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.

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