By: Steve Miller – Staff Writer
Dozens of University of Dayton students were set to travel to Washington, D.C., this past weekend to attend the March for Life, but winter storm Jonas had other plans. Despite not making the trek through feet of snow, I still want to take this opportunity to examine the meaning of the pro-life movement in solidarity with those who made the pilgrimage.
It’s funny to me that the pro-life movement is one of the more controversial and taboo social efforts of American society, where freedom seems to be upheld between the fuzzy lines of birth and death. It’s sad that when nearly a million citizens congregate to give witness to the truth in our nation’s capital that the most powerful people in this country turn a harsh cold shoulder. But what do I know? What does any radical, bible-thumping social conservative on the wrong side of history know?
That, to me, is the beauty of the pro-life movement.
It turns out that the pro-life cause is not about winning arguments, defunding federal programs or taking rights away from anyone. It’s simply about saving lives and letting the truth shine. For as long as Christians have existed they’ve been on the “wrong side of history.” But they’ve kept fighting. They’ve been persecuted and slaughtered by the world’s most powerful empires, yet have withstood 2,000 years of evolving civilization.
This sort of historical perspective makes being pro-life worthwhile. Because even if the end of our fight isn’t in sight, even if no “powerful” person in our country agrees with us, there’s an ardent conviction among pro-lifers that being a voice for the voiceless is indeed a noble fight that is necessary to bring to the forefront of our culture.
Being pro-life is being in support of all life. That’s men, women, children, unborn children, youths and geriatrics alike. It’s about protecting the most vulnerable in our society from womb to tomb. The key to it all, though, is understanding and upholding the sanctity of life even when it is unpopular, uncomfortable or undesired.
When a financially-burdened single mother is expecting a child or when an ailing grandparent loses their faculties, the sanctity of life still exists. The right to life does not depend on location, physical or mental abilities, financial circumstances or any other finite qualities this world can throw our way. And yes, these truths are hard, inconvenient, unpopular and often painful.
Life, unfortunately, works that way. But nowhere in history has a problem been solved by unjustly depriving a person of his or her rights and distorting the natural order of the world.
Taking these sufferings and inconveniences is something the pro-life movement does with joy each Jan. 22 at the March for Life. Frequently in hostile weather, the faithful from all corners of the country flock to D.C. to give witness to the beauty of life. Making that pilgrimage is hard and uncomfortable, but the joy of life can trump that inconvenience—just as it can with any sorrow.
That joy and stalwart conviction of pro-lifers is something that you won’t hear from the media or politicians; it’s a vibrancy that must be experienced.
I’m saddened that the pro-life/pro-abortion issue in this country has largely been degraded to a political one. As Jacques Clouseau masterfully put it, politics is “where greed wears the mask of morality,” and issues of life and death are far too important for power-hungry bureaucrats to control. It’s laughable that the right to life can be debated like an economic policy or denied if five of nine appointed officials deem it deniable.
This is one of the most frustrating parts of being pro-life. Even if the right-minded people are elected to office in this nation and the right legislation gets passed, countless lives can still be extinguished while the hurdles of the legislative and judicial systems are overcome.
So what can we do? Political arguments, as you well know, are not won and lost in Facebook comment sections. They’re rarely even decided in Congress or the courts. Being a witness to the truth is far more valuable than having a way with words. Upholding the sanctity of life in our personal actions and words will help show others its true value.
Maybe someday people will start to wonder why hundreds of thousands of students travel across the country each year only to have their rallying cries fall on the deaf ears of politicians. Maybe someone will have a change of heart when they see a gaggle of people peacefully praying outside an abortion clinic. And maybe, just maybe, the inalienable right to life will once again be extended to each person in our society from conception to natural death.
My ultimate hope is that I can be a part of that change, and you can be too. Countless generations of Christians have fought—and even died—for unpopular beliefs that eventually trumped the lies of this world. The pro-life movement is the modern manifestation of that ancient duel, and it won’t fizzle without a fight.
If you want to share your opinion, email Opinions Editor Steven Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org.