In a recent tribute to pro-life Congressman Henry Hyde, who died in 2007, Congressman Chris Smith said of him, "Hyde was the star, a trailblazer. It's tougher to blaze the trail than to follow on. Henry taught me the lesson that some things are worth losing elections for, and life is one of them."
This is one of four rules that the congressman not only shared with his political peers, but with pro-life Americans as well. As a Catholic leader, Hyde knew that Catholic teaching does not admit compromise when addressing fundamental truths concerning abortion and the attack on marriage. Hyde rarely had a problem focusing on the nonnegotiable teaching that an act of abortion was never acceptable. His leadership was based on that principle.
Principles, particularly for the God-fearing person, do not change and in fact actually formulate the kind of person we are individually and the kind of culture we strive to nurture and protect collectively. But what happens when there is a flaw in the fabric of principle, a misstep in the defense of never-changing truths?
My friend Mark Pickup tells us what happens, and the picture is not a pretty one. In his January 10 blog post, he shares the facts about something that happened in Canada regarding same-sex marriage, and it reminded me of what could happen when Obama is sworn in, in a few short days, and starts dealing with abortion. While we are here discussing same-sex marriage in Canada and abortion in America, the scenarios of how the two nations arrived at their current juncture are quite similar. Here is what Mark wrote:
I would like to bring readers attention to a special reprint of an article entitled "The conspiracy to abolish marriage in Canada: If everything is marriage, then nothing is." See
When recognition of same-sex marriage was rammed through Canada's Parliament under the Liberal government of Paul Martin, it was not supported as a free vote. Prime Minister Martin invoked strict Party discipline in order to pass the bill. All ministers, parliamentary secretaries and committee Chairs (not to mention back bench MPs) were expected to support the same-sex marriage bill, under threat of losing portfolios, perks, and privileges. Self-interest prevailed for most Liberal MPs: all but a few courageous Members fell into line and voted to recognize homosexual marriage.
Was this departure from historical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman warranted by stacks of social science or empirical studies validating the advisability of such a change? No. In fact, there were studies showing that children raised in homosexual partner homes have considerable problems. Quite simply, the law was changed on the basis of liberal social fashion (disguised as human rights).
Recognition of same-sex marriage (in Canada and abroad) is a deviation from history and wisdom of the ages. It is a dangerous social experiment that threatens to bring down Christian civilization that previous generations fought to preserve.
Two major pillars of Christian morality are marriage and the sanctity of human life. Both are being supplanted by secularism, relativism and a neo-paganism. The result has been disastrous to the Christian concept of life's sanctity. Now the marriage pillar is being torn down. Like the article noted at the beginning of this blog says in its title, "If everything is marriage, then nothing is." A primary building block of society will disappear.
Sadly, the dismantling of our [formerly] Christian country has been aided by Christians themselves. So often the Canadian Evangelical response to the destruction of the sanctity of human life ethic has been pale and uncertain.
Now, with the redefinition of marriage, Canadian Evangelicals seem to have thrown up their hands as though the matter was decided. It may have been decided by our liberal courts and political elites, but it has not been decided by ordinary people on main street Canada. They are looking for leadership back to sanity.
Evangelicals seem to have shrunk away with embarrassment from standing resolutely and forcefully against the destruction of traditional marriage by a vociferous and litigious homosexual lobby. Protection of their church charitable status is more important than speaking out against redefinition of marriage or homosexuality. They are afraid of being called names, maligned by the press, or being dragged before a quasi-judicial human rights tribunal.
Perhaps I should not be surprised. Canadian Evangelicals have been slow and uncertain to respond against the holocaust of abortion throughout the past 40 years in Canada. I can only presume it [their response] will be equally pale and uncertain with euthanasia. There are courageous exceptions, of course, like the late Pastor Ken Campbell, and the Pentecostal Church, but they are the exceptions.
Denominational policy statements decrying the evil of abortion without persistent and consistent public action, or clearly articulating Biblical and Christian answers outside the church foyer, have failed the sacred cause of life. Will [Evangelicals] be equally timid to make their presence felt defending the Biblical definition of marriage?
But timidity has not been the greatest failure of the Evangelical Church; its greatest failure has been accommodation. Rather than transforming the culture with Biblical truth, it has been guilty of accommodating the culture and that ultimately denies the transforming power of Biblical truth.
As Dr. Francis Schaeffer was dying in 1984, he wrote his last book, The Great Evangelical Disaster. He addressed this spirit of accommodation: "For the evangelical accommodation to the world of our age represents the removal of the last barrier against the breakdown of our culture. … To accommodate to the world spirit about us in our age is the most gross form of worldliness in the proper definition of the word." (p. 141-142)
The great man said the only legitimate response for Christians is confronting the culture loving confrontation but confrontation nonetheless in the crucial moral and social issues of our day. Anything less is a failure to live under the full authority of God's inerrant Word: the Bible.
Many Evangelicals avoided The Great Evangelical Disaster. Its truth was also a confrontation a confrontation many evangelicals are still not willing to admit.
I call upon Canadian Evangelicals to join together with their Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ and spill into the streets in unshakable resolve to reclaim our dying Christian culture. Militate for Biblical morality on the sanctity and dignity of marriage and human life.
Don't worry about being dragged before human rights commissions on bogus charges, losing your tax status or being called names. Previous generations of Christians faced more serious threats for the sake of Biblical truth.
We are in a spiritual war of monumental proportions!
Mark was an Evangelical prior to converting to Catholicism, and so he understands the Evangelical mindset quite well. The challenge he sets forth in his commentary should not go unnoticed, because we in America, when writing about Catholics and the question of whether or not it is acceptable to murder a preborn child by an act of abortion, are facing precisely the same kind of moral relativism. Lest we forget, Obama is going to be sworn in, in just a few days, in no small measure because more than 50 percent of Catholics cast their vote for him.
Dr. Schaeffer defined such an action as "accommodation to the world." Pope Benedict XVI has defined it as moral relativism, and he has warned repeatedly of its devastating consequences. In fact, the Holy Father has said, "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism that recognizes nothing definite and leaves only one's own ego and one's own desires as the final measure." I would simply call it an exhibition of the greatest act of denying God ever in the history of mankind.
Even though Catholics and, in fact, all Christians, are not called to accommodate evil but rather to expose it and struggle against it for as long as the situation requires, it is painfully clear that this is not happening.
We are indeed in a spiritual war of enormous proportions. This is not a war against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. St. Paul reminds anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see,
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. . . So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6: 11-12, 14-16)