Last week, Archbishop Dolan joined an interfaith, interracial group of New Yorkers and the Chiaroscuro Foundation to decry the recently released NY City Department of Vital Statistics data that show 41% of all pregnancies in New York City in 2009 ended in abortion. For blacks, that number is 60%.
I was fortunate enough to have been invited and to be present at this historic New York event, held at the Penn Club of New York. I sat ten feet away from my Archbishop as he uttered the following scalding words:
“This is the first time in my happy 21 months as a New Yorker that I am embarrassed to be one. This New York community, which prides itself on its gritty sensitivity to those in need, is tragically letting down the tiniest most fragile and vulnerable, the little baby in the womb. We’ve got to do more than shiver over these chilling statistics. I invite all to come together to make abortion rare.”
His claim of embarrassment stunned all who heard it. After less than two years, this midwesterner whom we welcomed with open arms is embarrassed to be one of us.
I know how he feels. I’m a native New Yorker, and I feel deep shame over these numbers.
We New Yorkers pride ourselves on our sophistication and cutting-edge progressiveness, on our cultural diversity and unparalleled density of colleges, universities, museums, and other cultural meccas. We love being the giants that we believe ourselves to be in so many areas.
It’s the pride that goeth before the fall.
These abortion statistics have brought us low, and revealed the dark residue of racism that lurks within. The journalists present were not their smarmy New York selves. They didn’t know how to respond. They were disquieted. Every heart in the room hearing of these data for the first time must have sounded like so many Germans after World War II, when they swore that they had no idea of the mass murder happening right under their noses.
My Archbishop is embarrassed, but I am ashamed.
I am ashamed that I didn’t get involved sooner, that I often lacked the courage to speak out, that I allowed myself to be ridiculed into embarrassed silence when I did.
I am ashamed that I bought into the lie that pro-life candidates only matter at the national level, and that I have in the past voted for several pro-choice candidates locally.
I am ashamed that I didn’t always speak up in defense of my bishops when they were ridiculed for speaking up in defense of life.
I am ashamed that I didn’t take seriously the talk of black genocide years and years ago when I first heard it, thinking it to be inflammatory rabble-rousing. But the Vital Statistics tell the story of 79% of all abortions happening to black and Hispanic babies, with Planned Parenthood running 78% of their “clinics” in inner-city neighborhoods.
Archbishop Dolan has every right to feel embarrassed, but every native New Yorker who has turned a blind eye, and that includes me, ought to feel the white-hot heat of shame at 4.3 million abortions in 40 years, 3.3 million of them among blacks and Hispanics.
What good are all of those Universities, museums, and concert halls when the streets run with the blood of innocents on a scale so vast that it beggars the imagination? If we, the most educated, the professors, will not raise our voices in alarm and disgust at these appalling numbers, then what does our scholarship avail civilization?
Is civilization only to be the province of a racial elite?
I didn’t sign on for that when I began graduate school, which brings me to the deepest shame of all.
My discipline, Molecular Biology, is leading the technological innovations advancing the Culture of Death: In Vitro Fertilization, genetic screening leading to abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning. Most in my field despise the pro-life movement.
If any are inclined to upbraid Archbishop Dolan for his embarrassment at being a New Yorker, they had better rank up there with Mother Theresa of Calcutta, otherwise, they had best button their lips and take a long, hard look in the mirror.
In Genesis 4:10, after Cain slays his brother Abel we read:
“The LORD said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’ “
What of the blood of 4.3 million in our city?
I’m surprised we can hear anything else at all.