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Know when to quit making your case

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Robert Drinan felt a calling. Two, actually.

In 1970, Drinan ran for a U.S. House seat on an anti-Vietnam War platform and, in 1971, became the first Catholic priest to serve as a voting member of Congress.

Drinan worked passionately on ending the war and impeaching President Nixon for secretly bombing Cambodia. He also supported abortion rights for women, angering the church, which opposes abortion.

Drinan—re-elected four times—argued that while he personally opposed abortion, he believed that women legally had a right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy.

As strongly as Drinan felt, when Pope John Paul II demanded in 1980 that all priests withdraw from politics, Drinan complied.

The lesson: You can fight for causes at odds with your organization’s position, but once a decision is made and directives given, you must comply or go.

— Adapted from God & Caesar on the Potomac: A Pilgrimage of Conscience, Robert Drinan, Health Policy Advisory Center.

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