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The Ultimate Recognition

by | Feb 5, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

We’re running stories, almost every day, taken from the pages of National Right to Life News, going back as far as 1973. This is done not only in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the noxious Roe v. Wade decision but to remind us what we’ve been saying at various stage along the way. The following is the lead editorial from the January 2000 edition of NRL News.

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“For 16 years, Patricia White Bull was unresponsive to the world– unable to speak, swallow or move much. On Christmas Eve, she suddenly snapped back to consciousness. ‘Don’t do that,’ she blurted out when nurses were trying to fix her nursing home bed Dec. 21. …Her mother…said it was a Christmas miracle from God.” — Washington Times, January 5

BuildCharacterBefore I sat down [at the eleventh-and-a-half hour] to write this editorial for the special January 2000 commemorative edition, I first wolfed down a couple of lukewarm, fast food hamburgers before devouring a much more nutritious fare: the first chapter of Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories. In their opening page, William Kilpatrick, and Gregory and Suzanne Wolfe, tell a story of four-year-old Crystal, who, when her two-year-old sister began to cry, quickly assessed the situation.

“She wants her Dogger,” Crystal declared, referring to a missing stuffed bear. Unprompted, Crystal offered one of her own stuffed bears as a substitute.

“Dogger,” it turns out, is a story about “a boy who loses his worn stuffed dog, and his older sister, Bella, who trades a large and beautiful stuffed bear to get Dogger back for him.” The authors of Books That Build Character then offer what I gather will be the underlying moral of their book: “Crystal, who had heard the story only the night before, was putting into practice the good example set by Bella.”

The evils that we confront, abortion and euthanasia, are intertwined like the two strands of DNA. They have colonized the imaginations of all-too-many Americans. An almost nonchalant acceptance of these attacks on vulnerable human beings can be found in the mental file cabinets of millions of Americans.

Let me suggest, however, that the cabinets are not locked. Indeed, the drawers are open and the contents, yellow with age, are crumbling.

Ask yourself this. Why, as we enter a new millennium, is the pro- life movement still growing, becoming better organized, and closer than ever to carrying the day? Why are pollsters time and time again finding increasing resistance to unabridged, unbridled, and unchecked abortion on demand? Why does the Abortion Establishment appear to be stumbling–unsure of its footing and curiously clumsy in responding to pro-life initiatives?

I would not pretend to have the answer; for starters, there is no one answer, of course. However, I would hazard to guess that had the body politic been hooked up to an EKG, the machine would have shown that our hearts missed a beat when we first learned of partial-birth abortions.

Prepackaged answers about “choice” and “rights” and “blobs” couldn’t hold a candle to the unvarnished truth: that it requires verbal gymnastics of Orwellian proportions to disguise the truth that partial-birth abortion is infanticide, pure and simple. For me, looking ahead to all the challenges of the year 2000 and beyond, that reaction is deeply reassuring.

For the fundamental decency that is an essential component of the American character still lives. People were–and continue to be–moved by the atrocity that is abortion. After 27 years of darkness, the light still shines through.

It would, of course, be much too simplistic to suggest that by merely telling stories of virtue, Americans could be persuaded to chuck the evasive platitudes that pass for pro-death argumentation. Yet never forget that truth-telling–what National Right to Life News, for example, has done for over 26 years–does have an impact. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes overt, but by never allowing the moral dimension of the fight for life to be obscured, pro-lifers have kept the flame burning.

Each successive issue of this publication can be seen as the latest installment in an ongoing narrative. This uninterrupted story began when the NRLC Board of Directors decided in 1973 that the Movement needed a voice to speak the truth to the powers that be and to provide reliable information and a spirit of encouragement to the hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers who toil in anonymity on behalf of unborn children everywhere.

Long before I was privileged to become editor, NRL News was piloted by outstanding women of enormous talent, deep devotion, and prophetic vision. When I came here, the very first thing I did was to read and reread the stories and editorials written in Alice Hartle’s inimitable style. This proved to be time wisely spent.

To return to where we began, there are stories that people read and there are “stories” that are modeled in the conduct of daily life. We could not possibly prevail if we only “talked the talk.” But, thanks to you, we have also “walked the walk.”

No matter what the New York Times says (or fails to say), you do care about both mother and unborn child. No matter what the Washington Post prints (or fails to print), our “values” are not “outdated,” “anachronistic,” nor are we motivated by “fear of the future.”

Compassion, love, devotion, mercy, a fearless championing of the weak and the powerless–these are not mere “values” that come and go, but virtues, qualities of character which stand forever. Virtues are the sterner stuff out of which we create our moral imagination. This richer, deeper, broader vision enables us to incorporate for ourselves “how people can act when they’re at their best,” to quote again from Books That Build Character. The outgrowth is a kind of highly developed peripheral vision which enables pro-lifers to “see” suffering and injustice where others see…nothing.

But I believe that as more Americans read the “story” of your selfless devotion, they will (like Crystal) “put into practice the good example” set by you. I do not believe it is a stretch to conclude that, because of your unwavering faithfulness, America, (like Patricia White Bull), will one day awake from its coma- like behavior and emphatically say to abortionists, “Don’t do that!”

Let me conclude with a thought that came out of a conversation I had just hours ago with pro-life Congressman Chris Smith–my personal hero–whose wonderful article appears on page four. Ever humble, Chris remarked to me that there are those of us whose work on behalf of the little ones has garnered us more praise and recognition than we deserve.

But one day we will receive our eternal rewards. And at the very front of the line, Chris said, will be all of you–those millions of unsung grassroots pro-lifers whose decades of devotion have gone largely unnoticed.

If Chris is right, and I am utterly convinced that he is, Someone of unsurpassed importance has been watching all along. He knows what you are doing on behalf of His little ones.

And that, my pro-life brothers and sisters, is the ultimate recognition.

If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/daveha. Please send your comments to daveandrusko@gmail.com.

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