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Voice, in the Wilderness Print E-mail
By David Warren   
Saturday, 15 December 2012

The leading speaker on Canada’s pro-life circuit is getting old. One does not ask a lady’s age, but I may reveal that she has now passed Grade X in a Toronto high school. Her speech-making career began way back in Grade VII, when she entered a public school contest, and chose “abortion” for her topic. Her position was, “Against.”

While the defense of a controversial position is, indeed, the whole point of these contests, my reader will perhaps be not entirely surprised to learn that her “pro-choice” home-room teacher discouraged her from defending that one. Lia Mills persisted, however, and her teacher was impressed with her delivery. Star material. Maybe she should be allowed that topic, just this once.

There was a further problem, however. The speech mentioned “God.” Lia was told it went over the boundary: take that bit out. She listened politely.

Next day, she told her teacher she had thought the matter through carefully, and no, she couldn’t possibly take God out of it. She patiently explained the logic of her speech. I can’t speak for the USA, but up here in Canada a 12-year-old explaining logical relations up to a theological level is fairly rare. The average public school teacher might be unprepared for it.

And so, God stayed in.

At the school level, the speech was well received, at least by the audience. One of the judges had walked out before it started. The others told Lia she was disqualified. But they had trouble articulating why, and after considerable further banter among themselves, reversed their decision and declared her to be the obvious winner of the contest.

By this point, Lia had her teacher foursquare behind her. They went on to the regionals. More trouble and fuss everywhere; but to make the long story short, the video on YouTube soon had a million hits, and was being translated from language to language. Lia herself had graduated to receiving hate mail and death threats. She had scored that big.

Her own mother is on record saying she does not know what got into the child. She came from a home that is Christian, and generally pro-life, but, “it’s not like we’re out every weekend picketing.” Contacted by LifeSite News, she said that she snickered at all the YouTube comments about how Lia’s mom must have put her up to this. It was the other way round. She used the word “mystery” to describe her daughter’s behavior.

Lia did, however, drop abortion as the topic for her next speech and second YouTube sensation. She selected euthanasia, instead.


        Miss Lia Mills

For what are now years, she has been speaking on the broad range of life issues to large audiences both virtual and in the flesh. One of her biggest successes was an address to 12,000 people on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. She may need security, but by now it is evident she is not the sort of person who agrees to shut up. Ever.

That she could, in fact, be highly irritating to many, I will concede. I can remember my own irritation, when one of my sons, then 12 years old, told me, “You know, dad. . .it makes more sense to think about your problem, than about how you feel about your problem.” But I got over it.

Lia has become spokeswoman for something called “Teen Defenders.” She presents herself on Twitter as: “Lover of Jesus. On fire for God. Pro-life. Survivor. Revivalist. Nation shaker. World changer. Public speaker. Dancer. Actress. Daughter. Sister.” Strong medicine to a culture weaned on fake self-deprecation.

What I found most remarkable, however, was a profile of her in a recent number of Toronto Life magazine – as nice a little island of progressive secular consumerism as one might hope to visit. When I was shown the piece, illustrated by the full-page face of very young Lia, I winced. Hooo, I thought, are they going to trash her.

But they didn’t. The whole article played it straight, presenting her as the kind of child prodigy and achiever of whom Torontonians might even, just possibly, be a little proud. The article was a small thing in the grand scheme of media impact; but one is gobsmacked from time to time.

My own first thought was, “Catherine of Siena.” Granted, my thought was over-the-top, but it occurred to me that, in the later fourteenth century, God needed someone to explain a few things to the pope. Perhaps, in the twenty-first, the pope is okay, but he needs someone to explain a few things to the people.

In particular I’ve been struck, viewing Lia’s videos, by her preternatural hold on logic. She goes right to the jugular in an intensely rational way, using whatever props come to hand. Two ice cream cones, for instance, to explain to her audience the difference between a subjective and an objective judgment; between a personal preference, and an act which defies natural law in a demonstrable way. Believe me, she didn’t learn this in school.

We may leave history to unfold as it will, but the moral of this story is already established. Where there is a will, and that will is with God, He will find a way. It really doesn’t matter that all the forces of political correctitude are arrayed against you. There are circumstances in which they collapse, in which the walls of Jericho suddenly crumble, in which the trumpet knows the right vibration. God wills us to will, in the face of an apparently insuperable enemy; through faith, to move the occasional mountain.

Wills “us,” but seldom if ever in the collective. Through my recent prattlings against the conceits of “democracy,” I have been trying to communicate this point. The God, the Christ of whom we read in the Gospels, seems to leave mob action entirely to the other side. The Vox Dei seems actually to prefer the precision of an individual voice. 
 


The maiden’s maiden speech
 
David Warren is a former editor of the Idler magazine and, until recently, a columnist with the Ottawa Citizen. He has extensive experience in the Near and Far East. His blog, Essays in Idleness, is now to be found at: http://davidwarrenonline.com/
 
