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The Resistance Prays

January 20, 2019
By Ashley Wilson

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Today's Top Story
It’s been two days since the March for Life, and Donald Trump has been President for two years. We’re also in the midst of a government shutdown, and yesterday, Donald Trump offered a “trade” of a 3-year extension of DACA and TPS (that he ended to begin with) for his $5.7 billion to end the shutdown. Oh please.
Scripture 
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7:15-20
Stop Going to the March for Life
Yesterday, Covington Catholic and the Diocese of Covington released a statement where they claimed, "We know this incident has also tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement.”

Almost every Catholic leader and organization speaking up to condemn the actions of Covington Catholic High School is separating the incident from the March for Life on the whole. But we—people of faith, activists, the media, the general public—shouldn’t let them off the hook. The March for Life featured right-wing extremist Ben Shapiro and Vice President Mike Pence this year. These two espouse countless political beliefs (and, in the Trump Administration’s case, implement policies) that are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching, including respect for the dignity of life. 

Take the shutdown as one very timely, poignant example. There is nothing about this shutdown that respects the dignity of life, or the dignity of work. The Trump Administration could end the shutdown today but instead chooses to continue to play political games with people’s paychecks and livelihoods. 

Working in faith-based advocacy, too often I see people who might be considered the “Religious Left” who think they HAVE to show up to things like the March for Life. They show up with their posters about a seamless garment that cares about all life, that talks about immigration and poverty and all the things that fit into this broad definition. For whatever “reason,” people feel compelled. But, when it comes to election time (or really, any other of the 364 days of the year) these same folks are worried about appearing too polarizing, or too political.

But here’s what I keep thinking about: people could just not show up. It might sound cynical, but seamless garment posters don’t mean anything to Ben Shapiro, or Mike Pence, OR the organizers who invited them to speak. The crowd is very white, very male, very privileged. So why legitimize the March for Life when it has become a breeding ground for mini-MAGA supporters and gives a platform to people like Ben Shapiro and Mike Pence at all?

I might be preaching to the choir here, though as they say – even the choir needs practice! I just hope we can shift the day two, day three, day four narrative of this story to a broader one that denounces the nature of the march itself.
Act
It’s hard to know what to do in scenarios like this. But there are a couple of options:
  1. Tweet about it. Ask if people will denounce the March for Life as a political sham. Don’t let religion journalists off the hook. Don’t let the Catholic leaders give softball responses. Don’t let people separate the Covington incident from the March for Life.
  2. While you’re at it, you should also be calling your Senators every single day to end the government shutdown. The Senate is the group best poised to put pressure on Mitch McConnell to bring *any* of the House-passed bills to a vote. People need their food assistance, their rental assistance, their tax returns, and their paychecks. And they need it without a damn wall.  NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice has a call in number and script you can use: 1-888-897-9753
Pray
I find comfort in many of Mary Oliver’s poems, but this one has especially been sticking with me since she passed away on Thursday.

“How It Is With Us, And How It Is With Them” by Mary Oliver

We become religious, 
then we turn from it, 
then we are in need and maybe we turn back.
We turn to 
making money,
then we turn to the moral life, 
then we think about making money again.
We meet wonderful people, but lose them
in our busyness.
We’re, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.
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