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Mother Teresa & Empowerment


By Dale Vree | May 1994

What could be more of a yawn than one of those National Prayer Breakfasts in Washington, D.C., where politicians, from the President on down, get a chance to display their piety? And why, oh why, are these events so cherished by the flag-wavers in the Bible Belt? Is it because the mere sight of American leaders bowing their heads reassures neo-Puritans that America still is God’s specially anointed nation?

But the Prayer Breakfast this past February was something else again. The national press largely ignored it, and while the New Oxford Review is not a news publication, there was news in this event which deserves to be noted, even carved in granite. The speaker was Mother Teresa, so the power players in the audience didn’t get their egos massaged with a message about how special America is in God’s sight, and therefore how special they are. Quite the contrary.

The amazing thing is that Mother Teresa said something which too few priests or ministers have the gumption to say, even in their own parishes, let alone in front of a pro-choice President: “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other…? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.” At that moment, many people in the audience rose to their feet to applaud, but President Clinton just grabbed for his water glass (did some­thing stick in the throat there, Mr. President?), and Hillary and Handsome Al and Tipper just stared blankly.

It was perhaps the most memorable moment in this presidency to date, and you can be sure Mother Teresa won’t be invited to the White House for din­ner. That little wrinkled woman has guts.

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