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Friday, June 19, 2015

The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time


One of the themes of Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si would best be described as the eugenic solution to ecological problem, a solution he not only rejects but condemns. In this he is at one with Blessed Paul VI and what he says in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, perhaps the most prophetic encyclical ever written.  I am reminded of this as I read a report on the continuing investigation of the former president of  Peru, Alberto Fujimori into a sterilization programmed carried out on the poor of his country, allegedly implemented as a eugenic measure, a programme supported and funded by the UN and USAID. Half a million poor Peruvians were forcibly rendered sterile by their government in the 1990s. Dennis Sewell has the story in the Catholic Herald. Sewell also draws our attention to forced sterilization of the poor in India and similar programmes elsewhere including the US.  

Is eugenics on the rise? Well I think we all know the answer to that: yes. Are the poor being targeted because they are poor?  Yes, I think they are. The shades of Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes still haunt us and their racist, anti-human ideology is alive and well, even if hidden, not just in the organisations they founded. but in many other organisations and departments of government, the UN included. We see today, as in the past, wealthy white middle and upper classes attempting to preserve their privileges and their wealth, eschewing their responsibility to our poorer brothers and sisters, by an ideology dressed up as compassion but is in reality a means to erasing those who have a moral claim to a better life. 

Catholics were given a timely warning by Blessed Pope Paul VI which many did not heed, and still do not heed. Today the West is dying, and resentful of the fecundity and "threat" of the poor, the powerful West uses its resources to curb that threat. That is the civil rights issue of our time - not gay marriage, not "women's reproductive rights", but rather the dehumanisation, deprivation and sterilization of those who are poor. Pope Francis is quite right to draw our attention to this in his ministry and in his latest encyclical. 

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