Wednesday, December 31, 2008

U.N. Petition for the Unborn Child - 2

C-Fam logo Have you heard about C-Fam's U.N. Petition for the Unborn Child? I promoted it in an earlier post ("U.N. Petition for the Unborn Child"), and many others have weighed in, too.

This is an interesting story, dating back to mid-2007, when Marie Stopes International, one of the largest and richest abortionists in the world, was running an online petition calling for the U.N. to read a right to abortion into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After well over a year, their petition still has only a few hundred signatures.

In response, Austin Ruse of C-Fam launched a counter petition on Sept 29, 2008. By Nov. 10, when I wrote my blog post, the C-Fam petition had garnered over 100,000 signatures, including 67,000+ just from English-speaking respondents. By Dec. 10, when Ruse presented the petition to the UN, the total number of signatures had grown to 437,000 from 168 countries. To the many nations who are not marching to the abortionsts beat, such a show of solidarity can be very powerful.

C-Fam, and Austin Ruse continue to impress me. They are a strong, faithful, and prophetic witness in the United Nations, a crucial arena today. And besides that, Mr. Ruse himself visited my little blog and left a comment, thanking me for the post. (See the comments section of the aforementioned post.) That's class.

So, thank you, Austin, for what you are doing. Thanks, too, to all of you who signed the petition. And for those of you who haven't signed, you still may. They are keeping the petition up for a few more months, now aiming at a million signatures.

You may read more at this C-Fam page. You may also read the petition itself (it's brief) here. If you agree with the petition, fill out the form and click the 'Submit' button to sign it. You may receive email updates from C-Fam, or you may opt out of those updates.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

STMS website

St.Thomas More The previous post suggests that the public funding of abortion has been a key factor in the demise of our culture, and may be key in turning it around again. Yes, I know that post was written nearly three weeks ago, but I've not been idle. Apart from shovelling snow and keeping the house stocked with firewood, I've been busy with another website close to my heart and in keeping with this idea.

Under the patronage of St. Thomas More, this website and the St. Thomas More Society (STMS) is dedicated to prayer and acts of conscience to end tax funded abortion in Canada. The founder, David Little, has refused to file tax returns until the law is changed to ensure that no tax money will pay for the slaughter of the innocents. David is in legal hot water over this, but is currently preparing an appeal to the highest court in New Brunswick. I have written of David in two other posts below: "David Little" and "Law-abiding criminals".

So feel free to visit the STMS website to read more. See the "Recent news" page to keep up with this legal case. And - please pray, expecting a miracle. This has the potential to be quite significant.

Well, you might say, that's good for Canada, but what about the USA and the rest of the world? Good point. I hope to write more about this soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cognitive dissonance

O LORD, why dost thou make us err from thy ways, and harden our heart, so that we fear thee not?
  - Is. 63:17
Why is Jerry so hung up on tax-funded abortion? Why can't he and other pro-lifers just get over it, and 'get a life', as they say?

This question has a flip side. Why, or how, have other Christians apparently gotten over legalized abortion? As evidenced in our democratic process, a sizable percentage of Christians seem largely untroubled by it. Why?

There may be a clue in the phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. From Wikipedia:

Psychology Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The "ideas" or "cognitions" in question may include attitudes and beliefs , and also the awareness of one's behavior. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
The part about "awareness of one's behavior" is germane. It would appear that the enemy of our souls scored a major coup here. I do not refer to the infamous shock of Roe v. Wade, but to the quiet and mundane coup of congressional budget allocations, i.e., the public funding of abortion and of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

When ordinary taxpayers found themselves paying the abortion invoice, many may have succumbed, through cognitive dissonance, to a belief that it was not such a big deal after all. Just get over it.

If this helps to explain our cultural ambivalence, then it may also tell us how to begin to effectively turn the tide back again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Abortion and Your Taxes

Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.
  - Ps. 144:1
There may be a silver lining in the dark political cloud. Committed Christians seem to be waking to the realization that the situation demands a serious, even drastic response. We are the Church Militant, of which Jesus says, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Mt.16:18b KJV) This is not a picture of desperate saints defending their citadel from intruders, but of Christian warriors on the offensive, boldly attacking the enemy's stronghold.

And just what is that stronghold? We know that we battle against spiritual forces (Eph.6:12), and our best and ultimate weapons are the spiritual: prayer, fasting, trust in God, and the pursuit of holiness. Yet we must also be "wise as serpents" (Mt.10:16), which is to say, we must be aware of practical reality, and act accordingly, aiming for concrete, tangible results. Where should this practical focus be? Precisely where the political and cultural battle lines have been drawn: the personhood and legal protection of all human life, and marriage as the firm foundation of our civilization.

One fellow blogger has amply shown that he is awake for the battle, recognizing and revealing the unsettling signs of our times, especially regarding the recent political fiasco [1][2].  There are both spiritual and practical ramifications. In a recent post, he lays out the Church's clear teaching that, when human law violates Divine Law (e.g. laws legitimizing abortion and euthanasia), the Christian must disregard or disobey that human law. This might strike some folks as drastic, but these times demand such a response. We need to face it: loyalty to Christ means we must obey God rather than men, though we be martyred in the process.

Allow me to suggest a further sharpening of the practical focus. In concrete, practical terms, the core matter is: money. Take that away, and, for all practical purposes, the abortion industry collapses, as does human embryonic research, etc, etc. If we really want to end abortion, let's stop buying it! If this sounds like a broken record, so be it. (See related "Pro-life strike" posts at the left side bar.)

Presentation Ministries offers a brief brochure entitled Abortion And Your Taxes which succinctly explores the moral problem of tax-funded abortion, and offers simple guidelines to follow in considering a response of tax resistance.

The thing is, this is not just a concrete and practical matter, but reflects back upon our spiritual actions, the real heart of our faith. We refuse to fund abortion so as to purify our prayers and other pro-life efforts. We must stop paying for death so we may sincerely pray and work for life!

Monday, November 10, 2008

U.N. Petition for the Unborn Child

C-Fam logo As just noted, we have much cultural evangelization and political work to do. Let's begin with something easy. C-Fam, the pro-life presence at the United Nations, has prepared an online petition to be presented to the U.N. early next month. Many lobbyists and unelected panelists at the U.N have been illogically claiming that the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights must now be interpreted as mandating legalized abortion and same-sex 'marriage', and so have been pressuring member states to enact these legal changes. The purpose of this C-Fam petition is to reaffirm that human rights begin with the right to life and the integrity of the family unit.

Please read the entire petition (it's brief) by clicking on this C-Fam page. If you agree with the petition, fill out the form and click the 'Submit' button to sign it. You may receive email updates from C-Fam, or you may opt out of those updates.

I have been greatly impressed with the work of C-Fam, and can personally testify that they are the real deal. The last I saw, the pro-abortion campaign had only garnered 600+ signatures in over a year, while this pro-life one has secured over 67,000 in a relatively short time just from English-speaking respondents. By getting lots of signatures on this petition, we can show our support for those nations that still uphold the integrity of human life and of the family in their legal systems.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Back to normal

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.
  - 1 Peter 4:12
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake
  - Phil. 1:29
Let's be honest - this election cycle was a bust, pretty much an unmitigated travesty. Well - (sigh) - what's done is done, and at least now we can return to our normal lives. President-elect Obama But -- just what is normal?

The New Testament norm for the followers of Jesus is to be outside the mainstream. Historically, this has often meant hardship and persecution. Jesus repeatedly told his disciples to expect hatred from the world in which they lived. (e.g. Mt.10:22, Jn.15:19)

We must continue to evangelize our culture, but at the same time recognize the signs of the times. As demonstrated in the popular vote, the evil and immoral policies of the Democratic Party are acceptable to most people. Chiefly, the raw injustice of legalized and tax-funded abortion, the ghastly practice of human embryonic experimentation, and the growing acceptance of homosexual "rights" all indicate the continuing decline of our collective conscience. The political landscape, now swung far left, will likely result in further erosion -- an even more intense assault upon goodness and a greater intolerance for truth.

