Today, many souls are braving the weather in Washington, D.C., to testify to the truth that the United States is a rich gutter country that guts millions of babies, guts women, and has disemboweled herself in an act of worship before the god of Mammon. Steaming and bleeding on the ground before her staggering and moribund form is her once-vibrant and intact acknowledgement of natural law and Christian morality.
Chronicles stands with the truth tellers who recognize reality, and who are willing to sacrifice their time and resources to bear witness to it in the Emerald City.
Roe v. Wade, the monstrous and degrading judicial legislation disguised as a SCOTUS opinion, turns 43 today, and despite our vigorous protests, there seems to be little hope for a substantial change in the laws that protect American avarice and licentiousness, laws that safeguard the sacrament of abortion so that the Sexual Revolution never stops. It is a legal power structure that shackles the minds of far too many Americans, who suppress their latent knowledge of abortion’s horrors (even when ghastly videos of it are discussed on the nightly news) because they know that their "freedom" would be curtailed if Roe is ever removed. Celebrities who are the well-paid celebrants of vulgarity now beckon us to “draw the line” when it comes to our “personal beliefs” in order to guarantee that women may be free to fornicate and then flush the fruits of it down the drain, absolving men and the Nanny State of any childrearing responsibility.
In his brilliant “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic National Convention of 1896 (on the now-obscure topic of bimetallism), William Jennings Bryan made a passionate statement that should be the motto of pro-life conservatives and Christians today:
We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned; we have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded; we have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them.
We can defy the Culture of Death, and not just through politics. By all means, fight the deathmongers tooth and nail at the polls. But just as Bryan discovered with his populist pleas for Americans to unmask the Emerald City’s devotion to “the idle holders of capital” and expose the Man Behind the Curtain, politics will not solve a problem that is at root moral.
Defy the Culture of Death by refusing to compromise on the fundamental immorality of abortion. A position that offers exceptions for victims of rape and incest is a position born of eugenics and contempt for the disadvantaged (viz., the children of rape and incest victims). Establishment conservatives who are screaming that Donald Trump has flip-flopped on abortion (in the right direction, as did George H.W. Bush, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney) would do America a better service by criticizing Trump's rape and incest exceptions—exceptions that were shared by Ronald Reagan, high atop the GOP’s Mt. Olympus. These exceptions make a mockery of the core natural-law principle that abortion violates: It is wrong to murder your own offspring. Refusing to protect the weakest and the most disadvantaged is morally disordered and undercuts any other pro-life argument. We cannot possibly expect our politicians to grasp this if we are not teaching it to ourselves and our children.
Defy the Culture of Death by refusing to participate in the Sexual Revolution that makes abortion-on-demand the sine qua non of American society. No-fault divorce, pornography, and cohabitation are—like abortion—legal in all 50 states, but no one is forcing anyone to participate (unlike in, say, Chy-nahh). When pastors cannot bring themselves to tell the son of the head elder, who hasn’t darkened the door of the church since confirmation, that no, you may not have a church wedding so long as you are biblically knowing your fiancee in the house you share, abortion culture is aided and abetted.
Defy the Culture of Death by refusing to hate children. The contraceptive, child-limiting, materialist, “prosperity”-driven lifestyle that is promoted by movement conservatism and megachurches reinforces the notion that children are a burden, "products of conception" to be warehoused in megaschools, helicoptered into nightly activities, and sequestered in youth-group ghettos apart from the congregation and their own families. Conservatives have it within their power to create a New Normal, which is the Old Normal in which babies—children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces—are welcome.
Defy the Culture of Death by calling a spade a spade. There is no need to apologize for “drawing the line” when it comes to child murder and the legalized torture of women. Abortion physically and psychologically devastates women, and conservatives must match their bold rhetoric with action, offering compassion and care for these victims as well.
Which brings us to the ultimate defiance of the Culture of Death. All around the country there are pregnancy-care centers that offer care and counseling to women who are feeling pressure to submit to the lie of easy abortion. The idea for these organizations came in large part from Chronicles’ former religion editor, the late Harold O.J. Brown. Dr. Brown fought tooth and nail for laws that would reflect basic human decency, but he knew that the law is both a teacher and a mirror of the society from which it arises. And he was also well aware (as he taught me and thousands of others in graduate school) of the early Christians’ compassionate response to unwanted infants legally discarded by the citizens of decadent Rome: They cared for them personally. There was no law to stop them, and there is no law to stop us.
At Chronicles, we work to preserve Dr. Brown’s legacy; we take this seriously. Our executive editor, Scott Richert, serves as board chairman for the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford. I serve on the board of the Haven Network for Perinatal Death and Bereavement, which “supports those families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, SIDS and early infant death.” (The Haven was founded by Jean Heise, a Chronicles reader and supporter, who has taught a great many of us that every life, however brief or physically disadvantaged, matters.) Both could use your support and volunteer hours—and, more importantly, so could the pregnancy-care center in your community.
Remember the 58 million infants who have been destroyed, and the like number of women who have been shattered, since January 22, 1973. And when you do, stare down the purveyors of the Culture of Death and say with Bryan: We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy you.
[Sign up for the Chronicles Newsletter by entering your email on the front page of our website. Subscribe to the conservative magazine, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, by clicking here.]
Aaron D. Wolf (1973-2019) was Chronicles' executive editor. His writings have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He was a frequent guest on Issues, Etc. (Lutheran Public Radio) and The Paul Youngblood Show (nta.fm), and has appeared on several other radio programs, including The Tom Clark Show (Wisconsin Public Radio) and Extension 720 With Milt Rosenberg (WGN).