What are the real sources of division? (Part I)

Last Sunday, reflecting on the events that took place in Washington, D.C. on January 6 I observed that they have led to a propaganda of ‘unity’, but that the unity being called for amounts to submission to the new ruling party.

Really, before we can talk about unity, we have to take an honest look at what divides us, because the divides really are huge. We can list right off the top, abortion, the rainbow-colored alphabet soup, and race. I will have to leave the subject of race for next Sunday.

Abortion is a form of murder, the murder of the most helpless and innocent of human beings, children in their mother’s womb; abortion violently destroys what should be the most secure and nurturing place in the world. Once we grasp that, it really is not a subject about which there can be reasonable disagreement.

For decades now we have been required to engage in the politics of dialog and compromise with people who think that such cruel and barbaric slaughter is perfectly fine. Indeed, we have had to defend ourselves against the charge of being ‘extremists’.

The problem is that something so evil as abortion should never be a matter for the political process in the first place. The moment it even became a matter for serious political discussion, half the battle was lost.

The same is true about marriage between a man and woman. Someone who holds rightly that marriage is a union between a man and a woman for the sake of the procreation and education of children and someone who holds that men can marry men and women can marry women, hold radically different views of human life and human nature. These are differences that cannot be resolved by the political process. We are talking about fundamental principles that do not admit of compromise.

The supposed ‘right’ to abortion strikes at the humanity of a particular group of human beings, who happen to be the most innocent and defenseless, but might appear to share a common view of human life as the rest of us.

The supposed ‘right’ to same-sex ‘marriage’ strikes at an institution that is so central to human life that it reveals a radically different view of human nature, of what it means to be human.

Transgenderism goes even farther. When someone starts claiming that a man can become a woman or a woman a man, or that ‘gender’ is a fluid spectrum, and that people can even be ‘non-binary’. At this point we have two radically different views of reality itself: one that holds reality is pretty much determined by the human mind, the other which holds that reality is something that must determine the human mind. Again, no political compromise is possible here.

The political process of a democratic republic can only function within a consensus about fundamental moral principles rooted in some sort of common understanding of human nature. When the political process attempts to resolve these more fundamental issues it effectively demands that people surrender their most dearly held beliefs for the sake of political peace. When the political process is used to resolve these sorts of debates it is no longer a process of reasonable discussion and disagreement, but a form of warfare in disguise in which the political system is employed to vanquish the enemy.

I would suggest that the political Left has known this all along and has for a long time been engaged in this sort of ‘clandestine’ warfare. The language of the Left typically uses expressions that mask the reality: e.g. “Pro-choice” and “Reproductive Rights”. The political Right, or at least “conservatives”, have often naively engaged in the process as though it were a matter of civilized discussion. The same is true, really, of liberals and moderates, which has allowed them to be used and manipulated by the Left. That is why, during the course of my lifetime, the whole political ‘spectrum’ has steadily shifted in a leftward direction. Positions that are regarded as ‘moderate’ today would have been judged as ‘off the charts’ 50 years ago. On the other hand, 50 years ago opposition to same-sex marriage or to transgenderism would have been the norm, but today is regarded as ‘extremist’ and ‘bigoted’. (To be continued)

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Fr. Joseph Levine graduated from Thomas Aquinas College and after a long journey was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. He currently serves as pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in The Dalles on the Columbia River.