Who can tell where it might lead? We may hope - and pray - for a swing back to the right. But we ought also to be realistic, and know that may not happen. We must be prepared for even greater evil. Perhaps the Church - the true believers, that is - will soon be driven underground. Perhaps the whole damned system (and I do not use the 'd' word in a flippant or crass manner here) will finally collapse, as all godless systems eventually do. In either case, we seem to be facing an adventure, and ought to steel ourselves for a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When pro-lifers choose death

"Father forgive them; for they know not what they do."
  - Lk. 23:34
The sober and troubling reality is that, even as I write this, millions of U.S. citizens are casting their votes for Barack Obama. Many of these voters are Christian, and many identify themselves as pro-life Catholics.

Ballot box How can this be? Is it because they have an uncritical loyalty to the Democratic Party, an unthinking herd instinct reaching back to early childhood? Are they disgusted with the Republicans' pathetic failures, and suppose there is only one other option? Is it a matter of "white guilt", of feeling obliged to support the African-American candidate? Do they not recognize the intrinsic evil of abortion? Are they therefore intimidated into seeking a "balance" between this and lesser evils? Have they been duped by media bias, and actually believe the euphemism that it's about "choice"? Do they believe the over-population myth, and secretly fear human propagation?

The plain truth is that Barack Hussein Obama is the most rabidly pro-abortion candidate to ever seek the U.S. Presidency. Whether or not he wins it today is not the main issue. Folks who say they are pro-life Christians are voting for him. Followers of Jesus are choosing death. I wish I could find a reasonable explanation for this.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"I'm going to rob the bank, then shoot the teller..."

(The original of this brochure by Randall A. Terry can be found, in pdf form, at Since the Google text format of this appears scrambled, I offer the following full text of the pdf brochure, adding only the 2 images for visual reference.)

A debate has emerged among Catholics and Evangelicals as to whether or not a Christian may in good conscience vote for Obama for President.

Certain Evangelicals who declare themselves "born again," believe the Bible is the Word of God and are traditionally pro-life, have publicly embraced Obama's campaign for the Presidency. Senator Barack Obama Certain Roman Catholics who say they are pro-life are likewise working for Obama, and claiming to do so in clear conscience.

Most Christians (from any Trinitarian Communion) will agree that our vote is a political expression of our faith and ethics; a part of how we integrate the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the teachings of Christianity into public life. Hence, it is valid to question voting for Senator Obama in this election cycle; the principle of moral vs. immoral voting is germane in every election. For example; we can agree that no devout Christian could in clear conscience vote for an avowed racist who wanted to reinstitute slavery, even if we agreed with him on other issues that were important to us.

The core question in this debate is this: can a Christian vote with a clear conscience for a candidate who supports legalized abortion?

I will answer this question with three simple illustrations. You be the judge if the morals and logic stand true.

Case #1:

I am in my car at a red light, and a man comes up to my window and says: "Hi. Could you please give me a ride to the bank? I have some banking to do and my car just broke down."

I say, "Sure. Hop in..." and take him to the bank. As I am leaving, to my horror I see him pull a mask over his face, draw a gun from his pocket, and enter the bank.

Gunshots and screams fill the air, and the man I drove to the bank comes running out - after he murdered the banker, and stole all the money he could carry. He flees successfully.

The question is: did I sin by giving this murderer and robber a ride to the bank?

The answer is: no. I did not sin, because I did not know his intent.

Case #2:

I am at a traffic light, and a man comes up to my window and says, "Excuse me; I'm going to rob the bank, then shoot the teller so that he won't be able to testify against me at trial if I get caught. Would you please give me a ride to the bank?"

I say, "Sure, hop in..." and give him a ride to the bank, and he fulfills his promise.

Given those facts, have I participated in the sin of theft and murder?

The answer is: yes. In the eyes of God, and in the eyes of any court of law, I would be guilty of participating in the sin (and crime) of murder and robbery, because I knew his intent.

Some say, "But Obama is not actually killing children. He is only supporting laws permitting abortion; he is not the abortionist killing the child." Good point. Let me give the third illustration.

Case #3:

I am at a traffic light, and a man comes up to my window and says, "I have a friend who intends to rob the bank and shoot the bank teller. I want to keep him out of trouble, so I promised to watch out for him while he commits the crime. If a policeman comes, I will distract him so that my friend won't get caught. Will you please take me to the bank?"

I say, "Sure. Hop in..." and take him to the bank. (On the way over, we discuss how neither of us could ever rob a bank or murder a bank teller.) We arrive and see the thief/murderer drive up, exit his car, cover his face, draw his weapon, and enter the bank.We hear screams and gunshots.Within seconds, a policeman emerges on foot from around the corner with his gun drawn, looking anxiously for assailants or victims.

The man I gave a ride to plays his role perfectly. He jumps out of my car, yelling and pointing; "I just saw a man running down that alley with a gun in his hand and a bag he brought out of the bank!" The policeman takes the bait, and runs down the alleyway, vainly chasing a villain who is not there.

The murderer emerges from the bank, glances over at his friend (my passenger), nods appreciatively, gets into his car, and escapes.

Given these facts, have I participated in the sin of robbery and murder?

The answer is: yes. Because I knew the intent of the accomplice and I helped him and his friend accomplish the crime, I became an accomplice; I participated in the sin (and crime) of robbery and murder.

Which brings us to voting for Obama...

First of all, abortion is murder, a violation of God's commandment, "You Shall not Murder."

At the very least, Obama is an aggressive accomplice of child-killers. He has declared his intention to keep child-killing (abortion) legal; to help child-killers murder the innocent with impunity. He has pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) if elected, and to appoint judges to the Supreme Court that will uphold Roe vs. Wade.

22-week-old aborted baby Obama boasts a 100% pro-abortion voting record; he is in FAVOR of partial birth abortion, and he opposed a bill in Illinois that would require medical care for a late term baby that survives an abortion.

Let the full weight of that sink in: if a late term baby girl is aborted, and survives the attempt on her life, Senator Obama OPPOSES that doctors be required to give that resilient new-born fighter the medical care that would save her life.

Such devotion to the Angel of Death defies all decency.

The fact that Obama doesn't suck the bodies and blood of innocent human beings out of their mother's wombs, or carve out their mutilated corpses with his own hands is irrelevant. By working to continue this holocaust, he is an accomplice to the murder of innocent pre-born children - like the accomplice to theft and murder in the illustrations above.

And if we vote for Obama knowing his intent to help murder millions of children, we too are accomplices in the sin of child-killing.

The accusations of this logic being "extreme," or "single issue driven" or "insensitive to the common good" are chaff in the wind. Let the proponents of voting for Obama for "the common good" make their shameful argument before a mountain of dead children. Or better yet: let them use their perversion of "the common good" to justify voting for a proponent of slavery. Such reasoning would appear as cruel and idiotic concerning slavery as it is for child-killing.

Don't be deceived. You know that abortion is murder. If you vote for Obama, you will betray innocent blood. And future generations who escaped Obama and his accomplices to murder will curse your memory for your part in slaying their sisters, brothers, cousins, classmates, neighbors, friends, spouses, bishops, pastors, teachers, doctors, priests, babysitters, policemen, firemen, engineers, and more. Do you really want their blood on your hands?

He who declares that it is immoral for a Christian to vote for Obama is not mistaken; rather, he is mistaken who declares it is not.

