Are You Pro-life or Pro-happytalk?
from Dr. Peter Kreeft, February 2012
1. Do you believe that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is real and present and active in ordinary Christians, or do you believe that He is a mere abstraction, more like a cloud than like a lion, a concept rather than a living Person? Do you believe that He ever actually acts, actually causes changes, actually does anything to those who are baptized into "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit"? If not, you are a heretic. Do you believe He never inspires ordinary lay Christians, but that He works only in the Church as a whole, or in the Pope, or in a preacher? If so, you are a heretic.
2. I am writing this for one reason only. I believe that my Heavenly Father, and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and Their Holy Spirit, are commanding me to write it. I have never written in this way before. It goes against my grain. My human nature (what the Bible calls "the flesh") rebels at the thought. I feel the struggle between what St. Paul called "the flesh" and "the Spirit" (Romans 7). I have to choose sides. I choose to obey the Spirit instead of the flesh. That's what it takes for me to write this letter.
3. I am by nature a coward and a comfort-monger. I live a comfortable life, an easy life. My job is very pleasant to me: I teach philosophy and write books. It is an honorable profession. I am the classic absent-minded professor. It is a harmless and attractive psychological type. Especially for cowards.
4. I have written two books about abortion and two about "the culture war." Beyond this, I have done nothing, sacrificed nothing, risked nothing, made no extra efforts, to participate in the actual fighting, beyond a few financial contributions and pro bono speeches that did not upset my comfort zone either financially or psychologically. One of the ways to avoid confronting something unpleasant is to talk about it instead of doing something about it, to teach others to act rather than to act yourself. "Those who will, act; those who won't, teach. Those who can't teach, teach others how to teach." One of the most effective ways to protect yourself against confronting your own death is to write books about death, or even to be a mortician! Thinking about it can inoculate you against the real thing, because it can persuade you that you have confronted the real thing when in fact you have only confronted ideas. It is an inoculation. You can even imagine yourself saintly just because you read about the saints and love them. You can actually be as stupid as the theologian who died and met God, and when God gave him the choice between going to Heaven or going to a theology lecture on Heaven, he chose the lecture.
5. Reading Randall Terry's little book "A Humble Plea to Bishops, Clergy and Laymen: Ending the Abortion Holocaust" changed me. It convicted my conscience, and I think it will convict yours if you read it honestly and with an open mind and heart. I have done only a tiny bit of what I can and should do to obey the will of the One we so easily call our Lord and Master to confront and fight this slaughter of our innocent brothers and sisters—Christ's brothers and sisters, of whom He clearly told us, "Whatever you do to one of the least of these My brethren, you do to Me." Few of us have done all that we can do. If we had done that, we would have ended this Holocaust. Randall Terry is one of the few who have done all that he could do. He has lost friends, been vilified, lost lawsuits, been thrown in jail, lost all his money, and received death threats to himself, his wife and his children. He makes me feel ashamed. He makes me feel like a comfortable anti-Hitler, anti-Holocaust German who is sitting in a warm, safe, comfortable house and opening my mouth to eat while Dietrich Bonhoeffer is being martyred in the death camps for opening his mouth to agitate.
6. I am writing this because I want you to feel the same way, and to act on that feeling, because that feeling comes from God and your conscience and the Holy Spirit. When I read his book I asked God "What can I do?" and the answer came, once I dared to be honest enough to ask, from common sense and reason as well as from Him: "Do what you can: speak to those who listen to you. That is what we all must do. You have a different audience than most people do: you are a writer; many people read you. Put this on your website. " Such a simple and obvious and easy answer.
7. God calls some people to march in front of abortion clinics. He calls other people to raise and contribute money for crisis pregnancy centers. He calls priests and ministers—all priests and ministers—to speak out to their congregations. He calls bishops—all bishops if they are His, if they serve Him first, not Caesar—to lead the fight by both word and deed. My main ministry is writing and teaching. I should have written Randall Terry's book myself. I can at least write to you and ask you to read it. You can get it for free. In fact, you can get up to 132 copies of it for a gift of any size, even though they cost about $2 each to print. It's a non-profit ministry. Just write to The Society for Truth and Justice, PO Box 840090, St. Augustine, FL 32080-0090.
8. When the Caananites offered a third of their children to Moloch in human sacrifice, the Jews did not respond with comfortable happytalk. God commanded them to end this horror from Hell, and since this was a primitive time, He used primitive means—war—because it was the only means available. When the Azteks did exactly the same thing as the Caananites, Cortes did not respond with comfortable happytalk but with war, because he recognized that this was the same horror from Hell, and these were primitive times. God used primitive means and primitive men with mixed motives (the Jews weren't all saints either, any more than the Spaniards were), because that's all He had to work with. Thank God, we are no longer living in primitive times. We have modern communications and modern laws. We can fight with words instead of swords. Today "the pen is mightier than the sword." But we are confronting the same horror from Hell. We are slaughtering a third of our own children. And where do you think that is coming from? Is that just human weakness and confusion? Or is that coming from the War Room in Hell? Are millions of mothers that wicked? Or are they being deceived and abused and dehumanized and terrorized by a brilliant propaganda campaign designed by devils? But instead of speaking out, we respond to this horror from Hell with happytalk or silence.
9. What will happen if we do respond to the violent horror from Hell and to the gentle inspiration from Heaven and Conscience by action instead of silence and happytalk? God only knows. We do not know how successful our words and actions will be in this world. But as Mother Teresa often said, "God did not put me into this world to be successful. He put me here to be faithful."
10. But we do know what will happen in the next world if we do respond, because God has clearly told us that. He has told us that when we die and meet Him, the Judge that no one can ever escape, we will hear these words: "I was hungry and you did not feed Me, I was thirsty and you did not give Me to drink, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me." That is not my opinion, that is His clear, literal, word for word divine revelation and warning. Do you honestly think He will not add: "I was slaughtered in abortion clinics and you did nothing to rescue Me"?
11. "What should I do?" Don't ask me, ask Him. Right now. I dare you. Put down this paper, turn off your computer, and pray. Let God speak to your heart. But I warn you: He will not leave you alone. Love does not leave people alone. Heaven does not leave people alone; Hell leaves people alone, Hell wants people to be alone.
12. Are you afraid to listen to Him? Are you afraid to listen to Love? So what? Listen anyway. Pray. Now.