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Time for a New Movement

9/20/2005 - 6:30 AM PST

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Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
Catholic Online

David Broder recently wrote an interesting column entitled “Among Conservative Scholars, a necessary debate”. It is one of several efforts I have seen which assess the current “conservative” reaction to the changed political landscape in a post -Hurricane Katrina America. He refers within the piece to a larger article in the “Weekly Standard”, a predominantly “neo-conservative” periodical, which, for its tenth anniversary, invited its regular contributors to opine on “what issue” they had changed their mind on in the last ten years. According to Broder, this inquiry belies a deep search within the core of the “conservative movement” for the current state of affairs now that they have had their chance at governing.

The contributors chosen for the article decried the growth of “big government”, they expressed deep concern about “tax cuts”, spoke with disdain for the lack of all the necessary troops for the War in Iraq and expresses their disappointment concerning the growing corruption in the ranks of conservative personalities who once rode into Washington D.C. pledging to eradicate it from politics.

Charles Krauthammer, a noted “conservative” columnist added to the discussion two days later with an intriguingly titled piece “Roberts Inquisition was all about abortion.” Upon reading his piece I was not surprised but, rather, deeply disappointed. This “conservative” writer begins with a candid admission “I happen to be a supporter of legalized abortion”. He then evaluates the subterfuge of the recent hearings concerning Judge Roberts and his appointment to the Supreme Court. His point was that the opponents of Judge Roberts concealed their singular efforts to get him to admit what they think is his opposition to Roe v Wade, but to no avail. The author ends the piece with his own analysis. In supporting the appointee, he concludes that Judge Roberts will not work to overturn Roe because “…he deeply respects precedent, and that he finds Roe itself worthy of respect. …He is a perfectly reasonable traditional conservative, who will be an outstanding chief justice.” Mr. Krauthammer believes that any change in legalized abortion, f it ever occurs, should occur at the ballot box.

For me, both columns pointed to the need for some Christian to reconsider their embrace of the current “conservative” movement. I have written for years concerning the dangers inherent within the acceptance of the “conservative” agenda by some activist Christians over the last twenty years. I wrote a piece several years ago entitled “Requiem for the Religious Right” which raised quite a stir. At this important moment in American politics is time for sincere Christians, of every ilk, to reassess their political participation. Not in order to back away from political participation, but to re-position it within the broader context of our call to the true conversion of human culture. It is time to learn the lessons that can be derived from following the pied piper movement of political partisanship. It is time to reaffirm our prophetic role in culture.

First, let me clarify some points. I was asked to “weigh in” on the Roberts appointment by two groups of Christians, those within the broader Christian community who distrusted the nominees’ pro-life bona fides – as well as those who rushed to place their entire reputation on a wholesale endorsement of the candidate. The first group knew of my unwillingness to accept the political labels of “conservative” or “liberal”, as well as my deep disappointment with both major parties. My thoughts have been expressed through my writings. They also knew that I had dedicated twenty five years of legal practice to overturning Roe and establishing a beachhead in the law that would institutionalize the respect for the dignity of every human life, from conception till natural death.

The second group knew that, during those years, I had served as co-counsel in several important U.S. Supreme Court cases, including the now famous “Bray” case in which then assistant solicitor general Roberts supported our clients position defending the free speech rights of pro-life protestors against strained efforts from pro-abortion activists to use the so called “Ku Klux Klan” act to stifle pro-life speech.

I refused both requests from both groups. Instead, I have written nothing concerning the nomination of Judge Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Roberts appears to be a brilliant legal technician and a good man. However, I have no idea how he views his first obligation to defend innocent human life. I can only pray that he has truly thought through the implications of that foundational and hermeneutic truth on every area of his life, including his public service. He may soon face a “Thomas More” moment. Further, I pray that he understands the infallible ...

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