Randall A. Terry
Founder, Operation Rescue
Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul 2008

"When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that It is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a 'tyrannical' decision with regard to the weakest and most defenseless of human beings?... In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it... The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize we are dealing with murder."

- John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Law-abiding criminals

" will be dragged before governors and kings..."  - Mt. 10:18a RSV
The two posts below entitled "Pro-life strike: It's the law" and "Pro-life strike: It is the law" made the point that a pro-life strike or tax resistance movement is not unlawful. Indeed, we must obey God's Law, and if that means running afoul of human government, so be it.

Mick Hunt Pro-life warrior Mick Hunt has, without intending to, become the target of an unjust kangaroo court for his pro-life activities. Mick's "offence" was in manning large, provocative visual displays of abortion through the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). The First Amendment legality of such public displays has been well established, but, in one instance, a human judge has opined that Hunt et. al. are guilty of illegal trespassing. Read more here. I have not yet heard whether an appeal is planned. (Later Note: An appeal is planned, as clarified by Mick in the first reader comment for this post.)

Mick's blog details many such GAP displays, and the impact they are having upon consciences. (Most are without legal incident.) Mick has also written about conscience and unjust laws in an article entitled "Resistance v. Collaboration.

Little w/ JP II David Little, by contrast, has deliberately challenged the Canadian laws regarding abortion and taxes. You can read more about his pro-life work in the "David Little" post below, or at his website. The legal story is found at this web page. He is currently preparing for a decisive appeal scheduled for Oct. 24, 2008. Please pray for a favorable outcome.

What's my point? Well, first of all, pray for these two pro-life men and their respective battles against an ungodly system. Secondly, acknowledge that such as these are to be respected for their courage and principled stand. And then, recognizing the state of our culture and our legal system, consider that their examples are to be emulated.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Voting matters - 2

When I wrote the "Grassroots nudges" post a few weeks ago, its main theme was supposed to be on moving our culture's center of gravity by small personal nudges. The parenthetical reference to election year personalities spurred a rather lively political debate that continued on to the next two posts. Ballot box The two main viewpoints offered were
 1) Vote for the Constitution Party, as it is the most truly pro-life and Christian platform.
 2) Such a vote is useless, since the Constitution Party will never win.

Unfortunately, the proponents of the first view stayed on the comments page of the "Grassroots nudges" post, while the latter group moved on to the next post, so they weren't hearing each other. I think both sides had something important to say, and there seemed to be more salient points to add for both viewpoints, but when I tried to get them on the same page (literally), the debate petered out. (sigh)

So, here is a post specifically dedicated to this year's election, coming down to the wire. The "Baldwin 2008" icon & link at upper left gives you a good idea of my opinion. Moreover, the Jan. 23 post entitled "Voting matters" still reflects my general approach to voting. But I remain open to other viewpoints. Present a logical refutation either against the principles outlined in the original "Voting matters" post, or, using those principles, tell me of a better way to vote. But hurry, time is short!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pro-life boycott

New dollar coinI just received a mass-mailed email urging a boycott of the new U.S. one dollar coin, because this coin omits the long-standing motto "In God We Trust".

I am a big fan of boycotts. My current (somewhat radical) stance started out several years ago with a boycott of corporate sponsors of Planned Parenthood, as proposed by the people at Life Decisions International (LDI). These folks, as their work and ministry, investigate and report in a fair and balanced manner those corporations which donate to or support Planned Parenthood (PP). Subscribers to this LDI boycott list can then respond accordingly. For example, since Johnson & Johnson is on the LDI list, you would buy Curad bandages and Oral-B dental floss rather than the Johnson & Johnson products, writing to the CEO of Johnson & Johnson to politely indicate this. Ditto for Microsoft, eBay, Time Warner, Walt Disney, and a slew of other corporate PP sponsors. (Some non-profits also support PP. See, for example, the "Pink deception" post below). As a result, many corporations have dropped their support for PP, and that becomes a significant blow to the abortion juggernaut in both financial and public image terms.

As noted elsewhere, this evolved for me into a way to purify other pro-life efforts and prayers. The corporate boycott became a way to avoid even indirect material participation in the crime of abortion. In simple language: Why pray for life, and then pay for death? By the same logic, why voluntarily surrender tax dollars that will fund PP, abortions, or embryonic stem cell research? Thus, the idea of a pro-life strike or pro-life tax resistance. Search this blog for "Pro-life strike", and read about David Little's tax resistance efforts in the previous post.

Here's my point: It is indeed laudable to want to retain the "In God We Trust" motto on U.S. currency. But even more importantly, let's take that motto to heart, and take to heart not only "Render to Caesar..." but also the companion command "Render to God...". That is, let us begin to pay attention to how our dollars are spent, and make a serious effort to defund the ways in which our money kills innocent human lives and blasphemes the motto that we revere.

If you are not yet ready to engage in full-fledged strike or tax resistance efforts, at least you might prayerfully consider entering into a boycott that is already engaged, has yielded some concrete results, and may yield more, with your cooperation. Call the LDI people at (540) 631-0380. Get their PP boycott list, and start making a real difference.

O, by the way, it is reported that the new coin does indeed contain the revered motto, but this time on the coin's edge.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

David Little

Two posts ago, ("Pro-life strike: nudge"), I lamented that the idea of a pro-life strike or pro-life tax resistance movement seemed to be "a microscopic nudge at present, practiced by very few". Then I offered a prayer that, if the idea were pleasing to God, "may the nudge continue, and by Your grace and Spirit, grow". I also mentioned in that post a certain David Little in Canada as the only other active pro-life tax resister that I knew of.

David Little, Mother Theresa, Pope John-Paul II Shortly thereafter, to my joy and surprise, that same David Little saw my humble blog post and contacted me. This led to some long conversations and reading in which I have learned much about the man. I am happy to now report that, not only is Mr. Little a fellow pro-life tax resister, he may be the very epitome of that term. Even more importantly, his prayerful efforts may represent the makings of what I had prayed for: the dawning of a real movement (maybe even an eventual "tsunami"!). All in God's will and pleasure.

Mr. Little's approach has been more aggressive than mine, refusing to pay taxes, and letting the Canadian government officials know exactly why. As a result, he is currently facing trial, but is starting to attract some individuals to stand with him in the fight. Among other public statements is this one:

I have made it clear publicly for more than 20 years that I would rather suffer imprisonment than voluntarily surrender money to any person or institution who would use even the smallest portion of my money to perpetrate murder on any human being.
In 2004, David founded the St. Thomas More Society of Canada (STMS) "to raise resources of both persons and funds to take pro-active measures against the government of Canada, legally and politically; to end tax funded abortion in the short term, and to reverse the legality of all abortion in the long term."

Do I hear an "Amen!"? Or a "Yes!"?

Can we dare to pray and work for this in the U.S. as well as in Canada?

The above are just a couple highlights. Chances are I'll be writing more about David Little and STMS. Meanwhile, you can learn more at the STMS website. See especially David's remarkable story and his legal case.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Danny Gospel: A book review

Was Francis of Assisi insane? Were he alive today, would he be on medication? Would John the Baptist be subjected to compulsory counseling? One wonders if Prozac or Haldol have deprived our times of a prophet or saint or two.

Danny Gospel These questions occur to me right after meeting a lovable lunatic who just might be a saint or prophet. I met Danny Gospel (and you can meet him, too) in a novel by the same name, written by David Athey. Danny is an Iowa farm boy, troupe singer, mailman, and misfit who addresses the reader in the first person, in a sort of fictional autobiography. But, no -- more like a stream-of-consciousness narrative, Danny telling his story as he is living it (as if recording every step for a reality show), and snatches of past stories as he remembers them.

