The war on the right of conscience and the next Supreme Court nominee

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life President Donald Trump

As we approach the hour when pro-life President Donald Trump announces his selection to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the flurry of articles—already mountainous—grows even larger.

One of the more hostile and unfair (what else?) New York Times stories was headlined, “How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment” [nytimes.com].” Another more intriguing (and far fairer) analysis appeared over the weekend in the Washington Post written by Amy Goldstein. Her story (“Religious liberty becomes a main focus for conservatives in Supreme Court nomination”) talked about how important his or her judicially-expressed attitude toward religious liberty would be in the selection.

What does this have to do with us as single-issue pro-lifers?

I cannot emphasize enough how important freedom of conscience is (and, to be very clear, it need not be religiously based). Not surprisingly, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput may have put it best in remarks he once prepared for the annual March for Life.

The “abortion struggle,” he wrote

teaches a very useful lesson. Evil talks a lot about ‘tolerance’ when it’s weak. When evil is strong, real tolerance gets pushed out the door. And the reason is simple. Evil cannot bear the counter-witness of truth. It will not co-exist peacefully with goodness, because evil insists on being seen as right, and worshiped as being right. Therefore, the good must be made to seem hateful and wrong.

The very existence of people who refuse to accept evil and who seek to act virtuously burns the conscience of those who don’t. And so, quite logically, people who march and lobby and speak out to defend the unborn child will be – and are – reviled by leaders and media and abortion activists that turn the right to kill an unborn child into a shrine to personal choice. …

Now abortion is not just a right, but a right that claims positive dignity, the license to demonize its opponents and the precedence to interfere with constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly and religion. We no longer tolerate abortion. We venerate it as a totem.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia

Opposition to this evil—and abortion is evil—cannot be dismissed as something that merely sticks in the abortion advocate’s craw, although surely it does. It is much, much more than that.

Consider the nightmarish prospect of a President Hillary Clinton when even a pretense at “tolerance” would be abandoned. There is virtually no end to the mischief her administration would’ve inflicted on those of us who refuse to be complicit—in any fashion—with the Abortion Industry’s ceaseless campaign to increase the carnage.

You might ask what fuels this passion for death?

For one thing, more dead babies and more emotionally maimed mothers mean more revenue for Planned Parenthood. You don’t become a $1.5 billion dollar “non-profit” if you don’t work overtime to make sure more mothers end their babies’ today than did yesterday.

For another, as Archbishop Chaput made clear, opposition is a standing rebuke to the moral supremacy the Abortion Industry affects. Speaking out against abortion is an offense because abortion must be seen as a positive good, essential to female equality.

That is why the campaign to have women “talk about their abortions” is so essential to the Abortion Establishment. They believe that the more people hear these stories, the more they will be desensitized to what is done to helpless babies when the abortionist plies his bloody trade.

The irony is, as we have pointed out dozens of times, that these accounts so often boomerang. When women (and men) feel free to talk about their real feelings, of course some will rant and rave against pro-lifers.

But more often than not in their reflections you cannot miss the pain and hurt and regret and remorse. (It is important to remember that often the physical pain of undergoing a chemical abortion is almost unbelievable.)

“Conservatives,” of course, is media shorthand that sweeps in pro-lifers, as if we all are conservative. But that garbled miscategorization is secondary to the terrible lie that to protect freedom of conscience is to “Weaponize the First Amendment.”

It is nothing of the sort. It is to stand up to bullies who, when they are in power, will do everything humanly possible to mangle the warp and woof of the First Amendment.