Last week I had the opportunity to attend an excellent conference that was held for leaders of various ministries, apostolates and pro-life organizations. Though the conference and the views of the individual speakers and attendees were not public, a general consensus that emerged from the three day event is worth sharing, and it should serve as a wakeup call to all of us in pro-life and pro-family work: the culture wars are over.
This troubling ‘consensus’ needs qualification. We have lost the culture wars primarily in the courts and in the political realm; the courts fell to the cultural zeitgeist decades ago, and one political party has been propelling it along at warp speed, while another has quietly acquiesced and decided that economic conservatism is far more important than social conservatism.
Further qualification: our youth are becoming more pro-life on the issue of abortion with each passing day. Studies are proving this hopeful sign of renewal, as is the wonderful and growing attendance at the March For Life every year. As the pro-choice crowd grays and thins by attrition, the pro-life movement is expanding and vibrant.
But even among this youthful and vibrant pro-life generation, there is cause for concern. As they wake up to and reject the barbarity of abortion on demand through nine months of pregnancy, they have been lulled into complacency by extremely effective cultural and academic propaganda on the other issues of the culture wars, including assisted suicide, euthanasia and the attack on traditional marriage and the family. Our opposition uses emotion laden, finely tuned and persuasive tactics to advance their cause. The cultural acceptance of stealth euthanasia, Brittany Maynard’s death by assisted suicide and the gay marriage agenda is proof of their insidious effect.
Another consensus that emerged from the conference was that, while fighting the culture wars at the level of court cases and the political field may not yield the best return on our efforts and meager finances, the new evangelization is more urgent than ever. The “new” evangelization is about re-evangelizing the de-Christianized West. Of necessity it must begin in our homes, among our families and friends, and in our churches and civic groups. We must defend and spread the “Gospel of Life” as the antidote to the ever growing culture of death.
Re-evangelizing a de-Christianized culture is orders of magnitude more difficult than the initial spread of Christianity in a mission field. A pagan culture that has never been evangelized is (at risk of offending politically correct post-Christian sensibilities) a demonic culture, and the initial work of the missionary is to cast out the demons and build a Christian foundation so that the Gospel may flourish and souls be saved. A once-Christian culture that has rejected Christianity has been compared to Jesus’ parable of the return of an unclean spirit:
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Who can question that a spirit not seen since pre-Christian times has infested the West in the last century, and rages with demonic fury against Christianity, marriage, family and the Gospel of Life?
We have hard work ahead of us, work that must be accompanied by prayer, fasting and sacrifice.
And we desperately need effective tools in this work. Reform of the culture will take place mainly through moral education. The truth has not gotten lost, we just have to open our eyes to see it again by shining light on it. The question is HOW do we open eyes?
American Life League has stepped up to the plate with their Culture of Life Studies Program:
” an educational initiative focused on preparing school-aged children and teens to be the next generation of pro-life activists. Unlike other pro-life education programs, the Culture of Life Studies Program is designed specifically for use within the normal school curriculum and teaches young people how to recognize and respond to threats to life.”
Catherine Daub has written an article for our newsletter describing ALL’s new program: “Building a Culture of Life, One Student at a Time: ALL’s Culture of Life Studies Program’s New Approach to Pro-Life Education.” (Link will open a PDF). It’s worth reading. You may also want to see ALL’s Introduction to Euthanasia supplement, which will be made available through the American Life League Culture of Life Studies Program website, cultureoflifestudies.com, in the fall of 2015. If you’re interested, you can follow this program’s development on the Culture of Life Studies Program Facebook page at facebook.com/ALLCLSP.
Editor’s note: a version of this post appeared in the “From the Chairman” column of the April 15th edition of the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance newsletter. It has been reprinted by the author.