Danny Gospel is not a gut-wrenching thriller or romance or any other typical genre. I'm not sure which bookshelf it fits. My first impression was that it was trite and corny, but a fun ride, and I wanted to keep turning the pages to see what nutty turn Danny would take next. The story line is quick-paced and ludicrous, like a Marx Brothers farce or Daffy Duck cartoon. But - quirky and unpredictable in a real life way, too. You've met guys like Danny: a Don Quixote / Frodo / Forrest Gump character, a wise idiot, a bumbling hero. Maybe you've been blessed to meet him in the mirror once or twice.

As I kept reading, I started to recognize something else, something deeper beneath the implausible surface. Where else had I encountered this mystical mayhem, this zany but profound allegory? Field of Dreams? The Chronicles of Narnia? Then I put the book down, and slept. And dreamed.

Of course, I can't tell you where Danny's quest leads him. Better let Danny tell you in his own words. If you like fun fiction and thoughtful fiction, I think you'll like Danny Gospel.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pro-life strike: nudge

Pre-born sucking his thumb Speaking of cultural nudges, I must now return to a former theme, that of a Pro-life strike or tax resistance movement. It's a simple idea, reflecting human life principles in economic matters. More than that, it's a way to purify our other pro-life efforts, recognizing that we ought not materially cooperate, even indirectly, with abortion and similar practices. If a corporation sponsors Planned Parenthood, then God-fearing folks ought to eschew patronizing that corporation. And if our government makes us cooperate in the crime of abortion through our taxes, then we ought not pay those taxes.

The pitiful reality is that the idea is a microscopic nudge at present, practiced by very few. There's David Little of New Brunswick, Canada, who went to jail for this principle. And one other pro-life tax resister up in Wisconsin who has been trying to nudge and make a little noise. If there are others, they're pretty good at keeping it secret.

Heavenly Father, if this idea pleases You, then may the nudge continue, and by Your grace and Spirit, grow. Above all, may You be pleased and glorified. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Related posts
Post title Synopsis Post date
Strike Three! Background and rationale for a pro-life strike. 02/10/07
Pro-life strike Resumes the theme. Answers the "Render to Caesar" objection. 03/18/08
Pro-life strike: Why not? Develops the theme. Looks at some other pro-life efforts, presenting tax resistance as complementary to them. 04/06/08
Pro-life strike: Why Presents 4 specific reasons for a pro-life strike or tax resistance effort. 04/07/08
Pro-life strike: How Strategies, and my guess as to how such a movement might begin and progress. Some practical considerations. 04/09/08
Pro-life strike: End The tangible end goals. 04/11/08
Pro-life strike: Begin Enough talk. Let's begin! 04/20/08
Pro-life strike: its part Purifying our other pro-life efforts. Who should be a pro-life striker. Who should not. 04/27/08
Pro-life strike: Appeal Appeal to pro-life leaders to take up this effort, and lead it. 05/11/08
Pro-life strike: It's the law Examines a pro-life strike in the light of Divine Law, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. When civil authority should be obeyed, and when not. 05/16/08
Pro-life strike: It is the law Emphasizes the same idea. Breaking civil law out of obedience to true Law. 05/29/08

Sunday, September 14, 2008

From nudge to tsunami

More idea refinement... The distinction between "grassroots nudges" and "cultural tsunami" is not a quantum leap, but a continuum. A single individual's beliefs and behavior can serve as a miniscule nudge to the culture as a whole. But individual joins with individual until the collective weight of several individuals in concert packs a much bigger punch. And, sometimes what begins as a tiny individual effort can gather momentum as others are moved, until the effect on the culture is quite significant.

Mike Koelzer I have recently become acquainted with a fine example of this very thing. In 2002, Grand Rapids pharmacist Mike Koelzer realized that dispensing artificial contraceptives was contrary to his Catholic faith, and started informing his customers that he would no longer be filling prescriptions for contraceptives. Though he received many angry responses, Koelzer stuck to principle, saying, "...I was and am willing to lose the business in order to not be a part of something I don't agree with."

That was six years ago. Whether inspired by Koelzer or impelled by their own individual convictions, more pro-life pharmacists have since followed Koelzer's example, and have stopped selling prescription or OTC contraceptives. So much so that the folks at Planned Parenthood are now 'very, very concerned' over this nationwide trend, and legislatures in at least three states have passed unjust laws intended to force such pharmacists to violate their consciences in this matter. The battle is engaged; a possible tsunami in the making.

ABC featured the above in a recent story, which you may view here (video) or here (printable text version). Koelzer is now a national speaker on these issues, and in 2007 founded, where you may read more, and find links to other related sites.

In hindsight, I wonder: What was it like when nobody much was watching, when it was just Koelzer's tiny, insignificant, personal decision? I wonder whether Mr. Koelzer was tempted to cave in to his customers' ire, and return to business as usual. He might have reasoned that he was only injuring his business and his family by being so 'stubborn', and that little or no good was likely to come of it.

Or, what if Koelzer had been faithful, but nothing much did come of it? What if he had lost his business, seriously disrupted his family life, and no one ever acknowledged his principled stand? Would his principled 'nudge' still count? Would it count with God?

In this case, of course, the nudge has grown into a meaningful force. Nudges can grow into tsunamis. But maybe some nudges remain tiny, to all except God.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cultural tsunami

Hats off to Michelle, who read my last post, took a few shots at its logic, and, I must admit, scored a point or two. (See the dialogue in the comments section thereof.) In the spirit of Prov. 27:17, that's one of the purposes of blogging: to be a marketplace of ideas, fostering the ongoing testing and purifying of ideas. So, this post is an attempt to clarify and possibly build a more thorough argument. Please feel free to offer further criticism.

A theme in that post (which may not have been clearly presented) was that politics is a reflection of the culture, that political trends are neither the root problem nor the solution, but that the underlying culture is the real issue. Defining culture as the aggregate of all the people within it and their respective values, I conjectured that culture-wide values shift minutely at every shift of every individual's values. If my soul moves up or down or right or left, the culture's center of gravity moves slightly as well. I called this "grassroots nudging".

Baldwin '08 This is not to say that political actions are unimportant, and I was compelled to defend my political support for The Constitution Party in my response to Michelle. As noted above, I welcome criticism and dialogue on political positions, too. Some of my reasons for supporting a third party are offered in the post entitled "Voting matters" (with possible future clarification or correction as deemed appropriate). But, anyway, I wrote the following in defending my current position:

...At some point, somebody has to have the courage to leave the big tent. The Democrats of the early 1800's accepted the practice of slavery. The Whigs opposed it, but did nothing. It took a third party, the Republican Party, to abolish slavery. It may take another to restore legal protection to the pre-born, and/or head off the legal redefinition of marriage.

The point of the post was that, first, there must be a cultural shift of values.

Now, almost as soon as I had written that, I realized another hole in my original conjecture. Namely, that sometimes cultural shifts occur, not just by minute degrees, but by sudden and massive tidal waves of change.

Uncle Tom's Cabin For decades, the abolitionists had been praying and working against the cultural and political horror of slavery in America, slowly but patiently pecking away and "nudging" the culture in the right direction. Then Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom's cabin, and almost single-handedly raised the conscience and consciousness of the nation, finally making the political abolition of slavery a possibility. When President Lincoln was personally introduced to Stowe, it is claimed that he remarked, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!"

All right then (Jerry cracks his knuckles), here's my new and improved conjecture: There exist multiple ways in which our world may be moved, all of which deserve our attention:

Political action: Voting, petitions, boycotts, citizen lobby groups, etc.

Cultural tsunami: Maybe Stephen Spielberg will produce a movie exposing the abortion industry. One can dream.

Grassroots nudging: Raise your own conscience bar, and, whether deliberately or not, influence others, one person at a time.

Above all, of course, pray.

