WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On Thursday morning, September 23, 2010, House Republicans will release a carefully guarded and much anticipated agenda for the November elections. The chattering class has debated whether the agenda will include what are dismissively referred to as the "social issues". They include the failure to recognize the Natural Law Right to life and protect children in the womb from being killed and the defense of authentic marriage and the family and society founded upon it.
Our insistence upon recognition in the positive law of the fundamental Human Right to Life is not about one political issue; it is about the foundation of freedom itself. Human rights - such as the Natural Law Right to Life - and human freedoms such as the freedom to be born - are goods of human persons. When there is no human person to exercise them all the rhetoric extolling them is nothing but empty air and sloganeering.
Nor is the Pro-Life position simply a matter of our adherence to our "religious" beliefs. It is a response to the truth revealed by the Natural Law and confirmed by medical science. The Child in the womb is our neighbor. It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life. The child in the womb is innocent human life. It is thus wrong to intentionally kill him or her through procured abortion. Our faith gives us further insights into that truth and calls us to a greater obligation to insist upon the role of the Natural Law in the formation of the positive law
The embryonic human person, the child in the womb, the disabled, the needy and the elderly are all members of our human family. We can never condone their intentional killing as some kind of exercise of the freedom to choose. It is never a moral choice but a crime, whether the positive law prosecutes it or not. Rights are not ethereal concepts floating around in the cosmos somewhere.
Rights are endowed by a Creator not conferred by the State. Because they are goods of the human person, we must defend the human persons who will exercise them. Our opposition to the judicial manufacture of a "right" to take innocent human life in the womb must never take a back seat to any other concern in the public policy arena. Freedom must be exercised with reference to what is true and good in any just and moral society.
Our insistence upon defending marriage is also not simply because of our religious faith. Yes, our faith informs our position. However, the truth about marriage is also confirmed in the Natural Law which is written on every human heart and knowable through the exercise of reason. Marriage, a lifelong union between one man and one woman open to the bearing and raising of children, is accepted across cultures.
The effort to give an enforced legal equivalency to non-marital relations and force all of us to call what can never be a marriage to be a marriage, such as homosexual partnerships, is unjust. It can never serve the true common good.
The defense of marriage is also a defense of the blueprint for building a just society. Marriage - and the family founded upon it- is the first government, first hospital, first economy, first school, first mediating institution and the very foundation of our life together.
Reports confirm that the agenda will defend the right to life and marriage Though we can breathe a sigh of relief that establishment Republicans such as Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels failed in efforts to leave the so called "social issues" out of this agenda failed, we must remain vigilant. This is not the end. It is only the beginning.
The "political dualism" that says there are "social" and "economic" issues which should be kept separate, must be rejected. The reason we care about expanding economic opportunity is because we respect the dignity of every human person, including our smallest neighbors. The reason we want to ensure the application of the principle of subsidiarity to keep government at the lowest level is because we respect the primacy of the family as the first government.
Yes, economic issues matter. However, some who decried centralized economic planning as leading to collectivism and warned about the growth of the Federal Government participated in propounding the problems when they were in power. We cannot let that happen again.
Others espouse a brand of "libertarianism" that cares little about our social obligations to one another. We are our brothers/sisters keepers and Catholics must never forget that. Rejecting big government solutions doesn't mean rejecting our obligation in solidarity. It means building a ground up model of economic opportunity which expands opportunity and participation to all.
Catholics are not one more "interest group" which can be polled, pandered to and bought. Our social obligation is to promote the true common good, not just use the slogan to sound "catholic" as happened in the last political cycle. Our political participation is committed to human life and dignity, marriage and the family, authentic human freedom, and solidarity directed by the application of the principle of subsidiarity. We will be heard during the coming elections.