Democrats for Life conference seeks to advance pro-life cause

According to a 2017 Gallup Poll, between 25-30% of democrats are pro-life and close to 30% feel abortion is morally wrong.

“These democrats often feel intimidated and historically have been silenced in the Democratic Party,” said Thomas Perille. “Democrats for Life of America gives these pro-life democrats a voice.”

Perille, president of Democrats for Life of Colorado and member of the Executive Organizing Committee for the upcoming 2018 National Democrats for Life of America Conference, is eager to share the pro-life message in Denver this July.

The conference is titled “I Want My Party Back” and will take place July 20-22 at the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast.

The three messages the conference aims to spread are that pro-life democrats are an important part of the Democratic Party, abortion and assisted suicide are unnecessary, and the Democratic Party is better off embracing its pro-life members.

The event will include a series of speakers who will address life issues from abortion to assisted suicide.

“Speakers will make the case that pro-life advocacy is the civil rights issue of our time,” said Perille. “They will discuss the nexus between poverty and abortion and racism and abortion.

“Because the Democrats for Life of America’s consistent life ethic is in harmony with Catholic social teaching, it is no coincidence that more than nine speakers at the conference are prominent Catholics,” he said.

Jennifer Kraska, Executive Director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, believes the pro-life message should appeal to both Catholics and non-Catholics, as well as both democrats and republicans.

“We are living in a time of great political unrest and division,” she said. “It is my hope that a conference such as this one will help strengthen and energize the pro-life movement.”

Kraska believes that it’s important for Democrats to witness a conference that promotes “human life in the face of political opposition from their own party.

“I am also hopeful that more young people and politicians will be emboldened to stand up for their pro-life values, regardless of political party affiliation,” she said.

Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, understands that being a pro-life Democrat is not easy.

“When I meet other pro-life Democrats, they often say, ‘I thought I was the only one,’” said Day. “Bringing like-minded people together is so important to build relationships and momentum for us to work on changing our party to one that is more consistent.

“I want people to leave this conference feeling mobilized and encouraged,” she said.

The Democrats for Life conference expects to welcome 100-200 people from all over the country and hopes for a significant local Catholic turnout.

“Attendees will be buoyed by the inspirational talks from some of the most prominent and powerful pro-life speakers in the country,” said Perille. “They will be better equipped to effectively engage with their local state political leaders.”

Perille emphasized that people of all political parties are invited to attend.

“Ultimately, we strongly believe that to advance the pro-life cause, we must make it a bipartisan effort,” he said.

Democrats for Life Conference

July 20-22
Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast
Tickets start at $89
More info:

COMING UP: A caveat on the great Tom Wolfe

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When the great Tom Wolfe died on May 14 — he of the white suits, the spats, and the prose style as exuberant as his wardrobe — I, like millions of others, remembered the many moments of pleasure I had gotten from his work.

My Wolfe-addiction began on a cross-country flight in 1979, shortly after The Right Stuff was published. Always an airplane and space nut, I was fascinated by Wolfe’s re-creation of the culture of America’s test pilots and astronauts at the height of the Cold War. And there was that extraordinarily vivid writing. At one point I burst out laughing, scaring the daylights of the elderly lady sitting next to me but not daring to show her the passage — it must have involved Pancho Barnes’ Happy Bottom Riding Club, a saloon outside Edwards Air Force Base — that set me off.

After The Right Stuff got me going on Tom Wolfe, it was impossible to stop. The first half of Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers — Wolfe’s scathing account of a reception thrown for the Black Panthers by Leonard and Felicia Bernstein — remains the quintessential smack-down of political correctness among the 1% cultural elites. From Bauhaus to Our House explains why anyone with an aesthetic sense thinks something is seriously wrong with modernist architecture, and does so in a way that makes you laugh rather than cry.

Then there was Wolfe’s first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities. One of its chapters, “The Masque of the Red Death,” takes its title from Edgar Allan Poe and with mordant humor dissects the vacuity of Manhattanites consumed (and in some cases destroyed) by their grotesque, over-the-top consumerism. I recently re-read that stunning set-piece and the thought occurred, as it had before, that it was a far more effective polemic against materialism than anything ever issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Bonfire was also brilliant in skewering the destructiveness of New York’s race hustlers, the obtuseness of a values-free media, and the fecklessness of too many politicians.

Asked once by monks who run a prestigious prep school what they might do to disabuse parents of the notion that their sons were doomed if they didn’t get into Harvard, Duke, Stanford, and the like, I suggested giving a copy of I Am Charlotte Simmons to the parents of every incoming senior. Wolfe’s fictional tale of life on elite American university campuses in the 21st century is a sometimes-jarring exercise in the social realism practiced (a bit less brutally) by Dickens and Balzac. But Charlotte Simmons, like Wolfe’s other fiction, has a serious moral core and an important cultural message. The young innocent, the brightest girl in town who makes it to an elite university, gets corrupted by stages: and her moral corruption is preceded by intellectual corruption — the class in which she’s taught that there’s really nothing properly called “the truth.”

I do have one post-mortem caveat to register about Tom Wolfe’s oeuvre, which takes me back to The Right Stuff (and while we’re on that subject again, forget the inane movie). The central figure in Wolfe’s tale of aeronautical daring-do is Chuck Yeager, the man who first broke the “sound barrier” in the Bell X-1, and did so with a couple of broken ribs, which he managed in flight with the aid of a sawed-off broom handle. Yeager was an extraordinary figure who never became a national celebrity because of the (absurd) news blackout surrounding the X-1 project, and Wolfe clearly wanted to pay tribute to him as an unsung American hero.

To do so, however, Tom Wolfe seemed to think he needed a foil, and he cast astronaut Gus Grissom in that role: “L’il Gus,” the Hoosier grit lampooned as a bumbler to make Yeager look even better. And that was a grave disservice to the memory of Virgil I. Grissom, who did not mess up the second Mercury space flight (Wolfe’s account notwithstanding), and who gave his life for his country in the launch pad fire that consumed Apollo 1 — which Grissom knew to be a deeply flawed spacecraft and had urged NASA to improve.

So now that Tom Wolfe and Gus Grissom have both crossed what Wolfe once called the Halusian Gulp, I hope these two American patriots are reconciled. Both had the right stuff.