Chalk it up to our difficulty eking out cultural ground. Whenever a pro-life politician or other influential figure makes it into the spotlight, many pro-lifers immediately make it our personal mission to defend said person against any and every criticism, simply because we’re so grateful to just have someoneon “our side” to root for, and simultaneously so fearful that their (and indirectly, our) success will come to an end. We willfully blind ourselves to their faults, forgetting that no man (but One) is infallible. In effect, they become the golden calves we worship.
Milo Yiannopoulos is an unapologetically vulgar writer and speaker who married his longtime boyfriend last fall…and yet he is pro-life, and has championed free speech, and so plenty of my pro-life friends are big fans. When it emerged that Yiannopoulos had tacitly pardoned sexual relationships between adult men and teenage boys as young as 13, guess who rushed to his defense, even after I asked them to consider how they’d react if the same comments came from someone on the left?
Not even a year later, a similar tale unfolded. Roy Moore, the pro-life Republican nominee in the 2017 US Senate special election in Alabama, was accused of sexual assault, and suddenly, there was a barrage of “socially conservative” Alabamians explaining away the preying on of teenage girls and reminding y’all of the evils of the Democratic Party.
What about Donald Trump? For quite a few, the most golden of golden calves. He’s on his third wife, and I won’t speculate on the number of affairs. He has a lengthy history of disgusting and abrasive remarks, and his own list of sexual misconduct allegations. Importantly, he holds policy positions that should repel anyone still willing to give him slack, such as his endorsement of torture and going after the family members of terrorists. The mainstream media may be biased against him, but let’s not pretend that each and every serious concern of theirs is baseless.
We should pay attention to our own biases, too, for haven’t we condemned figures like Patrick Brown and Hugh Hefner for much of the same reasons the left condemns Yiannopoulos, Moore, and Trump?
I definitely do not mean to imply that pro-life personalities ought to be perfect in order for us to support them—not by a long shot. I mean to communicate that we shouldn’t view anyone as being above reproach. We owe it to them, to ourselves, and to everyone, really, to call them out when they need to be. Our allegiance should be to principles, not personalities. The flip-side of this demand is recognizing when a pro-choicer does something worth applauding.
I think we’re all little politicians, weighing the political and cultural repercussions of praising versus criticizing a person of influence, but when we engage in this calculus it’s the truth that loses out. We can be thankful for some of the products of the Trump administration while also identifying that Trump has done, and still does, terrible things.
And often, these terrible things ought to be deal-breakers. There are some pro-lifers who hold positions so beyond the pale that supporting them cannot be justified. I don’t think Trump makes a passing grade, and I don’t think Faith Goldy, anti-abortion mayoral candidate for Toronto, does either.
It was her candidacy which spurred me to write this column, or rather the encouragement of her candidacy from pro-lifers who I know aren’t racist. Goldy has recited the infamous Fourteen Words, which is the unofficial slogan of “White Revolution,” coined by white supremacist David Lane. She has said she does not apologize for appearing on The Krypto Report, a podcast affiliated with neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, which Goldy called “the Galileo of our time.” She is someone who we shouldn’t hold back from criticizing just because she’s pro-life. In fact, that’s all the more reason to criticize her.
I’m aware that to some readers, Yiannopoulos, Moore, Trump, and Goldy will appear like low-hanging fruit, and yes, they are among the most obvious examples of the point I’m making. However, this caution to acknowledge the imperfection of your idols also applies to — dare I say — Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, or Matt Walsh. Of course, we too are imperfect beings, and this tendency to apologize for the people we admire and blast the people we don’t is just part of our flawed nature as humans. Being aware of it, though, and trying to avoid it is necessary for the betterment of ourselves, and the very people we are inclined to put on a pedestal.