in the death of his disabled daughter Tracy, but it goes out of its way to appeal for the most lenient of sentences. The court grants Latimer a constitutional amendment from the mandatory 10-year penalty, saying it would be “crual and unusual” to bestow even the minimum sentence. It seems there may be one set of laws for doing harm to an able-bodied person, and quite another if one harms the physically disadvantaged.
In Nova Scotia, a doctor charged with murder in the death of a patient has the charges reduced to manslaughter. Although denied by the Crown’s office, many speculate that the reduced charges are in part the result of a large outpouring of public support for the euthanasia-performing doctor.
And in Winnipeg, the wounding of a long-time abortionist by an unknown assailant is grounds for another series of media broadsides at the country’s pro-life community. We’ve developed a thick skin by defending ourselves and our aims from previous attacks, but to be continually on the defensive takes a certain emotional toll.
As the Christmas season is in essence a celebration of life, we can draw inspiration from the fact that respect for all humanity is the reason this movement exists in the first place. There is much to be gained from a proactive, confident reliance on the basic truth of the pro-life position to carry the word forward.
As pro-life journalist Rory Leishman of London, Ontario recently told an Alliance for Life gathering, the truth cannot be suppressed forever, but it is up to pro-lifers to stand up and declare it. Despite a secular bias that works in favor of anti-life thinking, pro-lifers must hold to their resolve to declare the essential truth of the sanctity of all human life.
Thankfully, more voices are being raised to counteract the contraception mentality’s stranglehold in the media and elsewhere. Perhaps this will become a source of hope and optimism as we bring the effort forward into 1998 and beyond.