Last week, in Texas, a group of pro-life activists stood in the Texas State House singing Amazing Grace. They were surrounded by a group of pro-choice activists who began chanting, “Hail Satan!” in response.
This raw moment revealed everything we need to know about the cultural battle in which our nation finds itself.
Of course, no one actually believes that the protesters in Texas worship Satan per se. By chanting they did not mean to convert onlookers to devil worship. But their chants were designed to mock and disturb people of faith, and their activism is designed to challenge the values system that people of faith represent.
The showdown in the Lone Star State provides a great deal of evidence of this cultural battle. Activists have wished aloud for the rape of legislators’ children. They called Gov. Rick Perry names that are too vulgar to publish. They held signs that glorified sexual promiscuity and abortion. And they even mocked the unborn themselves.
On an intellectual level, the pro-choice movement is not a collection of those who explicitly embrace evil. They do not meaningfully or intentionally embrace something that they know to be wrong. Instead, they first reject the idea that right or wrong exist at all. They embrace a system of moral relativism that rejects the idea of good and evil altogether.
And for these activists, it is not enough to simply disagree with traditional values; they choose to mock these values and to oppose them with fervor.
The mockery of Catholic values is not just prevalent among secularists and atheists. Weeks ago, the U.S. House minority leader and self-proclaimed Catholic Nancy Pelosi was asked what the moral difference was between infanticide at 23 weeks and abortion moments before birth.
Leader Pelosi scoffed at the question and mocked the questioner, telling him, “I can tell you enjoyed asking that. … You clearly have an agenda.” Then she used her Catholic faith to shield herself from the question. She described herself as a “practicing, respectful Catholic” and called late-term abortion “sacred ground.”
While the reporter’s agenda was to get an answer to a reasonable question, the “agenda” Pelosi scoffed at was the agenda of her Church to protect the unborn and to promote the dignity and value of every human life.
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life responded with an open letter to Pelosi, in which he confronted her hypocrisy. “You speak here of Catholic faith as if it is supposed to hide us from reality instead of lead us to face reality,” he said in one part of the letter. “Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground,” he said in another.
When a reporter read this letter to Pelosi, she again chose to mock her faith. She called the letter highly emotional and accused her opponents of not understanding God’s call to love one another.
Pelosi and the Texas protesters do not just oppose the moral stand that is taken by the Church. They see such a stand as backwards, archaic and worthy of the fiercest of criticism. And the cultural battle in Texas shows exactly where this cultural battle leads us.
Pelosi and others never explicitly argue that an unborn child does not have value. Their argument is always about a so-called right to choose.
Therein lies the evidence of the true danger of moral relativism. Proponents of abortion generally argue that an unborn child is indeed alive and does indeed have value, but that their value to live is not as sacred as the value of another person’s right to choose for themselves what is right and wrong. By rejecting morality itself, they can easily reject what is right.
The values system our nation relies upon must be based on right and wrong. There must be lines that cannot be crossed in the quest for freedom. We believe in the right to life. We believe that every life has dignity and is sacred. This is the stand that pro-life Catholics have taken, and this is the most important stand that anyone may take in our democracy today.
No amount of mockery, no amount of protesting and no amount of manipulation can change the truth that good and evil do exist. The moment we begin to believe that evil does not exist is the very moment that it begins to take root.
Catholics must continue to make the argument that good and evil do exist, and we must always stand on the side of good. Our nation depends on it.
Chris Crawford is the director of pro-life ministry at The George Washington University.