FOCA Watch: Engines of Activism

Remember five weeks ago the need-to-confess list had worked its way down from people who had abortions, to legislators and executives who didn’t stop people from having abortions, to voters who elected legislators and executives who didn’t stop people from having abortions?

Remember when the president-elect was a big liar except for one promise anti-abortion folks really hoped he wouldn’t keep? Or did they hope he kept it because it would fuel their engines of activism?

Remember when the US was the worst perpetrator of abortion and FOCA was going to send the murder rate through the roof? Or wait, maybe the bill wouldn’t have done much of anything to the rate, which has been dropping for thirty years now. Why or how would it suddenly go up, if the US legal situation is so horrific?

Remember when all those people thought that in the absolute best climate for abortion on demand outside of China, liberals and radicals in Congress would interrupt their Inauguration festivities, call a special session of Congress to make sure a bill dead for twenty years would suddenly appear on the new prez’s desk, elbowing aside lesser concerns of war, economy, and such?

Are we sure the anti-abortion folks didn’t fail civics?

Even some on the Catholic Right are seeing the light:

The thing is, it isn’t the first thing (President Obama) did. Or the second. Or the third. And the Congress, despite his pledge, isn’t handing it to him on a silver platter.

The reason is simple – because it’s idiotic.

FOCA is too radical, even for a country with so much unborn blood on its hands. That’s not to say that it isn’t possible, or even that some time in the future it might not even become likely. But as things stand, we’re a long way off from that.

And while it may be helpful that we’ve fired a shot across the government’s bow, so to speak, with our campaigning against the bill, it still comes across as little more than jumping at shadows. Call me cynical, but I’m having a hard time not putting this one down in the growing list of “failed pro-life tactics.” If FOCA had convinced me to swallow my objections and vote for McCain, I think I’d be feeling a little duped right now.

I have no insight into the minds of those who pumped up FOCA as a threat. Maybe there was concern about morale after the November election. I suspect it might have been more about the fundraising aspect of the political arm of the pro-life movement.

Here we are almost five weeks into the Ascendancy of the Culture of Death and FOCA is still AWOL. Has anyone noticed what happens when you mash the first two letters of the former with the last two letters of the latter? It doesn’t matter. The jumpers at shadows have intimidated the federal government into ditching FOCA, or so goes the party line. If only they had that kind of mojo working with women considering abortion.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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5 Responses to FOCA Watch: Engines of Activism

  1. Kevin in Texas says:

    Hi Todd,

    Well, I was going to send a personal e-mail to you on your reply to my previous comment re: abortion, but then I read this post. Now I see there is no need to bother.

    To paraphrase a useful quote I read earlier this week: If abortion is nothing buty a harmless procedure, then no reason is needed to defend it. If abortion is murder, then no reason to defend it could possibly be good enough.

    I’m sorry to see dissent against what the Church so clearly teaches when it comes to the crystal clear matter of abortion. Yes, there are different approaches to reducing and eliminating abortions in the US, but the notion that it must be reduced and eliminated should in no way be seen as controversial, nor should those who find it abhorrent that public Catholic, pro-choice political leaders are not called to task for their erroneous ways.

    I’m not very sanguine about “progressive” and “orthodox” Catholics coming together if this is the state of so many peoples’ consciences at the moment. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe terms like progressive or orthodox should apply to the Catholic faithful. Either we are Catholic or we are not. We have the gift of the Truth given to us by Christ, and we reject it at the peril of our souls and those with whom we share misguided or erroneous moral views.

    A plea in charity from a brother in Christ: please consider why Catholics in the US (priests and laity) are concerned about FOCA before casting aspersions on them as if they were political shills. The tragedy of abortion is far bigger and more important than scoring cheap political points.

  2. Todd says:

    Hi Kevin, thanks for returning. If you wish to correspond privately, that is always fine. All such communication is kept private unless I’m given explicit permission to publish.

    I would share your sorrow over abortion, but there has been no dissent on the Church’s teaching on abortion from the authors of this blog. Dissent, however, does not cover my long criticism of the political wing of the pro-life movement.

    Public pro-choice Catholics have been “called to task” for more than three decades. I’m hard-pressed to recall a serious convert.

    I think some political folks: activists, Republicans, and lobbyists have manipulated and continue to manipulate Catholics, including bishops. Clergy and laity are not shills for buying the line of reasoning presented on FOCA and many other things–that presumes active participation on lies and deception perpetrated to excite the cause. But some of us may be dupes for believing the stuff.

  3. Lee says:

    It may feel good to vent against straw men – those raving pro-lifers – but the “outrage” seems pointless and a bit misdirected.

    The more important point here is opposition to abortion.

  4. Todd says:

    Unfortunately, the so-called straw men are quite real: numerous Catholic bloggers including you, my friend. And some bishops.

    I’ve been consistent in my criticism of FOCA critics: they’ve allowed energy and attention to drain away from real issues: the Mexico City policy and local advocacy for women with unplanned pregnancies. A unique opportunity was missed: distancing us pro-lifers from the GOP and recasting the whole movement as one of compassion and tenacity. Instead, the pro-life movement has come off as skittish and uninformed.

  5. Pingback: Sam I Am Not « Catholic Sensibility

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