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.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pro-life strike: Why not?

There are a number of ways in which God's people can respond to systematic injustice. The first response, the final response, and the response that must permeate and instruct all others is prayer, an earnest crying out to God to correct the wrong that is being done. And so it is with the criminal injustice of legalized and government sanctioned abortion. We must never cease pleading with God to change hearts, and put an end to the slaughter of the innocents. Lord, please speak to the mother facing a troublesome pregnancy; give her a tender heart of compassion to give life to her child. Change the heart of the abortionist to repent of his evil ways. Change the hearts of legislators and judges to restore legal protection and government's rightful responsibility to secure the basic human right to life. Change the hearts of our fellow citizens to support life matters. Enlighten and embolden our bishops, priests, deacons, rabbis and ministers to teach clearly on the inviolate sanctity of human life.

The first heart that is changed by earnest prayer is, of course, the heart of the one praying. So, pro-life people pray, then get up off their knees and take specific action. They offer help to the unwed mother. They write letters to their representatives. They vote pro-life. They make their prayers public by praying in front of abortion clinics and government buildings. They may go further. They may take actions which could be considered extraordinary, or even radical.

22-week-old aborted baby One such radical action is the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), which jolts people's consciences through large, provocative visual displays of abortion. (The graphic image at right is from their site.) You can see more at this blog.

Another is Life Decisions International, whose focus is the defunding of Planned Parenthood by publishing corporations known to be contributing to PP, and facilitating the boycott of these corporations.

I could go on and on. But the list of extraordinary things pro-life people are doing would not include one very obvious action: To my knowledge, no one but myself is advocating or practicing an actual economic strike or tax resistance movement to end abortion. People do this kind of thing for crassly economic motives. They do it for other, lesser moral and ideological reasons. Why not do it to end legalized and tax-funded abortion? The idea is simple enough. The goals are surely worthy. So why not?

The next post will be my attempt to answer the inverse: Why we should organize a pro-life strike.