Archive for the ‘Civil Rights’ Category

This Weekend’s Pro-Life Freedom Ride Moved into High Gear

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010





Birmingham, AL – As civil rights and pro-life activists gather for this weekend’s launch of the first Pro-Life Freedom Ride, new survey results show that raised awareness about abortion could have a profound impact among African Americans.

“Friday’s Birmingham rally and Saturday’s Pro-Life Freedom Ride are about spreading the message that an entire group of Americans, the unborn, is being denied the most fundamental civil right, the right to live,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “These new poll results confirm that the more people learn about abortion and its impact on lives, families, and communities, the more they reject it.”

In conjunction with the Freedom Rides, Priests for Life is releasing the results of polling and focus group work it recently commissioned among the African-American community. Commenting on the results, The Polling Company/Woman Trend President Kellyanne Conway said, “African Americans are concerned about the scourge of abortion in their community, and respond to related facts and figures.” She continued, “Large majorities agree that every life should have a chance, regardless of race, socioeconomic status or circumstance. They support pregnancy resource centers and call for greater assistance by family, friends and religious and community leaders to help pregnant women and their babies.”

Saturday’s first Pro-Life Freedom Ride, led by Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, will be preceded Friday night by a concert rally at the Birmingham Jefferson County Convention Complex Theatre starting at 7:00 pm. Details at www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia.

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The Symbolism Behind the Freedom Rides

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010





In nineteen sixty one, civil rights activists held Freedom Rides to oppose segregation. The rides increased visibility and participation in the cause.

Now, to fight the injustice of abortion, pro-life activists will hold Freedom Rides for the unborn. These rides, led by Priests for Life and Dr. Alveda King, will symbolize the fact that all the varied activity of the pro-life movement can be summarized by the theme of freedom. Pro-life education frees people from ignorance; pregnancy centers and healing ministries free them from despair; legislative and political action frees them from unjust laws.

The first ride is this weekend, from Birmingham to Atlanta. Along with the rides, there are activities everyone can do locally. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.

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The Reality Behind the Rhetoric

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010





In April of two thousand and ten, Priests for Life asked The Polling Company to conduct professional research into the attitudes of the African American community about abortion, and into what kind of messaging would be most effective for them. Focus groups were held in major cities and a nationwide poll was also conducted.

One of the things that was done in the focus groups is that pictures of aborted babies were shown to the participants. This had an impact, expressed by these words of one of the participants, “Before I came in to this room today, I was pro-choice. But after seeing those pictures and hearing all that, I think I’ve changed my ideas on abortion.”

Let’s keep in mind the simple truth that the more people see abortion, the more they reject it.

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Pro Life Freedom Rides Announced

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Alveda King
888-735-3448, ext. 251
Date: July 6, 2010

Atlanta, GA – Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and fulltime Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church, has announced that on July 24 she will lead the first Pro-life Freedom Ride. The ride will take place from Birmingham, AL to Atlanta, GA.

Details of events to occur in Birmingham on the evening of the 23rd and the morning of the 24th, as well as of the service to take place at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tomb in Atlanta on the 24th, are on the website www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

Pro-life people are welcome to caravan in their own vehicles behind the Freedom Ride bus, which will depart Birmingham midday on the 24th and arrive in Atlanta in the late afternoon.

Just as important as the specific events in Birmingham and Atlanta, however, are the simultaneous activities that pro-life people are urged to carry out in their own communities on that weekend and beyond. Such activities have begun with the Prayer Campaign that was launched on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, and continued until Independence Day, July 4.

“The theme of the pro-life movement is, indeed, freedom,” Dr. King stated. “How can one be free if one is not alive? How can any movement call for equal rights if the most fundamental right, life, is not secured equally? That’s why we are calling people from across the religious, ethnic, and political spectrum to ride with us for freedom for all, including the unborn.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, added, “The Freedom Rides call people across America to activities that free people from ignorance about abortion, that free moms and dads from the despair that leads to abortion, that free those who have had abortions from the burden of guilt and shame, that free our nation from unjust laws, and that free our unborn brothers and sisters from the violence of abortion.”

See details at www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

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The Christian Roots of Democratic Principles

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010





In the pagan view of government, the law came from the mouth of the king and the people counted for nothing. They had neither input nor recourse against those who ruled over them.

But the Lord Jesus taught that people are called to be sons and daughters of God, and therefore they do count. He taught that authority means service, and that public officials are ministers of God and accountable to Him. This transformed politics, and government became representative and protective of human rights.

This is why we can elect our leaders, and lobby them once they are in office. This is why Christians have a political responsibility.

Some still doubt whether the pulpit is the place to talk about elections. But in fact, if there were no pulpits, neither would there be any elections.

