By Judie Brown
It is not only sad, but terrifying, that there are people today who would get so enraged with those who are pro-life that they would attempt to frighten or even harm them. Yet that is exactly what has happened in Colorado. Today’s commentary addresses two such instances and offers encouragement for anyone who may be discouraged by these actions.
A shocking chain of events unfolded in the state of Colorado recently. For those unfamiliar with the details, it is my sad obligation to enlighten you.
It all started with an in-depth Newsweek article about Keith and Jennifer Mason, founders of Personhood USA. Mason, who is never at a loss for words, was only too happy to explain to the reporter why he and his entire family are so committed to protecting the vulnerable preborn, saying, “As long as I have arms, I’m gonna be swinging them.”
Several days after the interview appeared, in the middle of the night, the glass of Mason’s front door was shattered with a huge rock while he and his entire family were sleeping inside. Vulgarities were spray painted on the house. Naturally, Mason, his pregnant wife, and their three small children were traumatized by the event. The next day Mason issued a statement in which he said, “It is shocking to consider that someone would be so cruel and heartless to attack a home with a pregnant woman and small children inside. Apparently, the pro-choice crowd has no more compassion for born children than they do for the preborn.”
A few days later, a volunteer for Personhood USA, 69-year-old Everett Stadig, was assaulted and thrown to the ground, sustaining a broken hip and other injuries. Stadig was asking passers-by to sign a personhood petition for the 2012 ballot when one man reacted violently. “Stadig told LifeSiteNews the unnamed man declined to sign the petition and began ‘yelling, swearing, and proclaiming’ that he was pro-choice.” Stadig contends that he attempted to explain why supporting abortion is wrong, but the six-foot-tall assailant would not listen. The man walked away from the confrontation, but returned a few seconds later to continue his “rant.” At that point the man allegedly threw Stadig to the ground, injuring him.
Stadig is currently recovering and, as Life Issues Institute reports, is smiling from ear to ear, and using his recovery time to gather signatures from his hospital bed for the personhood initiative.
We are grateful that everyone is safe, but have to suggest that such actions truly come as no surprise. The people who defend life are, by their very presence and the work they do, a threat to the proponents of abortion, contraception, and euthanasia. Because we possess the truth in Christ and are unapologetic for proclaiming it from the rooftops, there are many instances where lack of tolerance for our message of hope turns ugly.
While there are, thankfully, few physical attacks on sincere pro-lifers, there are verbal assaults, acts of fanaticism, and disdain in abundance. This is why we should recall that, just as Christ suffered for us, so will we experience suffering at some level. That is the price of discipleship.
Father Roger Landry wrote a few years ago that God calls each of us to discipleship: “In the face of the greatest project God has ever given us—being His faithful disciple all the way into eternal life”—we must prepare and be faithful no matter what the cost.
Yes, what happened to the Masons and dear Mr. Stadig are part of that price we pay, but in the end the devil will not be the victor if we remain steadfast in our commitment to being Christ’s willing disciples. When Archbishop Charles Chaput closed his Fortnight for Freedom homily, he said,
We need to “speak out,” not only for religious liberty and the ideals of the nation we love, but for the sacredness of life and the dignity of the human person—in other words, for the truth of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God.
We need to be witnesses of that truth not only in word, but also in deed. In the end, we’re missionaries of Jesus Christ, or we’re nothing at all. And we can’t share with others what we don’t live faithfully and joyfully ourselves.
So let us remember these words as we proclaim the truth in our daily lives. We cannot let the evil actions of others keep us from doing Our Lord’s work. For, if fear sustains us, the devil’s work will crush us.
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.