Hello and welcome to the Ronan the Contrarian podcast. I'm your host, Ronan Dodds.
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Those of you who follow my online discussions will be aware that I prefer to avoid religion when discussing the topic of abortion. I make secular arguments because we live in a secular polity, and I can't expect non-Christians to recognise religious arguments as valid.
In this podcast, I am going to afford myself the luxury of doing something different. I am going to address directly my fellow Catholics, taking for granted our shared faith in Christ. If you are an atheist, or a Muslim, or of any other belief system, you are of course welcome to listen to this. This is my Open Letter to Labour-voting Catholics:
Jesus was quite clear in the Gospels, that if you go and spread the good news to a people and they do not listen, if they disrespect you instead, and harangue you, then you are to knock the dust off your sandals and leave.
I find myself in that position with the Labour Party, as do many Catholics who have supported the Party for years, or decades, or even generations.
Yes, yes. We've heard the argument about this being a single issue, that we can vote for all the other good things that the Labour Party has put forward, that calling for an abandonment of Labour is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, that we must vote for Labour for the common good, that we are being too extreme in asking Catholics to give up on the Party altogether. I ask you, who here is the extremist? The person who has for over two years politely asked for a dialogue from Labour? Who has written to Jeremy Corbyn, not to persuade him, but only to ask that we be allowed to make our argument without being either ignored, or silenced as "misogynists"? It is not we who turn to Christ, who was quite clear on the point of knocking the dust from our shoes, and try to put him right. "You're being too extreme, Jesus. Yes, they sacrifice their young. But look at all their good intentions toward the sick and the poor." It is very well meaning, I am sure, just as Peter was very well meaning when he tried to persuade the Lord that He did not need to go to Calvary to His death. But what was the answer from Jesus when His disciple tried to correct Him? He said, "get thee behind me, Satan".
So, yes, I know that I will be held up as a villain, for not caring about all the disabled people suffering under Tory rule, nor for the poor who struggle to pay for food or heating. But the question remains, for how long are we to allow the allegedly well-meaning socialists to hold the unborn hostage as they use the sick and the disabled and the poor as their human shield? The same sick and disabled and poor that they would prefer to vanish out of existence catching the 'problem' in the womb. For that is how they see their fellow humans, and in many cases themselves; as some sort of problem to be managed, and not as images of God to be respected and celebrated.
I am already anticipating the cries that I am being too extreme. Why can I not be like the nice Catholics, the ones who never mention their faith, except to tell the rest of us to get back into our places, on behalf of the secular totalitarians?
The question of how to exercise one's right to vote reminds me of the dilemma of the priests who were taunted into apostasy in the popular Scorcese movie, Silence. By putting a commitment to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland into their manifesto, they are making abortion a matter of official Labour policy for the first time in the party's history. I seem to be the only one making so much as a whimper about it, as the grown ups who instilled the faith in me seem to shrug it off, lacking the faith that their God can actually do anything about it, so fatalistic in their belief in a Labour Party than can barely even manage the semblance of basic democracy. Like the priests in the movie, we are asked by Labour's supporters to just hold our nose. Put our X in the box next to the Labour candidate and, reminiscent of the promises made to Christ in the desert, we will get our fully automated luxury gay space communism.
Like the tortured Japanese hanging upside down as they are slowly bled to death in Silence, the Labour enthusiasts point at the suffering wheelchair-bound whose cars are taken away, at the malnourished children who can't concentrate at school, at the freezing pensioners dying every winter as they can't afford their heating bill. At the hospitals with sick people lying in the corridors. The only victim they don't bring up, the only one who deserves not a mention, is the one they'd rather disappear, championing instead the victim status not even of the crisis-pregnancy-hit mother, but of the generalised class of woman, whether they be poverty stricken and skipping meals to feed their kids, or wealthy and decadent in their comfort, like Yvette Cooper with her Parliamentary salary plus expenses. All are equally victim, and worst among their persecutors are the parasitic growths that dare to take up residence in their womb, uninvited, as if there is no obvious link between their existence and the acts which grown adults engage in.
And so, the full-grown babies that are delivered by a breach birth, whereby their legs are pulled out first, but their heads left inside the womb for the sake of a fig-leaf of legality that makes it magically not-a-murder when their brains are sucked out, are completely invisible because "muh Syria!", completely ignoring, by the way, that Labour would not even stop our bombing raids on Syria, despite their leader being offered a veto by David Cameron.
