“In a remarkable move,” tweeted Chicago-based campus minister @richraho, “+Anthony Taylor boycotts local March for Life because keynote speaker, the State’s AG, is pro-death penalty.”
A link to an article from arkansas-catholic.org detailed how Little Rock’s Bishop encouraged Catholics to join him in one of two pro-life Masses he would celebrate on Sunday January 21, but said he would not be participating in the Arkansas capital’s Rally for Life, despite having took part in it in previous years.
“The reason is that Arkansas Right to Life has chosen as the keynote speaker for the rally a person who has good anti-abortion credentials but otherwise is decidedly not an appropriate pro-life speaker, namely Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who this last year worked tirelessly to secure the execution of four criminals who posed no further threat to society,” he explained, detailing how the diocese had opposed these executions.
“As you know, the Church teaches a consistent ethic of life in which human life and human dignity must be protected from the first moment of conception to natural death and every stage in between,” he continued. “This means, among other things, that all lives have inherent God-given dignity. Even people who have been sentenced to death possess this dignity, which is why capital punishment must be abolished.”
Of course, Mr Rutledge was by no means the only person with questionable pro-life credentials to be given platforms at pro-life rallies last weekend.
Perhaps the most eloquent criticism of President Donald Trump’s prominence at the Washington DC march came from Texas-based Haley Stewart, who normally blogs at carrotsformichaelmas.com and tweets as @haleycarrots. In an americamagazine.org piece entitled ‘I’m unapologetically pro-life, and I’m ashamed that Trump spoke at the March for Life’, she cheers on her friends who attended the rally, but says she is “devastated” by Mr Trump’s involvement.
“My sorrow has nothing to do with a dislike for the man and everything to do with my belief that his involvement will damage a deeply important movement,” she writes, describing his involvement as a “scandal”.
Mr Trump’s record, Mrs Stewart writes, is not the problem: Catholics believe no one is undeserving of redemption, and if perfection was required from all those who marched, the event would be empty. No, she says, “the primary problem is not with Mr. Trump’s past sins, it is that the policies he currently supports are inconsistent with his claim in his address today that ‘every life is sacred’”.
These, she points out, range from Mr Trump’s deportation policies to his threats to wage nuclear war to legislation that treats the poor with disdain.
“A truly pro-life ethic is founded on the truth that the life of every human being is worthy of dignity and protection,” she says, arguing that the prominent inclusion of Mr Trump at the event defeats efforts to unify and galvanise the pro-life cause and raises the question of what a woman facing a crisis pregnancy would think if she followed the event.
Cautioning against being manipulated, she warns: “A hypocritical and inconsistent life ethic will diminish the strength of this movement and discredit it. We must do better because there is so much at stake – it is truly a matter of life and death.”
One prominent US Catholic who would surely disagree is Raymond Arroyo, who as discussed in a previous webwatch, gave Mr Trump a notoriously soft ewtn.com interview (since posted on youtube.com) that allowed Mr Trump to sell himself afresh to Catholic voters just ahead of his election.
Given this, it’s worth taking a look on youtube.com at his January 11 ‘World Over’ interview with New York-based canon lawyer Fr Gerald Murray, in which he and Fr Murray criticise Stephen Walford’s lastampa.it piece ‘The Amoris Laetitia dissenters’, with Fr Murray presenting Mr Walford as having suggested that Catholic teaching has now changed “and that adultery can be a good thing for some people”.
Mr Walford had, of course, said nothing of the sort, and his article is well worth pondering.