Contributor Doug writes: I recently attended the first annual Connecticut Liberty Forum. The theme of the forum is self-explanatory but that theme was extended to and represented by speakers of virtually every facet of liberty you could imagine, including religious liberty. Ironically, a sort of religious epiphany struck me, not during a talk about religious liberty, but instead on one pertaining to the Supreme Court and how it has eroded our liberty with bad decisions in landmark cases.
The speaker, who I will not name to respect his privacy, was a prominent legal scholar and high-ranking director of the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute. While I do have a slight libertarian side, I am by far an unabashed and passionate conservative. I wholly agree with the libertarian agenda on some issues while I bristle at others. Typically, people don’t associate a religious viewpoint with libertarians. God works in mysterious ways.
The speaker captured not only my attention, but some of my angst when he mildly rebuked the Congressional Republicans for interfering in the Terri Schiavo case. My angst was so roiled that I pursued an extension of that particular issue with the speaker privately after his talk.
I asked him how he could justify his rebuke of federal intervention in a euthanasia case, as life is not only a civil right, but the preeminent civil right, and civil rights are federal issues. To assert my claim, I cited the example of the rightful intervention of the federal government in the 1960’s to protect and uphold the rights and equality of southern blacks in areas of voting, education, public accommodations, etc…
The speaker replied that the problem lies not with the courts, but rather, with legislatures. He cited that the abuse of judicial power now commonly called “judicial activism” exists on both the right and the left. He elaborated that the Democrats accuse the Republicans of being wrong on Roe vs. Wade (which fabricated the so-called “right” to abortion), and the Republicans accuse the Democrats of being wrong on the Schiavo case. He said both accusations are well founded.
The speaker explained that federal intervention for civil rights, including for life, is warranted, but must be first legislatively sound. The problem, he told me, is that there is no current agreed upon and clear definition in law of the actual beginning of life, or its actual end. Thus an undefined right cannot be defended. That’s when the epiphany hit me. He was right, and I figured out right then and there what we need to do.
I believe it may have been this speaker, if not another one, who in his talk cited that conservatives tend to love the 10th Amendment to the Bill of Rights because it restricts the powers of the federal government and leaves any loose ends to the states, while liberals tend to embrace the 9th Amendment, which seems the equivalent of a blank check, to be filled in later by the feds, as rights are concerned.
If we are to effectively at least stop abortion, we need to stop solely relying on Roe vs. Wade. Even some liberals and pro-abortionists agree that this law is grossly flawed, and it may conceivably be overturned some day, but then the matter of abortion will only then be again decided in each of the 50 states as a state, and not a federal issue.
To satisfy requirements of both the 9th and 10th amendments, each state legislature, as well as the Congress, must specifically pass laws specifically defining the scientific beginning and end of life. Contrary to popular and skeptic secular belief, the Vatican is well advised on moral life issues by some of the top and most renowned scientists in the world. Their findings, which the Church accepts can and should be accepted by all levels of government.
Here in Connecticut, 2008 is a pivotal year for us, as on Election Day, we will have an opportunity to vote on this year’s ballot, and as our state Constitution calls for every 20 years, whether or not a Constitutional Convention should be convened. A majority of “yes” votes will then so convene a Constitutional convention at which citizens can become delegates to forward and support, or oppose issues. One key and controversial issue being debated is to amend our Constitution to allow initiative and referendum, as common in western states. This process will allow citizens, and not legislators, to vote on certain matters. One such matter should be the documented and specific legal definitions of the clinical beginning and ending of life. Only having conquered that obstacle, can we eventually ban abortion and euthanasia.
I should qualify however, that there is actually a previous and even more arduous obstacle to that one. We live in an extremely liberal/secular state. Most Democrats are radically liberal, and most Republicans are also ironically quite liberal, in defiance of the national GOP platform, and are only fiscally conservative at best, while typically abandoning social issues and social conservatism completely. The October edition of the Hartford Archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Transcript, listed the roster of shame. The vast majority of our current state and federal candidates and elected representatives never even bothered to fill out a candidate questionnaire given to them by the non-partisan Connecticut Catholic Conference. To the extent that third parties exist in our state, they are a nifty conversation piece at best and no contenders by any means in the political arena. Ditto with most independent candidates. This sordid state is immersed and entrenched in the culture of death. That is simply a fact. Life has been dealt a bad hand by our nefarious political environment, and we, the citizenry are first to blame. Bad politicians come from bad, or at least, pathetic citizens. We are as accountable for our passive non-actions and lazy tolerance of the status quo as we are our active immoral actions. Edmund Burke succinctly said. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
TV and radio pundit, Glenn Beck, a devout Mormon, rails about our lack of leadership and our fostering of that void. Father John Corapi of EWTN once asked Mother Theresa why the United States is so bereft of political leadership. Without missing a beat, Mother promptly retorted, “Abortion.” Or as my own sage mother often chided me when I was a kid, “You make your bed; you sleep in it.” Either passively or actively, we caused this current mess, and it didn’t happen over night. Only we can end it, and sadly, that will also take time.
In the mean time, we must change hearts and minds. We must educate, first ourselves, and then others, politely, but passionately. We must be patient, but persevere. Be diligent. Be active. Repent. Sacrifice. Pray. And then pray the Rosary to our Blessed Mother for direct intervention to her Son, and our Savior. What good son can turn down his mother? Praying the Rosary is easy. If you don’t know it, learn it. If you’re too embarrassed to ask somebody, there are about a million sites on the Internet that will walk you through it. No time? Who are you kidding? You’ve spent 15-20 minutes of a day on matters far less significant. I prayed the Rosary on and off, but finally became committed to saying it daily when Father Corapi once said that the Pope says the Rosary every day. He then challenged, “Do you think you are actually busier than the Pope?” It’s all about priorities, folks. And committing to that one substantially improved my life.
Last but not least, on November 4th, vote, and make sure your vote is both informed and moral.