Friday, January 18, 2008

Joanne Byfield: Pro-Life Movement Has Made No Political Gains In Canada

For a worthwhile summary of the current state of the pro-life movement in Canada, check out this article

Byfield sees slow progress in battle against abortion
Voters need to speak out before change will take place, she says

Byfield has impressive pro-life credentials. She thinks the media are playing a huge role in our current impasse.

She said in Canada it is impossible to have a public discourse about the issue of publicly funded, unrestricted access to abortion because most of the members of the mainstream media are pro-choice and consider abortion a settled issue that is not "of interest to anyone because it's not of interest to them."

No surprise, like Tristan Emmanuel, she points a finger at Christian leaders.

"Our churches aren't doing enough. There is a fear, on the part of pastors, to speak about abortion because they know there are wounded men and women out there and they don't want to make anyone uncomfortable."

Her solution?

Voters need to tell the politicians who come to their doors asking for votes, "We won't vote for you unless you do something to protect human life.

"Priority has to be (given) to de-insure abortion and our politicians have to hear it from person after person when they go from door to door. Our job is to get people to that point."

Joanne is certainly correct when she says that our politicians need to hear it from person to person, door to door. But how will that happen? Who can motivate citizens to take such action?

Good question. Consider this: Who controls the thinking and actions—the very morality—of our citizens? Who can have the greatest influence upon their lives?

If, generally speaking, Christians and pro-lifers do not agree that religious leaders fulfill that role almost exclusively, then I’m afraid I don’t know on what planet they are living. Granted, the “media” have very significant influence but they don’t shape the morality of the nation. They just talk to death the existing morality from their point of view. Nor do pro-lifers shape the thinking and actions of citizens to any significant extent. Isn’t that the point made by Joanne Byfield? Nor do politicians seem to be shaping the morality of our nation. Again, listen to Byfield.

Who then shapes morality?

Church leaders. The Church. And other religious leaders to a much lesser extent. The morality of Canada is essentially shaped actively or passively by our Christian leaders. The big question though for Christians and the pro-life movement as a whole is “Can we do anything about the failure of Christian leadership in Canada and thus change the moral direction of Canada?”

In the article It's Time For Pro-Lifers To Change Their Strategy In Canada Or The Toll On Babies Will Continue pro-life leaders are challenged to take their heads out of the sand and take a different approach to the defense of innocent unborn lives in Canada. The article deals more pointedly at the failure of Catholic Bishops but applies equally well to the failure of other Christian leaders. A prominent example of the fear which immobilizes pro-life leaders in Canada can be seen in this posting Are Pro-Life Leaders In Canada Afraid To Speak The Truth?

Joanne says

Priority has to be (given) to de-insure abortion and our politicians have to hear it from person after person when they go from door to door. Our job is to get people to that point.

No doubt everyone can participate at some level in the strategy to "get people to that point." But I would argue that the only people truly able to succeed in such a revolution of reforming voting habits is the clergy, through a reformation of the Canadian conscience. If we make Byfield's strategy our chief preoccupation, which seems to coincide with the general philosophy of action of pro-life leaders throughout Canada, we'll keep on spinning our wheels.

If anything at all can be done to halt the neo-paganism overtaking Canada, I believe that only when Christians/pro-lifers decide to take concentrated and united aim at a campaign of accountability for Canada’s clergy—the higher the ranks the better—the sooner we'll see citizens pressing political candidates door to door.

And not a minute before.

For those who claim pro-life leaders in Canada have tried such a strategy and found it impossible or impractical, I for one would like to see the evidence. Like Byfield, I see a trail of political and educational failure but where is the evidence of a national strategy to hold Christian leaders accountable for fulfilling their God ordained duties—and for their failures?

You say it can't be done? I say it's time to talk about it.

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At 3:33 PM, Blogger SUZANNE said...

I think that while we have not had *gains* I think it's dangerous to say that without pointing out that there is political progress being made.

There are more and more pro-life votes taking place. Before 2003, there had never been a pro-life motion,vote, whatever, ever made in Canada. We lost. I agree. But the feminists and gay rights people lost a lot, too, before they began to win.

We shouldn't discourage people from the political path that way. We need the political angle to create the groundwork.

We're still getting "our sea legs" in the pro-life movement. There is a heck of a lot of untapped pro-life potential in this country. The problem is apathy and pro-lifers who are isolated and don't know how to get things done. We have to break out of that isolation and learn how to accomplish things.

If there were 100 of you, ELA, the Canadian abortion scene would be way different. I am certain of it. It would only take that small number of people devoting themselves fulltime to make a big difference in the political and cultural discourse.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger ELA said...

I doubt that Byfield's comments will actually discourage anyone from political involvement. And I think there is great consensus that the political path is not only necessary but also inevitable.

You noted, "The problem is apathy and pro-lifers who are isolated and don't know how to get things done." Here is where pro-life leaders come in. Before they engage pro-lifers on "how to get things done," they need to give serious consideration to taking a new approach that results from asking "what exactly needs to get done?" There's a difficulty with the philosophy of the movement as a whole I think.

As far as full time pro-life workers are concerned, thanks for the encouragement, but only a handful of Canadians are concerned enough to do anything to support such individuals. That reality will discourage the vast majority of Christians and pro-lifers who will prefer life in the Matrix.


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