A little known fact about me that may surprise you — aside from the fact that I was the city diving champ for “8-and-unders” back in the ’90s — is that I don’t write my blog posts in advance.
Nope. Maybe that’s a little irresponsible of me, and definitely maybe not the best blogging practice, but I like to publish real-time posts. I like to be current, have my writing reflect the present moment, and mainly, to let the Spirit move me to write what He nudges in my heart.
And today, the latter is most definitely where we’re at.
Obviously, we’re in the political season with the election looming right around the corner. And two-ish weeks ago were the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.
And I watched both. And there was one thing that caught my attention, through all the fluff, pomp and circumstance on both sides. And that was the stark difference between the two Catholic nuns that spoke at the DNC and RNC.
At the DNC, Sister Simone Campbell – who is also a lawyer – gave the opening prayer…
…and at the RNC, Sister Deirdre Byrne – who is also a doctor, surgeon, global missionary, and retired army colonel – gave a passionate 4-minute speech. (The opening prayer at the RNC was by Cardinal Timothy Dolan).
I watched both of these short clips several times, comparing and contrasting everything from their rhetoric, their demeanor, what they were — or weren’t — wearing, their degree of humility, as well as overall message.
Basically, I was ready to offer some commentary that was, admittedly, probably not the most Christ-like.
And I was stopped dead in my tracks when I read the final sentence of today’s Gospel from Luke 6:38, “For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”
Well played, Jesus. Well played.
But in that same reading today, was another passage that hit to the real message I wanted to actually address, that, though contrasts these two nuns, has nothing to do with them personally, or their physical presentation.
Psalm 139: 13-14 – “Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made.”
I read that, and I knew that Jesus was encouraging me to share what He had put on my heart.
Sister Deirdre Byrne, speaking at the Republican National Convention said flat out, “As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception.” What a powerful, quiet strength this small but mighty woman commanded on that stage. She was humbly dressed in her habit, no makeup. This surgeon and former soldier (she served in the army for 29 years), reminded us how when we first met Jesus in the Bible, He was just an embryo in an unwed mother’s womb, who would then be born nine months later into poverty in a cave.
For me, that is the deciding factor. That is what this election — and every election — is about, and has been about: protecting the most vulnerable, innocent lives in the womb. In 2019 alone, more than 42 million children were killed in the womb, globally.
Forty two million. In 2019 alone.
Speaking about her time serving as a missionary in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, and Iraq, Sister Byrne continued, “Those refugees all share a common experience. They have all been marginalized, viewed as insignificant, powerless and voiceless. And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States. They are the unborn.”
Those babies are the marginalized. Not given a voice. Seen as insignificant. Not even given a chance at life. The unborn are the largest marginalized group that need to be fought for.
It was such a desolately stark, stark contrast to the prayer offered by Sister Simone Campbell at the Democratic National Convention. Though she prayed for us as a people to have a vision, “grounded in community and care for all, especially the most marginalized,” she never once mentioned the unborn. Forgive my candidness, but it felt so inauthentic, as in the same breath, she chided the current state of this nation, as a place in chaos, needing the breath of life from the “Divine Spirit.”
She never said the word, “Bible,” but rather, “The very first paragraph of the scripture that informs the three Abrahamic traditions tells us: The Divine Spirit breathed over the waters of chaos and brought forth a new creation.“
Maybe I’m just a country bumpkin from Ohio, but that is an extremely “high falootin'” way of saying Genesis: 1. It feels strangely as though she’s desperately trying not to alienate the atheist and agnostic members of the her party base. And this “very first paragraph of the scripture that informs the three Abrahamic traditions” — it was when God brought about light from the darkness, and said “Let there be light.”
You know what is dark and needing light?
The abortion industry. Which is exactly what former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director, Abby Johnson, spoke about in her moving speech at the Republican National Convention.
Sister Campbell’s speech – or rather, prayer – it just felt like it was written by the campaign managers themselves. And it came off that way, too.
And one more thing about Sister Campbell…on August 19, when asked point blank on her position on abortion, she refused to take a stand, saying it was “above her pay grade.” But I digress.
It seems I’ve let my temper get the best of me. Let me reel it in, for one last thing.
I fully appreciate that there are other marginalized groups that also need to, and should be fought for. And I do. Wholeheartedly.
But I also fight for the marginalized group that doesn’t even have a voice. The marginalized group, whose supporters are silenced by the mainstream media. Why is it that all of my pro-life blog articles have been censored by Facebook?
Why is it that during Sister Byrne’s speech at the Republican National Convention, CNN translated all of her uses of the term “pro-life” to “anti-abortion” in their translation for Spanish audiences?
Standing up for the unborn and being pro-life does not mesh with the “politically correct” or “fashionable” agenda of today. An agenda, that is certainly in need of some divine light.
I pray tonight that we all reflect on meeting Jesus in the womb of an unwed mother, who said “yes” to life – Yes to God – Yes when the world around her dictated she say no.
She said yes.
What do you say?
This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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