(By the way, did you know that Abraham Lincoln started out in The Whig Party?)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grassroots nudges

As expressed in the previous post, I see hopeful signs in the Church, which is always reforming and always in need of reform (ecclesia semper reformans, semper reformanda). Grass roots Our political system and secular culture are also in dire need of reform, but, lacking divine guarantees, it remains to be seen whether reform will come to these spheres.

Reform in the Church may come from either of two directions. Our shepherds, ignited by the Spirit, may lead and teach and live with such righteousness that the flame spreads, and the whole Body of Christ is revived and sanctified. Reform may also come via the anawim (the "little ones"), the rank-and-file saints who, bit by bit, make the whole lump better by their holy lives.

Barack Obama The reader is invited to offer arguments, but I believe reform in the secular, cultural sphere will come, if it comes at all, only in this latter, grassroots way. Having severely criticized our political and secular leaders, I don't honestly think they are the problem, nor will any real solutions come from the top down. The horror is not that Barack Obama believes abortion and infanticide to be OK; the real horror is that such a man is a serious candidate for President. That leaders like Obama and Pelosi and Clinton are acceptable to voters reveals our culture to be a very troubled one - in the mainstream, not just on the fringes.

John McCain I'm old enough to remember when a divorced man would have had trouble gaining political favor. Today John McCain is seen as an example of moral rectitude, and, relatively, this is probably an accurate perception. The bar is much lower; in fact, it has dropped so low that one may wonder whether the bar even exists any more. Many and loud are the voices who applaud this development as "open-minded" and "tolerant". If someone like Obama is acceptable today, perhaps a future round of political candidates will feature a cross-dressing, pedophiliac, ax-murderer whose significant other is her horse.

The point is: our culture has drifted far leftward and far wayward in recent decades. I have serious doubts whether it will reform before it collapses. But if our culture is to reform, it will do so, I believe, in a grassroots manner. At the heart of this conviction is the following understanding of what culture is, and how it moves:

aquarium Cultural values and expectations are quite democratic, based merely upon what is considered normal by the mass of its members. Human culture is, in simple terms, the amalgam or accumulated weight of all the people within it and their respective values and personal character. Like water in an aquarium, culture is the medium within which we all live and move. If one fish gets sick, the water in the entire aquarium is adversely affected. Then, if more fish get sick from the polluted water, the condition worsens. Like a sick aquarium, goodness and decency become much more difficult in a polluted culture like our own. But unlike the aquarium water, human culture can be purified as well as polluted by its individual participants. If I raise my personal bar, that affects others around me, and the cultural bar is nudged a tiny bit upward. When I fail, the bar drops a bit.

I would find this cultural tug-of-war quite hopeless and distressing except for one thing: God helps us to cheat. That's what grace is, a way to tilt the scales in an undeserved way. Grace, so that, even when we sin, we may nudge the bar upwards by seeking His forgiveness. Grace, through the Word and Sacraments and prayer, to gain strength that we would not otherwise possess.

There's nothing wrong with employing God's undeserved grace in the effort to nudge the cultural balance, as well as in each person's quest for spiritual growth. If my guess is right, there's really no distinction, anyway: Become holier and better and closer to God, and the culture automatically improves a little. And, in this contest, it's OK to cheat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Loud and clear

Nancy Pelosi You've heard, of course, about Nancy Pelosi's misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. Ho hum, no news here. Just another pro-abort "Catholic" Democrat pretending to be in good standing with the Church.

But - thanks and glory be to God - this time was different. This time, the pro-abort "Catholic" didn't get away with it. Not only did a reliable shepherd like Archbishop Charles J. Chaput respond swiftly and clearly, but so did a number of other bishops, most notably Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl. In fact, several Catholic House Republicans joined in, actually writing an open letter to Pelosi and demanding a correction. (As far as I know, she has yet to admit any error.)

Folks, do you realize what a watershed answer to prayer this may represent? A well-known figure publicly proclaims that Catholics may be pro-abortion, and Catholic leaders publicly refute the lie. Loud and clear.

I like loud and clear.

Let's have more loud and clear.

I hope it's not unrealistic for us to pray thus: May this be the beginning of a stronger Church, Lord. Rouse the sleeping giant, and purify Your Bride, our Church. Rouse all Your people, especially those whom You have appointed to be our shepherds, to speak the truth loudly, clearly, and with manly courage. For Your greater glory and honor, and for our salvation. Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Credo ut intelligam

A fellow blogger has recently written at least two posts on the dangers of intellectual pride [1] [2] which has prompted a little introspection. But publishing one's thoughts is not a proof of pride, and so I blog on, hopeful that my love of truth is stronger than my ego, and herewith add my own two cents on the subject.

An example is worth many words. In this case, two examples, with a common theme, to illustrate both intellectual pride and intellectual humility.

Humanae Vitae After 40 years, it continues to become more painfully clear that Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae was indeed prophetic. The widespread acceptance of artificial contraception has led to legalized abortion, the breakdown of marriage, sexual license, and a host of other ills that currently plague our society, all of which were warned against by Paul VI. Moreover, both John-Paul II and Benedict XVI have reaffirmed the validity of this papal encyclical, and much harm has come from ignoring it.

Fr. Richard McBrien In his July 21, 2008 column entitled "Humanae vitae: After Forty Years", Fr. Richard McBrien was pleased to quote Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop John Quinn, and Jesuit Richard McCormick. Much more extensively, McBrien quoted some of his own previous columns to emphasize that he himself was one of the first and most consistent questioners of Humanae Vitae. He is apparently pleased with his own "foresight" in countering the Church's teaching on contraception. Within one of these self-quotes, McBrien quotes Pope Paul VI as welcoming "the lively debate aroused by our encyclical". He did not quote John-Paul II or Benedict XVI. [3]

Dietrich von Hildebrand As a catechumen coming into the Catholic Church in the 1920's, a young Dietrich von Hildebrand likewise asked why birth control should be considered immoral. When told that he must accept the Church's teaching authority, he immediately replied, "Credo ut intelligam" - "I believe in order to understand." Such remarkable humility reflects a childlike faith, not in one's own insight, but in the Church. That, though composed of sinners and always in need of reform, she is God's holy ark of salvation, and can be trusted to teach the truth.

This young philosopher eventually became a modern doctor of the Church, noted especially for his brilliant contributions to doctrines on marriage and sexuality, and was among the first to defend Humanae Vitae in 1968. His widow Alice continues to speak and write on these themes today. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote of von Hildebrand:

I am personally convinced that, when, at some time in the future, the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century is written, the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of our time.

This illustrates, I believe, the wonderful irony that intellectual humility is the door leading to true intellectual prowess, being unimpeded by the shackles and distortions of ego and error.

Note 3: Fr. McBrien's website does not permit me to link directly to the "Humanae vitae: After Forty Years" article, but you may go to and navigate to it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Is this what you mean?

22-week-old aborted baby
Priests for Life has launched a special project called "Is This What You Mean?" It aims to:

 1) Reveal the nature of the abortion procedure to the public, and

 2) Challenge public officials and candidates who support the legality of abortion to admit what abortion is.

The idea is simple. It's not a partisan trick or threat, nor a complex argument, Senator Barack Obama but a call for honesty. Just confronting the abortion supporter, especially the public candidate or office holder with the reasonable appeal: Let's be sure we understand each other here. When you say "abortion", is this what you mean? We just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing.

Go to this page to learn more, to watch YouTube videos and read quotes from abortionists, and learn what an abortion procedure is like.

Then spread the word. Announce this on your own website or blog. Email friends. Use the information in town hall meetings, editorials, etc. Ask your liberal (er - 'progressive') friends: Is this what your candidate supports? Is this what you support? Is this what you mean?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A repentant hippy

I have a confession to make: Jerry DePyper has not always espoused the views reflected in these blog posts. You might even say that they represent the zeal of a convert (or, revert).

