William F. Buckley, Jr. - May He Rest in Peace
(1925 – 2008)
With the passing of a cultural icon such as William F. Buckley, Jr., there will be the appropriate tributes and acknowledgment of his contribution, not just to the American political scene, but also to the American culture at large. But it is especially appropriate to address is very strong pro-life stand, not just because he was a practicing Catholic (as we see many Catholics in politics today who publicly dissent from the Church’s teaching on the subject), but because he addressed the issue as a universal moral concern for human rights. As he wrote almost four years ago to the day on February 25, 2004 in National Review Online in his criticism of John Kerry’s position on abortion,
“It is true that the Catholic Church as an institution is the most visible opponent of routinized abortion. But its opposition to the practice is not based on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It is based on the proposition that human beings are human beings even if they have not yet been born. Those who are helpless are, it is all but universally held in
Buckley was staunchly pro-life and castigated against the politicians and judges who believed that they could deny the right to life to the unborn. His brother can for the U.S. Senate and introduced the Buckley Human Life Amendment. He encouraged people to make a difference, but asked that they do so with logic and common sense.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting WFB when I was a college student at the
As I was learning how to discuss the issues of abortion, I remember his approach was always to address the reason of the argument and to avoid the emotional rants that often inflict themselves in a debate. I would use for example the notion that there really was not a debate about the humanity of the child because the science had conclusively proved the point. The only thing up for debate was whether one should be able to kill innocent children because they lived in the womb and had not been born. This approach did not sit well with my law professors or fellow law students who did not share my enthusiasm for using science to prove my point. But WFB gave young pro-life lawyers bent on making a difference encouragement by his columns and his life. For that I am appreciative. I also think that his interviews with Malcolm Muggeridge provided us with a salient example of defending Christianity and specifically Catholicism during a time (and it has not ceased) when the Church and her defenders were under attack. For a young man discerning that which was true and not in a college and later legal environment, such conversations were very helpful.
So it is that every life can add to the betterment of the world and her people. We need only realize the gifts which God has given us and then decide to share them with those around us.