By Jonathon Van Maren
I’m often asked how I manage to stay in good spirits when one of my primary jobs working fulltime as a pro-life activist is to research and write about the crumbling culture all around us, and that’s a pretty good question. Frustration, disbelief, and even anger are pretty regular sentiments when I’m writing about the latest cultural insanities, especially considering the fact that some of these things seem to pop up on Monday and be thoroughly entrenched by Friday.
But there are a lot of good things happening, too—as I pointed out on my podcast last weekend. Let me give you a short, encouraging list of what has happened on the front lines of the culture wars over the past several months:
Argentina voted to keep abortion out in a stunning upset that infuriated abortion activists and had them rioting in the streets as pro-lifers wildly celebrated. Across South America, pro-life people are realizing in the wake of the results in Ireland that they must mobilize and take to the streets to defend pre-born children—and they are doing so. Over 3.8 million people marched in defence of life in Argentina earlier this year.
In Guatemala, over 20,000 pro-lifers marched in the capital city to protest the government’s plans to legalize some abortions—plans that were dropped under enormous pressure from religious and pro-life groups.
In Chile, pro-lifers rallied in front of the National Palace to protest legislation that would legalize abortion prior to fourteen weeks. Pro-life activists are now confident that this legislation will fail, especially with a pro-life president determined to protect life in office.
A huge push to legalize abortion in El Salvador earlier this year failed despite huge pressure from international organizations and the abortion industry. Pro-lifers celebrated this as a victory for human rights.
In another upset for suicide activists, the Senate in Australia unexpectedly rejected the legalization of assisted suicide by a razor-thin margin of only two votes.
In the United States, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop won his case at the Supreme Court—although he’s already back in court defending his right not to bake a transgender cake. The Court also vacated a lower court ruling against Arlene’s Flowers, a second victory for religious liberty.
The Supreme Court also ruled in favor of crisis pregnancy centres in California, an essential win for both pro-lifers and freedom of speech, and upheld a stringent Arkansas law on abortion. Also in California, the state legislature withdrew their notorious “book-banning bill” on so-called “gay conversion therapy” under enormous pressure from Christian groups.
The courts are a bright spot for social conservatives amid all the clamor and chaos of the Trump Administration. Trump has already appointed dozens of originalist judges (“Scalias all the way down,” the Wall Street Journal noted), and according to the New York Times has already “flipped” two circuit courts from liberal to conservative, and is utterly transforming the judiciary—and these are changes that will far outlast his presidency.
In Canada, Premier Kathleen Wynne of Ontario was swept out of office by a crushing rebuke from voters, and Progressive Conservative Doug Ford has already repealed her radical sex-ed curriculum—although time will tell if the replacement is satisfactory. The Supreme Court also ruled in our favor in Wall v. Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, an important win for religious freedom
The pro-life movement in Canada is also continuing to experience explosive growth—something Maclean’s noted recently in a profile titled “How Canada’s growing anti-abortion movement plans to swing the next federal election,” which profiled the organization I work for, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, as well as our friends over at We Need A Law and Right Now. We’re seeing hearts and minds changed and lives saved on the streets every day.
So despite all the genuinely depressing things that are happening across the West, there have also been many reasons to be encouraged and to have hope. In every country, there are men and women who are willing to stand up and fight for the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society, and those who are willing to fight for our liberties in the face of cultural contempt and revolutionary censorship. I get to work alongside of many of them, and their example never ceases to remind me that as long as there are those that fight, the war is never finished—and nor is it lost.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.