The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property
[....Snip] The [pro-life] issue may have an amazing capacity to unite, stir up great passion and even be winning. However, it also has the amazing tendency to reduce the whole Cultural War to abortion. And it is not the whole war.
Resolving the abortion issue, we may win a major battle but not the Cultural War. We must resist the idea that, without abortion, we can retreat to a kind of Mayberry where we can babyboom once again and everything will go back in order. Unless we broaden the fight to include the full cultural spectrum, we will not prevail.
To find further proof that the battle extends beyond the abortion issue, we need look no farther than the very people the pro-life cause amazingly manages to unite.
The list is very diverse: libertarians, feminists, rockers, punks, atheists, agnostics, Greens and even pagans for life. Take away the uniting principle of life and we are left with groups that in varying degrees have agendas that oppose the Christian civilization that we so ardently desire. Winning the pro-life battle only throws us into another cultural battle with our temporary strategic allies.
Finally, the grave moral crises that cause abortion must be addressed. Abortion takes place because of promiscuity, immorality, a contraceptive mentality and the breakdown of the family. Just closing down all the clinics will not provide a definitive solution to these causes of abortion.
All these issues force us to go “beyond pro-life.” And the first way to do this is to go beyond the vague notion of “life” as our unifying principle.
Indeed, in the natural order, man’s inviolable right to life is the first right and therefore the basis for all others. However, this does not mean that, on order to maintain life, we can pass over the values that give meaning to life. Many things are worth more than life itself.
Honor and country are more than life and that is why we have national heroes. Principle often eclipses life. This is the case of personal self-defense which takes the life of a dangerous aggressor or the mother who gives her life for her child when complications develop during pregnancy. As Catholics, we know that, in the supernatural order, the Faith is more important and that is why we have the martyrs.
Adopting “life” as a unifying principle risks putting ourselves with those who put life above principles, honor and Faith. It can also put us under the almost biological understanding of “life” of pacifists, ecologists and animal rights activists.
A second way to carry on this struggle “beyond pro-life” is to extend it to defend the moral law as a whole. The pro-life movement is a natural bridge to all other issues involving the moral law.
This consists of unmasking the central thesis of pro-choice advocates who declare freedom is whatever a person wants to do. They claim every man is the law to himself and thus “freedom” exonerates man from any obedience to the commands of God and His law. Their “pro-choice” mentality has nothing to do with freedom but rather substitutes moral law for boundless license.
Thus, there must be moral law, those fixed rules of conduct whereby men live together in society, and have their origin in the natural, and consequently eternal law. And since this law is valid for all times and all places – indeed, natural law is written on the soul of every man – it necessarily follows that our pro-life struggle embraces more than just abortion but the whole moral law, so well defined by the traditional teachings of the Church.
Thus, we can go “beyond pro-life” by embracing not just abortion but all those issues that involve moral law. This includes social issues like contraception, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, homosexual marriage, free love, divorce, or pornography. It includes political issues like socialism or communism; or religious issues like blasphemy. By attacking them, we destroy the cultural underpinnings of abortion.
In taking this position, we form a proper counterpart to those on the other end of the spectrum who unify their position not around death as such, but the elimination of this moral law and the installation of a regime where every man is his own law – a state of affairs, which Leo XIII proves, necessarily ends in tyranny and the suppression of the Church.
A third way to go “beyond pro-life” is perhaps the most difficult since it involves defending this moral law in our daily lives.
All too often these issues remain just that – issues – things that happen to other people. However, as these issues become more widespread, they soon take on a human face and we are forced to take a position.
Thus, going “beyond pro-life” means killing abortion at its source by engaging in the Cultural War where it permeates all aspects of our lives, be it arts, advertising, music, fashions, entertainment, or education.
Let us face the fact that if we are really going to be effective against abortion, we must rollback the advances of the sexual revolution of the sixties – that explosion of sensuality that prepared the way for abortion. We must reject the hypersexualized MTV culture that loses no opportunity to fuel a culture without morals, restraint or meaning.
Going “beyond pro-life” means making those links no one wants to make, those seemingly innocuous connections that end up destroying our society.
It means taking very seriously those blasphemous films that are “fiction” yet attack the author of all law, God Himself. It means rejecting those “innocent” fashions or the “harmless” music that fuels the promiscuity that leads to abortion and so many other woes.
It involves taking a position on those “normal” things everyone is doing, watching and wearing. The battlefield is not in some faraway theater but the cinema down the road or the media connections that find their way inside our very homes.
It also means encouraging all conservative and healthy reactions that pose obstacles to this process. It means patiently broadening the perspectives of others to see the full extent of this fight.
In other words, it means engaging in a cultural counter-revolution. [....Snip] Read It All
The above article was based on a talk given at the TFP Student Seminar on January 20, 2007 in Spring Grove, Pensylvania.