Advice from General Grant

There’s no way to sugar-coat it.  The results of the election were very bad for those of us who are committed to pro-life, marriage and religious liberty:

  • The re-election of the President, who made his 100% anti-life agenda a centerpiece of his campaign, and who will now have no incentive to back away from his HSS mandate that violates our religious liberty.
  • Defeats for authentic marriage in four separate state ballot initiatives — with marriage being redefined in Maryland, Maine and Washington, and the defense of marriage defeated in Minnesota.
  • The defeat of two ballot initiatives in Florida — one to deny public funding for abortion and one to repeal a nineteenth century anti-Catholic provision (a so-called Blaine Amendment) in their state constitution.
  • There were, on the other hand, some signs of encouragement:

  • The people defeated (narrowly) an initiative in Massachusetts that would have legalized physician assisted suicide.
  • There remains a pro-life majority in the House of Representatives.
  • But on the whole, it was a bad evening for the causes that we hold most dear.

    Many people are reacting to this event with dismay and discouragement.  Blame is being freely thrown around, and people are even talking about giving up and abandoning the “social issues” in the public square.

    At times like these, I’m reminded of Gen. Ulysses Grant, after the Battle of Spotsylvania in May 1864.  He had recently taken over command of the Union armies, and they had just endured two grueling, bloody battles in northern Virginia.  The battles did not produce the decisive victory that Grant was hoping for, and there was sure to be political pressure on him as a result.  Union casualties were high, and everyone expected him to retreat and regroup.

    Instead, Grant gave the order to advance, and penned his famous line, “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer”.

    The battle of the Culture of Life against the Culture of Death is a long, twilight struggle that will go on for our entire lives.  It is fundamentally a spiritual battle (see Eph 6:12).  It is a contest for the hearts and souls of individuals, and thus our culture, and our laws.  It is not decided by one election, or one defeat, or even one victory.  There is no room for defeatism or despair.  We need to fight with confidence in the Holy Spirit, and determination to carry on, no matter what.

    Will you join me in taking General Grant’s advice?  Because I certainly propose to continue the fight.

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    5 Responses to “Advice from General Grant”

    1. Izabella Nagle says:

      Hope is of God, despair… not so much. I’m with you, Ed. It is in times of strife that we bond and unify (look at post-WWII Poland and the reaction to the socialist/communist efforts to eradicate religion). In this “winter time” of Catholicism we shall see the forest for its barest and truest form, we shall see the dead branches fall away, and we shall rejoice at the promise of life contained in the ROOT. Our Spring will come…

    2. Peter Rox says:

      I think now that the election is behind us, that we should all think about how the Catholic Church participates in a multicultural, diverse, multi-religion society which ostensibly has separation of Church and State, as the United States.
      The fact is that all of the positions taken by the bishops, as well as the manner and degree by which they played a high profile in this past campaign, were all controversial within the Catholic Church itself. Yes, there were numerous other religions that adopted the same or similar positions as did the Catholic bishops. However a great many religious leaders of other faiths differed with the Catholic Church also. And then there are the numerous un-affiliated believers as well as non-believers. The Catholic bishops seem to demand a Catholic pre-eminence on every position, even for non-Catholics. This is exactly the position that some Catholics argue should not be imposed upon them.
      This “all or nothing” game that the bishops have gotten us into is dangerous, and with high stakes. People who play like this must be prepared to get nothing, not just for winning their position, because they think God is on their side.
      I for one do not want my bishop or others uniting with those who are out to kill universal or near universal health care, especially when they had no fully articulated position on what would replace Obamacare, the law of the land, as House Speaker Boehner recently called it.
      I also thought that the whole Fortnight for Freedom crusade was rather ridiculous, especially the comparisons to martyrs of the past. I do not like the extreme politicizing of everything by some bishops. That is not what we are in Church for. Leave that to the televangelists that we all used to scorn. Who ever thought that our Bishops would be adopting their playbook. Do we really want bishops actually calling the US President just like “Stalin and Hitler” as did a prominent mid-west bishop? I saw church bulletins with letters from the pastor telling people that their eternal salvation was at stake if they dared to vote for a democrat. Really, this is absurd and embarrassing.
      People adopt their belief systems from the ideas of individuals whom they trust, and whose actions they find admirable. A very great number of US Catholics (and I dare say Catholics of most other countries, such as Ireland) neither trust nor admire the hierarchies that are now playing back room politician. Does anyone admire that billions =f $$$ that they have squandered in the sex abuse cases, and the way the victims were badly treated by the hierarchy for most of the crisis? Do people admire the lack of transparency in most Church decisions, whether about finances, personnel, or opening or closing institutions and parishes? The hierarchy’s positions on women, inclusive language, the investigation of the nuns, contraception, and maltreatment of gays all erode public esteem and confidence.
      I loved a song we used to sing at mass when I was in Catholic high school, “They’ll know we are Christians by our Love.” Too few Catholics are involved in the corporal works of mercy these days. One can feel smugly saved instead by just voting Republican and crying about lack of religious liberty. That is what our leadership is promoting, and the majority of the People of God rejected this on election day.

    3. It is in the greatest darkness you can see the brightest light!
      Onward and Upward! Nothing is impossible with GOD!
      We learned this very day of a saved baby because of the public prayer and witness of 40 Days for LIFE. We have the Cenacles of Life, Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosarians, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters and Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.

      We need the shepherds to lead the sheep so that all know the truth about what our FAITH is and what GOD is calling us to do.

      Once the people of faith are brought back to church you will see traditional morals winning on elections night.

      BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL II said it best:


      October 8, 1995
      Baltimore, MD

    4. DottyDay says:

      It seems to me that the Justice causes the American Church holds dear had substantial victories and at least in New York, this was all accomplished without any partisanship or troubling discourse from our clergy. As a result, the Federal Government will most likely continue to fund Catholic Charities to the tune of 67% of its annual income. Those with more than they need will be made accountable through re-distribution and alinskyite principles of fairness. Everybody will have healthcare and never have to worry again about a pre-existing condition. Those exempted like Federal workers and political elites, have old-fashioned healthcare insurance — which is only fair since they were excluded from the Affordable Healthcare or were exempted by pharaoh’s fiat. Alas, the women’s reproductive health issue is a prickly business. But as has been said here, we’ll continue to fight and sing and pray over that one.

    5. James De Silva says:

      “Too few Catholics are involved in the corporal works of mercy these days.”

      You cite no proof. Maybe look a little closer? Or perhaps those engaged in corporal works on a daily basis do so quietly out of a sense of humility.