The following is a reflection of Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on ‘All God’s Children’. Published on Jan. 22, 2019, it is from Cardinal Dolan’s blog available on his website:
All God’s Children
Yesterday, the nation fittingly observed the birthday of the Reverend Martin Luther King. To think he could still be with us at 90 years of age! We sure need him!
His message, while profound in its effect, was rather simple: we are all God’s children, made in His image. Thus do we treat ourselves and others with dignity and respect. The dignity of the human person– regardless of race, economic status, or condition– and the sanctity of all human life, no matter what stage or color, was his creed.
I was moved to listening to his little granddaughter interviewed on CNN over the weekend, and not surprised at all to hear her speak tenderly about the civil rights of the immigrants and refugees at our borders whom she had visited.
Likewise am I inspired by his niece, Alveda King, who has been a consistently eloquent defender of the civil rights of a class of people without hardly any protection at all: the preborn baby in the womb.
I am going to invite her here to New York where the right to life of the helpless infant before birth is about to become even more perilous. On this somber 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, our elected officials in Albany seem frantic to enact the most radical abortion expansion bill in a state already notorious for its denial of civil rights to the pre-born baby.
Forty-six years ago, on January 22, 1973, we were assured by the jubilant abortionists not to worry: abortion, they assured us, was a deeply regrettable act; it had to remain rare; life-giving alternatives were to be encouraged; the lethal procedure was to be resorted to only in the earliest months.
Well, that all has been disregarded. If our governor, senate, and assembly has their way, abortion will be legal up to the moment of birth; those large numbers of healthcare professionals who find the termination of pre-born babies repugnant will have no conscience rights to object; trained physicians will be not be required to perform the dismemberment; and a baby who survives the scalpel, saline, or suction, and is still alive, can be left to die without any care. This is “progressive?”
I’m not supposed to be a politician or a “culture warrior,” but one offering reason, dialogue, and a conciliatory approach.
We pro-lifers of all religions, and none at all, have tried. How about some prudent limits on the unfettered abortion license, as the Marist poll of last week shows 70% of all American want. No! They reply. Well, how about positive encouragement to adoption, with balanced counseling given to expectant mothers struggling with a difficult pregnancy? No! How about enlightened legislation to provide pregnant parents with the time off, medical accompaniment, and assistance they need to bring their baby to life and care for her afterwards? No! What about conscience rights for health care providers who object? No!
Sorry, they insist. There can be no questioning of the unfettered abortion license. It is an absolute right.
Alveda King assures us that her esteemed uncle would find this a civil rights’ issue, and would advocate for a whole class of folks not now given any equal protection: the preborn baby. In fact, he and other civil rights leaders worried that abortion targeted poor, black moms.
After all, she tells us, Blacks in pre-civil war America had no rights, considered mere property of the owner who had complete control over them. African Americans were considered chattel, less than human, up through the 1960’s, and the defense of their rights still providentially goes on.
All people have rights: the immigrant, the poor, the pregnant woman… and her baby. All God’s children, Reverend King would insist, are equal and have rights.
Five years or so ago, I had the privilege of a long, thoughtful session between Governor Cuomo and state religious leaders. At the end of the meeting, the governor complemented us:
“You know,” he concluded, “most groups that come in to see me make appeals for things that will benefit themselves. How refreshing that you all come in and speak on behalf, not of yourselves, but for those with no voice – immigrants, prisoners, addicts, the homeless, the emotionally ill, the school kids.”
And I would add– the baby awaiting birth