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In my letter titled 'Sermons' (October AD2000) a seemingly innocuous change was made. I referred to a sermon on the 'anti-abortion message'. This became 'pro-life message'. Apart from historical accuracy, my wording was specific for a reason that is worth elucidating.
Secularists have used the tactic of moral equivalence to co-opt some in the Church into supporting their 'pro-life' agenda (i.e., gun control, abolition of the death penalty, and opposition to war). They have disguised their approach by using the slogan of consistency to garner support while, of course, never intending to be consistent and reciprocate in the pro-life areas of abortion and euthanasia.
The results are threefold. First, the aim of drawing Church members in is not just a numbers game of political persuasion, it is also to appropriate the Church's moral authority for their own agenda. This is an attempt to misuse the Church's moral authority. The Church's mandate is truth, not popularity, and this works both ways: just as the Church must proclaim what is intrinsically evil, it must also proclaim what is not intrinsically evil. This means that the Church does not have the right to make people feel guilty because they hold a legitimate moral point of view.
The second result that arises from using moral equivalence to blur the distinction between intrinsically evil acts (i.e., abortion and euthanasia) and acts that are not intrinsically evil (i.e., gun ownership, the death penalty for serious crimes and just war) is confusion, vagueness and an ultimate loss of focus in the Church's pro-life mission.
The real pro-life mission is to stop abortion and euthanasia. The secular world's tactic is an old one, it has adopted and hijacked the term 'pro-life' to suit its own agenda. In the process, an added benefit for it has been a loss of focus by the Church in prioritising and furthering its fight against abortion and euthanasia because it has been side-tracked into irrelevancies.
Third, the blurring of the distinction referred to above also leads to an insidious backwash, whereby relativistic and subjective notions are introduced and used to question the intrinsic evil of abortion and euthanasia. It works this way: because the majority of people recognise that gun ownership, the death penalty and war can be moral in some circumstances, a false consistency leads to questions over why cannot abortion and euthanasia also be justified in some circumstances?
As in all things, granting the premises of your enemy is the key to their victory; the rest is mere haggling over the consequences that the premises imply. In other words, any legitimisation of moral equivalence on secular 'pro-life' issues by the Church will corrupt its own pro-life stance. I suggest that the Church needs to clearly reject this moral equivalence under the guise of 'consistency'.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 11 (December 2008 - January 2009), p. 14
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