Monday, 8 September 2014

The challenges which face young people joining the pro-life battle

Jim Hughes 20140907
Jim Hughes
Delegates at SPUC's national conference 2014 were energized by the inspiration and great humour of Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition in Canada and vice-president of the International Right To Life Federation. Here are some of the key points from Jim's address on "The challenges which face young people joining the pro-life battle"

The backbone of the pro-life movement is the person who looks out at you from the mirror every morning. Be joyful that God has called us to this work. We are the chosen. Many people had the opportunity to be here this weekend; you said yes. You have the knowledge and have to pass it on.

Jim said that he comes from humble origins. The late Blessed Mother Teresa said that the beautiful thing about the pro-life movement is that it's ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Jim started in the pro-life movement when his wife Ginny took him to a meeting of Ontario Right To Life. He said to myself: I'll give God two years of service in the pro-life movement. God laughed - Jim has now been in the pro-life movement for several decades.

The situation in Canada is dire. Many people, including clergy, are ignorant about the situation. Jim encourages pro-lifers to 'adopt-a-clergyman' to educate him. Listen to what individuals tell you, because we're going to win people over, not in groups, but one-by-one.

Young people are not the future of the pro-life movement; they are the present. The late Fr Richard Neuhaus said that the old have to mentor the youth. We need to build them up. The head of Priests for Life in Canada is one of Jim's former interns. Jim met John-Henry Westen when he was a seven year-old in shorts. John-Henry is now the head of, the world's largest pro-life news-agency. Pro-life organisations need to:
  • educate the summer interns
  • send young people to the United Nations
  • put young people in charge of something
  • watch them grow
  • give them responsibility.
Jim said that Campaign Life Coalition established the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus in the Canadian parliament. CLC also started Business for Life.

Jim warned of the dangers of unprincipled legislative attempts to change the law on abortion in a ostensibly pro-life direction. He also warned about abortion committees in hospitals - including both Catholic and Evangelical hospitals.

Jim, a veteran pro-life leader, concluded with these words of wisdom:
  • Look at the Sacrifice of the Cross - we can put up with a little bit of suffering - look at Alison Davis's story which we heard yesterday
  • Justice Clarence Thomas has said: In the end, it will not be the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends that can defeat us
  • Recognise that the people who don't share our views are human beings too, and equally loved by God
  • Deal with what's at your feet.
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