[Today] one single value seems not to be the subject of discussion, since it is indisputable and has therefore become a filter through which every other ‘value’ is passed, namely, the right of the individual to express himself freely, without any impositions from outside himself, at least so long as his freedom does not infringe on the rights of others.
This is how the right to abortion is invoked as a constitutive element in the right to liberty on the part of the woman, the man, and society itself. The woman has a right to her professional work… the man has to the right to decide about his lifestyle… society has the right to control the numerical level of the population… nevertheless, it is a fact that this claim to exercise real rights is demanded to the detriment of the life of an innocent human being whose rights are not even taken into consideration…
A state that claims the prerogative of defining who is and who is not the subject of rights, and that consequently accepts that some persons have the right to violate the fundamental right to life of other persons, contradicts the democratic ideal, although it continues to appeal to this claim. Such a state imperils the very basis on which it governs. For when it accepts that the rights of the weakest may be violated, it also accepts that the law of the jungle prevails over the rule of law.
Joseph Ratzinger, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures,
Reflection – Well, we did it again. As I said in the previous post, we went to Ottawa, listened to some speeches, walked around downtown, got screamed at by counter-protestors (they did keep their clothes on this year, deo gratias), listened to some more speeches, and came home. The March for Life happened, once again a beautiful celebration of life and love, and a witness to the tragedy of abortion and its corrosive impact on our society.
This is highlighted in the quote from Ratzinger here. Truly, a nation that enshrines abortion as not only an evil to be tolerated but a fundamental right of women is a nation that has quietly abandoned its claim to be a democracy. The very basis of democracy – the everyone counts, that every human being has some part to play in the life of the nation, and therefore has a claim to certain rights and protections in law – is explicitly denied by legal abortion.
Democracy is dealt a fatal blow in this. Now I’m going to wade into immediate political controversy here, which I don’t generally do on this blog (well, not usually, anyhow). But this needs to be said.
I got back late last night and went straight to bed, but did hear from various people about the CBC’s coverage of the March (for you non-Canadians, think NPR or BBC or whatever state-run media you have).
Their entire focus of coverage, since the March has grown so big that they can no longer just ignore it, was the ‘scandal’ that publicly funded Catholic high schools sent busloads of students to Ottawa to protest abortion. Government money used to advance the sinister Catholic agenda! Surely this is an outrage not to be tolerated! And this of course was the entire story for them. Not the theme of the March, which was to protest the growing practice of sex-selective abortion, female gendercide. Or the theme of many of the speeches, which is the Canadian government’s increasing habit of silencing elected officials from bringing up abortion-related matters in Parliament, truly subverting every democratic principle in the service of short-term political gain.
No – none of that is relevant. It’s those nefarious Catholic schools using ‘our’ (i.e. the government’s) money to protest ‘our’ rights to abortion.
Now this needs to be said clearly, something that seems to be almost wholly forgotten today. The government does not have money. I will say it again: the government does not have any of its own money.
What the government has is your money and my money and all of our money, which is forcibly takes from us through a system of taxation. Nothing wrong with that: governments have a right to tax their citizens. But it remains our money. And in a democracy, the citizens of a country have a right to direct the flow of that money through the democratic process.
, there is a Catholic school system, publicly funded. The story of why that is and how it is the case is a long one. But Catholic tax-payers pay their school taxes into the Catholic school system so that their children can receive a Catholic education. And part of that Catholic education is that social engagement requires advocating and working for justice for all in whatever area of society that justice is denied. And the unborn are denied basic justice in Ontario . Canada
In short, it is our money, given to the government in the democratically-achieved understanding that it will fund Catholic schools who in turn are doing the job they are paid for by the Canadian citizen tax-payer by sending their students to the March for Life.
OK, end of controversy-driven rant. But seriously, this government-funded (ahem) media attack on the March highlights the perilous state of democracy in
like nothing else I can think of. Sorry for boring my non-Canadian readers, but there we are – I have to stand on guard for my native land here. Canada