With a few days’ perspective since the election, we can see things a bit more clearly. We should be honest about the situation for the pro-life community as we can best understand it.
The outcome of Tuesday’s election does not bode well for life and family — that is, for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters at the beginning and near the end of life; and for the natural, foundational institution of every society. That this administration has made it a priority to attack both is well known, as is their sustained assault on the freedom of religion. Just as sadly, judging by exit polls, many Catholics do not appear to be concerned about these facts, but have bought into some understanding of “justice” that allows for the wholesale destruction of unborn human beings, the erosion of fundamental liberties and the elevation of destructive and sinful conduct to the level of a human right.
On the surface, there is little cause for hope. But we don’t live just on the surface, do we? Was our hope placed in a candidate for president, or is it in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life? The Glory of God is not diminished in the least by the darkness that a slim majority of our nation has unwittingly chosen. It will be obscured for sure, but that is where we come in.
As it always has been, we have to bring Christ to the world. Dead is the idea that we can live with a middling “go along to get along” kind of faith, and many of our more confused brothers and sisters are starting to wake up to this fact. We need to be there for them, and we need to get more serious as well.
It is fine to hope for an improved political and financial situation — we have to. We also have to as Christians act to bring these about with our votes and by making our case to family, friends and in public. But our hope, unless it was misplaced, was never in these mere transitory things.
Brothers and sisters, this is no time to put our tails between our legs and run in fear. Christians are not cowards. We have hope not because of a rosy political and economic outlook, but because the One who is Hope has promised to be with us, and has invited us to be with Him for all eternity. If we understand this basic truth of our faith, if we truly place our hope in Him, it takes on a whole different aspect of our lives. As Pope Benedict so beautifully put it in Spe Salvi, it becomes performative, that is, it changes everything and moves us toward greater virtue and trust in Him.
We have seen this in the saints, haven’t we? One cannot read the lives of the saints and then look around at the truly precarious situation we find ourselves in and lose hope! This has happened before, and it will happen again. But we continue to fight.
For Human Life International and our supporters this means we continue to oppose the anti-life juggernaut that spends billions every year killing unborn children and trying to convince the world that children are an obstacle to progress. We work in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Africa who still love life and family enough to resist the seduction of the “reproductive health” salesmen, who tell us that “health” means no reproduction. We joyfully stand with Latin America, where faith is still recognized by most as essential to the identity of nations, communities and families. We pray that Europe might still recover its Christian soul and return to a culture of life, just as we pray and work to see that Asia turn back from its embrace of the culture of death and its more dynamic economies might also become genuinely pro-life societies. And here in the U.S. we have to be beacons of hope and light and show the world that not everyone here has given up on God and on freedom.
That is, we do what we have done, but with greater fervor, hope and joy! We must get better at making the case for life and family, but let our own faithful lives be the true argument. Let those who thought they could buy the infertility and loyalty of the world see in us a loving and courageous force that has no intention of standing down.
Let them ask, “Don’t these people ever give up?” while our lived “Of course not!” comes from joyful voices and an unchecked resolve to proclaim the Gospel of Life.
We are far from done, even if our desired political outcome is unrealized. If you are struggling with despair over the election, you need to refocus your hope where it should have been all along. This is an opportunity for all of us to get serious and get to work. We might even be grateful that the choice is that much clearer as we redouble our efforts to grow in holiness and to fight for life and family.