WASHINGTON—One of the key figures in the unfolding political crisis gripping the nation's capital, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), gave a powerful pro-life speech to supporters of Crisis magazine Sept. 11. He was honored as the 1998 recipient of the Crisis Partnership Award at a dinner in Washington, D.C.
Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will have a critical role in any impeachment procedures initiated against President Clinton. He also has been a highly visible pro-life leader since entering Congress in 1975.
The congressman spoke in moving terms about how our lives are inextricably linked with the past and the future. Referring to unborn children, he said, “This little baby has ancestors which go back to the beginning of time.
“All of that history and travail is erased in a twinkling of an eye,” when a child is aborted. Further, he stressed, “When you abort a baby, you don't just snuff out that life, but generations yet to come.”
Hyde introduced his subject by discussing some of the moral dimensions presented in the recent popular movie Amistad, which deals with an African slave mutiny. John Quincy Adams, the former president, successfully represented the mutineers before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841.
In the movie, Adams — played by Anthony Hopkins — said in his summation before the high court that slavery “concerns the very nature of man.” So, too, does the issue of abortion, the congressman argued.
He also talked about how the Declaration of Independence was so vital in understanding the need to protect every American. The endowments provided for in that venerable document, he said, were given to all “by virtue of their humanity.”
Hyde also exhorted the 250 dinner guests to be involved. “We must be engaged in some great enterprise: freedom, Christianity, or educating our young,” he suggested. He also cited the dictum in Luke 17:10: “When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done no more than our duty.’”
This annual black-tie event honors a prominent American and highlights the work of Crisis, an influential monthly magazine which tackles public policy issues from a Catholic viewpoint. Previous honorees were Adm. Jeremiah Denton, the former prisoner of war and U.S. senator, and Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza.
Many of the writers and contributors to the 16-year-old magazine also attended the event. Crisis was founded by Michael Novak and Ralph McInerny and today is published by Deal Hudson.
Hudson told the Register, “Crisis has a unique voice, a Catholic voice, which is not filtered through neo-conservative, conservative, or libertarian lenses. It is a Catholic voice, pure and simple.
He added, “A Catholic perspective is the only reliable perspective to offer an honest critique of American culture.”
The September issue of Crisis includes a cover story on America's future by the noted British Catholic historian Paul Johnson as well as Rev. Richard John Neuhaus' update on his book The Catholic Moment, published 10 years ago. Future issues will offer articles on the Catholic vote and the state of U.S. Catholic seminaries.