I must confess that I have been • slow to realise my own culpability with regard to issues such as abortion. Although I have been ready to denounce abortion and stress the "sanctity of life", I cannot now avoid the fact that I myself am part of the society which kills its unwanted, unborn babies.
Should I be content with my usual answer that as the system works I can do very little else but pray and protest? Indeed both these are very Important, but am I expecting God to answer my prayers by changing the hearts of the advocates of abortion Himself or should I expect Him to use me to do that?
As the system works I pay taxes which help to pay for the doctors and those who assist at abortions and for the hospital beds which could be put to much better use. I cannot withhold payment of taxes on conscientious or any other grounds, not do I have much say as to how my taxes are spent.
Granted that I am able to participate in the election of representatives to Parliament; local
councils, and trade unions, but how many of us determine our votes on moral issues such as abortion rather than material and financial considerations for ourselves? And indeed how often do we get the chance of voting for a candidate who makes his stand on such issues?
Perhaps, just as important as fostering vocations to the priesthood, we should encourage representatives who will stand for Christian morality rather than pagan materialism. Perhaps also it is time for us to be prepared to make material sacrifice, if that is what is necessary for the defence of our faith and morals; to forget any unnecessary personal interest and to consider that of our brothers. Is that not the one command of God Himself?
We have recently celebrated the Feast of the Forty Martyrs. We honour them for their courage in upholding the principles of their Faith in the face of persecution, not counting the cost, even to giving up life itself.
If we honour the martyrs, should we not also learn from their example? Our society is no longer called Christian, not because Christians are in a minority but because I, and so many others like me, am no longer a true Christian. I can be called to task myself for murder and such crimes because I look to myself and my comforts before the needs of my brothers.
So I would suggest that we must take courage and vote as our parliamentary, local council, and trade union representatives those who aim not for our material advancement but those whose priorities are the values of Christianity and those who will fight to ensure a moral use of the money we put at government disposal.
I would also encourage all who have the ability and who wish to uphold Christian values to offer themselves as candidates for the various elections, and the rest of us to pray for them and give them every assistance possible, Ted Rooney Allen Hall 28 Beaufort Street Chelsea London, SW3 In the polytechnic at which I teach, both the NUS and my own union NATFHE are affiliated to the
National Abortion Campaign. and the latter are very active, with a rash
of stickers periodically flowering on the walls supporting "A woman's right to choose," and students wearing large badges to the same effect.
There is also a so called "Woman's Group" on the staff which acts as a pressure lobby at Union meetings, and which mere males are far too terrified to oppose.
The Trotskyites have their bookstall in the main hall all day on Fridays, and these too, well patronised particularly by overseas students, carry pro-abortion literature. Less than half the size of the Trotskyites, and much less glossy, a Students' Christian Union bookstall makes its appearance for the Friday lunch-hour only, but these have had to discontinue distributing Life literature with which I had provided them as they can only operate under the umbrella of NUS and must not do anything directly contrary to its official policy.
I was so incensed on hearing this, and by the ubiquitous Trotskyites, that I plastered the notice-boards both in the staff room and the hall, with handwritten posters inviting anybody interested in forming a Life or SPUC group within the polytechnic to contacf me; hut these were quickly torn down, or embellished with such comments as "Why should he worry; he's not going to get pregnant!" So far, I have had no support at all.
What is particularly discouraging is that Catholics themselves are lukewarm or even hostile. One Catholic woman told me that I had no right to try to impose my morality on society generally or to interfere in what must be a private decision of the mother-to-be.
She said I should be more concerned with the millions dying through starvation or killed in war; every case had to be looked at individually, and there were cases where abortion was the only answer; she did not think one was a "person" before one was born, and one could not therefore (as I had done in my posters) equate abortion with murder.
A fellow ntember of the Christian Staff Association, a Methodist, told me that his Church supported the existing abortion legislation while a devout Anglican, not at the polytechnic, admitted sadly to me that his Church was lukewarm on the subject, but he agreed that Catholics were right to take a more positive view. It seems to me that our Church is not doing enough to educate our own people, through the pulpit, on the biblical and other reasons why abortion is always wrong and must be contested; or to formulate short-term policy objectives of the anti-abortion campaign which lay people could easily publicise; or gently to pressurise our fellow Christians, particularly Anglicans to enter the fray with us. Surely moral issues such as abortion are more of a bar to full intercommunion than the purely hypothetical question of women priests for which there are protagonists in both camps?
I sympathise with the gentleman who ha withdrawn from NALGO and am considering my own coon viz a viz NATFHE but 1 should welcome any suggestion from your readers as to how best to swim aainst what seems the overwhelming tide in an environment such as a modern polytechnichic.
A. P. Hill Twickenham Middlesex How many members of NALGO actually know that their trade union is affiliated to the National Abortion Campaign?
I have just returned from a meeting of my branch of NALGO, where I made a formal protest against this affiliation.
Not wishing to be emotive, I asked why, as a trade union, NALGO considered it necessary or desirable to become involved in this campaign. No satisfactory answer emerged. although one speaker used one word which reveals all — apathy.
NALGO is the fifth largest whitecollar union in Britain. Don't resign, you anti-abortionists. Stand up mid be counted.
(Mrs) P. E. Liunpard Worcester Park Surrey