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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

nil nisi bonum

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 10, 2006

Like its "wedding" announcements, the New York Times obituaries are often exercises in ideological indoctrination. Go ahead. See if you can guess whether Lawrence Lader is meant to be a good guy or a bad guy.

Lawrence Lader, a writer who so successfully marshaled his literary and political efforts in support of abortion rights that Betty Friedan, the feminist author, called him the father of the movement, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.

Fatherhood is an ironic accolade in this context, but I think Betty intended it to be a compliment. The Times, with an almost audible chuckle, also takes note of Lader's "sharply worded arguments."

"Basically, the opposition really hates women, which I think comes out of a woman's sexuality," he said in an interview with The Body Politic magazine in 1991. "They fear women's independence -- women no longer chained to the home waiting for the man with a rose in their teeth."

If Pat Buchanan had used the same line when speaking of, I don't know, the Log Cabin Republicans' attitude toward Phyllis Schlafly, do you think the NYT would have smilingly called it an "argument"? Well, to the saints all things are lawful, and Lader's canonization -- at least in the eyes of the editors -- is assured by his choice of enemy:

In 1976, he left the abortion rights league, in part because he believed it was becoming too establishmentarian. He founded a new group, Abortion Rights Mobilization, that aggressively fought his battles against the Catholic Church and for RU-486.

A warrior for justice -- fighting, note, not against "the predominantly Catholic-led anti-abortion forces," but against the Catholic Church. No wonder he got such a send-off. An Abraham-in-reverse, he was hostile, and it was credited unto him as righteousness.

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