There were none of the graphic images of aborted fetuses that unsettle so many people, nor was the word abortion even mentioned. As flags go, it could hardly have been more humdrum. But, oh my, it caused a flap.
It was raised at Ottawa City Hall at sunrise on May 11 to mark the 20th annual March for Life. Barely had the cock crowed before social media erupted into fits of outrage aimed at local politicians for giving even this modest nod to a pro-life event. By mid-day, the flag was gone and the mayor was sheepishly promising to review the city’s flag policy.
The flag may have been drab but the anger it stirred symbolized something quite striking. It illustrated yet again just how loud, persistent and influential the pro-abortion lobby can be. And how quickly it can mobilize on Twitter and such to make politicians tremble. And how swiftly and totally those politicians will cave in to the clamour. And how apathetic much of society has become to the life debate.
It’s all quite sad. For two decades, Campaign Life Coalition has worked incredibly hard to organize the annual March in Ottawa to ensure life issues remain prominent in the minds of lawmakers, church leaders and ordinary citizens. The March itself, Ottawa’s longest running annual demonstration, has succeeded in rallying an annual cry for social justice. Campaign Life deserves much credit — and gratitude — for that. Yet the victories emanating from the March have been small compared to the many setbacks inflicted by judges and politicians.
In the past two years alone, we’ve endured the following: a Prime Minister declare the Liberal Party has no room for candidates who believe life in the womb deserves protection; a pro-euthanasia Supreme Court ruling that triggered new laws to make it legal for doctors to fatally inject certain patients; a Health Canada approval of the abortion pill to facilitate at-home pregnancy termination; a new government policy backed by hundreds of millions of dollars to fund overseas abortions; and, most recently, a Liberal directive to expel pro-life organizations from a supposedly non-partisan government program that creates summer jobs for students.
But if there is a silver lining it is that the crowd of 15,000 on Parliament Hill was largely under 30. Those young people are the future.
Citing St. Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Thomas Collins told them not to expect to reach all their goals right away. He urged them to keep trying to “get something” in a long march to achieving everything. Use hands, hearts and heads to defend the sanctity of life, he urged.
In other words, keep flying the flag.