Mike Schwartz (activist)

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Michael Schwartz (1950-February 3, 2013) was an American leader in the United States pro-life movement, a co-founder of the March for Life, and founding chairman of the Planned Parenthood watchdog organization Life Decisions International. He was a member of Operation Rescue and Chief of Staff to Senator Tom Coburn until 2000, and from 2004 to 2012. In November 2012, before Schwartz' death when Schwartz was no longer able to fulfill his duties because of his advancing illness, Senator Tom Coburn paid tribute to Schwartz on the Senate floor as "one of the kindest, gentlest people anyone has ever met.” Schwartz was Catholic.[1]

In 1995 Schwartz was named executive director of the House Family Congressional Caucus. He also worked as a vice president for Concerned Women for America.[2]

Activism[edit]

St. Stephen Martyr Church DC

Michael Schwartz became a member of the Sons of Thunder (a name chosen in reference to the Gospel of Mark 3:14-19)[3] at the University of Dallas in 1969. He traveled to DC from Texas with other members of the Sons of Thunder at the first Pro-Life March in Washington, DC on June 6, 1970. This activism was not initiated by Nellie Gray (activist) but by the brother-in-law of William F. Buckley and the founding editor of Triumph (magazine), a convert to the Roman Catholic faith, L. Brent Bozell, Jr., who launched the magazine as the "Catholic version" of his brother-in-law's Conservative political publication the National Review.

Michael Schwartz (third from right) listening to L Brent Bozell, Jr speak at the rally at GW Circle on June 6, 1970

Mike says Triumph (magazine), "became the seedbed for the pro-life movement of the 1960s.” Michael Schwartz and his Triumph-enthused fellow students at the University of Dallas formed the Sons of Thunder, one of the first pro-life groups in America. They promptly occupied a Planned Parenthood facility in Dallas and promptly got arrested. For his whole professional life, Mike was at the center of all the most important pro-life activities. With Nellie Gray and others, he founded what became the March for Life.

The Catholic Thing, [4]

When the US Catholic Bishops on April 22, 1970 officially[5] avoided active leadership in dealing with the incremental legalization of abortion in CA, NY and DC and what many still consider the mass murder and genocide[6] of American citizens by abortion on demand in the USA, and these bishops simply announced, instead, that the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child covered what needed to be said, L. Brent Bozell, Jr. announced that, as the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II had recommended, it was time for some of the laity to initiate serious Catholic action, so Bozell scheduled his lay Catholic "action" for June 6, 1970. Students, like Michael's group from Dallas, Triumph (magazine) staff and contributing writers, together with families and subscribers from the Washington Metro area, New England and various other States came to Washington, DC and met at St Stephen Catholic Church on Pennsylvania Avenue for Mass (liturgy), then gathered on George Washington Circle for a rally afterwards. Photos of the event included L. Brent Bozell, Jr., Chris and Ann Bozell, Michael Schwartz and others at this Lay Catholic Action in front page headline and other news articles on June 6 and 7, 1970 in the Evening edition of The Washington Star and the Sunday edition of The Washington Post.

Biography[edit]

Michael Schwartz grew up in Philadelphia, poor and in family chaos: “My father was a drunken, adulterous wife beater. I remember my father beat the crap out of my mother frequently. He wanted me to meet his girlfriends. I started driving when I was seven. I took him to their homes. He became for me the permanent image of what I did not want to be. ” This was the seedbed for what became a man of deep and abiding faith: “I think I got all the breaks. I’ve had a very blessed life.” His life’s trajectory was likely set when one of his young friends gave him a copy of National Review. Until then, he didn’t know he was a conservative. This led to Mike’s becoming a charter subscriber to Triumph (magazine).[1]

In 2011, Michael Schwartz was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He died in the company of his wife, children and grandchildren on February 3, 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baklinski, Thaddeus. "Pro-life, pro-family leader Mike Schwartz dies at 63: co-founder of March for Life". LifeSiteNews.com. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  2. ^ "Michael Schwartz". The Washington Post. July 26, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  3. ^ "James & John are known as Sons of Thunder". thecatholiccommentator.org. 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  4. ^ "The Catholic Thing". thecatholicthing.org. 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-02-08. 
  5. ^ "NCCB Statement on Abortion". priestsforlife.org. 1970-04-22. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  6. ^ "Dr Alveda King Tells Students of Modern Day Black Genocide". thecollegefix.com. 2014-05-01. Retrieved 2014-05-01.