Standing in the path of evil

Alan Keyes

July 01, 2000

The Supreme Court's decision striking down a state ban against partial-birth abortion has everyone in the pro-life movement reaching for new adjectives to describe the depravity of our so-called political elites. The decision makes clear, yet again, that the only real prospect for ending the abortion nightmare in America is for the people to assert their sovereign will. The highest court in the land has, in effect, prohibited the banning of infanticide. Such an uncivilized decision will no doubt tempt many of us anew, and not unreasonably, to conclude that American civilization is ending.

Our duty to be prudent and careful, however, does not pass away with the latest outrageous act of our government. Before we decide that the time for political action is over, and that we must turn to preparing our families for the dark age to come, we should pause to consider our duty. We are in a time when many things and people are being tried and weighed in the balance and we shall see whether they are adequate or to be found wanting. We can be sure that this time of trial will have real and grave consequences, even if we have but a murky view of the course that events will take. Whatever else is veiled to us, we must hold to the truth that we are called by God and country to act with all the dedication and wisdom we can muster to limit the damage and inspire a renewal.

It is still a great privilege to be an American citizen and to be able to fight abortion in the political arena, rather than in the streets and barricades. I count as a great privilege every day that I am able to spend as a free American, fully participating in our political life. In our frustration and anger at the corruption of American political culture, it is easy to dismiss the unique opportunity this privilege still presents us. But those of us who come somewhat recently from a heritage without this privilege understand how precious and important it is to be able to stand up, to speak out, to vote and to run for office. My resolve to fight the political battle against abortion to the end is inspired partly by the fact that my ancestors were denied the privileges of citizenship and enslaved for such a long period in our nation's history by the very principle that abortion represents: that it is possible for some human beings to have a property right in the life of others and to act in such a way that their power gives them the "right" to disregard the basic dignity of innocent human life.

It is that issue, as clear as slavery and freedom, that is at stake in the Republican Party's stance on the abortion issue. It involves the life of innocent children -- but it also involves the life of this country's freedom -- and its dedication to those principles without which that freedom cannot and will not survive. The Republican Party began as an instrument in the fight to end slavery. It must continue, if it is to live at all, as a party that will lead the fight to ensure that we end the heinous practice of abortion, which so fundamentally violates the rights, not just of innocent children, but of every human being. For if the rights of the most helpless and vulnerable amongst us are violated, then all our rights are violated and we cannot sleep secure.

It is a time for heroism, for standing in the path of evil. And this challenge faces us not just individually, but in our common political actions as well. For example, this latest Supreme Court challenge to the moral conscience of the nation comes just weeks before the Republican Party holds its presidential nominating convention. The question of the hour for lovers of American liberty is whether the party of Lincoln is still willing to be the voice of the people, rising up to rebuke a gruesomely conscienceless elite. In the weeks between the Supreme Court's illegitimate decision and the opening of the Republican Convention, Republicans should think carefully and prayerfully about the need for political heroism in this dark moment.

First, we must be absolutely clear that should we fail to restore a national understanding of the basic principles of human equality and respect for God' s law in human affairs, the cost of that failure will be catastrophic. For we live in a time when the perennial moral temptation to put ourselves on God's throne is matched by a scientific and technical capacity that seems increasingly commensurate with that insane ambition. Bill Clinton greeted the latest success of the human genome project by talking about understanding the "language of God." And, indeed, we must anticipate that the accelerating success of genetic science will spawn legions of Margaret Sangers who aspire to understand and speak that language in order to abuse it by playing God. Already, they are working to fabricate a future in which they will be able to create specialized types of human beings in whom others will claim property rights. When man believes he can make man in his own image, he will be sorely tempted to enslave and abuse those whose life will then be the product in some sense of our technology. The abortion issue, as we look into the future, goes beyond the life of innocent children today. It extends to the life of many other classes of human beings who may very well live in the same shadow of slavery that blasted the lives of my ancestors.

If we want to avoid such a future, it is essential that the Republican Party continue its commitment to the pro-life cause with a pro-life plank and a pro-life ticket. At this turning point in our national life, a Republican party that ceases to be pro-life will simply cease to exist. For a party that has lost its heart will be like a body when the soul flees: it will die. It will die not because this or that group kills it but because political life will be impossible for it.

The GOP says it stands for freedom and limited government, and for all the things which require, in the end, that we trust ourselves, our character and our decency to get things done for family and community in the right way. The egregious legacy of the Clinton years has been its zealous pursuit of the destruction of America's moral foundations and, therefore, of the capacity of its people to conduct their lives with dignity and justice. And the abortion issue epitomizes the struggle over whether to preserve or jettison our most sacred moral principles. We must stand for those principles -- and for life -- or we offer the American people no alternative to the moral corruption represented by Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Principled defense of the pro-life position is imperative for Republican victory and for Republican integrity. And, on this victory and integrity will rest, I believe, the very fate of America as a democratic republic.

The November election will hinge on the question of whether the Republican Party can keep its hands clean and its heart focused as it moves forward to denounce what has been the greatest era of moral degradation in the history of our country. If we want to end Bill Clinton's era of moral humiliation, and to assure that his shadow of corruption, Al Gore, will not occupy the White House, then we must stand firm to present to the American people a clear moral alternative. That moral alternative begins by renewing our allegiance to the great principles of the Declaration by which our character is defined. If we do so, then we shall go forward to victory. If we do not, then we shall not only lose the battle for an election, we shall be losing the battle for this nation's soul and future.

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