I grew up as an American, Catholic, Democrat. This was my patrimony, my identity, and it was a seamless garment; as unthinkable to become a Republican as to become a non-American. Then, coming of age in the 1960's and early 70's, I was swept along in the heady spirit of that era. A happy, groovy hippy Though not part of the drug scene, I was definitely into the "flower child" mentality - questioning authority, questioning tradition, questioning the status quo. The patrimonial identity remained intact, but became infused with new ideologies. The 'flower child' mentality became a part of the patrimony, an integral part of my identity. As a self-identified Democrat, I applauded the Democrat's 'flower child' promise to end racism, poverty, and war. As a Catholic, I eagerly embraced the hippy, ecumenical ideal of "We are one in the Spirit". This meant rejecting 'rigid dogmatism' and following many heterodox ideas. But the patrimonial identity remained; I still considered myself a good Catholic. I was a Catholic, Democrat hippy.

Come on, people now, smile on your brother
Everybody get together, try to love one another
 right now.

The hippy image faded, but not the ideological identity. I voted for George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis. Senator Barack Obama Somehow, I managed to convince myself that their horrible values and policies were outweighed by their good promises. In reality, it was my life-long identity as a Democrat which made want me see positive values in these candidates. Had I continued in this vein, I suppose I would now be supporting Barack Obama.

I was no longer a hippie - in fact, I was no longer a young man when a very close friend, a man just a year older, stated frankly that our generation had created a horrible mess. This shook my world, and I resented my friend's attack upon our generational and ideological identity. But I had to admit he was right; our ideology was not working as advertised. This was a terribly gut-wrenching moment, a threat to my identity. Perhaps it's when I finally took the 60's attitude to the hilt, and began to question the questions.

Painfully weaning myself of life-long ideological habits, the long path back home was guided mainly by two emerging convictions: First, there has to be such a thing as truth, and there has to be but one version of it. Relative truth is an oxymoron. Second, the wholly vulnerable and wholly innocent babies must be defended; this was certain. Those who were so defending must be right; those who were not must be wrong. (By their fruits you shall know them.)

You can read in this blog the result: 'right-wing extremist', 'conservative', 'orthodox Catholic' - employ whichever label you like. (Here's a hint: I will not be voting for Obama.)

Why do I tell this story now? Maybe just in case someone else of the baby boomer generation happens to read it. Let me break for you the gut-wrenching news: our generation has made an awful mess, and you do not have to carry this around any longer as your inherited patrimony. You can make a clean break, embrace truth, and join in making amends.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Forty years

Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray
  and they do not know my ways."
So I swore in my anger,
  "They shall not enter into my rest."
     - Ps. 95:10,11

As the Invitatory Psalm warns us every morning, God's patience is not limitless. O, we may find some temporary comfort in soft and flacid churchspeak. We may allow ourselves to be lulled by the gentle assurances of God's tender mercy, no matter what we do. But deep down, we kinda know it ain't so soft. We know that presumption is a huge error, and that there comes a time when God says "Enough!". God gives us time to repent. That, in fact, is precisely what time is for - that we may repent. But time ain't forever. How much time does God give us? That is the question.

Humanae Vitae July 25, 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Now, I won't insist upon a literal understanding of the term "forty years", but somehow, sooner or later, something's got to give. Through the prophetic charism given him, Pope Paul VI warned us in 1968 of what would follow if we accepted the practice of artificial contraception. He warned of widespread abortion, of the coarsening of society, of the breakdown of marriage, of rampant sexual licentiousness, of the victimizing of women as objects. And for forty years, Humanae Vitae has been ignored and even openly opposed - not just by atheists nor even by Protestants, but by Catholics, by priests and bishops and good Catholic couples. And so, because we have chosen to ignore the warnings, they have tragically come to pass. And still we do not heed.

How long, O Lord?

O, by the way, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is just 4½ years away.

Related posts:
Roots of abortion
Contraception connection
Contraception connection - 2
War Against Population
Population control (or - David's sin)
Thanatos antidote - 2

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Petty outrage

You've probably heard the quote, attributed in essence, if imprecisely, to G. K. Chesterton,
"When a man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything."
The recognition here is that Man is by nature a religious being. We have no choice in the matter; we must believe in something, venerate and serve something or someone. Man's religious nature must express itself in some manner; if not toward God, then in some other way, perhaps even in a self-constructed system of beliefs and values.

Intimately connected with our religious nature is our moral sensibility. Man must have moral values; he must recognize and love that which is good, and recognize and hate that which is evil. A man may be immoral; only dumb animals can be amoral. Similar to the Chestertonian observation, if I spurn sound moral values I won't be completely void of moral values, but will have disordered, possibly nonsensical ones.

This may explain many curious current trends. According to sound moral principles, elective abortion is an unmitigated travesty. Most other moral issues pale in comparison to the wholesale slaughter of millions of completely innocent and wholly vulnerable human beings. No mother is helped by the murder of her child, and abortion is never a valid 'solution', far from it. The vile trafficking in human embryonic body parts, and the ghoulish practice of human embryonic stem cell research are further examples of moral values run amuck. Yet our culture pressures us to ignore or, at least, to minimize the travesty of abortion. We must likewise minimize or ignore the practice of sodomy, and pretend that homosexual liaisons are legitimate, and equivalent to marriage. That is to say, our culture demands that we relinquish or downplay sound moral principles.

crab This is precisely where the nonsense starts. Having spurned a sense of outrage over such basic moral evils, many folks must then scratch to fill that void, and find themselves being outraged over lesser moral evils like second-hand tobacco smoke or cruelty to crabs [1]. Some will weave moral indignation from non-moral events like a bridge collapse or a devastating hurricane. Nary a day goes by without news of some group expressing outrage over some non-moral or comparatively petty matter.

The operative term in all this is sound moral principles, according to which the deliberate taking of an innocent human's life is categorically abhorrent. A corollary to the opening quote might run as follows:

"When a man stops being outraged by abortion, he will be outraged by almost anything."

Note 1: Whole Foods Market, while avoiding all real or imagined cruelty to crabs, is a corporate sponsor of Planned Parenthood.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pro-life strike: It is the law

The point needs to be emphasized. Pro-life tax resistance is not unlawful. Au contraire, the term "legalized abortion" is an oxymoron. Civil statutes and court opinions notwithstanding, abortion is always unlawful in the truest sense, because the Eternal Law is never subject to amendment, repeal, or review. 10 Commandments The legislators and judges who brook this Law become criminals in the process, and the 'laws' they enact contrary to true Law are null and void; they are not real laws. So, the decision to resist paying taxes that subsidize the criminal abortion industry is prompted, not by an outlaw attitude, but by a love of Law, and by an earnest effort to obey true Law.

Here's the tough question: Does our docile compliance with unjust authority spring from a good conscience, or from fear of reprisal? 232 years ago, certain Loyalists felt conscience bound to obey King George. Perhaps some were simply afraid to disobey. In either case, there would never have been an American Revolution had their voices prevailed. Likewise, had the Apostles felt obliged to obey the authorities, they would not have proclaimed the Gospel (Acts 4:18). True obedience can sometimes look like rebellion.