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The Founders’ Perception of Liberty

Friday, July 2nd, 2010





As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, we should reflect on what our Founding Fathers did when they established this nation. Their concept of liberty was rooted in dependence upon God. The Founders held that it is only when God is seen as the source of our right to life can that right be secure from tyrranical governments who would threaten it. That is why the Declaration of Independence says that the right to life is bestowed by the Creator, and that governments exist to secure that right.

Can anything be more American than to work to restore this foundation of our government, and to secure the right to life? Let us be fearless and unashamed to say we are pro-life, and to teach others that our American independence demands it.

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An Inherent Contradiction

Thursday, July 1st, 2010





Our Priests for Life headquarters is within easy driving distance of the Statue of Liberty in New York. This statue is a strong symbol of the welcome our nation has given to people from around the world. Fittingly, engraved on the base of this monumental statue are the words from Emma Lazarus’s poem, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

As we prepare for the celebration of Independence Day, let’s remind ourselves and others that this welcome can make no sense if we are afraid to welcome the children in the womb. America is a haven for those escaping oppression in far-off lands. Why should it be a land where we oppress the unborn by the violence of abortion?

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Hearts & Laws are Intertwined

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010





Some people say that the solution to the abortion problem is to change people’s hearts.

In fact, changing people’s hearts is the solution to every problem that the world faces.

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have laws. The fact is that while there are people around whose hearts are not in the right place, there have to be laws to restrain their heartless activities. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, the law cannot get the white man to love me, but it can stop him from lynching me.

We also should not overlook the power that laws have to shape minds and hearts. When our children learn in school that something is legal, they are learning that such a thing is right.

Whether regarding abortion or anything else, both hearts and laws must be changed.

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Independence Day Novena

Friday, June 25th, 2010





The celebration of our nation’s independence is an important moment to reflect on the blessings of God, the meaning of freedom, and the task to expand the blessings of freedom to our unborn brothers and sisters who are still enslaved by our nation’s abortion policies.

That’s why Priests for Life begins today a special novena of prayer for our nation, in preparation for Independence Day. You can download the prayer at priestsforlife.org.

The prayer reminds us that our Founding Fathers took inspiration from the Gospel in founding this nation, and that our task is to secure liberty and justice not just for some, but for all, including the unborn.

Please visit priestsforlife.org, download the Independence Day Novena, and invite your family, pro-life groups, schools and parishes to take part in it.

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Settled Law? Not so Fast…

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010





Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan reportedly “considers abortion rights to be settled law” (USA Today, May 21, p. 5A). And we can expect during her confirmation process to hear a number of Senators echo that assertion. Yet America’s courts and legislatures have a proud history of changing “settled law.”

America has, on various occasions, recovered the recognition of the equal dignity of those who were deprived of their rights and suffered violence which was given legal cover under a different name. This legal cover was often mistakenly recognized by the Supreme Court for a while, but then such decisions were overturned.

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1856) is the most commonly cited instance. The slaveholder’s right to property eclipsed and subsumed the slave’s right to freedom. But the Constitution was eventually amended to correct the error.

Decisions like Lochner v. New York (1905) show us another error: employers’ right to contract eclipsed and subsumed the workers’ rights to humane conditions and hours. These abuses were corrected by subsequent Supreme Court decisions like Muller v. Oregon and Bunting v. Oregon.

The “Separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) sanctioning segregation was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education some 58 years later.

Erroneous decisions like Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) institutionalized child labor. But this was overturned 23 years later by United States v. Darby. A new development — a “pedagogical moment” — occurred here in Constitutional law. The question was whether constitutional rights applied to children too. The answer was yes.

Many reversals of Supreme Court cases came about when new evidence was brought forward that made it clear that someone’s rights, not previously recognized, were being violated. Thus, Louis Brandeis brought forward the facts about how workers were being harmed.

We are now witnessing the same trend regarding the children in the womb. Evidence that has been around for quite some time demonstrating their humanity is finding its way into legislatures and courts. One of the most striking instances comes out of South Dakota.

Federal courts have upheld South Dakota’s law requiring that abortion providers tell women that the procedure destroys a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.” This came about because of the evidence presented to the court regarding the humanity of the unborn child.

With hundreds of embryological sciences, and massive evidence of the harm abortion does to women, such evidence, combined with new legal concepts, can challenge Roe vs. Wade in the same way its erroneous ancestral decisions were challenged.

The day after Roe vs. Wade was decided, the New York Times headline read, “Supreme Court Settles Abortion.” Yet it has remained the most unsettled issue on our national landscape.

The facts above should shape the way that senators, Supreme Court nominees, and all the rest of us speak about Roe vs. Wade and the so-called “right” to choose an abortion. History should shape our language, and should strengthen our hope that abortion policy can change again just as radically as it did in 1973.

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