With two official leadership races in this country underway in this country right now – the Canadian Alliance federally, the Progressive Conservatives in Ontario – our minds are focussed on the role of pro-life Canadians in politics.

Many of us (too many of us) limit our involvement in politics to the voting booth, if that much. On one hand, it is understandable that we are not more active: many Christians want to avoid what often seems the dishonest and dirty aspects of politics; some of us have experienced disappointment in the past; we are busy taking care of our families, which are rightfully the centre of our lives; we fear we will be criticized; it sometimes seems that we can make little difference, no matter how hard we try; no candidate or party perfectly represents what we want, except perhaps the unappreciated and under-supported Christian Heritage Party (federally) and Family Coalition parties (in B.C. and Ontario).

But when you get right down to it, these are all excuses. Politics is dirty? Maybe sometimes, but Christians are obliged to become informed about issues and be involved. Disappointment in the past? We are called to be faithful, despite our failings. Family obligations? One obligation is to try to make the world our children and grandchildren will grow up in a little better. The scorn of others? We are called to be faithful, not popular. What can one person do? Mother Teresa said that one rain drop may not seem significant but if it were not to fall, the ocean would miss it. The parties are not pro-life enough? We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Politicians pay little attention to abortion because, from an electability point of view, often they can afford to. We have simply not consistently made abortion an important political issue. Politicians feel that they can ignore pro-life voters, and we can complain about that until we are blue in the face. But we must first face the reality about ourselves.

The homosexual lobby has been successful in persuading most major parties to accept the homosexual agenda, or at least to do nothing to upset them. And, by many estimates, homosexuals make up only three per cent of the electorate.

Yet no party actively courts those in the pro-life movement despite the fact that we make up no less than one-third, and more likely one-half of the population. Part of the problem is that the top levels of most political parties seek to curry favour with the mainstream media which (generally) supports abortion. Part of the problem is some parties are controlled by politicians and strategists who support abortion. Part of the problem is some parties are controlled by politicians and strategists who consider abortion a political albatross, an issue that turns off voters and thus loses elections.

But the last problem – that politicians and backroom strategists view abortion as a losing issue because pro-lifers do not get out and work for their candidates – would disappear if we made clear that abortion is a priority for all pro-lifers; support for abortion must disqualify a candidate for consideration when it comes time to mark our ballots. (Abortion is not a losing issue. Exit polls show that for those for whom abortion is an important issue, there is a two to one advantage for the pro-life position.)

The fact is our apathy, our inactivity is one reason the culture of death marches on, why our elected officials allow it to continue unimpeded by law, to swallow 115,000 unborn babies every year.

We must, in every arena we can, proclaim the truth that abortion is the murder of innocent unborn children and that it is wrong that such a holocaust be allowed to continue. Eventually, abortion must be solved in the political arena.

We cannot afford to sit idly by.

If we do not let our elected officials know that this issue matters – and matters more than any other issue this country faces today – and that we, as voters, make our decisions about who to vote for based on the candidates’ view of abortion, we have no one to blame but ourselves if the politicians ignore this issue. You wouldn’t ever read this in the newspapers, but politicians are shocked to hear the number of people who raise the issue when they go door to door during election campaigns. We need every pro-lifer to raise the issue when candidates knock on their door. (And keep in touch between elections with their phone calls, emails, faxes and letters.)

If we feel disenfranchised by the abandonment of politicians, we have to look no further than ourselves. We must force politicians to realize that there will be a political price to pay if they continue to ignore our plight on behalf of the unborn.

The fact is that when we act together, on the principle that defending life is our paramount responsibility politically, we do great things. Liberals for Life made a difference during the Tom Wappell leadership campaign. The media went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the public did not know the depth of support this pro-life stalwart had in the Liberal Party. Tories for Life have been a tremendous presence at past Progressive Conservative conferences. In July 2000, social conservatives worked together from coast to coast to help Stockwell Day become leader of the Canadian Alliance. And don’t forget the success of George W. Bush south of the border – he would not be president today without the support of American pro-lifers.

Of course, the Christian Heritage and Family Coalition parties deserve our support, too. It is a shame that they have not made a great breakthrough. Pro-lifers make up a third to half of the population, yet these parties struggle to maintain official party status.