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Violence is becoming the preeminent means of political action

The Biden administration’s fondness for abortion is no excuse for dragging its feet in protecting the rights—and the lives—of people who seek protection for the unborn.

Vandals smashed nearly a dozen windows and spray-painted messages on the side of the building housing the Lennon Pregnancy Center in Dearborn Heights, Mich., June 20, 2022. (CNS screen grab/Facebook, Lennon Pregnancy Center)

America’s culture war has turned violent. The violence has always been there of course, just below the surface, but lately it has erupted into full, frightening view.

I’m not speaking just now of mass killings like the massacres in Uvalde and Buffalo. Those atrocities are not culture war blips but monstrous acts of premeditated evil performed by apparently deranged individuals on a scale that places them in a category best described as demonic.

What I mean here, though, are comparatively mundane gestures of semi-rational, hate-filled viciousness springing from ideological roots—things like the firebombing of pregnancy centers and prolife offices and the desecration of churches, carried out, it appears, by culture warriors of the left furious at finding themselves no longer as dominant as they once considered themselves.

A bizarre manifesto issued by a group calling itself Jane’s Revenge expresses this mentality. Threatening to destroy “the infrastructure of the enslavers” and declaring it “easy and fun…to attack,” this weird screed announces, “We answer to no one but ourselves.” Maybe Jane’s Revenge doesn’t. But it is easy to see here a world view that cuts across issues and institutional lines and infects a number of groups and individuals at both ends of the ideological spectrum.

Reinforced by repetitive indoctrination via ultra-violent movies, ultra-violent TV shows, and ultra-violent video games, this way of thinking points to a frightening conclusion: When push comes to shove, violence is the preeminent way—indeed, the preferred way—of resolving conflicts. And powerfully supporting this predisposition to violence is the “gun idolatry” that conservative commentator David French calls “a form of gun fetish that’s fundamentally aggressive, grotesquely irresponsible, and potentially destabilizing to American democracy.”

It’s no coincidence that the fresh upsurge of culture war violence began amid speculation that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision by which the court imposed abortion on demand on the nation. After all, the single most powerful influence for decades in fomenting violence as a problem solver has been the easy availability of abortion that Roe made possible. Now that the court has finally rid us of that ghastly decision, there is reason to fear even more violence—egged on this time by the howls of pro-abortion politicians and media.

In 2020 abortions in the U.S. totaled a mind-numbing 930,000. In the course of that year more than one pregnancy in five was terminated by abortion. These are horrifying numbers in a nation whose Founders declared that America was grounded first of all in the God-given right to life as the necessary precondition of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A group of religious and prolife leaders, noting the Biden administration’s “relative silence” in the face of attacks on churches, pregnancy resource centers, and prolife organizations, has called on the Justice Department for stepped up investigation, prosecution, and prevention of these crimes. In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke they condemned the wave of violence as “a manifest injustice that requires prompt, comprehensive and public response.”

Vigorous law enforcement really is needed, and the Biden administration’s fondness for abortion is no excuse for dragging its feet in protecting the rights—and the lives—of people who seek protection for the unborn. But in the end the upsurge of culture war violence has a solution that lies beyond the reach of the FBI and federal courts. Here Jesus’ words are probably applicable: “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9.29).

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About Russell Shaw 271 Articles
Russell Shaw was secretary for public affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference from 1969 to 1987. He is the author of 20 books, including Nothing to Hide, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America, Eight Popes and the Crisis of Modernity, and, most recently, The Life of Jesus Christ (Our Sunday Visitor, 2021).


    • Nonsense. The only violence was when an unarmed Ashli Babbitt was gunned down by a Capitol Police officer. We’re also finding out that the FBI seems to have had a hand in this and none of the protesters were armed. Yes, it was goofy and a protest against the results of the 2020 election but insurrection, absolutely not. The Democrat lying about this is legion because they’re afraid of Trump returning and are trying to find any pretext to keeping him from running in 2024.

    • Yeah, those selfie-snappers were a serious threat to democracy!

      Keep living in that liberal media dream world.

      So, it’s OK to

    • Dom:

      Ever since “the mostly peaceful” protests orchestrated by the political left and executed by its street militia, the message has been received:

      “Choose civility…or else.”

