MY mention of the election of an African-American United States President as an occasion of “joy and hope” for the world (CL 8/2/09) has been condemned by P. Davidson (CL 15/2/09) and J. Loring (CL 22/2/09), in view of Barack Obama’s policies on abortion.
I apologise if I did not make it clear I was emphasising the Obama election as a victory over racism.
I have found, for example, that in fact this has brought joy and hope to Aboriginal friends of mine, who have worked for racial reconciliation for a long time.
The main point of my letter was to encourage action for peace in the seemingly insoluble Israeli-Palestine conflict, citing the amazing achievement of peace in the intractable Northern Ireland conflict (threatened since by fringe IRA dissidents, sadly), and, as yet another example of extraordinary achievement, the unexpected first-ever election of an African-American President.
Most certainly, I deplore totally President Obama’s policies on abortion, but I note his rival McCain was also criticised by Christian leaders for his inadequate stance on that issue.
I share my critics’ concern about such policies, but I believe we will make our opposition to abortion more credible if we show equal concern for all life-endangering moral issues.
P. Davidson and J. Loring seem to judge a leader to be bad or good, depending on one issue only, that of abortion.
Surely we need to judge leaders’ words and actions in the light of their stance on a whole range of life issues, from birth to death.
The Vatican “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” lists many serious moral issues, not only abortion and euthanasia, but also racism (which led to 6 million Jewish deaths under Hitler, countless victims in the Hutu-Tutsi genocide, also many deaths in the “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia, and plays a part in the premature deaths in indigenous communities), world poverty (causing about 10 million deaths annually), war (millions of victims), and destruction of our God-created environment (pollution of water sources already causes countless deaths by disease in Third World areas).
FATHER RON PERRETT St Joseph’s Presbytery, Gunnedah, NSW
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