Mark Shea is back to his old trick of saying that unless you agree with me on policy issue x which is not directly related to abortion, you are not really pro-life. It is an attempt to stop debate on policy issue x, at least among pro-lifers. Mike Gannon at Pocketful of Liberty takes the argument apart:
This past Tuesday over at Patheos, Mark Shea, noted gadfly of Catholics and other Christians who come down on the small government side of the aisle, authored a post that started out with the provocative assertion “If we oppose abortion and social safety nets, we don’t really oppose abortion.”
Balderdash, I say!
Now, that’s a qualified balderdash, as I explain below. Mark Shea is a complicated thinker who is usually worth giving a second look (halfway through the piece he denounces the idolatry of the individual and the state in the same breath, demonstrating the difficulty one has at putting him neatly into this or that political box). Nonetheless, in this piece Shea falls victim to the temptation to cast aspersions on fellow pro-lifers who at the same time harbor serious concerns about the scope of our modern welfare state.
It’s a cheap trick that is all too common in political discourse to attempt to strong-arm a fellow traveler into lockstep with one’s own preferred platform by questioning their commitment to the cause if they disagree over tactics or emphases.
Go here to read the rest. Now, personally I have always believed that government should help support those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to work due to injury, illness, physical handicap or mental handicap. That belief is one of the reasons why I am a conservative rather than a libertarian. However, I protest against the counterfeit logic that states that if someone is against the State providing such welfare they cannot be committed pro-lifers against abortion. That is as ludicrous as stating that I cannot be against child murder unless I am willing to have the state assume all the expenses of parenthood. One can be against killing someone without also being willing to assume the burdens of those whose lives are saved. Shea’s argument is actually just a variant of the pro-abort taunt that pro-lifers only care about kids up to birth. For the vast majority of pro-lifers that taunt is absurd as the charitable works of those who embrace the pro-life cause substantiates. I think of the ladies who staff the crisis pregnancy center in my county who often help women for years after they have given birth. However, the argument is ludicrous at its core in its contention that one may not be whole-heartedly against the slaying of the innocent unless one is also in favor of an all-embracing welfare state. Those two questions are confusing apples and rock salt and for a pro-lifer to use this argument is an indication that for him the fight against abortion may be merely a means to other ends.