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Pro-Life Liberal Sargent Shriver Dies; Democratic Challenger to Obama Emerges

By Deacon Keith Fournier
1/20/2011 (6 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Along with his late wife Eunice, Sargent Shriver belonged to America's dwindling population of Pro-life liberals

Eunice and Sargent Shriver were Pro-Life Democrats. There was another interesting news story on the same day of the sad news of the passing of Sargent Shriver which has implications for the Democratic Primaries for President. Because I would still like to see Pro-Life people in both parties, I believe it is time to shake them both up.The first challenger to President Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination has emerged, Randall Terry, the long time Pro-Life champion.

The late Sargent Shriver at the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy.

The late Sargent Shriver at the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy.

P>BETHESDA, Md. (Catholic Online) - On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, long time public servant Sargent Shriver died at the age of 95. In August of 2009 his beloved wife Eunice Kennedy Shriver predeceased him. Together they founded the Special Olympics and dedicated their lives to caring for those to whom too many pay little or no attention. They were the last of an increasingly rare breed of people in political circles these days, consistent liberals who recognize the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death and actually allow that fundamental truth to inform their lives of public service.

Sargent Shriver was the first director of the Peace Corps and was chosen to serve as a running mate for George McGovern's failed Presidential bid in 1972. He ran for the Presidency in 1976. He was instrumental in what was called the "War on Poverty" under the Johnson administration. Whether one agrees with the underlying view of the role of the Federal Government which permeated the brand of political liberalism espoused by this good man and his good wife, there is no doubt that it was informed by a sincere recognition of the dignity of every human life.

A New York Times editorial written by Ross Douthat on August 30, 2009, the week Eunice Kennedy Shriver died, was entitled "A Different Kind of Liberal." It drew comparisons and contrasts between Ted Kennedy, who died the same month, and his sister, Eunice Shriver. He noted "Liberalism's most important legislator probably merited a more extended send-off than his sister. But there's a sense in which his life's work and Eunice's deserve to be remembered together - for what their legacies had in common, and for what ultimately separated them."

He continued "What separated them was abortion. Along with her husband, Sargent Shriver, Eunice belonged to America's dwindling population of outspoken pro-life liberals. Like her church, she saw continuity, rather than a contradiction, between championing the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed and protecting unborn human life. Her brother took a different path. Not at first: In 1971, in a letter to a voter that abortion opponents would have many opportunities to quote, he declared that "wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized - the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old."

I grew up in Massachusetts during the heyday of this brand of liberalism. I actually remember consistent liberals. Sadly they are now nearly extinct. The Shriver's stood in the proud tradition of the last truly great Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States; the late Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey. He was a great champion of all the poor and a candidate whom I proudly supported in his bid for the White House. He was censored at the National Democratic Convention when the forces of death on demand in the name of "choice" took over that once great Party. He and the Shriver's heard the cries of all of the poor, including those whom Mother Teresa rightly called "the poorest of the poor", children living in the first home of the whole human race who have no voice but our own.

Under the leadership of the late Governor Casey, a full-page advertisement appeared in the New York Times during the Democratic Convention in July 1992 called "A New Compact of Care: Caring about Women, Caring for the Unborn." Both Eunice and Sargent Shriver signed this document , I offer a small excerpt in honor of Sargent Shriver:
 
*************

Beyond the False Dichotomy: A New Compact of Care

"The advocates of abortion on demand falsely assume two things: that women must suffer if the lives of unborn children are legally protected; and that women can only attain equality by having the legal option of destroying their innocent offspring in the womb. The cynicism of these assumptions reflects a terrible failure of moral imagination and social responsibility and an appalling lack of respect for women.

"We propose a new understanding, one that does not pit mother against child. To establish justice and to promote the general welfare, America does not need the abortion license. What America needs are policies that responsibly protect and advance the interest of mothers and their children, both before and after birth. Such policies would provide maximum feasible legal protection for the unborn and maximum feasible care and support for pregnant women, mothers, and children.... a public policy that more adequately expresses the traditions and convictions of the American people will do more than restore legal protection to the unborn.

"It will take seriously the needs of women whose social or economic circumstances might tempt them to seek the abortion "solution." It will recognize our shared responsibility, in public and private settings, to make realistic alternatives to abortion available to such women. It will support women in caring for the children they choose to raise themselves, and it will help them find homes for those they cannot raise. It will work to provide a decent life for mother and child before and after birth.

"In sum, we can and we must adopt solutions that reflect the dignity and worth of every human being and that embody understanding of the community's shared responsibility for creating policies that are truly pro-woman and pro-child. What we seek are communities and policies that help women to deal with crisis pregnancies by eliminating the crisis, not the child...

Common Choices, Common Destiny

"The rhetoric of abortion advocacy contains a truth that abortion advocates often fail to perceive. Abortion is a question of choice. The "choice," though, is not one faced by isolated women exercising private rights. It is a choice faced by all the citizens of this free society. And the choice we make, deliberatively and democratically, will do much to answer two questions: What kind of a people are we? What kind of a people will we be?

"If we abandon the principle of respect for human life by making the value of a life depend on whether someone else thinks that life is worthy or wanted, we will become one sort of people. But there is a better way. We can choose to reaffirm our respect for human life. We can choose to extend once again the mantle of protection to all members of the human family, including the unborn. We can choose to provide effective care of mothers and children. And if we make those choices, America will experience a new birth of freedom, bringing with it a renewed spirit of community, compassion, and caring."

******

On January 22, 2011 our Nation marks an infamous anniversary, the Supreme Court's "legalization" of the taking of innocent human life in the womb through its decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton.  These words need to be read by all who are dedicated to building a new culture of life and civilization of love. With the death of Sargent Shriver, one less consistent liberal is now in our midst. After what happened to Governor Robert Casey at the Convention, I left the Democratic Party.

The child in the first home of the whole human race is our neighbor. It is always and everywhere wrong to kill our innocent neighbor. Science has confirmed what the Natural law has written on our conscience, there is no "Right" to take innocent human life at any age or stage. No-one can claim to care for the poor when they fail to hear the cry of these children. No Political party which claims to champion human rights can be anything but Pro-life. Abortion is the great sin against human solidarity and its embrace by the liberal community has undermined its moral claim to care about the poor.

I would still like to see genuinely Pro-Life people in both parties. So, I believe it is time to shake them both up. There was another interesting news story on the same day of the sad news of the passing of Sargent Shriver which will do just that to the Democratic Party. The first challenger to President Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2012 has emerged.  He is Randall Terry, the long time Pro-Life champion. You can find out more about his campaign by going to Terry for President.This will be an interesting political campaign season.

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