      The violence of summer 2030 has been publicly condoned by the leadership of the Democratic Party, for example, her holiness Pelosi with her rubber stamp: “People are gonna do what they’re gonna do.”

      If someone of the left can condemn P and her cohort for the violence that they unleash, then that indicates that a reasonable and well intentioned discussion might be possible.

      I hope that such possibilities increase in the next 1 and 2 years.

      We shall all see…

  1. As we distance ourselves from God, in the church, home, workplace and school; disaster and lawlessness increase. Those in leadership eschew the best and too often chase after the wind.

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

    Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

    Matthew 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

    Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.

    May we ask God for wisdom, discernment and faith.

  2. In 2011 Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama decided that the Justice Department (and state attorneys general) would remain SILENT—would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) approved by Congress in 1996…

    Now we read that “a group of religious and prolife leaders, noting the Biden administration’s ‘RELATIVE SILENCE’ in the face of attacks on churches, pregnancy resource centers, and prolife organizations, has called on the same Justice Department for stepped up investigation, prosecution, and prevention of these crimes.”

    The Supreme Court has corrected its own previous fiction that the claimed rite (!) to abort unborn children is protected by the Constitution. That the Constitution is firstly principled, rather than only evolutionary, is a restored fact hard to swallow for a society reared in its own fictions.

    Before he “evolved” (after the 2012 re-election), in the 2008 election year President Obama said “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman; I am not in favor of gay marriage.” This was a flat out lie according to his political advisor at the time, David Axelrod (recounted by Thomas McArdle, “Is Al Smith Dinner Still Worthwhile,” National Catholic Register, October 30, 2016).

    It’s not about going backward; it’s all about truth and lies…

  3. When people on the left don’t get their way – they destroy things – Churches, pro-life centers, and they threaten Supreme Court Justices and picket in front of their houses – a crime by the way, because – that’s what they do.

    Somewhere Saul Alinsky is proud of them, and it’s a safe bet that not one out of ten of them know who he is.

    • Just like among those on the right, for example, Trump and the blind loyalists in his MAGA cult. When he lost the 2020 election, they staged the violent insurrection to overturn the results of the fair and square election.

  4. the 2nd Amendment is simply the means by which the Founding Father provides citizen the means to protect the liberties enjoyed by Catholic Culture, the defense of innocents as well ss the defense of home and self defence. To broad-brush project as a cult is a disservice as well as a perpetuation of a lie.

  5. What are you talking about? Every government throughout history has been violent 100% of the time. Everything a government gets it gets by holding a gun to its people’s heads and threatening them with kidnappings (imprisonments), beatings, rapes and murders. How is that not violent?

  6. Violence against opposition is a standard tactic of both fascist and communist ideologies. Both are despotic, both assume their right to destroy opposition is inherent to the perceived truth of their ideology. So Nazis could blatantly claim Jews were responsible for torching the Reichstag justifying KristalNacht Stalin would justify the Great Terror 1936-39 for murdering 750,000 Bolsheviks and suspected Bolsheviks who he perceived as a threat.
    The Party in charge of our Government is indeed likened to the dreaded Party. Driven by wealthy ideologues the current Administration is a form of pseudo Marxism, pseudo because it’s designed to destroy itself by utter chaos and deletion of historical precedence examples White Supremacy theory, Systemic Racism, Critical Race Theory, LGBT political and cultural requirement. Whereas Soviet Marxists sought to better conditions America’s pseudo Marxists are bent on self annihilation largely without knowing it. Except for George Soros who has long perceived America [and Catholicism] as the greater threat to an egalitarian globalism.
    Abortion within this American pseudo Marxist ideology is now an economic marker for increased production, not of babies, rather commerce and GNP. Birthers don’t work and take care of more mouths to feed according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Babies in her enlightened mind hurt the economy.
    Stephen King’s morbid fantasy Children of the Corn is realized by faux Catholic politicians Pelosi, Biden, Durbin and co who worship a god akin to He who walks behind the rows, who inspires pitiless murder of infants. These Children refuse to protect both the innocent in the womb and the innocent in churches, pregnancy centers. They even go to Rome to receive the Eucharist and gladhand a smiling Isaac, I mean Pontiff. One wonders of all this. Something sinister is afoot.

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