It isn't nearly as complicated as we might pretend. Difficult, yes. Unpleasant, to be sure. But not complicated. To subsidize a crime is to partake in the crime. Abortion is a crime. To willingly pay for it is to share the guilt. If you agree that abortion is the taking of an innocent person's life and the maiming of another's, then you really need to stop supporting it. It's the Law.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pro-life strike: It's the law

10 Commandments The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) contains an interesting tension of ideas. It affirms our duty to obey civil government according to Scriptural, Christian principles:
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.45

45 Rom 13:7.

but just two paragraphs later, it adds this, also based upon Scriptural principles:

2242 The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."48 "We must obey God rather than men":49

48 Mt 22:21.
49 Acts 5:29.

In another section, it more exactly delineates the proper understanding of human authority, as follows:

1902 Authority does not derive its moral legitimacy from itself. It must not behave in a despotic manner, but must act for the common good as a "moral force based on freedom and a sense of responsibility":21
A human law has the character of law to the extent that it accords with right reason, and thus derives from the eternal law. Insofar as it falls short of right reason it is said to be an unjust law, and thus has not so much the nature of law as of a kind of violence.22
1903 Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good of the group concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it. If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience. In such a case, "authority breaks down completely and results in shameful abuse."23

21 GS 74 § 2.
22 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,93 3, ad 2.
23 John XXIII PT 51.

No one is above the law; the Christian must obey legitimate authority. The question is: When our government forces us to subsidize the abortion holocaust via our tax dollars, is this an example of legitimate authority, or of an authority that has broken down completely? When our courts and legislators usurp divine authority, when they redefine marriage, strip the innocent of their rights, and compel our material participation in these crimes, are we obliged to obey them, or are we obliged to obey God's Law instead?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pro-life strike: Appeal

As noted in the previous post, there exist a multitude of pro-life campaigns and strategies, most of them noble and worthy of support. You may well relate to my tale of receiving many appeal letters from these and other charitable and political organizations. So, now that I'm making a little noise about this pro-life strike idea, I have started to reply to a few of these appeals with an appeal of my own, as follows:
Dear Pro-life friends,

I am sending this in response to your pro-life appeal letter to me. I applaud your pro-life initiative as well as the multitudinous others that come my way. Legislative and educational drives, petitions, protest letters, legal actions, prayer campaigns, and other creative efforts all aim to restore legal protection to our most vulnerable and innocent brothers and sisters, and to build a culture of life. These are all good and worthy pursuits, but after 35 years, the travesty continues largely unabated - obviously, something essential has been lacking.

This time, allow me to make an appeal to you. Not for money or anything of that sort, but to consider an idea that is way overdue, that has been employed for many other causes, but has yet to be attempted by us: a pro-life strike, or tax-resistance movement. The idea is simple. If our government insists upon using tax dollars to fund abortions, then let us deny them the tax money. This can entail many specific strategies, most of which are legal, but it has as its first intended effect the purification of our own motives: Let us refuse to participate materially in the holocaust, so that our other efforts are not tainted. I believe our efforts have heretofore failed primarily because of this lack of purity and failure to take costly personal risks. We must stop pulling punches.

Not pretending to be exemplary in any way, nor discounting my profound personal failures, I have for the past 9 or 10 years taken my own counsel - that is, I have consciously tried to avoid material participation in the abortion holocaust via corporate and tax subsidies. It has not involved much activity per se, but a deliberate pulling aside from pursuits that directly or indirectly underwrite the slaughter of the innocents. That is to say, I've been on strike. A one-man strike is, of course, a pretty ineffective and pitiful endeavor.

Lately, it occurs to me to make a bit more noise about it, to at least see if there might be some like-minded individuals with whom to connect and make a more serious impact collectively. I would encourage a pro-life leader or organization with more name recognition to take this idea and run with it. At any rate, this letter is to set before you the notion, as presented in my little blog. (Scandalously, I know of no other internet site with a "pro-life strike" theme.) Feel free to check it out, and respond with any type of comment or criticism. The primary link is

Look for "pro-life strike".

pax et bonum,

Gerald DePyper
5492 E Wilkinson Rd
South Range, WI 54874-8445

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pro-life strike: its part

It should be noted that to advocate a pro-life strike is not to disparage the many other pro-life efforts currently being advanced. Legislative alerts, educational programs, aid for problem pregnancies, letter writing, marches, prayer campaigns, and a multitude of other creative endeavors are all worthy of praise and of pursuit. In fact, one important aspect of a strike would be to purify all these other efforts. By taking concrete steps to distance ourselves from material participation in the holocaust, our prayers and other efforts become purged of taint, more holy, more pleasing to God, and perhaps more effective.

A family Of special note, the most important pro-life work in the world is already being done by those Moms and Dads who are bringing new life into the world and devoting their efforts to their children's spiritual and material welfare. It is my opinion that, in light of their unique contribution and irreplaceable responsibilities, these Moms and Dads ought not to assume any part in the early stages of a resistance movement that might jeopardize their primary duty as parents of young children. The initial risky groundwork ought to be done by singles, celibates, and parents of grown children.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pro-life strike: Begin

It's pointless, of course, to talk of the proper end of a pro-life strike unless we are willing to begin. Pre-born sucking his thumb Sadly, shamefully, there seems to be no movement to do so, at least none that I can find on the Internet except for this little, seldom visited blog of mine. If there is to be a pro-life strike, then, perhaps this is the place to start. I'm willing for this to be the starting point, but pray that someone with a wider audience and stronger credentials steps forward. I would willingly defer to such a one.

What exactly to do? I'm quite open to suggestions. Interested parties may review the previous posts below, especially "Pro-life strike: How". Leave comments at any of the "Pro-life strike" posts. If you prefer to leave a private comment to be read only by me, click here or on the 'Private note' link on the left side bar.

Of course, you may be an anonymous striker or tax resister, too, with no particular obligation to make a connection with me or anyone else. Just have at it, and may God bless you for it. (But I still believe communication between us would be beneficial.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pro-life strike: End

It bears repeating that the pro-life strike would involve specific ends. Namely, we would be refusing to pay any taxes or to take part in the economy of the mainstream culture until these demands are met:

1. Legal protection restored to all human beings, from the moment of conception until natural death. This need not be a Constitutional amendment, but might be a simple federal law or Supreme Court decision recognizing all humans as 'persons', thus effectively reversing Roe v. Wade.

2. Repeal all entitlement and funding programs using tax dollars for abortion, fetal tissue research, etc.

3. Stop public funding of Planned Parenthood, and other 'non-profits' advocating or performing abortion, euthanasia, etc.

We could also add

4. A non-revocable nation-wide declaration recognizing that marriage is by its nature monogamous and heterosexual, and only such can ever be accorded the rights and duties proper to marriage.

even though this is not strictly a pro-life issue.

The point is: the strike must be aimed at tangible, visible, verifiable results, lest our thinking be confused. I have, of course, insisted that the conversion of hearts and minds and the ongoing effort to attain moral integrity and faithfulness are paramount. But these spiritual, inner needs must be pursued with or without a strike. While the strikers must be impelled by inner spiritual motives, the strike itself must have clearly defined concrete ends. When these tangible ends are met, the strike has succeeded, though the moral struggle continues.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pro-life strike: How

My vision for a pro-life strike is still rather abstract and nebulous. I could even call it (somewhat punningly) an embryonic concept, probably fleshing out into a specific shape only as it develops in the concrete. Subject also to any specific visions contributed by its various participants, especially the early participants. With that caveat, here is what I foresee:

1. A quiet beginning

I'm guessing that early strikers will concentrate on the 4th goal as listed in the previous post: namely, individual and family decisions to withhold corporate and tax support for the abortion industry. As noted, this step requires no critical mass of participants, and no centralized or coordinated organization. It would, I believe, be beneficial to begin a sort of communications network both for spiritual and moral support, and to prepare for the coordination that may be needed in the more advanced stages (as these may or may not unfold). But this stage would be characterized mostly by folks coming on board in one's and two's, some anonymously, as they see fit. It would proceed almost unnoticed by the world.