Invisible are the victims of an industrialised abortion regime, not even afforded the dignity of recognition as their sacrifice is rationalised for the Greater Good. Abortion is not ending a human life, but a 'pregnancy'. It is not killing a baby, but a 'ball of cells'. Photographs of this demonic act are deemed disgusting, when they are not decried as outright forgeries, to the point that they must be hidden for fear of traumatising children or post-abortive women, yet the act itself is celebrated, not merely tolerated as a necessary evil, but held aloft as the apogee of women's rights, regardless of what post-abortive women themselves might say, who more often than not are bullied into silence.
So, as we ponder over how to cast our vote, we are forced to contemplate the dilemma of the Labour Party's emotional blackmail. Vote for baby murder, or the disabled person gets it. All you need do is cast your X. It's only a pencil mark. It's only a step on the icon of Our Lord. It's only a pinch of incense. Yes, I understand that many of you work in schools or in hospitals or other areas where Tory austerity is causing a suffering that can only be alleviated by a vote for Corbyn. Yet Corbyn decided to put the abortion commitment into the manifesto, and to alienate his obvious natural ally in the fight against poverty. It's not the fault of me, and others in the Labour movement, who have banged our head against the brick wall of a Labour Party that says it is open to discussion, yet has responded with either silence or insults.
I am well aware of the suffering that Theresa May is causing, not least because I have been victim to it myself, and have witnessed and helped others who have also been victim to it. Perhaps had you, too, given a damn about the unborn for the last two years, and tried to engage the Labour left, you would understand why I am so angry, but many of you so-called Catholics listening to this do not care enough even to risk your name by speaking up publicly against this holocaust. You'd sooner fight for foxes than for a cause that would make you unpopular with the cool kids. Why can't I be reasonable like you? Why can't I just let you sweep them under the carpet, and leave your conscience alone?
And so it is that I consider we are called to die for our faith in Jesus Christ, if necessary. But are we, like the priests in Silence, called to allow others to suffer and die because of our moral qualms? Can we legitimately make the trade off of the suffering of the disabled and the poor versus that of the unborn? Does the calculus even work when you consider the scale of the murder and the misery, and the way women are bullied into silence if they dare express their trauma at the talons of the abortion industry?
I look forward to the replies of simpering priests and their gentle murmurings that 'we must be reasonable'. We must not scare away those who are reasonable, who might listen to us if only we took a gentler approach. Away ye vipers! Was John the Baptist reasonable? Was Saint Paul? Was Jesus? Did they simper and chase after those who rejected them, or did they do as they were commanded and knock the dust off their sandals?
These people are not reasonable. They heralded the inauguration of the latest President of the United States of America with a God-damned pro-abortion march. They advertise on the TV, they spirit our daughters away from school for appointments without our knowledge and, yes, they do it at schools you are responsible for as pastors and chaplains.
Enough is enough. Labour deserve to lose the election on the basis of this issue alone. You will not tell your flocks to reject their filthy lies. You'll umm and ahh over weighing up this issue and that. But you know full well there is one issue that is alone kept silent and invisible, and you won't upset your congregation who, God forbid, might stop inviting Father to their polite little middle class gatherings. Like so many Catholics, you won't even sacrifice your reputation nevermind your life, but you'll happily weigh up this issue and that issue, and on the balance of things condemn the unborn to the plastic refuse sack that they throw into the incinerator.
So if not now, when? When is this great time going to happen when you stake your reputations on what you truly believe, or on what you say that you believe, because I really struggle to trust you when you say 'but yes, we are weighing up the issues', and it just so happens that the issue you stay silent on for so long, for so many years, does not weigh at all. You will not have the hard conversations with the culture around you about their sex lives and the responsibilities it carries with it. You will bury your heads and hide yourselves till five more years pass, and we'll prod your conscience again, us uncool mad folk with crazy hair and wild eyes who are in utter disbelief at your fatalism and your God damned complicity with a system that churns out death, and misery, and serves up the homeless and the disabled as they do it, and asks us "how can you get so wound up over microscopic people, when there's suffering like this right there in front of you".
So I won't be voting Labour. I will never vote Labour ever again in my life, barring a miracle. And I won't be sitting politely with philosophic Catholics who, very reasonably, have weighed the issue and will never, ever fight this cause because they're cowards and they are fatalists who have not faith in Christ. The Labour Party disgusts me, and the lukewarm Catholic disgusts me. May the body of Christ spit you out.