1. Awesome turnout for the pro-life rallies. The 37th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. in January drew some 310,000 people, who marched up Constitution Avenue in a powerful witness of the right to life of the unborn to the newly inaugurated administration of President Barack Obama. Negative pro-abortion pundits in the media pointed out that this figure was 28,000 people lower than the 338,000 marchers who peacefully demonstrated last year. However, these commentators neglected to account for the devastating economic crisis that had begun to grip the whole nation and the world at the time. It speaks volumes that in spite of this turmoil, almost as many citizens showed up for the pro-life cause this year as in 2008. When adjustment is made for the country's economic condition and all the people who wanted to attend the 2009 March but were unable because of financial difficulties, this year's turnout can actually be considered an increase, in keeping with the trend seen thruout this past decade.
If the traditional, well-established March for Life leaves any lingering doubt as to the sentiments of the American public regarding abortion, the more recently founded Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco doesn't. California is a bellwether state for the nation, which means that the trends we see occurring there serve as a good indicator of the general direction the nation as a whole is taking. In 2005, the first annual Walk for Life event drew an estimated 7,000 participants. Next year 15,000 people showed up. In 2007 23,000 individuals took part; last year there were 28,000 walkers. This year, the fifth annual Walk for Life drew 36,000 demonstrators, a substantial increase from the number recorded last year. Rising from humble beginnings, in just five years the Walk for Life has quickly mushroomed into a national phenomenon in its own right, becoming a destination for pro-life advocates across the western half of the United States. Both the D.C. and San Francisco rallies demonstrated that the pro-life movement in America is healthy and vibrant despite some political setbacks in the election of 2008.
2. FOCA was defeated. For more than twenty years, a radical coalition of senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress has been trying to enact certain provisions regarding abortion into law. These include the use of federal tax dollars to fund "abortion coverage"; legalizing the performance of abortion procedures by someone other than a licensed physician; forcing all U.S. hospitals and physicians to provide abortion services regardless of their objection to the practice; the repeal of all state restrictions on abortion; and the establishment of abortion as a "fundamental right" subject to unlimited government funding and support. All of these horrifying provisions were incorporated into a single nightmare bill called the Freedom of Choice Act, which was introduced into Congress in 2007. On July 17 of that year, at a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, Illinois senator Barack Obama infamously declared, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." With the advent of the Obama administration, Congress finally had a real chance of passing this horrendous legislation. Thanks to the United States Catholic bishops and the American people, who registered their overwhelming outcry against FOCA in postcards, letters, phone calls, faxes, emails and online petitions, President Obama was unable to keep his promise upon entering the White House because the bill never reached his desk. Congress gave up its attempt to pass FOCA, and Obama's first act as president was to sign an economic stimulus bill instead.
3. Traditional marriage wins again. In November 2004, California voters had easily passed a statewide referendum which defined marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman. All was well until June 2008, when the California Supreme Court gave in to the urging of radical homosexual pressure groups and declared that the 2004 referendum adopted by 66 percent of the voters was un-constitutional. Supporters of traditional marriage quickly responded by placing a new bill, Proposition 8, on the state ballot, which rejected the high court's decision and reaffirmed the previous referendum banning any government recognition of homosexual marriage. In November 2008, the state's voters adopted Proposition 8 by a margin of 52 to 48 percent. This past May, California's Supreme Court again got involved, taking up the question of whether the new proposition approved by the voters was constitutional. On May 26, the high court ruled that Proposition 8 was constitutional, and thus the state of California from then onward would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman. This makes California the first state in the country to legalize "gay marriage" and then de-legalize it--and as with abortion, this is a pretty reliable indication of the direction our nation is taking with regard to homosexual marriage. State courts will continue trying to force legalization of homosexual "marriage" on a par with traditional marriage, and the people will continue turning it down.
So far, this trend is holding: In November, Maine became the 31st consecutive state in the union to approve a referendum preserving the legal institution of marriage as between a man and a woman.
As usual, my post has grown longer than I originally intended, so you will pardon me if I confine myself to one-liners for the rest.
4. Tate Publishing releases my first book, America's Back-Door Enemy. (June 23)
5. Pope Benedict XVI releases his first social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. (July 7)
Lastly, and the biggest of all:6. The United States House of representatives amends H.R. 3200 (America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009) to prohibit the use of federal taxpayer funds for "abortion coverage" and to reaffirm longstanding federal laws that protect the conscience rights of physicians and other health care professionals who object to conducting or participating in abortions. (November 7)
I was grateful for all of these blessings and many others this past Thanksgiving holiday. There is no denying that our country has been dragging through a lot of serious problems this year. However, at the same time we should not fail to duly appreciate the significant blessings recounted above. Nor should we forget to thank God, "from whom all blessings flow," or neglect the fact that these good things have been obtained from Him through the prayers and sacrifices of so many nuns and monks in convents and monasteries thruout this nation and the world.