There are many specific strategies early strikers could employ in withholding corporate and tax funds. The best way to withhold corporate funds is, in my opinion, to join the Corporate Funding Project (CFP) coordinated by Life Decisions International, as noted in earlier posts. Tax resistance strategies can range from limiting one's tax liability through simplified living and legitimately lower income (fully legal), to earning money through under-the-radar means (cash, barter, direct marketing, etc.), which is quasi-illegal but invisible and safe, to an all-out in-your-face refusal to pay IRS what it says you owe (Yikes!). An excellent source for reviewing these and other approaches is a site called "The Picket Line". This site is peopled mainly by "left-wing war tax resisters" (their own words), and contains many interesting articles and essays about the art and science of tax resistance, from which we pro-lifers can profit.

2. Underground economy

If our numbers ever grew enough, accompanied by a more-or-less coordinated communication, some strikers might be in a position to gradually begin the next stage: a more deliberate but mostly stealth underground economy. These folks would be business owners, tradesmen, professionals, etc. who could take their business or practice off the public market, offering their services and/or products directly to other strikers. This would entail the above-mentioned strategy of cash and direct-market transactions, with the added intention of serving the nascent strike community.

A prime example of this might be a doctor who joins the strike, then quietly closes his public practice, and begins to treat fellow strikers (who probably cannot afford health insurance), for cash or barter. A drastic pay cut? You bet.

Or, try this: A business owner goes on strike together with all his employees, in one fell swoop. The employees no longer pay taxes, because the owner no longer deducts them from their paychecks. Moreover, the business now offers its products with no sales tax. This would be, of course, a departure from stealth. Risky? No kidding.

These steps would obviously require, not only communication, but a fairly tight spiritual bond between fellow strikers. Maybe even a sort of vetting process in some cases, to discern who the true strikers are. The strikers who initiate this stage would be risking much, exercising the courage and conviction of martyrs, almost.

3. Alternative economy

As the numbers continue to grow, so would our confidence. Abandoning stealth, we become a viable alternative to the mainstream economy. The world can no longer ignore us, and that is precisely what we intend. With safety in numbers, our strike finally has the clout to achieve more than spiritual results. We are finally in a position to press for real policy changes, even as we continue to pray and work for changes of hearts as well.

The danger here, as I see it, is that we may be tempted to slack off spiritually. Let us brace ourselves beforehand for this temptation, and help each other to stay true.

4. Revolution

If acceptable policy changes are still not forthcoming, we may be called to mount an all-out revolution, overthrow the rotten system, and embark on a whole new course.

Folks, this is not an un-Christian sentiment. Think about the American Revolution, which most of us view positively, proudly, patriotically. Who would honestly argue that today's systematic injustice is less serious than it was 232 years ago? You know it is more serious.


This is admittedly ambitious, even grandiose. But let us be mindful of two things. First, it all depends upon God. If He is pleased by this idea, it cannot fail, no matter how small or great it actually becomes. If not, it must fail, nor even get started. We can never know until we begin.

Secondly, we must always keep the goal in mind, which is threefold: To obey and honor God, even if it costs us dearly, to do what we can to change hearts and to save lives and souls, and lastly, to effect real policy changes that reflect God's laws and the sanctity of human life. The specific carrying out of this or another plan must always be subject to these goals, in that order.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pro-life strike: Why

Here are four distinct reasons for a pro-life strike. As discussed in the previous post, there are many valid ways in which pro-life people may respond to the injustice of legalized and tax-funded abortion, but a strike or tax resistance movement addresses these four particular goals particularly well:

1. Raise awareness & consciousness

Pre-born sucking his thumb Prayer and inner conversion are the absolutely necessary foundation of all that we try to accomplish. But we also want to make an impact on those outside of the pro-life camp. To do that, we must first get their attention. And when I say get their attention, I mean we must whack them over their figurative heads with a figurative two-by-four; subtleties and niceties won't cut it. What's the literal translation? What will grab most people's attention? Money. Anyone care to argue? Action that has economic ramifications will create a buzz, will stir things up. A pro-life strike could thus command a good deal of public attention, much more than any of the standard approaches, and prompt more people to consider the issues involved.

2. Real leverage

Besides raising awareness, economic actions tend to achieve concrete results. Life Decisions International (LDI), mentioned in the previous post, acknowledges this principle in its Corporate Funding Project. When targetted for a boycott by the CFP, many corporations have dropped their corporate support for Planned Parenthood, and that becomes a concrete blow to the anti-life juggernaut.

A full-blown pro-life strike expands upon this principle. The goal here is to use economic leverage to effect real corporate and public policy changes, even if the decision makers are initially neutral or mildly antagonistic.

So, to be honest, we're talking here about inducing corporation executives, public officials, etc. to do the right thing for impure motives. Obviously, it would be much better for them to come to true faith and conversion and to do the right thing for the right reasons. But it's better than nothing, and it's a start. And many times it happens that those who begin by doing a good deed for selfish reasons end by loving the good deed for its own sake, and thence may come to love the source of goodness, God Himself.

3. Raise the stakes

After 35 years, the weakness of the pro-life movement seems to be in our comfort level. With few exceptions, pro-life warriors live a fairly comfortable life. But comfortable warriors don't fight very effectively. Embarking upon a strike or tax resistance movement would dramatically elevate the risks and lower the comfort level. It would require those involved to put their lives and their livelihoods on the line. It would help us to embrace the term 'Church Militant', and truly view ourselves as soldiers in Christ's army of love.

The strength of our pro-life witness is an important part of what's at stake. If we fight from a position of comfort, few will care. If we risk our lives and livelihoods, people will notice, and many hearts may be touched. Our words will be more convincing and our prayers more powerful if the cost is dear.

The aforementioned Life Decisions International has as its motto: The pro-life movement will succeed only to the extent that pro-life people are willing to be inconvenienced. I think that's true, but too mild. I think the pro-life movement will succeed only to the extent that pro-life people are willing to be crucified.

4. Just say 'No'

The above three goals have to do with influencing the world, with affecting policy changes and, eventually, changes of heart. They only work if enough people sign up to form a critical mass, even if a small critical mass, and depend upon a certain amount of coordinated effort and cooperation. The fourth reason for a pro-life strike or tax resistance is different. This principle can be carried out by one lone pro-life warrior or by a few scattered warriors with little or no common interaction. (I speak here of concrete or physical interaction. We must never neglect the all-important communion of saints, interaction at a spiritual level.)

What I'm referring to is simply a personal or family decision to avoid material participation in the abortion holocaust for purposes of moral purity, holiness, and obedience to God. If Corporation X is funding the abortion industry, then I will not patronize Corporation X, not so much to force Corporation X's hand, nor to make a strong public statement, but to simply avoid the material cooperation in evil. If taxes are being used to fund abortions, then I will not pay taxes, for the same non-public moral reasons. Recognizing that moral guilt is shared by those who materially cooperate with the evil act, I will earnestly try to eliminate such material cooperation.

Sound moral theology acknowledges that I am not absolutely required to eschew all material cooperation with evil, so long as I do not actively will the evil itself. It may not even be possible to avoid all indirect material participation in evil. But the principle I wish to advance here is just to go a bit beyond the minimum requirements, and to earnestly try to avoid as much as I can any material cooperation with the abortion holocaust, to consciously and deliberately and earnestly withhold my support for the slaughter, even if that costs me.

This becomes a critical principle, for two reasons. First, because it can be pursued immediately by those who are prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so, with no need to coordinate and organize with others. Secondly, this step is the prerequisite for the other three. The goal of avoiding even indirect and unintended cooperation with abortion reflects a heartfelt horror and aversion that rejects all convenient compromise. That is to say, it involves a sentiment similar to God's own hatred for the evil. Such an attitude is probably the key to achieving any kind of success. It is certainly the key to pleasing God, which eclipses all other motives.

Next: Some possible strategies to employ.