Reaction has been predictable, and traffic on Douglas Farrow's blog in the National Post has brought some heated discussion (much of it bringing out the worst in people, I see), and that's probably one of the biggest reason why we should put aside the notion once and for all. Reading through the list of Order of Canada honorees, I can't find anyone who has championed a cause that has divided the country as sharply as abortion has (indeed, it's hard to find any more divisive issue in Canada, unless it's same-sex marriage, and we know how close that vote was in Parliament). The people on that list -- Ofra Harnoy, Bryan Adams, Jack and Doris Shadbolt, George Clutesi, Tom Berger, Frank Mahovlich, Jean Beliveau, Ed Mirvish, et al -- are people who still make you feel pretty darn good about being Canadian. You may not agree with the politics of Ernest Manning, Grace McCarthy, Ken Georgetti or David Suzuki, but they are people who have helped define Canada at home and around the world.
Ironically, a name that leaps out at me from the list is the late Morris Shumiatcher. Not simply a brilliant human rights lawyer, he was an eloquent opponent of abortion. Indeed, during my pre-Saved days as a broadcaster in Regina, we talked a couple of times on the issue, and he almost had me converted. But I sat quietly after the interview and allowed the secular humanist pablum to ooze back into my being.
There's a list of reasons why Morgentaler shouldn't get this. In no particular order:
- the divisiveness of the issue (which I mentioned)
- the fact that this issue has perverted the cause of women's rights. Pay equity, equal opportunity, eradicating other forms of discrimination, renewing our minds to eliminate sexually-offensive behaviour: are all things our society needed to deal with. How on EARTH did "killing pre-born babies" work its way onto that list? I know how that happened: while socially-conservative religious types were busy trying to get their heads around, fend off or even discuss rationally without a knee-jerk reaction either way, the first items on the list, Satan slipped in and, in the spirit realm, got the feminists to agree to a deal; he'd get them the secular support they needed if they'd buy into the "woman's right to choose" BS.
- the abortion issue has been a touchstone for a broader problem: "my right" has replaced "what's right" in the social agenda. Whether it's sexuality, drugs, welfare, native issues or sneaking into the country, if anyone has the temerity to point out that something isn't right, they're immediately trumped by the claim that it's a person's right. As you can see from, say, a walk through either the Downtown East Side or Davie Street, or listening to the conversation of high school-age children, our society has really benefitted from this attitude.
- as Christians, we have a duty to pray that Morgentaler does not receive the award, and I don't mean because it will be national endorsement of abortion. Word has it that Morgentaler doesn't have long to live, and if he is honored by the country, he will take that as personal vindication. As Christians, we can't let anyone fall into the hands of the enemy, and have to remember that our duty is to pray for the Salvation of everybody. Check out Matt. 18:14, to see what I mean. But there is no salvation without revelation, and if Morgentaler believes he is vindicated, it could put up the final barrier between himself and that revelation.
On further review, we need to be praying for that revelation, regardless of whether he gets the Order of Canada or not. If he doesn't get it, he could likely blame "those &*%$#*! Christians" for denying him this honor, thereby throwing up a barrier anyway. But if he gets revelation, he would well use the renewed publicity to make a public repentance and apologize to the unborn and their mothers. That could be a greater contribution to Canadian society than all the hundreds of OC honorees put together.