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The state of our national soul
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This article echoes and develops a report published last Sunday after the Jan. 23 Walk for Life in San Francisco. Please consider the arguments.

Millions of expectant people worldwide listened attentively to President Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday night (January 27).  I was one of them, beginning among weight-lifters in a locker room, continuing as I sped back to church for confessions and Mass, and then by the Internet.

I appreciated his acknowledgment from the beginning that the times have been tough.  At Mass, the family of young Miguel Angel Cruz attended to mark one full month since the day he was shot in a downtown Stockton bar.

Among the nearly-one-hundred faithful at prayer was a little baby boy in a pooh-bear suit. He and the other children reminded us that we are leaving behind us a legacy for future generations, for our own children and grand-children.  Whether that legacy is positive or negative is ours to determine.

It’s good that that baby can’t understand yet what it means that 27 to 30% of his generation have been aborted by doctors of medicine before they were born.

If you don’t believe me, look at the statistics.  Even at their lowest levels, abortions have totaled 1.2 million per year, with births at most 4.3 million.

Commemorating (and mourning) the thirty-seventh anniversary of “Roe v. Wade” (the 1973 Supreme Court decision which paved the way to legalized abortion-on-demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy), this year’s “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. mobilized some 300,000 people dedicated to the proposition that all men (and women, and children) are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

As expected, President Obama declined to support the March, instead making public once again his determined advocacy for a woman’s right to abort her child.  According to Saturday’s “briefs” in the Stockton Record, “In a statement release by the White House of Friday, the President said he continued to support the constitutional right of a woman to choose to have an abortion, as well as ‘each American’s right to privacy from government intrusion’” (page A10, 1/23/10).  It strikes me as highly ironical that he would defend us from “government intrusion”, since his preferred health care reforms and his policy decisions have shoved the government more and more deeply into the issue of abortion everywhere.  And the intrusion of government into our lives is evident to everyone in many other ways.

Even as we began celebrating Mass, one gentleman warned us of a traffic stop located nearby, manned by both the police and immigration officials.

Many of our parishioners have been stopped by police for a great variety of minor offenses - such as a burned-out brake light or a failure to signal - in order for the authorities to review their documents and often to impound their vehicles.  At times this leads to deportation proceedings, which appear to be at a new high pitch.  Families are divided, children left fatherless, and legal fees create new debts as people who worked hard for as many as 40 years face drawn-out trials, detention, and, not infrequently, deportation.

The end result of deporting an innocent person
Next week we’ll bury the ashes of a young man who, while deported to Tijuana, was attacked and fatally wounded.  I’ve lived in Tijuana, staying several times in the places where the deported find shelter.  It ain’t pretty.

But far worse than the deporting of an innocent person - many are innocent but lack sufficient paperwork - is the aborting of an innocent human being.

And if the justifications given for deporting hard-working, responsible and socially conscious fathers and mothers seem questionable, how much more doubtful are the complicated thought-processes excusing a child’s murder.

President Obama continued on with these ambiguous words: “Today and every day, we must strive to ensure that all women have limitless opportunities to fulfill their dreams.”   Heart-warming and inspirational, this sentence turns cold as death when one applies it to reproductive rights.

This rhetoric of deception reminds me of the smokescreens President Clinton deployed when he twice vetoed the Partial Birth Abortion Bans on April 10, 1996 and October 10, 1997.  However the pro-abortion contingent arranges the bouquet of rhetoric surrounding their defense of the most horrendous of medical procedures, the stench of death penetrates and permeates the whole “pro-choice” mentality.  No matter how they wash their hands, the blood of human sacrifice still pools again and stains.

Last Sunday, as I described the Walk for Life - West Coast, in which over 20,000 (perhaps as many as 30,000) people participated, I shared the story of Abby Johnson.  She had been an executive director of an abortion clinic.

According to the Walk for Life’s website, “Abby Johnson walked away from her job as executive director of an abortion clinic because an abortion doctor asked her to hold the ultrasound probe and she witnessed a baby die in an abortion”.  With this added impetus, the site continued, “…our speakers this year directly address the huge financial and political clout of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider and recipient of $350 million in tax dollars annually.”  Eva Muntean, the Walk’s organizer, reported that “Planned Parenthood clinics perform about one third of all abortions in the United States, about 300,000 abortions in 2007-2008, according to Planned Parenthood’s annual report released in 2009.”

Indeed, Abby Johnson’s testimony was a powerful one, unmasking once again the truth about “well-intentioned” women working in clinics whose operators were concerned above all with the tremendous profits generated in the abortion industry.  Behind the veil of concern for pregnant women was a sinister agenda pitting a mother against her own child. It didn’t come as a surprise to us to hear that most of the workers themselves had aborted.

One way to mask their pain, Johnson noted, was to make abortion a cause.

Abortions aimed at ‘over-breeding among the working class’
It was certainly a cause for Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parent-hood.  She promoted birth control and abortion primarily as a means to limit the growth of minority populations.  She used to argue that “all our problems are the result of over-breeding among the working class.”

Hispanics and African-Americans in the United States now account for over 50% of abortions, though they represent only 30% of our population.

As these ethnic groups enthusiastically supported Senator Obama in his bid for the White House, I wonder if they ever reflected on these statistics.

“In the end,” said President Obama toward the conclusion of his “State of the Union” address, “it is our ideals, our values, that build America - values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe, values that drive our citizens still.”  Later, he’d remind us that our first priority is “to do what’s best for the next generation.”

“The only reason we are (here tonight),” he concluded, “is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard, to do what was needed even when success was uncertain, to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and grandchildren.” True.

But the most famous dream here in the United States - the one enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, echoed in the halls of Congress and from the Lincoln Memorial by Martin Luther King, five years before he was assassinated, is the “right to life, to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness”.

Only those who get chance to life can realize the dream
And that the only ones who can realize this dream are those who are given the chance to live.  Abortion, legal or not, destroys the American dream as surely as it destroys an innocent human being in its own mother’s womb.

As President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, the amazing story emerged of a 17-year-old student pulled from the rubble in Haiti - 15 days after the devastating earthquake.  We hope our president can pull our children’s future out from the ruins of our economy and shaken morale.  This will depend in large part how he treats the vulnerable child, hidden today within the womb of its mother, but waiting to be delivered tomorrow.

Back to the Walk for Life: even though we got drenched by the heaviest rains ever to fall in six years of participating, the crowd was still huge. Far from quenching our enthusiasm, the 90-minute deluge was a heavenly blessing, an anointing and cleansing.  Its most immediate effect was to scare off most of the opposition, who often show up insufficiently clothed.

As for us, we chanted, sang, prayed and paraded our way along Fisherman’s Warf and hundreds of curious visitors until the sun finally broke out again.

It didn’t take long for the golden rays to dry out our wet, steaming clothes.

By then, we were already winding our way downhill towards the glowing green meadows of Marina Park.  I had met dozens of friends from a variety of places and times in my past, and felt an interior joy that surpasses all understanding, because it relies, not on circumstances, not even on winning this battle in the political sphere, but, as Abby Johnson put it, being on the winning side.  That side is the one which will always prevail.  It is Life.