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President Obama's Second Inauguration and the Unfinished Work of Freedom for our First Neighbors in the Womb
By Deacon Keith Fournier
January 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
This is why, after the crowds disperse from the Second Inaugural of President Barack Obama, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington, DC to demand freedom for our first neighbors in the womb. Because their voice cannot be heard, we will give them our own.
WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - On the day when our Nation remembers Dr Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama will publicly recite his oath of office for a second term. The actual oath and swearing in was administered on Sunday, January 20, 2012, in order to comply with the requirements of constitutional law.
The public Inauguration ceremony is being held on January 21, 2013. In 2013 this is the National Holiday honoring Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. The Holiday is observed on the Third Monday of January in order to be as proximate to the day of his death, January 15, 1968. The symbolism is rich and America's first African American President understandably seized the moment.
He will take the public oath of Presidential on two bibles. One belonged to Dr. King and was used in his early ministry. President Obama, known for his lofty rhetoric and strategic use of symbols, will face the Lincoln Memorial as He recites the oath. Fifty Years ago Dr King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech before that same Memorial. Dr. King's speech which will live on in history as one of the most profound ever given in US history. This President's speech, no matter how well delivered, will ring hollow.
Dr. King's speech concluded with stirring words which still bring tears to my eyes. They rise within me every time I witness the denial of freedom and the failure to respect and recognize fundamental human rights. Like millions of people my age, I memorized much of that speech when I was young. It is still inscribed in my aging brain and heart. Here are portions:
"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
"And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
President Obama will take his oath facing the monument dedicated to Abraham Lincoln. The words of the Gettysburg address are inscribed on the wall behind the statue of the seated President. They include the promise, "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
The prophetic words of Lincoln's second Inaugural address, warning the Nation of the consequences of the offense of slavery, are also on those walls: "If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?"
"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'."
This Second Inauguration of President Obama should hold promise and hope, as should every inauguration. The word inaugurate is derived from the Latin verb augurÔre, which communicated something to be hoped for based on good signs. Like many words, it's meaning evolved as it has wound its way into western language. Interpolated through the French and Anglicized, it has come to mean installation and consecration. It is now rendered "to induct into office with suitable ceremony".
Sadly, the signs accompanying the Second Inauguration of President Obama are ominous. He is one of the greatest opponents of the fundamental human right to life in United States History. He has closed his ears to the cry of an entire class of persons, our first neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, children in the womb. His administration has not only allowed the scourge of legal abortion on demand to continue unabated, it has attempted to open the floodgates of federal funding to the practice.
I have not yet heard the inaugural speech as I write this article. I am sure it will rise with lofty promises of freedom. There is no single word which echoes more passionately within the American heart than freedom or evokes a deeper response. This Nation was founded by men and women who experienced threats to freedom's promise and potential and responded to them with heroism. It has beckoned from its birth to all who hear freedom's invitation to come and see what true Freedom means.
The great struggle of this hour is being waged over freedom. It is a contest with extraordinary implications. Almost every contemporary concern that we face can be positioned within this struggle. Yet, freedom has a specific meaning for the West and it must be viewed within that context. How one defines human freedom will influence the way that he or she views almost everything.
However, freedom has consequences. Our choices not only change the world around us, they make us to be the kinds of persons we become. The very capacity to make choices is what makes us truly human persons. What we choose either humanizes us further or leads us, ultimately, into new forms of slavery.
It is only in choosing what is good that we experience human flourishing, serve the common good, promote justice and promote true human and societal liberation. It is not simply that we can choose but how and what we choose that truly matters. Authentic Human Freedom is never be found in decisions that are made against God and against the Natural Law. Abortion on demand is evil and it must end.
As we listen to our President today, we should remember that the institution of slavery was once "legal" - even protected by the United States Supreme Court. Human Persons whose skin pigmentation was darker than those who held the reins of power were treated as property and allowed to be owned, used and discarded. The proponents of that form of slavery called it a "slavery right" and the Supreme Court of that day said it was legal in their 1857 opinion of Dred Scott v. Stanford.
We look back on that opinion in horror, as we should. We insist that the Supreme Court could not make what is always a wrong a right with the stroke of a judicial quill! Yet, that is precisely what happened in the 1973 judicial opinions Roe and Doe. It manufactured a new slavery, abortion on demand. Ironically, the Justices in the Dred Scott decision applied a "strict constructionist" approach. They did not approach the evil of slavery as a matter of Natural Law - that it is always and everywhere wrong to enslave human persons.
They did not recognize the equality of all human persons and their fundamental human rights as an endowment from a Creator which cannot be taken away by any governmental branch. We need to wake up! The overturning of the opinions in Roe and Doe, as important as that is - will not end abortion, our current form of slavery. We may simply have another version of "slave states" and "free states" to contend with. This new slavery, like its older cousin, is rooted in a moral failure and is a violation of the Natural Moral Law.
Our struggle on behalf of children in the womb is a new abolition movement. We need to learn from our history. A similar jurisprudence was at work in Roe v Wade, Doe v Bolton - and their progeny - as that which undergirded the Dred Scott decision. An entire class of persons, children in the womb, has been relegated to the status of "chattel", personal property, which can now be disposed of by those more powerful. Since 1973 almost 60 million of our youngest neighbors in the United States of America alone, have been taken in procured abortions.
The shorthand phrase "abortion rights" is the linguistic tool of a media class which is itself the verbal taskmasters of the proponents of this new form of slavery called abortion on demand. There is no such thing as an "abortion right". The true Right is the one denied in every procured abortion, the Right to Life. These children have no voice except our own. They are killed by chemicals and surgical strikes - all protected by the police power of the State. They have no power to resist this new form of slavery without our help.
Medical science has confirmed what our conscience already knew and the Natural Law has long confirmed; the child in the womb is our neighbor. These children are our first neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers' womb. It is always wrong to kill our neighbors. Our 3D and 4D sonogram technology has made it possible to take baby┤s first picture and send it as a birth announcement or place it on a Face Book or My Space page or send it through our Social Networks.
We rightly marvel at the image of those little babies at the early stages of what is a lifetime of development for every human being. With the introduction of "baby's first picture" we watch these children smile, play, feel pain and grow.These 3 and 4d images are becoming more and more prevalent throughout the social media. They are regularly showing up on television commercials. We surgically operate on these first neighbors in the womb. We then put them back in their home and allow them to continue to grow so they can be healthier upon their birth. We know they are members of our human family.
In his Gettysburg address, President Lincoln spoke of an "unfinished work" of freedom. Dr King in his profound 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" reminded us that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." He also told us that "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." We must be the voice heard in 2013 demanding freedom for children in the womb. We must end the injustice of denying our first neighbors their fundamental human right to life.
This is why, after the crowds disperse from the Second Inaugural of President Barack Obama, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington, DC to demand freedom for our first neighbors in the womb. Because their voice cannot be heard, we will give them our own. We will say to this President that there is an "unfinished work" of freedom.
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