ColumnsMaking a Difference

A State of the Union address for the poor and vulnerable

My fellow Americans and fellow citizens of the world, the greatness of a nation is not measured by its military or economic power, but to the degree it is willing to help the poor and vulnerable.

Tragically, however, to a very significant extent the United States continues to ignore the poor and vulnerable.

Since the 1973 legalization of abortion in the U.S., approximately 60 million unborn babies have been brutally dismembered and killed through this barbaric practice. A civilized society does not kill babies.

And so tonight I urge the Congress to completely defund Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion provider – and to move quickly in passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting full protection to every human being from conception to natural death.

Over 40 million Americans live below the poverty level – including 13 million children. Many impoverished families have at least one adult working full time for very low wages.

Therefore, I urge the Congress to pass legislation raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 an hour.

Over 27 million Americans do not have health insurance. To remedy this ill, I ask Congress to make Medicare available to every person residing in the U.S.

The famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton said, “The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.” Yet, many in the U.S. and world glorify violence instead of God.

Gun homicide rates are far higher in the U.S. than in any other high-income country. Therefore, I call upon the Congress to pass universal gun registration and background check legislation.

Terrorism is being fueled by the countless deaths of innocent civilians caused in many instances by the ongoing wars America continues to fight; as well the presence of U.S. military forces in many countries where such forces are often viewed as supporting American corporate interests like oil.

Tonight I put before my fellow citizens a far better response to terrorism than flexing military muscles and waging war. Instead, let us undertake the highly moral and good-will creating cause of the total elimination of global poverty and hunger by 2025.

Therefore, I urge Congress to annually transfer $100 billion dollars from the astronomical $700 billion military budget to be used for this life-saving endeavor.

And I am issuing an executive order halting all sales and gifts of weapons abroad, the closing of the 800 military bases around the world, and the complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces worldwide.

Also, I have instructed our ambassador to the United Nations to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which is designed to eliminate all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. And I urge the Senate to quickly ratify it.

Desperate people fleeing violence and poverty are at our southern border begging for help. As Pope Francis teaches, let us build bridges instead of walls. Congress needs to pass just, comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year.

Nearly all climate scientists agree that the catastrophic dangers of global warming are caused overwhelmingly by human use of oil, coal and gas.

Therefore, I urge Congress to pass a Green New Deal bill designed to move America toward totally clean energy – provided by wind, solar and geothermal renewable sources.

Let us ask God for the courage to move form nationalism to global solidarity, from militarism to multi-lateral disarmament, and from greed to an equitable sharing of the world’s resources.

God bless America and all the people on planet Earth!

After the March for Life – keep walking!

By Tony Magliano

In the more than 30 annual Washington, D.C. Marches for Life I have participated in, I always think the current march is the largest ever. But since accurate figures are hard to come by, it usually comes down to taking a good guess.

But a 60-second time-lapse video produced by Students for Life of America clearly reveals, regardless of the exact number, that this year’s March flowed on and on (check it out

It’s heartening to see that lots of people care. But do we really care enough?

As important as they are, the annual Washington March for Life, Walk for Life West Coast, Midwest March for Life (Feb. 2) and dozens of similar events at state capitols throughout the U.S., are simply not enough.

I remember some years ago, just before our bus left for the March for Life, a well-meaning priest congratulated us for doing our yearly duty to protest abortion and protect unborn life. While he certainly meant well, he didn’t quite grasp the horrific reality that the approximate 900,000 brutal abortions each year in the U.S. (see:, and the estimated 56 million annual abortions worldwide (see: – urgently requires various ongoing efforts throughout the entire year.

While many marchers actively work to end abortion and support women in difficult pregnancies throughout the year, many do not.

Years ago, the late Nellie Gray, who founded the March for Life, told me that if just Catholics alone tirelessly stood up and demanded an end to abortion, it would end!

But sadly, we are not paying enough attention to this tragedy. Perhaps after all these years of legalized abortion, we have gotten somewhat use to it.

Homilists rarely rally us around the plight of our tiny unborn brethren – or for that matter the plight of our war-torn, hungry, poor, homeless, migrant, sick sisters and brothers, and the environmentally wounded planet we all share.

Abortion centers have very few people, and often no one, standing in peaceful, prayerful witness on behalf of the unborn babies being killed within these so-called clinics.

Education at all levels regarding the barbaric reality of abortion (see:, and the miraculous wonder of human development from the moment of conception onward (see: is not sufficiently happening.

Legislators are not being swamped throughout the year with phone calls, email and text messages insisting that they pass legislation to protect the most vulnerable human beings among us.

We absolutely need to put political pressure on our elected officials to do the morally right thing. For as the saying goes and is true in most cases, “Politicians don’t see the light until they feel the heat.” We need to turn up the heat!

Even new born infants are less vulnerable than unborn babies, for it is a rare person who will murder the helpless baby he or she can see.

But in this case there is light at the end of the tunnel. A wonderful international effort by the Knights of Columbus has provided 1,000 ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers and pro-life health clinics throughout the U.S. and in several countries, thus allowing mothers and fathers to see their miraculous unborn babies (see:

We would do well to walk in the footsteps of the nonviolent Jesus and his early followers, proclaiming in word and deed that no life is disposable, and that every person is a beloved child of the God of life!


Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at