 
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (19)Add Comment
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written by Manfred, December 15, 2012
@David Warren: Thank you for introducing me to Lia Mills. What an excellent article and video. "A little child shall lead them." Thanks also to the editors of TCT for putting this post on the net.
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written by Other Joe, December 15, 2012
It is hard to pass down generational delusions. The youth have no investment in them. A young man I know watched the Who leaping about and abusing their instruments during the 12-12-12 concert on television. He had no idea who they were (ironically singing "Who are You?") and he thought they were undignified (he used a slang term) oldsters who had no obvious reason for their agitation. Certainly the lyrics provided no emotional drive and the tune was lame and repetitive. "But..." was all I got out before seeing them through his eyes. Talkin bout my g-g-g-g-eneray-shun.
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written by Sherry, December 15, 2012
Thank you for this incredible story about Lia! I am sitting here trying to find the right words to describe my feelings after having watched the video - but words like fabulous and fantastic are just not good enough. Brilliant and astounding don't quite capture it either. No wonder Jesus had a special place in His heart for children. Lia captured the essence of the abortion problems in a way that can't help to touch everyone's heart, soul, and mind. A million thanks for sharing this. Lia and her family will be in my prayers!
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written by Clement Williams, December 15, 2012
Yes Mr. Warren, perhaps not a Catherine of Siena, but even more - As Psalm 8 says so aptly "Out of the mouths of babes and infants". God has provided a 'Little Child' to show us a Way out of the wilderness using the very tools that Satan has been successfully to drive the 'adults' into it.
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written by Ib, December 15, 2012
Thank you, David, for another great post. This young woman is amazing.
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written by WSquared, December 15, 2012
Mr. Warren, I thought this video was amazing! One niggling and even problematic point, though, which she may or may have not have brought up in her other videos (and hey, she was only 12 at the time) is the one about "unprotected sex."

Ms. Mills has set the table on abortion admirably, with clarity, logic, and with a lot of moxie. Also, one can't cover everything in a short video, and one is always learning. But it is also nonetheless worth addressing what enables people to think that engaging in sexual intercourse should not come with the possibility of pregnancy unless one "wants it to"-- which goes right back to a point Ms. Mills brings up in the video: is a fetus a child only when one wants it?

The problem with the euphemism "unprotected sex," wherein it's a popularly touted truism that "unprotected sex makes babies" is that it is still a back-handed compliment to the obvious: sex makes babies.
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written by Howard Kainz, December 15, 2012
"WSquared" makes a good point. The warning against "unprotected sex" is something even many pro-choicers would agree with. They would say that using "protection" is their way of avoiding the choice of abortion.
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written by Graham Combs, December 15, 2012
On this heartbreaking weekend, when the descent of man, the evil of man is on brutal display, I was near tears reading about Lia Mills. I can't say my heart was lifted. Ms Mills would understand that. But thank God for her. We are at a moment in history when we desperately need men and women who believe in the God who stood on this earth and wept. And may God forgive the bishop, priest, or politician who pins his Cause on the bodies of small children and the hell of their families.
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written by diaperman, December 15, 2012
Thanks for sharing this, Mr. Warren. I had never heard of her before!

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written by Mack, December 15, 2012
Mr. Warren,

I am sure that "the average public school teacher" in Canada must follow the laws for which you vote -- and did you vote in your last national election? Your last provincial election? Your last school board election?
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written by Mike Berry, December 15, 2012
On this dark and sad weekend young Lia's advocacy for life gives me great hope for the future. We sure need more like Lia and stories like this. Thanks.
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written by DS, December 15, 2012
And people wonder why the issue of women's ordination won't go away? I would love to hear her in a pulpit on Sunday.
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written by Just Wondering, December 15, 2012
I know that people will not want to make this connection when the grief of the killings at Sandy Hook is so raw but I was just wondering why it isn't evident that had an abortionist killed those same children in the womb nothing would have been said? Really, what is the difference if we give a child 4 or 5 years of life ( the age of those shot dead on Friday) or if we kill the same child before they are born?
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written by Jack,CT, December 15, 2012
Dear Lia,
I as a Southwestern Connecticut resident have
been so sad the past day.After listening to your talk
and reading about you I am inspired again.
Thanks dear and keep up the good work.
Jack
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written by Achilles, December 15, 2012
I really enjoyed the video and I had my wife and daughters watch it. That little girl is very good and 99% of the message was very important. As a Catholic however, I was jarred by her comment about "unprotected sex" which is a drop of poison to our position. Contraception is the very root of the evil we are fighting. Sexual morality is the answer, not protected sex. Contraception only gives the illusion of bettering the situation but it doesn't of course.

I wouldn't drink a fresh glass of water with one drop of poison, if she reconsiders this one point and amends it to "no sexual activity outside of the sacramental marital bond" she will encompass the whole gay marriage debate as well and i will be her biggest fan.
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written by Manfred, December 15, 2012
The "unprotected sex" issue-I don't recall anywhere reading that Lia is Catholic-she is described as coming from a Christian home. Please, let us not parse this message. Compare this child's video with the videos of the president of the USCCB, a CARDINAL, yukking it up with Pres. Obama and with Stephen Colbert. I will take Lia Mills any day. She could fine tune her message at one stroke!
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written by Achilles, December 16, 2012
Manfred, unless Cardinal Dolan publicly states that unprotected sex is the answer to the abortion issue, I will take him over the admittedly lovely but protestant Lia Mills. Do you really see all the angles of Cardinal Dolan?

Satan doesn't need much, just the camel's nose under the tent.
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written by Sushila, December 17, 2012
Lia mills - God has chosen you to do great things according to His Holy Will. Praise the Lord!
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written by Chris F. (Moncton N.B.), December 22, 2012
Dear Miss Lia Mills;
Wow; You're a Godsend in the mist of global secularism and moral relativism. You're a Heroine in God's sight for spreading a great message we all need to contemplate seriously. Thank you so much for sharing this important message. A Christmas message to all of us.
Fraternally in Gods Love
Chris.
Have a Blessed Merry Christmass

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