To the editor:
How we self-govern is vitally important to how our society functions and the morality it supports.
Short-comings in how we self-govern were evident in the effort to amend the Kansas Constitution in regards to abortion.
The distortive power of political lobbying was in full view. Kansas legislators supported the amendment by 69 to 31 percent. Kansas voters opposed it by 59 to 41 percent. Kansans who supported the amendment had three times more per person representation in the legislature than the Kansans who opposed it.
Whether as individuals we supported or opposed the amendment, none of us can deny that the balance of lobbying power was on the supporting side. If our elected legislators acted in accordance with the desires of Kansans, the amendment would never have been placed on the ballot.
The distortive power of political propaganda messaging was in full view. Through July 18, the opposition spent $6.3 million while the support expenditure was $5.7 million with 68 per cent of that being from my own church.
Despite this, my own church, through our archbishop, stated, “Unfortunately, we were not able to overcome the millions spent by the abortion industry to mislead Kansans about the amendment, nor the overwhelming bias of the secular press whose failure to report clearly on the true nature of the amendment served to advance the cause of the abortion industry.”
My Kansas bishops stated the proposed amendment would have restored the state Constitution to the way it was before 2019. Prior to 2019, whether or not the state constitution provides a right to abortion had never been determined. The state Supreme Court ruling determined it did. It is opposite world logic to declare adding words to the constitution does not change it.
What my Kansas bishops could have stated about the proposed amendment was that it would have changed the constitution to remove the right to abortion and allow the Legislature to ban abortion, which would align state law with church teaching. That may have caused some Kansans to vote no, but it would have been the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Instead, my Kansas bishops only stated the proposed amendment would have protected commonsense restrictions on abortion. This was skillful non-lying, the same practice used by every self-serving, dark money funded, political propaganda platform.
My church bishops are good and faithful people who would never claim to be more holy than the rest of us. The effort to amend the state Constitution showed they can share the same short-comings in self-governing that we can all succumb to.
The proposed amendment was alluring because it would have provided a relatively easy and cheap way to reduce the number of abortions through the power of law enforcement. But it failed. Democracy got in the way. For now, we are left with the more difficult and costly task to reduce the number of abortions without making abortion a crime.
There are non-governmental organizations that have been doing this for years by supporting mothers. If we increased income taxes on those of us in the top 20 percent of incomes with a small increase at the 80th percentile graduated to a large increase at the 99.99th percentile and used the money to support mothers, we could reduce the number of abortions. That is how we can self-govern and support morality. That is the political lobbying and propaganda messaging we should support.