Oppose the legislation, not the president

Since President Obama’s inauguration, I have met two distinctive groups of people. The first group is ecstatic. They hail not only the election of the first African-American president, but they also point to great hope for the future. They see President Obama as someone able to bring real change. They hope for an end to war, better relations with other nations, an end to torture and the beginning of a recovered economy.

The second group is furious at the new president. Their anger is not personal. While they may disagree with the new president on a variety of issues, their anger is mostly focused on his position on abortion. They resent the new funding he has approved for abortions. Especially they resent the fact that he has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.

What is the Freedom of Choice Act? Essentially it is a blank check for abortions. Among the many issues the act addresses in its current form are:

1. Eliminate notification to parents.
2. Deny parents any opportunity to be involved in their minor daughter’s abortion decision.
3. Remove waiting periods.
4. Repeal the partial birth abortion ban.
5. Allow abortions throughout pregnancy, even in the late stages of pregnancy when a baby could actually live outside the womb.
6. Eliminate laws of conscience. It could deny physicians, hospitals and health care workers the right to refuse to participate in abortions.
7. Force taxpayers to pay for abortions.

These are just some of the proposals.

In short: “The Freedom of Choice Act, the most radical and divisive pro-abortion bill ever introduced in Congress, would create a ‘fundamental right’ to abortion that government could not limit but would have to support.”

My appeal to President Obama is that he not sign this act.

My appeal to those of us who oppose this act is that, while we oppose this legislation, we do not oppose the president. This is an historic time. There is much good in many of the other things that the president does advocate. I repeat the call I make so often: “Focus on the good!”

In short, what we focus on we will see more of. If we focus on what’s wrong in any area, we will see more of what’s wrong. If we focus on what’s right, we’ll see more of what’s right.

Second, take a stand against this legislation without bitterness or rancor. If I am angry, upset or worried, the only thing I have changed is that there is now one more angry, upset and worried person. Write the letters, make the calls, do all you can to stand up for what you believe is right. But always keep your heart before the Tabernacle of the Lord.

Anger begets anger. Force begets a counter force. Our job is to change hearts, and we can’t do that if we have first poisoned our own hearts with anger.

Finally, the secret of power and peace is prayer. President Obama is a decent and moral man. He’s wise enough to change his mind. He can be changed by God. So the little prayer that I say each day is: “Lord, bless our president, his cabinet and our Congress. May they do what will bring you glory and be for our highest good.” It’s short and to the point.

We want our lives to be about what brings glory to God. We want to be about what is for our highest good and highest good of all. We will judge the president by those standards. Will we also judge ourselves by those same standards?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.