“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – Haile Selassie
When it comes to the voice of Pro-Life leaders and legislators in Illinois, it’s not a cat that’s got their tongue, it’s an 800-pound elephant named Bruce Rauner. In the wake of the Planned Parenthood scandal the Republican Governor has remained silent and what’s worse yet, Illinois’ journalists, Pro-Life activists, and fellow Republicans seem to prefer it that way.
Governors of at least seven states have either halted funding to Planned Parenthood or ordered special investigations into the allegations that they sell baby body parts, but not in Illinois and not Governor Bruce Rauner. And so far, no one has called him on it.
Fostering a code of silence around a governor who supports abortion rights is to be expected among journalists, even when he’s a Republican, but when Pro-Life leaders in the community and the statehouse are silently complicit then something is rotten in Springfield. Is this not the greatest tragedy, “the appalling silence of the good people”, mentioned by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.?
Not to say that these groups have been altogether silent about Planned Parenthood, there has been a relentless race to the podium and dozens of fundraising appeals to assure us that these groups “matter” and like Rahm and Hillary that they’ll never let a good crisis go to waste. But when it comes to asking the governor to act, Pro-Life leadership is sitting this one out. When it comes to even mentioning the name “Bruce Rauner” in the same sentence as “Planned Parenthood,” mum’s the word.
If Rauner was a Democrat do you think these groups would maintain a conspiracy of silence?
During the same period that leaders have ignored Rauner they have openly attacked Republican Senator Mark Kirk for his support of Planned Parenthood. Why challenge Kirk and not Rauner?
“Recent videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress have exposed very clearly the gruesome practices in particular of Planned Parenthood,” says Calvin Lindstrom, Executive Director of the Christian Emergency League. “Attention has been given to Mark Kirk for his refusal to vote for cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood, but what pressure is being placed on Gov. Rauner?”
If you’re a stranger to Illinois politics this seems a paradox: why attack a Republican senator for virtually the identical position on Planned Parenthood as the Republican governor?
Truth be told, Rauner is much worse on Planned Parenthood than Mark Kirk. In Fiscal Year 2015 he funded Planned Parenthood of Illinois and other affiliates to the tune of $8 million taxpayer dollars. And recently his comptroller took a beating for cutting off funding to disabled individuals while over-funding Planned Parenthood.
But it’s not just public money that Rauner sends to Planned Parenthood, he and his wife have allegedly donated upwards of $1 million of their own money. Candidate Rauner even appeared on an ACLU stage with Jan Schakowsky in an event planned by his own wife to raise money for abortion rights; demonstrating once more that liberals are much more committed to their causes than most professing conservatives.
What have “Pro-Life voices” done to challenge this governor’s position? For the most part, run for cover.
Yet on Thursday, September 3rd, a dozen or so Pro-Life “leaders” called a press conference outside of Mark Kirk’s Chicago office to “Rebuke Senator Kirk for his recent vote in support of Planned Parenthood and challenge him to support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”
After mentioning “Planned Parenthood” and “Mark Kirk” dozens of times, what would you guess was the over/under on the mention of “Bruce Rauner” or “governor”? If you guessed zero then “Winner, winner, Chicken-dinner!” “As we must account for every idle word,” writes Benjamin Franklin, “so must we account for every idle silence.” When I asked the coordinator of this event if she planned on protesting the governor as well, she didn’t answer (but she did “Like” the comment on her Facebook post). So, there’s that.
But the ultimate irony of the Kabuki Theater that was the September 3rd press conference was that a number of the more dynamically outraged “leaders” had openly supported Bruce Rauner in his gubernatorial campaign just a few months earlier.
That’s right, Pro-Life “leaders” and even a legislator that voted and personally lobbied for the election of a platinum donor of Planned Parenthood are now, in the wake of the Planned Parenthood undercover videos, stomping their feet in disgust. In front of cameras and microphones of course, — “And please send checks to the address at the bottom of your screen.”
Selective outrage is hardly a profile in courage. Convenient neutrality is an illusion. Virtue doesn’t have a selector switch. “We must take sides,” argues Elie Wiesel. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” The stunning silence of our friends will only encourage Governor Rauner’s appalling position on the value of life in the womb.
So what does Rauner have that Kirk doesn’t? Personal fortune and leverage is about all that I can discern. But to gauge the effect that this governor has had on Pro-Life voices in Illinois, you’d swear he left a couple severed horse heads in strategically placed bedrooms.
Then again, we are talking about Illinois. And here, to paraphrase Wilcox, “To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men…and women, and legislators, and Pro-Life “leaders,” and sadly, even the church.