“…history is largely about how people with power stomp all over those who don’t have it…”
Mary Meehan, Class of 1963, blows past the screechy stereotypes too often associated with Pro-Life advocates in the contemporary political climate. An ardent anti-war activist — a real “lefty” back in the day! — who campaigned for Senator Eugene McCarthy when he ran for president, Mary professes the fully integrated view of what it means to be truly Pro-Life, which means that she not only opposes abortion but also the death penalty, war and all forms of violence against human life. She eschews partisan labels in favor of working across the chasms that too-often separate people who, fundamentally, share the same values and views on moral issues. As I listened to Mary speak when she visited Trinity on October 1, I found myself wishing that more women like her could win the headlines and talk-show appearances that are too often dominated by demagogues who harm the cause of life.
Mary came with a clear and unapologetic message: she is recruiting the new generation of advocates for life. Her philosophy of power, summarized in the quotation above, leads her to argue that the defense of life is truly a struggle between the powerless and those who have the power to snuff out life in all of its forms. She has no patience with politicians who say it’s possible to split private moral beliefs and public actions — the consistent ethic of life requires consistency in all actions.
Scores of Trinity students and members of the faculty and staff listened to Mary’s words carefully, and some of us carried the lively conversation over to lunch where the debate ranged over ethics and law and politics and life at Trinity. Several students subsequently wrote to me to comment on how much they enjoyed this opportunity to hear from a truly committed public advocate for life, and in their messages they urged a continuing dialogue…. and so we will!